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chronosifter

3D Characters and triangle-counts

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chronosifter    122
Wondering what the ideal triangle count on a modern game character is, specifically a human female with lips and eyelids in model geometry instead of texture. I've been working on a game engine for awhile now for a couple game projects and now that the engine is very near completion (outside of a few key rendering things due to needed to get a grasp of the actual design limitations of 3D models first). So I ventured into 3D modeling, started with a human female, since their bodies are so curvy i figured it'd be a pretty difficult thing and i'd pick up the necessary skills learning to build a human female to design some decent models. Well the mesh looks great, have two version of it, one has little over 9000 triangles which is intended for pre-rendered animation, and the other has closer to 3000 triangles. Though unless looking at the models up close there is very little detail loss going from the 9000 to the 3000. Those are naked models with no armor/clothing/accessories/hair/ears/hands/feet. The actual game engine is optimized really well, had an experienced game developer help me out with finding where I needed to optimize and taught me a lot of neat tricks to cut back on resource usage, but he wasn't sure about modern games since the stuff he worked on was back in 98 to 02. The hardware I'm aiming for in high detail is something like a 2ghz processor, 1.5gb ram, geforce 7800. The recommended specs i'm aiming for are closer to 1.4ghz processor, 512mb ram, geforce 6600. Those are pretty much the computers i have here at home to test it on. And if anyone knows a good resource on designing bone systems, that'd be awesome, the software I'm using is 3D Max 9 for modeling, but I still haven't learned much in the ways of bone rigging.

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hogarth    140
Quote:
The hardware I'm aiming for in high detail is something like a 2ghz processor, 1.5gb ram, geforce 7800. The recommended specs i'm aiming for are closer to 1.4ghz processor, 512mb ram, geforce 6600. Those are pretty much the computers i have here at home to test it on.


I am pretty sure modern games won't run well on something under 3 ghz, unless you mean dual cores. I think most people tend to have better processors than what you mentioned, but worse graphics cards.
People seem to say that modern game human characters are around 10000 tris, but plenty of them still use something in the 4k range, and even lower with levels of detail.



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Jarrod1937    522
Its impossible to give out any kind of meaningful polygon count for anything being outside your team. Even then, these things tend to vary. You may end up with one object having a higher polygon count than expected, but then have another that is lower than expected. Its all a game of balance.
Meaning, what you should be researching is how many total tris can your minimum target hardware push. Even then, other things such as character deforming, shaders, memory...etc can affect your total tri count.
Which brings up a second point, truthfully tri count, within reason, is less of a performance factor these days than fill rate. With the increased use of shaders, higher res textures, alpha tested textures, fill rate is going to take up more of your performance than rendering those tris.
And my last point, "Those are naked models with no armor/clothing/ accessories/hair/ears/hands/feet."
If you're going to have exchangable accessories and armor, please do not have your armor lay over your naked model. You will want to model interchangable parts as the body. Meaning, instead of simply having a boot go over the naked model, the boot model will take the place of the foot. I am not sure if you were even planning on laying over the armor and accessories over the naked model, but thought i'd warn you otherwise. It will cause your performance to die due to rendering polygons that won't even be seen, not to mention having to have the naked body and armor both in memory at once.
As for animation and bone system help, checkout lynda.com, they charge but they have an 11 hour video tutorial just on animation in 3ds max. Along with other great tutorials. And no, i don't work for them ;-) i just recommend them a lot because it has been such a great resource for me.
Goodluck!

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chronosifter    122
The 2ghz was typo, it's actually a 3ghz p4 ht (dual-core) for the highend rig i do most the work and testing on.

I know not to layer armor onto the naked model, my buddy that helped me optimize the engine explained that to me in great detail about the bugs it can create visually even if the engine can handle all the extra hidden tris. The naked model is more the base to design everything off from.

But for the tri-count, was just looking for an in-general thing. I know about all the advanced tech and even have some rough-drafts of the classes to implement most of it. It's nice to hear that actual games use 10k tris in just a single model, I've been trying to be conservative with the tris without losing to much detail. Level designs i'm familiar with due to all the games out there with their cool level design tools, just wasn't clear on character meshes.

But jarrod what you said in third paragraph is what made me consider tri-count, besides what the hardware pushes, i have to leave room for the advanced fancies.

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Jarrod1937    522
Quote:
Original post by chronosifter
The 2ghz was typo, it's actually a 3ghz p4 ht (dual-core) for the highend rig i do most the work and testing on.

I know not to layer armor onto the naked model, my buddy that helped me optimize the engine explained that to me in great detail about the bugs it can create visually even if the engine can handle all the extra hidden tris. The naked model is more the base to design everything off from.

But for the tri-count, was just looking for an in-general thing. I know about all the advanced tech and even have some rough-drafts of the classes to implement most of it. It's nice to hear that actual games use 10k tris in just a single model, I've been trying to be conservative with the tris without losing to much detail. Level designs i'm familiar with due to all the games out there with their cool level design tools, just wasn't clear on character meshes.

But jarrod what you said in third paragraph is what made me consider tri-count, besides what the hardware pushes, i have to leave room for the advanced fancies.

Well, here is the thing though. When you're fill rate limited, and almost all games are these days, you can then usually get away with a few more tris without a noticeable performance hit. That is, until the performance impact from the tris exceeds that of the fill rate.
But what i meant by the polycount, is that it is really impossible for me to give you any numbers at all without knowing quite a bit about your engine structure, geometry culling systems, camera style, level style, max amount of characters possible on screen...etc.
But to give you range, i'd anywhere from 1,000, to 9,000 tris, depending heavily on the things mentioned above. For example, an mmo will have a lot of tris dedicated to the environment, usually with a far camera, and have a lot of characters on screen at once. Where an fps, like gears of war for example, has very tight environments, up close camera on the character, very few characters on screen, not to mention they used portals very heavily.
But, also as i said earlier, things can shift a bit. This model may get more tris than planned, while another may get less. As long as you keep a fine balance of the total tri count your lowest end hardware can handle between all of your models, you'll be fine. You may have to do some of that testing yourself.

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Daaark    3553
Quote:
Original post by hogarth
People seem to say that modern game human characters are around 10000 tris, but plenty of them still use something in the 4k range, and even lower with levels of detail.
Rumble Rose on PS2 managed to use 10k characters. They can't be that high end.

But it depends on scene complexity.

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chronosifter    122
Quote:
Original post by Vampyre_Dark
Rumble Rose on PS2 managed to use 10k characters. They can't be that high end.

But it depends on scene complexity.


A lot of PS2 games use insanely high tri counts, I figured that out after running a few on PS2 emulators in wireframe. Like take FF12 for instance, they have about 4 different models for each of the characters that appear throughout the game, during game play the models look like fairly low tri-count ones, but during cut-scenes and movie sequences, they switch between the other 3 models for each character depending on whats all being shown. Perhaps this is why PS2 emulators are so darn slow on even high end PCs, the textures sure don't look to be very high, maybe 2046 at the highest.

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Jarrod1937    522
Quote:
Original post by chronosifter
Quote:
Original post by Vampyre_Dark
Rumble Rose on PS2 managed to use 10k characters. They can't be that high end.

But it depends on scene complexity.


A lot of PS2 games use insanely high tri counts, I figured that out after running a few on PS2 emulators in wireframe. Like take FF12 for instance, they have about 4 different models for each of the characters that appear throughout the game, during game play the models look like fairly low tri-count ones, but during cut-scenes and movie sequences, they switch between the other 3 models for each character depending on whats all being shown. Perhaps this is why PS2 emulators are so darn slow on even high end PCs, the textures sure don't look to be very high, maybe 2046 at the highest.

Yes, this is made possible by finely balancing the total tri count of the scene. It is generally distributed to what has the most screen space. This means, whatever is being emphasized can take polygons from less important things in the scene to achieve the same level of performance while being higher polygon. Though, i doubt any of the textures are 2048x2048, the ps2 has very little video/texture memory. It streams a lot of its data from the game disc, but a single 2048x2048 texture might be a bit taxing.

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Daaark    3553
Quote:
Original post by Jarrod1937
Quote:
Original post by chronosifter
Quote:
Original post by Vampyre_Dark
Rumble Rose on PS2 managed to use 10k characters. They can't be that high end.

But it depends on scene complexity.


A lot of PS2 games use insanely high tri counts, I figured that out after running a few on PS2 emulators in wireframe. Like take FF12 for instance, they have about 4 different models for each of the characters that appear throughout the game, during game play the models look like fairly low tri-count ones, but during cut-scenes and movie sequences, they switch between the other 3 models for each character depending on whats all being shown. Perhaps this is why PS2 emulators are so darn slow on even high end PCs, the textures sure don't look to be very high, maybe 2046 at the highest.

Yes, this is made possible by finely balancing the total tri count of the scene. It is generally distributed to what has the most screen space. This means, whatever is being emphasized can take polygons from less important things in the scene to achieve the same level of performance while being higher polygon. Though, i doubt any of the textures are 2048x2048, the ps2 has very little video/texture memory. It streams a lot of its data from the game disc, but a single 2048x2048 texture might be a bit taxing.
PS2 uses palleted textures though. So 2048x2048 isn't THAT big. RR used the 10k models during actual gameplay, and they looked VERY good. But then again, there was never more than 2 people on screen during a fight, and 3 during a pre or post match scene.

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chronosifter    122
Yeah I doubt the PS2 has anything as high as 2048 except for very exclusive sceens, but I understand the whole concept of the hardware being balanced for a very high tri-count, after all, it had to be better than PCs of the same era to really attract attention at the price it was originally released for.

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