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Question about polygon count

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I hope someone can give me some input here. Basically heres my problem. Is 3400 polys to high for a space craft? Also since it is designed for a multiplayer game would that be hard to render if say you had 20 flying around near by or within sight? Thanx for the input ahead of time.

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http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,1157244,00.asp

you tell me, keep in mind this is an "ideal situation" and i dont believe there is texturing during these tests, but it said multitexturing resulted in a 2% drop, i dont know how many textures were being used ect, but theres some data, just remember you cant do 9 million triangles PER FRAME, its PER SECOND, and definitely stay away from that number, since there will be the slow down of your own collision detection and network and such, and texturing, and the list goes on, i think you should maybe work with half the triangle count of the 8 light test, which gives you about 4.5 million triangles a second, ON A GEFORCE 4, plenty to work with, just remember to divy it up between frames

hope that helps
-Dan

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it's not too much for things near the camera.
use LOD for far away objects, you can get a huge number of your spaceships on screen using LOD. and it's more likely the number of draw calls will become a problem rather than the polycount (only if you have a high number of spaceships to display, around a hundred or more), and you could use the instancing capabilities of newer cards. if you're targetting the newer hardware, you can have much higher polycounts anyway (that doesn't mean LOD won't be necessary, it'll always be, use it to push more details in the models :))

you could make a 6000 - 10000 polygon model as the most detailed LOD (level0), and go to ~2000 - 3000 for level1, ~700 level2, and around a hundred tris for level3, or even lower...
(you can implement a mesh simplification algo in your engine too if you don't want to make multiple models...)

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Those are great ideas. Ill mention that at my next meeting with the fellas. I was worried that displaying multiple ships might lag the player. I was hoping to find a cure for this problem without sacrificing my graphics.

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Discussed to death
It's the polygon count you have in view that matters, the engine and the amount of unique objects. The more you repeat/reuse the same objects/spaceships, the faster. Same for the textures, provided your engine cashes meshes loading them only once (intancing).
That said, the UT2k3/2k4 characters have around 2500-3500 polygons as example and don't even have LOD. With all the terrain added etc you often have around 50k polygons in view.

Now, if all you have is space, some rocks and 3000polygon spaceships, you'll have more resources available than normal FPS since you barely have any terrain or level geometry.

Every texture and shader causes a new redraw of a model. Have a moedl with 2 textures, the model will have to be redrawn twice. The raw numbers in Ademan's linked test are good to compare video cards (even tho there's more than just fillrates that makes up a video card) but those numbers are completely useless for game development.

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Another option, if the engine supports it: use normalmaps. With spaceships you´ll probably be able to handpaint a lot of them, and it´ll let you cut your polygonal detail down significantly. With bump- and normalmaps polycount isn´t the yardstick it used to be.

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I'm glad to see someone else is making a space game too. :) Is it a combat sim or something else?

Here's a little piece of advice. If there are different types of ships, like fighters and capital ships, you can have the ships that you usually see more of at once have less polygons and the ships that are seldomly seen in large groups have more polygons. For example, we have defined max polygon counts for all ship classes. Fighters have a maximum polycount of 500, corvettes 1500 and capital ships 3000. Not all fighters have 500 polygons and capital ships 3000 polygons, for example a shuttle, the smallest of fighters, has usually only about 300 polys. Our game is a hybrid between a space combat sim and RTS, so as the shuttle is the cheapest ship to build it needs to have a low polycount so people can build hordes of them.

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Hi Everyone,

I think it what you are asking is wether your craft will be low polygon enough for your game engine. If you are designing it all from scratch then your main programmer dude will be able to test how well your game will run with your model.

We are working on the similar project and when we started the models were all a bit too polygon heavy and the engine was not optimized. Now we have much more leaner models and engine code has been much improved.

Your 3400 polygon count looks very reasonable and you should be able to stick quite a few of those models in there.

Of cource as I said, a lot of this depends on the game engine.

Hope this helps

Dan

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Thats the kinda posts I like to see. :) That was very helpful. Right now I have a ship at around 900 polys that looks pretty sharp and is very areodynamic.
I did slack off on explaining the types of ships i have so you will get the treatment now lol. I have basically 4 classes. The fighter ship (probally the most used and has roughly 7 models) The battle cruiser (used mostly for heavy fighting as well as transporting your forces, roughly 6) The carrier ( used mostly for transporting Assault machines, roughly 6 models) and lastly the Battle Carrier ( huge army transport with serious firepower abilities, extremely expensive and huge poly count, roughly 5 of these) This craft is the one that really worries me, but so few will have them that it might not be to much of a issue. I might have to have only front, side and back load due to its size unless you are flying near the back of it. This craft is almost a small world unto itself in size. hehe

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Hi again,

So you want to have a huge fleet floating around in space. That shouldn't be a problem as long as you stick to certains rules. Like someone already mention Level OF Detail (LOD) is very heavily used in games. The way it works is, the futher your view moves away from the model the less detail you actually see on it. This is usually done in code but sometimes models are used with different levels of polygon count. The same goes for textures.

When it comes to HUGE models, you don't really have to make them high polygon as it really is just the same model as any other but of a large size. Unless you start putting a lot of detail on them, like 30 different turrerts, 10 different radars and so forth. Big ships should just be as complex as your smaller models. This is where texturing comes in and takes care of the detail.

You just need to decide what sort of frame count you want to maintain in your game and see what is the maximum polygons you can have on the screen with your engine. Then you can say, okay I can have 30 fighers, 15 cruisers and 2 Battle Carriers.

So you just watch you polycount in the general area. Have some sort of a buffer zone as well in case your game scene might demand more at some point. And remember you only render what you see in the view point.

Hope this helps

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