I've been reading everything I can find on the subject and I feel like the pieces are just about to fall into place, but I just can't quite get it.
I'm making a space game, where collisions will occur between planets, ships, asteroids, and the sun. Each of these objects can be subdivided into 'chunks', which I have implemented to speed up rendering (the vertices can and will change often at runtime, so I've separated the buffers). These subdivisions also have bounding primitives to test for collision. All of these objects are made of blocks (yeah, it's that kind of game). Blocks can also be tested for rough collisions, though they do not have individual bounding primitives for memory reasons. I think the rough testing seems to be sufficient, though.
So, collision needs to be fairly precise; at block resolution. Some functions rely on two blocks colliding. And, of course, attacking specific blocks is important.
Now what I am struggling with is filtering my collision pairs. As I said, I've read a lot about Octrees, but I'm having trouble applying it to my situation as many tutorials are vague with very little code.
My main issues are:
Are Octrees recalculated each frame, or are they stored in memory and objects are shuffled into different divisions as they move? Despite all my reading I still am not clear on this... the vagueness of it all has been frustrating.
How far do Octrees subdivide? Planets in my game are quite large, while asteroids are smaller. Do I subdivide to the size of the planet, or asteroid (where planet is in multiple divisions)? Or is the limit something else entirely, like number of elements in the division?
Should I load objects into the octrees as 'chunks' or in the whole, then break into chunks later? This could be specific to my implementation, I suppose.
I was going to ask about how big my root needed to be, but I did manage to find this question, and the second answer seems sufficient for me. I'm afraid I don't really get what he means by adding new nodes and doing subdivisions upon adding new objects, probably because I'm confused about whether the tree is maintained in memory or recalculated per-frame.