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The Evolution Of Polygons in 3D Video Game Graphics

by Reptile
The Evolution Of Polygons in 3D Video Game Graphics
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Evolution Of Video Game Polygons

A polygon is a triangular shaped flat surface, used in 3D graphics technology to build three dimensional figure. Polygons are connected to one another, creatively positioned, and together make up a 3D image. As a general rule of thumb, the more polygons that can be used, the better quality the 3D image will be.

The only problem is, of course, that the more polygons used, the more powerful the hardware required to display the numerous polygons. So, one can gauge the power of technology based on the number of polygons used in 3D based video games.

Early Polygonal Graphics

Polygons have been used in video game graphics for a very long time, much longer than many would assume. Although, of course, the earliest use of polygons was extremely crude, and unappealing to the eye. But, as early as 1980, polygons have been a part of the video game world.

After a period of polygons gradually being refined, more advanced versions of them began to appear in games, with an increase in how many were used to make a single three dimensional model. A notable benchmark was reached in 1996, with the release of Quake. The game is widely regarded as the first true 3D FPS game, and was celebrated for massive leap in graphics technology.

At any given time, Quake could render 200 polygons.

Evolving Polygon Graphics

From the point Quake released, video game hardware power began to rapidly increase, likewise increasing the number of polygons that could be rendered in game engines. The advancement rate was exponential, so much so that by Quake 4, released in 2006, a single player model had 2,600 polygons. This is not taking into account the game level, but a single character in the game.

Unreal Tournament 3, on the other hand, released in 2007, used up to 12,000 polygons for the weapon model seen in first person view and the online roulette NZ games available surely use as many, or more in order to appear wholly realistic.

Modern Polygon Graphics

In modern times, polygon count is no longer even considered a serious problem in video game creation. Graphics technology has advanced to such a degree, that a single character in a game can use 150,000 or more, without much impact on the hardware. It seems outrageous, but the truth is that methods used to create games have evolved so extensively that polygon counts are no longer as important as they once were.

A modern graphics technique called tessellation can quickly and efficiently create a 3D model, using tens of thousands of polygons, with extremely efficient load on hardware. This technique is used in most modern games, and results in highly detailed 3D models.

Focus is instead, in modern times, on factors such as realistic and detailed lighting, as well as complicated shaders, detailed surface textures, and realistic physics. It should be kept in mind, though, that polygons are still the basis of all 3D graphics, with no exceptions. Were it not for polygons, 3D graphics could not exist at all.

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