UE4 and high poly

I’m beginning to put together a very complex model of a technical environment (think large complicated factory) for use in UE4 and I’m finding it hard to reduce my poly count. There’s heaps of detail that is necessary for what I want to achieve, including bolts and pipes everywhere.

Does anyone have any advice on the maximum poly count for a complete game environment?

I should state that I’ve looked at baking textures to reduce the poly count, but i either end up needing ridiculous texture sizes (like 8192 x 8192) to keep enough of the features looking semi-decent.

As an example, there are 14 identical sectors of a machine, with each sector currently having 190k verts. I haven’t yet included the other major sections, so am guessing that the final vert count for the whole game environment will be close to 10-15M verts, which sounds like madness to me.

Without knowing more details about your scene, I’d say: Fake as much as you can.
A distant pipe can be done with a 6-sided cylinder? Then don’t use a 36-sided one. Can you model a grill using an alpha plane? Then don’t model it with thickness.

A key to have in mind is: Is this level of detail really needed? Far away objects or, in general, objects that won’t ever consume much screen space don’t need detail. If you know something won’t be zoomed in, reduce its polycount aggressively, or change it into an alpha plane.

Then there’s the question of how many of those polys will be shown at once. If those sectors can be subdivided into sectors, and from each subsector you can determine the visibility of the others beforehand, you could possibly bump the polycount even higher.

Thanks for the reply.
Perhaps I should have more explicitly explained the purpose, which was to create a fully interactive, game-style virtual walk through the facility I work at. The intention is to allow people virtual access to an area that’s off-limits, and to try make it as realistic as possible.

The machine/technical environment can easily be broken down into sections, as there is a main building, and a machine that exists in 3 sections inside a concrete tunnel. There are plenty of chances for sectioning things off.

But in any case, I’m probably getting off topic right now. I thought I’d attach some renders from blender of a single sector to demonstrate the complexity, but also to demonstrate that there’s plenty of stuff that’s already simplified. The flat copper stuff should, in reality, be broken up into small coils.


Generally speaking, the curvy parts seem too refined (8+ curve steps). That could be reduced, specially on the thinner pipes. The big chrome pipe could also use less detail. The copper coils are asking to have their curves reduced to no more than 4 steps.

If you posted a .blend (only a section, if you wish) I could try to shave some polys from it, and tell you where they can be shaved.

Very neat modelling.

Anyway, this is a textbook use for level of detail meshes. You can export out your high-poly versions, then however you want to go about it, create a simplified version. For example replacing some of those pipes and tubes with textures. Save that as a seperate FBX, and in UE4 after you’ve imported your high-poly mesh there’s options to import a new LOD mesh.

There’s a ton of information on how to import and set up LODs here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Content/Types/StaticMeshes/HowTo/LODs/index.html

As the player moves away from the object, the engine will swap out the mesh with the lower detailed version. Distance and such can all be tweaked to best suit what you need.

Good luck!