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Old 29-11-2004, 06:41 PM   #1
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Default polycount in modern games

alright so me and a friend is going to fool around making some low-poly models for a future game project, and I was wondering if anyone knows of some good guidelines for the no of polys for various model types... I realize that there are probably a million answers to this question that could all be right, but general guidelines would be nice.. I have no idea whether 5, 10 or 50,000 (in total) on the screen at once is possible on "normal" gaming pc's.

So anyone got wisdom to share in that area for:

buildings / terrain (it's going to be "outside")
minor characters, vehicles & monsters
major characters & vehicles

any info would be nice
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Old 29-11-2004, 09:07 PM   #2
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it really depends

the average polycount on screen in ut2004 is 150.000 (models+terrain)
the average polycount for models was something like 2000-3000
the average polycount for terrain goes from 100000 to 800000

A pair of years ago J. Carmak "dictated" the tendency that he didnt needed more polycount but more and more powerful processingto those polys, so we will notsee (and arent seeing) spectacular polygon # advances but increases on the fancyness of the shaders.
(the "# poly muscle" of a geforce3ti to a geforcefx5200 wasnt that much indeed)

From my experience a radeon 9800 can stand 2000000 polys at 25fps in directx just by brute force if you do nothing fancy with them. (ie 1000000 billboards, no lights just ambient, showing a 256x512 texture). If you start adding shader passes and lights shadows and things or try to do something else like running game logic /whatever the performance decreases exponentially...

but im like a thousand miles from being a programming or game modeler guru anyways...

Last edited by dragonfx : 29-11-2004 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 29-11-2004, 09:23 PM   #3
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Dragonfx pretty much summed everything up there. I honestly dont know much about polycounts in games but I do know that HL2 characters can each have up to 6K polys, and that weapons in Battle Field Vietnam could support up to 3.5K.
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Old 29-11-2004, 09:41 PM   #4
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It really depends a lot on what kind of game it is. A fighting game with 2 characters on the screen at all times in an environment can have much more polys per character/environment than, say, a First-Person or Third-Person shooter with lots of enemies and stuff.

Half-Life 2 is probably the most recent benchmark to guage with FPSs. Their characters were between 3-8,000 polys each, depending on importance.

We're doing a Real-Time Strategy game (Starcraft-type game) and our units have to be between 100-650 polys each depending on importance/size.
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Old 30-11-2004, 09:32 PM   #5
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there are also many other factors that you must take into account:

mapping over modeling, if something is farther away and can be mapped to look 3d then you can save poly's
----alpha mapping huge help when it comes to this

boards: as before mentioned, the importance of a char/sprite that is far away can be put on a camera facing board for good measure

hidden face deletion, if you cant see it on camera in your game... delete the face (helps in long run)

last tip, by this book: Creating the art of the game by MAthew Omerick this book will have a lot of usefull information
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