This patch only applies to the stage-ros branch! The relevant code is very different in trunk.
My problem was that stage was running at 5 fps and 100% cpu on my laptop with the big willow garage map. The reason was the drawing of the blocks.
This patch does three things to improve performance:
1) draw all faces first and all lines in a second pass
2) put models with many blocks in an OpenGL display list
3) (this one came for cheap) when the view is "2D" then draw only the top side of the blocks
These things drastically improved stage's performance, both on my computer (18% CPU at 10fps), a colleagues MacBook
and his workstation (with an NVidia card, this one was faster from the beginning).
Unfortunately, after I finished this patch I realized that 1) and 2) (which gives most of the performance boost) are already implemented in trunk.
Anyway, I'd really appreciate to see these improvements in the stage-ros branch as well...