Normal Map Limitations

I understand the basic process of creating a normal map, but as I’m working on a current project that requires ropes, I’m starting to question what is considered “best practice” for game assets, etc.

I can make a high detail rope or wire easy enough, but what should I target for the minimum number of “sides” on an extruded face that represents the wire?

If the UV map I bake the Normal map on to is only 3 sided, will it produce poor results? Is there a standard with game assets such as 6 sides?

I can run several tests to see for myself what the results would be like, but I’m my own worst critic, and I wouldn’t know the difference between what is common/accepted, and what is really just not going to work. I get that at some point the length of a rope or wire is going to get a little chunky as the number of segments needs to be kept down, but my main question is in regards to how well normal maps work when wrapped around sharp corners, and whether or not it’s expected to be that way.

More tip… Normal map strange: Curved lines in Normal map

Depends on the rope type (big knotted vs climbers?), how close can a camera get to it (max screen space it can occupy?) and how detailed you want it to look at that point (art style?).

Consider the silhouette you need to achieve when working out minimum poly count.
If there’s radial symmetry you could reduce the poly count further by tiling / instancing radially too.