How to Reduce the Polygon Count in Your Farming Simulator Mod

By Jason van Gumster, Christian Ammann

To have a lower number of polygons in your Farming Simulator mod, you first need to know how many you have. In Blender, the Info editor’s header that’s typically at the top of the window constantly gives you an accurate count of the geometry in the scene.

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The most important number in this series is the one after the word Tris, for triangles, which is 20,566. The reason why you’re only interested in triangles is because in GIANTS Engine, like in most game engines, all geometry is ultimately converted into triangles. And for a mod, you want to pay attention to the total triangle count for all of the objects in that mod.

When you have an object in Edit mode, the information in the Info editor’s header only shows information relevant to the active object.

GIANTS Software has a set of recommended triangle budgets, or the maximum recommended number of triangles for different kinds of mods. Here are the triangle budgets for the three main kinds of mods.

Mod Type Triangle Budget
Bins/Trailers 15,000 triangles
Tractors 25,000 triangles
Large machinery (such as combine harvesters) 50,000 triangles

You can use several different tricks for reducing the number of triangles in your model. The following are a set of guidelines and recommendations you can use for keeping that count down:

  • Merge polygons in flat areas to a few large polygons. In general, this act reduces the total triangle count when the polygons get converted.

  • Avoid n-gons, or polygons with more than four sides, in your final model. N-gons are great for making the modeling process efficient, but every game engine converts them to triangles differently. Do that conversion upfront to avoid unexpected visual glitches.

  • Use sharp edge markers (Ctrl+E→Mark Sharp in Edit mode) and the Edge Split modifier rather than adding extra geometry to get hard edges. This method gives your model sharp edges without increasing your triangle count.

  • Avoid modifiers that add geometry like the Subdivision Surface and Bevel modifiers. These modifiers can make your model look really nice, but they can also spike your triangle count, often quite substantially, which you want to avoid.

  • Use linked duplicates where possible. If you duplicate an object using linked duplicates (other programs may call them clones or instances), you have multiple objects that share the same mesh data. This doesn’t really reduce the raw polygon count, but linked duplicates are more efficient, and most game engines are optimized to take advantage of them. Besides, linked duplicates make modeling changes on all of those duplicates faster, too.

  • Use the Decimate modifier. This modifier is really a measure of last resort. It’s quite powerful, especially using the Un-Subdivide setting. However, the control you have over this modifier is limited and you may end up spending a lot of time cleaning up your geometry after applying this modifier.

  • Model/Sculpt in high detail and bake those details into normal map. A normal map can fake the appearance of more detailed geometry when applied to a mesh with less-dense geometry.