I've got a game situated in space, and I'd like to issue movement orders, which requires pathfinding. Now, it's my understanding that A* and such mostly apply to trees, and not empty space which does not have pathfinding nodes. I have some obstacles, which are currently expressed as fixed AABBs- that is, there is no unbounded "terrain" obstacle. In addition, I expect most obstacles to be reasonably approximable as cubes or spheres.
So I've been thinking of applying a much simpler pathfinding algorithm- that is, simply cast a ray from the current position to the target position, and then I can get a list of obstacles using spatial partitioning relatively quickly. What I'm not so sure about is how to determine the part where the ordered unit manoeuvres around the obstacles.
What I've been thinking so far is that I will simply use potential fields- that is, all units will feel a strong repulsive force away from each other and a moderate force towards the desired point. This also has the advantage that to issue group orders, I can simply order a mid-level force towards another entity. But this obviously won't achieve the optimal solution.
Will potential fields achieve a reasonable approximation given my parameters, or do I need another solution?