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Of polys, shaders and textures...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Macupuncture, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Macupuncture


    Jun 13, 2005
    So, I'll just toss this out for discussion, knowing that it is totally open ended.

    Which is better for performance and visual style:

    Higher poly models with simpler textures or simpler models with detalied textures and shaders?

    How many polygons is too many for a 3D environment? 10k, 30k, 2k?

    I know this depends on a million different factors, but what are your general guidelines when you work? I'm just curious how you find a balance and what factors go into it.

    Mark Houck
    Project SpyFly
  2. Morgan


    May 21, 2006
    Well, I picked a low-end worst-case machine (my main production Mac, as it happens : ) and started with a worst-case level of my game, to see how far I wanted to push it, and what could be optimized.

    Then, less-demanding levels and/or better hardware will have no problem.
  3. Eric5h5


    Volunteer Moderator Moderator

    Jul 19, 2006
    That would depend. :) I currently have something over 10K polygons in my scene, with probably 8K or so visible at any time. With my dual 2.5GHz G5 + X800, I'm getting 330-350fps with graphics settings on minimum (resolution doesn't matter...640X480 or 1600X1200, it gets the exact same fps). With graphics maxed out (6X FSAA, AF, a couple of pixel lights), I get 200-240fps at 640x480 and 110-150fps at 1600x1200. (Interestingly, having several GUI text elements knocks 50-70fps off the low end--without them I get over 400fps--but stops having any noticeable effect when you increase the quality settings.)

    Several of the meshes could be combined because they're using the same textures anyway (and they will be; just haven't gotten around to it yet), so performance will probably go up some by the time I'm done. There are also going to be a lot more objects, so as a test I tried duplicating some of the already-existing objects, ending up with probably 40K polygons. That didn't affect the framerate much, if at all, because only some of the objects are visible at any given time.

    As for "which is best for visual style," I think that would completely depend on what style you're aiming for.

  4. pete


    Jul 21, 2005
    >>>Higher poly models with simpler textures or simpler models with detalied textures and shaders?

    i go for moderate poly objects with detailed textures - but i've been planning to stick to 512 max size textures for level objects. smaller where it's less important. haven't decided yet on player/important characters. might go up to 1024 for some. i'll have to test. for primary characters i'll shoot not to exceed 4k polys. probably 2k-2.5k will be my target count.

    >>How many polygons is too many for a 3D environment? 10k, 30k, 2k?

    it's less about poly count than number of objects. i haven't counted but my current project probably is pushing the 100k poly range for the level geo. not sure though, maybe more like 60k. it runs so so on a really low end machine. for example, one thing i did was take all the trees in the level that use the same texture and group them as one object in lightwave (just what i use). 2 species of trees = two objects. you have to consider lighting when deciding on how to group things. didn't really matter for what i was doing. so i was able to group all the trees in the level (by texture usage).

    this thread has the assets and a webplayer available for the level i'm talking about. thouroughly unfinished but it's for anyone who wants it.
  5. Alpha-Loup


    Jun 23, 2006
    Use as less as Polys as possible, but as much as nesessary. That will bring you always to a satisfying result and to a sort of Poly Count mentioned by Pete. 3.5k at max. normally. Works fine with me.