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how many polys?

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Your target hardware ? Indoor/outdoor scenes ? Your basic engine structure (esp. culling hierarchy type) ? What kind of special effect do you use (pixelshader effects, and which ones) ? What kind of shadows, if any, do you use ? Any vertex shaders used ?

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just a generic adventure engine capable of in doors and out, with projective shadows, vertex lighting, and multitextureing, and mid range system (aka what was cutting edge 2 years ago).

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What was cutting edge 2 years ago was around the time the GeForce 3 came out. These cards are usually fillbound rather than poly bound. Your poly count will heavily depend on your poly size. Proper Z sorting (and texture and shader sorting) will help reduce the fillrate limitations. If your polys are large you''ll get worse vertex lighting. If your polys are larger than say, 10x10 pixels when rendered then poly transformation time won''t be your limitation. Then again, more polys take more RAM and GPU bandwidth. It''s always a game of balance, but poly counts in terms of transform and lighting time are a minor concern on modern graphics GPUs.

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