And I'm not about to get embroiled in a giant debate, but a few things:
1. That slight bit of lag when you go through a door into a building from another part of the same building is the chunk generating and the old chunk saving, not anything to do with textures.
2. If we were to decompress all the chunks from a continent off your disk and try to load them all at once, I estimate that would take... anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on the continent. Toll's server has 32,000 individual files for 5 continents, for instance.
3. Doing a native x64 binary alongside an x32 binary is really someplace I don't want to go. At one point (before AI War 1.0) I used to maintain an x64 and an x32 build of AI War, and not only was a) that an enormous pain; it was also b) really prone to desyncs; and also c) vastly slower by default because "int" defaults to int64 instead of int32. Among other things. Generally anything that requires special builds for part of the playerbase is not going to happen.
4. If we were to load all of the textures for the game from disk when you first loaded the game, it would be incredibly annoying to you. It would last... 1-2 minutes, perhaps more. And the real kicker is that, a year from now, if we've doubled our content, it will take twice as long. Textures also have to be stored in an uncompressed format in memory in order to written to the GPU with any speed, so you're looking at vastly more memory than I think you realize. The game is about 500MB on disk now if I recall, but that's with a compression factor of about 12 on the music and textures. That's 6GB right there uncompressed, conservatively, although that includes music and not just textures. It wouldn't help you much.
5. I think there are several misconceptions about what textures we unload and when. First of all, we only ever unload any textures when you exit the game or go to the world map. If you're running around in a region, it's not doing any texture unloading at all. Further, when there are things that are used across regions (like the world map icons and such, plus what spells you are currently carrying with you, etc), it doesn't unload those. What it unloads is the side-view textures that aren't used by your character, only when you switch regions. And even for a few things that are super common and always everywhere, like some of the particle effects, it never unloads those because it knows they would be needed in any region. It would not be possible to make a texture manager that is smarter than this, because of the xml-driven nature of the seeding of a lot of the game. And even just a lot of the procedural stuff is way to complex to unroll, and changes consistently, etc.
6. The only part of a texture that is in managed memory is the pointer to it and some incredibly tiny metadata about it (size, format, etc). There is a way to bring them into managed memory (say, if you want to modify it -- like we do with the custom texture for the minimap), but then you can either say you want to save it back to stay in both managed and unmanaged memory, or just go to unmanaged memory. The only texture we keep in managed memory at all is the minimap one.
7. In short, we know what we're doing and trust me there's not been some oversight here. This part of the game has been optimized out the wazoo. And complaining about a tiny hiccup when going into a new room here is... well, it makes me laugh a little bit, after playing so many console or disc-based games where you go into a room and wait several minutes. Even something like half life 2, I'd be walking down a hall and then suddenly the game freezes and shows me a loading screen, and 2-3 minutes later I have control again and am in the next zone. AVWW doesn't have anything remotely egregious like that, and in fact is designed from the loading screen to the chunks onward to make it so that you're getting where you want to go as absolutely fast as possible. It's one of the parts of our game engine I'm proudest of, actually; Keith and I both put a lot of time and thought into it, and I don't think you understand what it would be like if we hadn't.
8. Unity 3D isn't a bad game engine, it's actually really good. Their customer service is about par for the course with large game engine vendors. There are a larger variety
of C++ game engines, sure, but they all have their own problems. And there's a really large selection of godawful engines in a variety of languages, including C++ and so on. The bug with Unity 3.4 was something I've managed to work around anyhow, but I haven't upgraded to 3.4 or 3.5 yet for two reasons: a) they removed windows 2000 and PowerPC support; b) 3.3 does everything we need it to, is stable, and we understand its quirks. I don't want to jump into something new right now and have to potentially revert, or get into lots of new quirks. This would be true with a new version of any game engine, not just unity. Heck, as you know, that's true with a new version of AVWW or AI War.
Anyway, hopefully that clears things up!