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I am taking Computer Graphics course this semester and we have a video game competition. I am making racing game with simulated dynamics. Our professor told us that we don't have to do much of a modelling but since we haven't started the gaming part and since I have free time I want to model the car.

My question is firstly which software do you recommend to design game components? I know Maya right now. Secondly, if I design the car or any other part, what should its polygon count in order to run game smoothly? I can design pretty much everything but I assume that it is hard to design low-poly models.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Maya should be fine for the purpose. Some people like to use Max for games instead, but if you know Maya, stick to that.

As to your second question - as long as you only have one (or a few) models, you can stick to a simple rule of thumb. Don't add any polygons that you don't need. By that I mean that if you have a more or less flat surface, and it's split into polygons, and these polygons are not important to your edge loops, then you're doing something wrong.

If you have no idea what an edge loop is, you should read about it. Good luck with your game!

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Thanks for your explanation, I'll keep that in mind. – Mert Toka Nov 6 '12 at 17:00
I would also add that decreasing polygon counts should only be done to meet a target machine requirement. Increasing polygon counts should only be done if the resources exist for it. Using too-many/too-few polygons at first should not be a priority for developing a game until the end when you are polishing the product. Don't worry about details like this until they matter, you will save yourself a lot of time. – kurtzbot Nov 6 '12 at 21:54

Since you know Maya, go with it since it'll reduce your learning curve. You can also export to pretty much any format from Maya so you're sure you'll have something your code can read.

As for the poly count, it really depends on your hardware and the efficiency of your code. However, you shouldn't be reaching any practical limits on a project of this size so I'd go all out and make the model exactly as you want. You can reduce the poly count or adjust other stuff after you've ran test on your engine.

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