How many verts is too many?

Ok, I was thinking of making an RTS using Unity.
Now, what would you guys recommended as a vert goal?
One unit model I have, the builder unit, is 142 verts without any details such as antennae, engine ports, just the basic shape.
For Unity, am I too high?
Am I waaay beneath my limit?
I don’t really know what is too heavy and what is too light, as far as this goes.

This is really a subjective idea. the number of verts that are “too many” changes depending on your model. For example, a character model can get up to thousands of verts. However, a chair that your character can never reach, probably shouldn’t have more than 50. However, in your case, 142 seems low, I’d say you could go up to at least 300.

The minimum distance the camera can be from the objects also effects the vert count. If the camera is fairly high up, the detail isn’t as important and can be faked by materials.

Something else to consider when counting verts, how many objects will be on the screen at once? 10? 100? 1000? The more objects on screen, the fewer verts you should probably have.

One last thing to consider, LOD. I’m not sure how Unity goes about dealing with level of detail, but since you already have a low poly model, save it for future use. Its easier to add detail than it is to remove it. (At least in my experience anyway)

Wait lolwut my vert count jumped up to 6834…I think something is very very wrong here, for something this simple the vert count shouldn’t be this high…is there somewhere I can upload the model for someone to take a peek at?

In Edit Mode press W then Remove Double (or Mesh -> Vertices -> Remove Double) to see if you don’t have a lot of vertices in the same location.
Then CTRL+N or Mesh -> Normals -> Recalculate Outside to fix the normals after the vertices merging.

If it’s not that, you can try to attach the .blend to this post for someone to give a look.

When working on a game, I wouldn’t be so concerned with verts as I would with polys. Also keep in mind that if you’re quad modeling, most rasterization engines will convert quads to tris. For an RTS where I assume the camera will be quite far from the characters at any give time, I would try to keep models anywhere from 100-800 polys depending on the complexity of the model. Usually you could have a lot more, but in an RTS where you could conceivably have dozens, or even upwards of 100 of the same or different units on screen at once, it would be good to try to limit the poly count while maintaining the amount of visual fidelity you’d like to have in your game.

A RTS requires a lot from a computer, both CPU and GPU wise.
The game engine usually has to handle AI, parthfinding, economy, combat, lots of stuff. Today most RTS are multithreaded applications, I guess the best example for a good RTS (although it’s mostly just one from the technical side) is the whole “Anno” series and at most “Anno 1404” or English title “Dawn of Discovery”.
On top of that they are often graphical beasts as well.

You have to do some plannin ahead, there is no general rule, you got to determine the reference system for your game.
Once chosen, you got to run your engine and find out how many triangles it can handle, how particle effects, dynamic lighting and shaderusage will impact the gameplay. How much processorload will be used for the logic engine itself and how much is left for the graphics engine and more important how much do you need.
From this you can calulate a budget for your game for the “normal” settings. A mediocre system that runs the game smooth with normal settings.
And from this triangle budget you can start to make plans. Do I have mass fights with hundrets of units, or do I have smaller squads, wher e a single unit is more valuable (see SupremeCommander2 compatered to Warhammer:DOW2).

A general guideline like 100-800 polys is crap. Thats 200-1600 triangles at least, that’s a budget difference of 800% and render your game unplayable in the end.
You go with 1600 tris and got 50 units on the screen at once? You end up with 80k tris for units.
You go with 200 tris and got like 400 units on screen at once? You also end up eith 80k tris for units.
You got the same performance but quite a difference in units on the same system.

Find out what the engine can handle.
Decide on a reference system.
Check the requirements.
Calculate a Budget.
Set geometry targets for individual things (landscape, UI, units, buildings, effects)

Texture resolution is also a thing to take into account, you need a lot of them for a RTS.
Choose them too big and the memory usage quadruples and might render the game turtleslow because you always got to buffer textures between system memory and graphics memory.

It’s not like making a game is just banging some rocks together, no matter how tricial, it requires some planning if you want it to work in a nice fashion.

It’s not crap. Read what I wrote. If you have a range of characters from single infantry units to huge ships/cruisers/buildings/etc. (depending on the genre), you’re not going to use a static poly count for all of them. Look at the counts of units from SC2 or Civ and you’ll see a variation of 800%+. Read the developer blogs and see what they have to say about it, and they give a similar range.

Yeh absolultely.
The range itself is not so much the issue neither the numbers. Surely you got a range throughout the unit types.
It´s that you can’t generalize.
You can’t recommend a polycount or range without knowing the reference system, the engine and how many units and what army mix, that’s all I wanted to show up.
SC2, Anno, SupCom2 have very specifically tailored engines and Civ is no RTS.
With an engine like Unity you don´t wake up and ask “How many polys can units have, I am in the mood to make a RTS”.
You got to plan ahead. And to throw in some numbers you read in the devblogs of AAA Studios ain´t helping the OP.

Basically your goal is making LEAST polygons possible without it being ugly.
There is no exact count.

I am modelling for an rts (warzone 2100) myself and I find it an interesting question. One of the tanks I made was 550 verts and the game worked pretty well on my nvidia gt330 with single lightsource + normalmap + diffuse + specular. The framerate was totally good until I spammed forth 300 units of that particular tank, which caused the framerate to drop to an irritatingly slow level (something like 5-10). This could most probably have been caused by other factors, though, like inefficiencies in the pathfinding and units becoming stuck…

Starcraft 2 actually has quite high polycounts, about 1000 for a single space marine. This is because the engine is designed to do as much as possible per pixel instead of per vertex, making polycount have much less impact on the graphics workload.