I’m looking for a 3D artist(s) to create some low-poly fantasy character models. To give an idea of the characters we’re looking for, the full set will include Human/Orc/Elf/Dwarf - Warrior/Archer/Scout/Shaman/Wizard/Priest (plus a Golem, Balrug, and Dragon at a later date) (please see attached images for a very rough idea of art style and finish). The characters will need to be around the 1,500-1,900 poly mark with 2 lower LOD levels. We already have a standard skelly and good set of animations, but at some stage will probably need more. Work is paid plus royalties.
1900 poly’s is ridiculously low to achieve anything remotely close to the look and feel you’ve posted above. Even when we were working on Iphone 4 games in Unity some 5 years ago we wouldn’t go this low. Unless you literally have thousands of these guys on the screen at ones I would recommend giving your 3D people a bit more wiggle room on the poly budgets to achieve a higher quality look in game
Thanks for heads-up. The models are for a top-down RTS with possible worst case scenario in 4 player mode of up to 400 to 600 characters on screen at once and most of the time the characters will be viewed at distance, hence really tying the poly count down. The guard image at the top is 1,900 polys and doesn’t have any normal mapping on it yet for extra details, and to be fair it looks pretty good when playing through in the editor. The big worry I’ve got at the moment is how fast is unreal at transitioning between character LODs (as this is an RTS, and not FPS, the player will be zooming in, out, and across the map at as high speeds as possible. Plus keeping the poly count down might increase the scope of allowing players to have more units, possibly improving game play. You’re right though I think we need to run a bench-mark test soon to see how far we can push it (although we haven’t got any of our lower LOD models yet)(aahh so much to do)… Maybe, if UE4 is really fast at LOD transitions and it helps the modeller we might be able to push the top-LOD up to 3,000 or 4,000 polys for real close-ups (could help in reusing the models for other projects). What poly count would work for you/you suggest for the above?
Do you know where a standard benchmark poly-budget sits at the moment for PC/console, it can be quite hard to tie the numbers down (but seems PS3/XBox360/equiv PC ~300-500 million polys per second maximum? - so max: 50 max-LOD chars on screen at closest zoom (would fill the screen) 2,000p poly count per character: 2000*50 = 100,000, 50fps = 500,000pps, plus diffuse, normal, specular, dynamic shading pass, maybe 2Mpps? plus a lot of head room for reloading graphics buffers for fast scrolling, zooming, and LOD changes 10Mpps? Plus I’m sure there’s loads of other stuff I’m not taking into account. So think I could push character budget up to 5,000p, plus equipment 6,000p => 30Mpps
Imo the poly count is fine, in Medieval Total War 2 this range is used for lod3 models (i.e. the 4th stage, lod0 is around 3600 tris), but that game is heavily optimized for RTS (instancing, pathfinding, group movement, collision). Earlier in Rome Total War the poly count range was about 650 for lod0 and 225 for lod3 models. And they are still not bad if don’t go too close with the camera MTW2 used 26 bones per human character, RTW had an additional 1-2 for cloak. (Do not speak about Age of Mythology, those stylized models were extremely low poly, but after conversion I really enjoyed to see how well they were designed…)
Moreover, TW games used animated sprites for far units, what I also found a good performance friendly solution in my RTS prototype (made with another engine, under porting to UE4) despite the transition is visible because they are unlit.
I would be interested in the benchmark results if once you complete it. (I have a slow notebook GPU, but 400 characters taken from RTW can be represented with acceptable performance beside a simple movement behaviour in a simple landscape populated with instanced trees.)
Thanks for info, that’s really interesting stuff, especially using a sprite for distance LOD (would never have thought of it :), explains why in TW Napoleon you see cavalry profiles even when running towards camera (never twigged before). Could you tint your sprite according to static light conditions? Yep, pathfinding and group movement is going to be fun, that’s what I’m working on at the moment, will have nowhere near as many characters as TW, but have watched how unit characters in TW move and it’s pretty amazing. I’ll post benchmark tests in a couple of weeks when I do them…
yeah, game modding can results in some very interesting information… in Shogun (1) TW only sprite units were used but animated sprites can look correctly, according to actual unit facing and camera direction, e.g. I use Fragmotion to export animated sprites in 8 directions, then merge them to manage uv shifting easily.
to avoid the flat look (which is normally not sensed by an ordinary player) adjusting vertex normals and using a normal map could help, but I use simply vertical normals. in UE4 flipbooks can be used (also as a component) for this purpose, I have read through but not tested yet. I’m in a programming phase, still porting my custom pathfinder which is a longer than expected task, visual stuff is coming later…