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POly Count for games?

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So I've never designed models for games, and I'm wondering if I could get away with 3000 polys for a character in a slightly higher-than-average-graphics game. I'm wondering what the standards are, and if anyone can give me an idea that would be great.

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If I look fast at GearsOfWars models, a standard locus enemy have between 9k and 13k polys so it's a lot more than your character. Of course, polycount is not the only thing you should worry about when making a game,.. code optimization, shader and post processing and other things are a lot more important for the global FPS. GOW use U3, so they know the engine is good enough to handle it.

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Consider this from Half-Life 2:

Soldiers: 4682
Police: 3852
Resistance: 4976
Zombie: 4290
Helicopter: 6415
Strider: 6444
Alyx: 8323

So, depending on what "higher-than-average-graphics" means, you should be safe. Just realize you're generally going to want main characters and important 3D assets to be more detailed, and thus have more polygons, compared to other objects that might be less important.

It'd probably be a good idea to make a list of objects you need, and figure out a good polygon budget to go with.

As long as your model has a good overall visual silhouette, good texturing with some baked ambient occlusion, and normal maps you can really, really cheat detail.

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Quote:
Original post by Dunge
If I look fast at GearsOfWars models, a standard locus enemy have between 9k and 13k polys so it's a lot more than your character. Of course, polycount is not the only thing you should worry about when making a game,.. code optimization, shader and post processing and other things are a lot more important for the global FPS. GOW use U3, so they know the engine is good enough to handle it.

Sorry, but comments like these always bother me. Past what geometry culling techniques an engine uses (Octree's, portaling, backface culling...etc), the design is what affects the polycount the most.
Gears of war was made for relatively high-end hardware so they knew they could use more polys, furthermore the worlds are tight, sectioned spaces, so they could get away with a lot more polys per section.
As i have said in the past, polygon counts are a thing of balance. What you should do is find the max tri count your minimum target hardware can support, then divvy up those tris into all the assets that may be appearing onscreen at once. But you should, even then, be flexible. The general rule of thumb, the more screenspace the object will be taking up, the more polys and higher resolution textures should be used.

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On some of the latest games, the amount of pixel instructions used to render the character's material (e.g. skin, eyes, cloth, metal) can be more important than the number of polys.

Also, there is a trend these days to use normal maps on everything to get more detail - but keep in mind that a 512x512 normal map might use up the same amount of VRAM as ~2500 vertices.

As has been said, it's a balancing act, and it really depends on the specific game's needs.
That said, 3k should be fine ;)

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Thanks for the extremely helpful replies. I really should have been more specific, when you are talking about what modern hardware can support, are you also considering PCs to be able to easily handle a 3000 poly main character?

Where could I get information about what an average computer can handle in terms of max poly-counts?

I hate to sonud nieve, I've mostly only done work on higher end animations where poly-counts don't matter except to calculate render times.

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