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High Poly Mesh - Low Poly Mesh + Normal Map

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Hi, I'm looking for a tool, guide or tutorial to reduce the triangles of a high polygon mesh to a low polygon mesh suitable for realtime use. I don't know if there are easy ways to do this - I'ld prefer a automatic tool where I only have to specify the trinagle-count. On the same side - I want to transport mesh complexity into a normal map. When I've both meshes is it possible to simple create a normal map based on the differences of both meshes? What would be the appropriate way to go? thanks

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Erik Pojar wrote a progressive mesh plugin for Maya, this was a while ago and I don´t know if he´s still updating.

I think it was at www.pojar.net.

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Something to be aware of when reducing meshes 'automatically' you might need
to account for the skinning animation - thus be careful of what is removed.

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