What are Normal Maps?

Game Version: FS13 and later
GE Version: ? and later

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A guide explaining what normal maps are, and how they can be used to increase performance.

I came accross this guide http://wiki.polycount.com/NormalMap.

What normal maps allow you to do is provide the illusion of high poly geometry whilst maintaining low polygon models thus reducing load on users computers but keeping the visual quality high.

Good example of use of normal maps are Doom 3 and Quake 4 where on close inspection everything in game is actually using a low polygon model with geometry details replicated via normals



Look at how angular the model is but the appearance still maintains a high polygon look, using the methods outlined in the above link could dramatically increase performance and look of mods.

Another example is here and shows the difference.

img229.imageshack.us_img229_8616_44288155.jpg at 83,522 polys (167,287 tris)

The low poly version at 328 polys (647 tris) img31.imageshack.us_img31_6092_26425910.jpg

Finally applying the normal map from the original high poly model to the lower poly model results in this img91.imageshack.us_img91_8766_37080888.jpg

So as you can see the front of the door is a single flat face but the normal maps provide the illusion of geometry which is not there.

Original Author: Hitperson | Date: January 31, 2013

Modding Index | General Modding Tutorials