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When is it considered high-poly?

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I'm voting to close this because it lacks context. There's a huge difference if you're creating models for say, a Nintendo DS compared to a system like a PS3. Something that's considered low-poly on PS3 might be ultra-high poly on a DS... –  bummzack Apr 7 '11 at 20:40
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's entirely relative: if you're building an RTS, then low poly is probably about 1500 polys for a unit (I can't recall but I believe the zergling from SC2 is around that much). However, if you're building an FPS you're probably looking at 10-15k per player.

There's no one true definition of it: the phrase "low poly" depends on a few different things, all of which are important:

  • When the mesh was made
  • What system the mesh is designed for
  • the shape that the mesh is being used to represent
  • other meshes that are in the scene
  • etc

These days main characters have upwards of 15k-20k polys which was unheard of back in the days of say, N64. Random objects usually stick around 6k-9k these days.

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One of the common definitions these days is that low-poly is the model as in the game. High poly is the source model that's used to bake down normal maps.

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