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jpardoe 11-12-2005 09:34 AM

A question about polygon splitting
I've watched a few of the free tutorials on this site, and one of them told me that I need to make sure all my polygon faces have 4 sides. Apparently 3 is bad, and 5 is even worse.

I was just wondering why this is? what happens if I have a 5 sided polygon?

mtmckinley 11-12-2005 01:05 PM

it's just if you want to smooth your models, it works best with 4-sided faces rather than 3 or 5+. I wouldn't say it's necessary to totally eliminate all non-4 sided faces, but it's best to prevent as many as you can (if you are wanting to smooth it).

Phopojijo 12-12-2005 02:29 AM

Also if you're sending it into a game -- make it 3-sided. (Safest way -- some games don't support quads or n-sided, and the ones that do often times frigs them up.)

mtmckinley 12-12-2005 02:52 AM

right, game art is actually triangulated whether you do it yourself or not and since like phopo said, it can be triangulated wrong, I usually recomend you do it yourself for your own game art.

jpardoe 12-12-2005 09:50 AM

I'd love to model for games - I want to go into game development in the future. The only problem is, I know next to nothing about game engines and what is required.

Things like, with textures and bump mapping, do you apply them in Maya, or are they applied by the game engine within the game?

Also, what's the polygon count for objects you see in modern game engines such as Unreal 3?

Are there any good-looking open source game engines that you know of?

mtmckinley 12-12-2005 01:34 PM

for your own portfolio (and since most of us don't have a game engine handy) you can usually just apply that stuff in Maya.

As for polycounts, they're pretty dependant on the game itself. It's also a tad difficult to really guage a model's actual polycount because of the advancements in normal map and parallax map technology. I'd be willing to estimate that 10,000-15,000 polys would be around the max for a non-fighting game (as in, a game that would have more than two characters running around at a time).

But even still, most games give the main player character a higher polycount than the bad guys. So, while a next-gen Lara Croft could probably be 15,000 polys or more (half of that in the boobs, I'm sure ;)), the enemies she faces are probably closer to 8,000... that kind of thing.

I'd be willing to bet that just because of the sheer number of characters on the screen at once in games like Call of Duty 2, that they are more in the 5-8k range. Although I'm sure they use some nice LOD (level of detail) models so that the closer they are to you, the higher poly they are.

Be careful when you read things about "millions of polygons" for a character or something, as what that actually means is that the normal map was generated from a very high res mesh (probably in zbrush) while the actual model that runs around in the game is much (much) lower, as described above.

For a portfolio, I'd recomend having lots of different ranges of polycounts in your work, from 1500 poly characters all the way up to the 30k or whatever, not just to show you can work with multiple restrictions, but also to show you could make different LOD versions of a model.

jpardoe 12-12-2005 02:56 PM

thanks for such a detailed reply!

I think i'm going to buy your game modelling book for christmas :)

Another thing that just occured to me - how big should the textures be In terms of both size and dimensions? Do textures take up a lot of system resources or is it mainly the poly count?

mtmckinley 12-12-2005 03:08 PM

texture sizes are pretty important, especially when it comes to texture passes and such. For example, with normal maps, parallax maps, opacity maps, color maps, specular maps, incandescence maps.... lots of possible textures all for just one object. So, while next gen systems might could possibly use a 1024x1024 color texture, if they are using all these different maps... and if they're all the same size... that adds up! So, I imagine 512x512 is probably more accurate a maximum texture size for most things.

Hope you like the book. :)

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