Video Game Polycount/Texture Limit/Laws [current/next gen]


this thread is to track and keep up with current and next generation games’ polycounts and texture limits [for reference in the Unofficial/Micro Game Art Challenges]. please feel free to post and add to it [and please have a webpage or some proof to backup your post].

! do not edit your old posts [unless for corrections]. if you have new poly limits, just create a new post.

! this is for ANY system, ANY engine, and ANY genre of game. the goal is to make a one-stop-thread for people looking for real, polycount/texture limits of current and next generation.


Valuable Game Art Threads/How To/Guidelines

! some must reads for ALL who want to compete in the UGAC and work in the game indusrty [espically -> Games Modeling - Rules of the trade].


originally posted by claydough;

From UDN: ______________________________________________

Typical Content Specifications

Here are the guidelines we're using in building content for our next Unreal Engine 3 based game.


For every major character and static mesh asset, we build two versions of the geometry: a renderable mesh with unique UV coordinates, and a detail mesh containing only geometry. We run the two meshes through the Unreal Engine 3 preprocessing tool and generate a high-res normal map for the renderable mesh, based on analyzing all of the geometry in the detail mesh.

    * Renderable Mesh: We build renderable meshes with 3,000-12,000 triangles, based on the expectation of 5-20 visible characters in a game scene.
    * Detail Mesh: We build 1-8 million triangle detail meshes for typical characters. This is quite sufficient for generating 1-2 normal maps of resolution 2048x2048 per character.
    * Bones: The highest LOD version of our characters typically have 100-200 bones, and include articulated faces, hands, and fingers.

Normal Maps & Texture maps

We are authoring most character and world normal maps and texture maps at 2048x2048 resolution. We feel this is a good target for games running on mid-range PC's in the 2006 timeframe. Next-generation consoles may require reducing texture resolution by 2X, and low-end PC's up to 4X, depending on texture count and scene complexity. Environments
Typical environments contain 1000-5000 total renderable objects, including static meshes and skeletal meshes. For reasonable performance on current 3D cards, we aim to keep the number of visible objects in any given scene to 300-1000 visible objects. Our larger scenes typically peak at 500,000 to 1,500,000 rendered triangles. Lights

There are no hardcoded limits on light counts, but for performance we try to limit the number of large-radius lights affecting large scenes to 2-5, as each light/object interaction pair is costly due to the engine's high-precision per-pixel lighting and shadowing pipeline. Low-radius lights used for highlights and detail lighting on specific objects are significantly less costly than lights affecting the full scene.


originally posted by claydough;

Polygons counts for some of the Half-Life 2 characters:

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

There are no fixed rules in determining how many polygons you use in your model, or how much texture resolution you’ll use in your materials. There are upper limits of engine capability, (10,000 polygons/model, 17,433 vertices and 2048 texture size) but these aren’t usually going to be what you’re shooting for. You’ll need to consider how many of the character, vehicle, or prop you’re making will be on screen. If you’d like dozens of them on screen at any given time, you’ll have a different budget than if you’d only like to see one of them ever on screen at a time. With humanoid characters, especially for multiplayer use, you shouldn’t need to go over 4000 polygons to get a character that has enough detail to accurately describe the form, bend properly at the joints, and have enough edges to light properly. Of course you can have more than that, but with normal mapping, and high res textures, you shouldn’t really need to.


originally posted by claydough;

WOW characters should not exceed 2000 polys. The hand-painted textures are also the key to getting the most out of your limited poly count.

@ 5000 tris the qualty of the silhouettes would take a typical submission out of the WOW universe. Consistency of style could only be managed by dumbing down a model. ( the horror… )

Here are two thoughts on a werk around fer the problem:

 * The Expansion Pack is released for a future broadband technology that allows 4000/6000 poly candy happiness. Our submissions reflect an upgrade that lies between the current blocky/cartooney look upward to the grand "thick" Hyper-fantasy-realism present in dem fantastic WOW cinematics. Consistency is then dependant on general Blizzard Concept Art, Blizzard's "glowy" color pallete, present polycount cartoonyness, the Blizzard texture style and grand Cinematic precedence.

 * "Boss Characters" with such High Intricate detail that 4000/6000 tris are required to maintain the current WOW style/look.


Project Gotham Racing 3 [Xbox 360] cars weighed in at 96,000 triangles


“Recently I’ve been able to spend about 4x2048 normal/diffuse/spec maps and about 12k polys on a single building for Gears.”


Gears of War props

The polycount goes from about 600 polys for the palette to 1800 on average for the others,I don’t have the exact numbers because it was a while ago :slight_smile: The textures were painted at 2048x2048 (diffuse,normal, specular) but of course they were scaled down for the final game content, some of them even to 512x512. For all the forniture there are also destroyed states and one damage texture used for these parts.


moving this thread to the Game Design forum and placing a link to this thread in the Valuable Game Art Threads/How To/Guidelines


Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (xbox360)
polycounts were 8000 tris for some of the larger weapons like rocket launchers (models of the weapons that you see yourself holding from first person view). The most detailed vehichles were 15,000 tris.



some Quake 4 counts from Id’s devnet:

For the low poly, our creatures ranged from 500 polys on some of the lower range creatures on up to 5000 to 6000 polys for some of the bosses.



I wish he would elaborate on “single building”, but I assume it’s something with a lot of stairs and hallways.


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