High Poly to Low Poly - Game Art

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  12 December 2012
Cool High Poly to Low Poly - Game Art

First Off, Hello Everyone!
I'm new here, and this is my obligatory, first post.
Hello World.

Ok, with that out of the way, I am a student at RISD, and some friends and I are using XNA to make a game that we can play in our dorms, that we can set the rules for. We have gotten to the point where we need to start seriously making 3D assets for the game. These have to be exported as .x of .fbx files. (I don't know if this is relevant but I'm just trying to cover everything.)

I have some modeling experience, but I've never done texturing. So here's my question: I know theres a way to make a high poly model, and then make some kind of texture and map it to a low poly version of the same model. How do I do this?

I realize that this is really broad, because I have a few more specific questions in addition:
1. Does the high poly model have to be all one object? ie. nuts and bolts are all part of the same mesh.
2. How do I go about making the low poly model, and how low can the poly count go? I realize that the lower the poly, the lower the quality of the texture and the more the player will notice the edges not being deformed (I think).

If theres anything out there that's specific to Maya, that would be great. I wish I could google this but I don't even know what the process is called.

Any help is much appreciated,
  12 December 2012
The process you are talking about is called normal mapping (an evolution of bump mapping).

If you want technical knowledge on the subject i highly recommend reading this:

1. Not it does not, you can have what is commonly called "floater objects" the renderer doesn't care, it will catch whatever is in proximity to the low poly.

2.Let's clarify a few things:
-The polygon count doesn't alter the quality of the texture. The texture resolution and the efficiency of the UV maps affects the quality of the texture.

-The polygon count affects the quality of the silhouette (the outline of the mesh object) the lower the triangle count, the more "jagged" the silhouette looks. Smooth deformation can be sort of ok with low poly asssets when done right, again if you have more polygons distributed properly to joints, it will look smoother.

For an in-depth look at normal mapping an actual asset, read this tutorial:
  12 December 2012
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