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Truespace3: Tip of the Month

Courtesy of Mike Olson

Polygon Count

Many people wonder what sort of polygon count they should aim for when building objects and avatars. Unfortunately there is no specific number that should be used as you will have varying performance on what machine you are using. There are however some guidelines to keep in mind that should help.

1: The cheaper the better!

ALWAYS keep in mind how heavy your object is! It should constantly be on your mind when creating objects. Generally speaking avatars should be under 1000 polygons. Objects polygon counts vary wildly depending on what you are building. Very common objects (ones that are repeated many times in a world) should be as light as possible. Remember that very low frame rates in your world will nullify the effect of any nicely modeled objects you have. Nobody will stay around long enough to explore!

2: Replace geometry with textures.

Try and look for places where object details can be put on a texture rather than making actual geometry. Keep in mind though that the user will need to download and store in memory all textures. Make your textures as small as possible.

3: Use masked textures to your advantage.

If you are going to have a whole lot of something such as trees, you need to give serious consideration to what type you will use. Flat panels with masks are a very cheap way to make trees. More complex trees may look nice but will bring your world to a crawl if you use too many. Save the nice trees for a few key locations. Also, masked textures can make very detailed looking railings, fences, windows, and many other things without creating many polygons. Usually only one panel is needed. Try to look for ways to trick the eye into seeing more than is there.

4: Use the polygons you have wisely.

Always try to eliminate polygons that donít actually do anything for the shape of the object. If you make your common objects as light as possible, then you can go a little heavy on some of the more eye grabbing portions of your world!

I hope these small pointers help. Happy building!

-Mike Olson

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