I'm on the search for a technical information, and since Total War is a perfect example I hope to find my answer here
Sorry for making a little bigger post, I just intend to explain the background behind my question.
I have started a new modproject, that has the goal to revive the Mechcommander2 and the community. Since we have the sourcecode, and already a team, plan etc. I'm currently quite optimistic about that
The engine itself is a few years old. It's currently limited to a limit in max polygons (triangles) that can be shown per frame. If there is too much stuff visible on the screen, the game simply does not display it (but not crash). While the gameplay has already much to offer, the graphical part needs quite some upgrade IMO. The amount of textures is not really the problem in the old game, since the texture size is currently limited to 128x128.
So the plan is, to a) raise the texture size, b) double or triple the amout of polygons per objects (maybe except the trees, they already look quite good), c) implement normalmaps, so that we can find a good compromise for details created with polies or maps.
The problem is, the engine doesn't have a lod system at the moment. I hope we can create one, but I simply cannot really take that into account right now. There is currently only an awful looking fog that decreased the viewrange.
However, I want the modellers to start right away, and don't want to wait for the code breakthrough. The max polygon limit we have already breached and can triple or go even higher, but I need a plan on which polygon level I should basethe new models.
Like Total war in the battlescreen, we have trees, units, buildings and other stuff on the screen. Total war has also an awful amount of units, so it's good for comparision
So, what I would like to know is this :
If I aim for midrange PC's (in my eyes a dual core with a 512 MB gpu), what is a healthy maximum polygon count (triangles again) per frame, that could be displayed by named midrange GPU's without too much slowdown, taking into account that we also raise the texture size to 256x256 or 512x512.
I understand that's quite an tricky question, and impossible to give a straight answer. But if I could get a least at estimated number (maybe in steps by 50.000) that would already help me a lot to plan the work for my modellers.
So, thanks in advance for any input