Make a Hi-poly object Low-poly by normal map?

So I’m working on a Boeing B-17 Bomber from WWII for a game. As you can imagine its hi-poly and I need to get it as low as I can while keeping all the details. I thought I could make a normal map somehow then add that map to an object to get a very low poly asset and have all the details there. I’ve seen people do something similar while creating characters. So how can I do this, step by step if you have the patience?

Blendercookie has a Tutorial about that.

I think you’ve got the process backwards. If you make a highpoly version, then a lowpoly version, you can get blender to create a normal map from that. When the normal map is applied to the lowpoly version, it’ll look a lot like the highpoly version. Spokesh posted a link, or you can Google for ‘baking normal map in blender’ and find tutorials.

Right, that’s what I was trying to get at wccrawford. and Spokesh, thanks for the link. I remember watching it a long time ago but its time i do again.