Looking for advice about moving around on a sphere/planet

Hello. I’m at a decision point and was wondering if I could get some advice on what path to take.

So, consider the image below of a planet’s surface and marks. The marks are placed using the tutorial code and mouse picking. The planet is a custom mesh.

The goal is to have the marks mill about on the planet’s surface after being created and placed. What I’m trying to decide is, should I

(A) make the planet a “solid” object and treat all marks as “players” to move about the surface using the physics engine, or
(B) move them about myself using a homegrown solution to manually calculate position on the sphere’s surface?

I’m currently leaning toward (B) because the planet’s surface is a custom mesh geometry, but more importantly is that true physics are not necessary in the game. Units will not jump, or walk of ledges, etc. All I need to do is move them about on the surface, but I’m curious which implementation path would be more efficient computationally.

If anyone has any advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.

If your ground is “flat” (no hills, cliff or all sorts of geographic variation) and your “marks” do not fall,jump,fly, or whatever that would make them not stick to the ground, B seems to be more appropriate.
Especially if you use a parent node for each “mark” placed at the center of the sphere, the calculation will be a lot easier to handle for you, and for the CPU.

Edit : But if any of the condition mentioned above is not true consider this :

Thanks for the input. Yes, it will be a smooth surface. At the scale of the hexagons, it didn’t seem useful to try to build in terrain right now.

TBH It looks like you don’t have any physics to speak of…so running a physics engine seems overkill :smiley:

Indeed, so I was curious if would be efficient (and convenient) to use the physics engine to handle the movement. After reading through the advanced physics page a third time, it seems I will have to go with choice B. I plan to have many dozens if not hundreds of geometries moving about, so the physics engine will probably just laugh at me while it tortures my CPU.