View Full Version : Low Poly Modeling Techniques (For real-time games)

01-19-2012, 03:41 PM
Hello All;
I posted a message about a week ago and didn't get any responses so I'm re-posting it with a similar set of questions but said in a different way.

I need to create a series of low-poly objects for use in a realtime 3-D game. These objects represent various machinery, living, and working space for a future lunar base.

I have a good understanding of what the various tools do for both Polygonal and Subpatch moderling but and usually, I don't have issues when subpatching but now, I need to create fully polygonal models that ARE NOT subpatched and for each model, I am limited to as few polygons as possible though the Max limit (Per model) is 5,000.

I have been hanging around this forun enough to know that non-planar polygons are bad but whenever I try to create a model that is not exactly on the X, Y, or Z axis, I end up with non-planar polygons. I know I can eliminate non-planars by converting to subpatch but that's not permitted and I know I can also convert to Triangles but I'd rather work with quads if possible.

I've been playing around and experimenting with techniques all week and will continue until I figure this out.

Are there any good tutorials on the web about how to create low-poly anything that is organic and not subpatched ?

Anyone have any tips, things to watch out for, best practices, etc ... ?



01-19-2012, 03:57 PM
You should check out polycount they have a great wiki with tons of info on game related topics.


01-19-2012, 05:07 PM
I would say don't get caught up on the non-planar thing. You can model in quads and just triangulate when you're done. Most game engines require meshes to be triangulated anyway.

I often create low poly stuff by firstly creating a high res version be it in LW or Zbrush, it doesn't really matter. I then I use a retopology tool such as 'topogun' to create a low poly version.

You can then use something like x-normal (or even lightwave) to bake the high-res meshes detail into a texture which can then be applied to the lo res mesh.

Hope this helps.

01-19-2012, 08:38 PM
If employer of game model said "use 5000 polygon" he meant 5000 triangles, not quads.

Games always use triangles.

Real professional artists make 3d game object using any polygons they want - high res objects.
Then when it's done, low poly is made on it in the most important places, more or less maintaining curvature.
Then normal map is baked from high to low res.
And you have good quality in low res object maintaining high res details.

I have made couple plug-ins helping in this process.
f.e. Push and EasyRetopology.

01-20-2012, 03:51 AM
You'd be surprised how low poly a 5000 triangles object is. I have been doing realtime for a while and unless the object is animated I am not as stressed out on poly count anymore, modern machines and mobile devices can handle a lot more than they used to. Choosing the right shader seems to make a bigger difference in frames per second.

Non planar is a non issue, triangles cannot be non plannar, as others said, triangulate just before export. As for subpatch it's only useful for organic shapes that are not going to be animated, after I get the shape and texture I want I freeze it and then use PLG Simplify Mesh to lower the polycount. Sensei's plug ins give you much more control on polyflow when reducing polycount so they are much better, specially for things that will be animated.