Overgrowth takes place in the savage world of Lugaru where rabbits, wolves and other animals are forced to use paws, claws and medieval weaponry to engage each other in battle. Combining 3rd person adventure platforming with intricate melee combat, Overgrowth achieves a unique feel. Overgrowth also benefits from Wolfire's brand new Phoenix Engine which has been built from the ground up to allow the use of cutting edge graphics, animation, and physics. Add to these exciting features Overgrowth’s realistic artificial intelligence and streamlined control system and the result is an astoundingly immersive experience.

Post news Report content RSS feed Normal map vs. mesh

Whenever we post a new model for Overgrowth, a comment we often get is "there's no way that can go in the game -- there are way too many polygons!" That is true. However, we can simulate it pretty well using normal mapping. I'll save the technical details of what a normal map is exactly for another blog post, but the basic idea is pretty straight forward: we make a lower polygon model and simulate the missing geometry with a normal map.

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Whenever we post a new model for Overgrowth, a comment we often get is "there's no way that can go in the game -- there are way too many polygons!" That is true. However, we can simulate it pretty well using normal mapping. I'll save the technical details of what a normal map is exactly for another blog post, but the basic idea is pretty straight forward: we make a lower polygon model and simulate the missing geometry with a normal map.

Here's an illustration of why this is important, using the new character I'm working on (with a few of the changes people suggested in the last post). On one side is the normal-mapped game character and on the other side is the sculpted version. It gets kind of hard to tell them apart in this view, even though one is highly optimized.


Although, when looking at the wireframe it's not hard to tell at all.


You may be thinking the one on the left doesn't look much like a wireframe, but you just have to zoom in.


The sculpted version has about 10 million polygons, but I couldn't load it in 3DS Max to display it, so this version of the sculpt is only 4 million triangles. The game-resolution version has fewer than 5000 triangles, but has most of the detail of the sculpted version.

Thanks for all the feedback on this character! His outfit is inspired by African tribesmen -- what other sources could we use for inspiration?(permalink)


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Comments
willy-wilson
willy-wilson

What size texture map are you using? Can we see the texture map? Some of the detail didn't transfer over very well. Either the uv's are not utilizing space very well or the texture isn't big enough. Also what was used to bake, the default max bake or xnormal?

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jeffr Author
jeffr

I'll ask Aubrey about the texture map and his tools, thanks for the feedback.

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chris_sloany
chris_sloany

OMG on the 2nd pic. i was like theres no way thats wireframe. but then on the third on you could tell, but barely. Could you possibly bump map the textures for your model (when you do apply the textures) giving a more higher quality look to it? Not saying it doesn't look amazing already. And i wouldn't think you would see a drop as far as optimization.

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willy-wilson
willy-wilson

optimizing polycount as much as posable without loss in quality is of course important but your real enemy is not polycounts its draw calls
please read this... Boards.polycount.net

heres a quote from kevin johnstone "I spent a solid few months of optimizing polys, lightmap UV channels, collish meshs for everything in UT and the act of
stripping 2million polys out of a level generally improved the FPS by 2 or 3 frames."

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jeffr Author
jeffr

Cool link. :) I am sure Aubrey is aware, he is a regular on polycount.

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willy-wilson
willy-wilson

yea, i first saw this on polycount a couple weeks ago i think

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PringleX
PringleX

10 million polygons could possibly melt your brain. If not your computer.

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razorb
razorb

lol i think people are still a bit lost here :P... bake seems ok imo... not 100% perfect but imo its good enough!

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lethal_vortex
lethal_vortex

thats alot of polygons :O

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formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP

You must have a very very powerful PC to be able to display that high poly model.. When ever I try to get anywhere near those numbers my i7 crashes out.

Just incredible quality right there..

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leilei
leilei

(buried)

that's what beowulf clusters are for son

but yeah, normalmapping has been common place since 2003, don't know what this news article is about here other than showing off a standard rendering feature as new.

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pvt.Johnson
pvt.Johnson

Overgrowth isnt showing normal mapping as something "new", they always explain features ingame even if they are common in other games. Its just how they share their development i guess.

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Minuit
Minuit

Yeah, you're a huge, unfunny **** in pretty much every post you write, Leilei.

Anyway, keep these updates coming guys, I love reading this stuff.

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kinesis916
kinesis916

It looks good. Though I think you could have stretched to telling us what a normal map is in this article. Not that I don't know already.

And wow 10 million polys. My computer has a heart attack when I reach around the 4 million mark.

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bogie
bogie

Hasn't Pacman got 10 million polys?

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pfannkuchen_gesicht
pfannkuchen_gesicht

pacman has over 170billion polys :P

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ultimate
ultimate

How big is the texture size for the normal map? would it be possible to change the performance settings ingame to use a model with double the size of that texture? The high poly version looks very good, but the ropes on the normal mapped model are pretty blurry. I'm just a beginner at this kind of stuff, but as willy-wilson said maybe the UV's just need to be utilized better. Would love to see the texture map.

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Silverfisk Creator
Silverfisk

Haha, people in the comments don't know what they're talking about. xD
It's a nice article and the model is awesome.

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bogyb666
bogyb666

now when a game engine can support good displacement maps the fun will relay start :D, nice post :)

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Killer_man_1996
Killer_man_1996

with that 10 million poligons you can make cool renders in HD :D

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spellman23
spellman23

Yay normal mapping to save the day!

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Chronosheep
Chronosheep

Looks very nice.
May I suggest using parallax mapping (or some other displacement technique) as well?
It would give even better sense of depth, and probably allow you to reduce the poly count even further.

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pfannkuchen_gesicht
pfannkuchen_gesicht

doesn't work that good on round objects

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marinos
marinos

Very nice. It's good to sse some poeple like what they do.
For inspiration, think of some Greek warriors or Roman-Byzantine soldiers. For a more babrbarian outfit, use reference from celtic and germanic tribes

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Raneman25
Raneman25

I'm kind of a noob to this, but... did you have to make all 5 million polygons 1 by 1? I would hate to be a modeler...

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jeffr Author
jeffr

Nah, that would take years! Here's a timelapse of what it looks like: Youtube.com

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Nebcake
Nebcake

That many polygons, just blowed my mind

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willy-wilson
willy-wilson

well for anyone interested heres the polycount thread i have to say it looks a lot better ingame than just in the bake shown above.

Boards.polycount.net

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Atlasfield
Atlasfield

I understand all mister "sabelotodo", only I commented not always the model save a game, sometimes the textures make a good job and sometimes much better than the models. But sometimes, not always.

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dill1233
dill1233

Man, 10 million polygons is even more than I want to start to think of! Yet, I have to say that the sculpted looks better than the normal mapped one to me. So, for posters, game boxes, etc., I'd use the sculpted, but for the actually game, I'd definitely used the normal mapped one.

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jeffr Author
jeffr

That would be awesome to have a game box :)

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pfannkuchen_gesicht
pfannkuchen_gesicht

yeah, please make a gamebox cover if you have some time

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Myloman
Myloman

Wow, it's crazy how much these technical aspects can be broken down. Really interesting comparison, makes me wanna give modeling a shot. Well either way I think the result will be nothing short of inspiring :).

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