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Low-poly Opinions

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There's plenty out across the internet about what people think is a proper low-poly count. I understand that with technology changing, this definition also changes. I'm curious about everyone's opinions about what's considered low-poly to them. Here are a few variables to consider when giving your opinion: -Current technology (vs. 5yrs. ago or so) -Type of game -Amount on screen at any given time -Type of character (eg, player, NPC, etc.) The reason I ask is that I am dev'ing for an MMO (yes, I know that noobs posting about dev'ing MMOs has become taboo). I was curious about suggested poly limits for an MMO. I just finished a 7000 poly player. I'm sure I can reduce the count by another 25-30% and still retain most of the current shape. Let me know what you think and opinions on poly-counts!

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OK, so I actually did some more reduction and came up with a 50% decrease that worked. I use Maya, so I used the reduction tool, but it turned out with some spikes and tweakers (and I lost a toe in the process). So I did some more adding and subtracting (adding some edges, taking some away, etc.) and this is what it looks like. I think this could pass as a higher count model, that's my opinion anyway. We'll see what it looks like when I get some textures on it.


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i was about to say the first pic was too high poly, the second oen is better though. however it may still be too high poly. most mmorpg games have low poly characters in the range of 1,000-2,000 tris. even then my figures may not match your requirements. it is impossible really, for a team outsider to give this type of suggestion. i am not familar with your engine tech, your environment setup, your character count, your target audience and as such your target hardware, your platform (assumign pc here), the 3d camera and as such how much screen space the characters will get compared to the environment and therefore how system resources are distributed out, nor am i familiar with the max possible enemy count and their polygon count, nor if your engine supports lod, if you want shader effects (increased render calls for this wwhich increase rendered tri count), nor about a bizzilion other things.
however your model is looking alright, i'd love to see some normal mapping on him which would really make the model sweet, that is if you're supporting normal mapping.
however could i get a wireframe view? a lot of the detail on the chest i see is unneeded. when doing low poly models and tryign to optimize them, only keep the polygons that really define the object's silhouette. the chest and stomach details, for example, do not define the silhouette at all and can be removed and added in using textures.

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Nice starting.
You should learn to avoid extra "flat shapes" in mesh. What I mean by this are the muscles and other body lines that should be drawn on texture anyway.
So the most important thing is to make siluet smooth and leave rest to texture work that can do miracles.
No matter the new hardware gets even more powerful there is still a high demand for efficient lowpoly models. Due to they not only save resources but are flexible in lots of other aspects.
Here is example of our middle detailed character. But it looks pretty descent in dynamics. Keep in mind that you won't see character much in a game as a static mesh rendered on white background. So all the lack of details disappears in action.
2722 polygons and 2 more LODs 1122 and 5876 only for high quality renders.



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Amen to the comment about the textures, 3DRT. If you look at WoW, which is an extremely low-poly game, all the details come from the textures. My suggestion for you, bleachlizard, would be to get rid of the geometric detail in the abs and compensate with a really good bump map, assuming your engine can handle bump maps. Same goes for the inner thighs, biceps, and especially the neck. Bump mapping takes some time to get right, but the end results and lack of polygons make the efforts well worth it.

Now granted, if you are using a next-gen engine like Unreal 3, your poly-counts can go pretty high, in which case 7000 polys is nothing. But I'm assuming you're using something more along the lines of Unreal 2 at most, in which case you'd definitely want to stick to the 2,000 - 5,000 poly range. Even then Unreal 2 can push 9 or 10 thousand polys - at least in static meshes - but I wouldn't recommend it for a character, especially one in an MMO where hundreds of characters need to be rendered at once. See what your engine is capable of and then determine what to do with your model.

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With MMO's you always need to design for the worst case scenario. How many users can be in a single place at the same time? If you are using 5000 polygon models and 100 people are sitting in one spot (say, a town centre) then you'd be pushing 3 billion polygons per second at 60fps with character models alone. Even with LOD, only very high end systems are going to be able to handle that well. And if you push the LOD models too hard, it'll just end up looking worse than using hand-made lower polygon models to begin with.

So as always the answer to what a reasonable polycount is comes down to another question: What sort of game are you making?

Generally MMO's do allow large amounts of people to be in view so polycounts and kept in the 1000-2000 range. Up to 3000 is likely acceptable these days if you are making a next-gen game that is targeting high end systems.

Ideally you should be testing these things instead of asking about them, as that will give you much more accurate and useful information that anyone here can.

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