Anyone else love good, low poly art?

In their heyday they were pretty rough. The low and fluctuating framerates, poor anti-aliasing, flickering, and low resolutions that came with the territory of 3D at the time didn't do them any favors.

Now that that stuff's no longer an issue, though, low-poly styles wielded well could really deliver some amazing results. I hope to see indies experimenting with it a lot in the coming years.
I was blown away when I played Tomb Raider 3dfx after the PS1 version. Everything was so clean and solid(no warping, clipping). It still looks great to me.
 
things i made back in 2005.




wireframe (before textures were refined)




no wires :(


i've more student stuff if anyone is interested. i'm more of an environment artist i do have this guy, but he's about 5k polys

 
Now that resolution/framerate/texture fillrate isn't an issue, low-poly styles can certainly have their own charm. Choosing low-poly character designs can certainly work and look neat as a conscious style decision. Low-poly environments, on the other hand, are a bit more problematic. You can certainly go for an angular/pixelized look for the environment, but it's not exactly old-school, since the environments in early 3D games tend to look pretty horrible due to polygon, texture, and lighting limitations. Those environments in the OP, for example, are still far beyond anything the PS1 or N64 were capable of, especially lighting-wise.

Low-poly characters with unfiltered, low-res textures= cool.

Low-poly environments with low-res textures= yuck.
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
In very, very small doses, just like 8-bit or 16-bit art. Quickly can become something that is tired and a fallback for something more developed or unique.
 
my house was made with 3 512x512 maps :(
LOL, I mean your house looks fine. It has some nice color contrast. But in a true N64 game the engine would only be capable of rendering maybe five of them, and they would all be in a blocky environment with low-res, repetitive textures. Now if there were hundreds of those houses in a complex landscape that would look pretty cool.

I feel like PS2-era environments are as retro as you can go before they start looking horrible.

I do think there's some potential for stylization in environment LODs and texture fade-in that hasn't been exploited.
 
Nope, Model 3 was also Quads. Naomi/Dreamcast went triangles.
Hmm... I'll admit to being a little confused about this really. I do recall hearing about the switchover from quads to tris for the Dreamcast (back before launch, when comparing how much polys each could push). However, I also recall hearing that Model 3 could draw tris.

I did a quick search and came across this: Model 3 Specifications

According to this, Model 3 could draw twice as many tris as quads (which I guess would make sense, heh). Does anyone know if this is accurate? Did the Model 3 support tris, but Sega just had it produce quads in games?
 
Since some were talking about Nintendo 64 games thought I'd share these. There are definitely some good examples on the system.



I posted a bunch of such screenshots in another thread which showcase some N64 highlights brought out under emulation.
 
I feel like PS2-era environments are as retro as you can go before they start looking horrible.
No way, I think PS2-era models are already way too detailed and complex for me to consider it low-poly. Same for Dreamcast. The 32/64-bit era is where my favorite low-poly art style exists.
 
I absolutely love Model 2 graphics. I have more nostalgia for that look than most sprite work.

Me too. Sega + Model = still amazing to this day. Checking out VF2, Fighting Vipers, and Daytona USA in high-res is amaaaaazing.

I even like the Model 3 stuff even though it added a lot of polygons.
 
I love it. The way some people go crazy and jizz their pants over pixel art is how I feel about N64 and earlier low-poly art. I've said it before, but give me a new Starfox game that looks like this and I'm forced to buy a Wii U:


Just add some aliasing and I'm good to go. Every time I'm listening to a podcast and someone is like, "old 3D doesn't hold up like pixel art does," I cringe and part of my soul dies.
 
Not sure if this really counts, but for Gungriffon fans the final version of the fanmade HIGH-MACS simulator came out not too long ago with some great 32-bit styled mechanical and world modelling.

Holy crud, I've known nothing about this. GAF could use more Gungriffon love, too, and this here's enough of a reason.

I think the trick to many of these is that they are not shaded at all. Only shades are the ones drawn in the textures. Looks great but isn't very flexible.
Colored shading's the key to why Rockman Dash still looks great to this day. It fits the colorful, Lego-block aesthetic so well that I don't feel it's aged; that Mojang astronaut works the same way. If you try to imagine Volnutt or the astronaut collapsing into 2D-space, as if they were pixel art, then the simple, aliased look of the textures and visible polygons helps it bridge hyper-detailed 3D modeling and earlier 2D visuals. I like that idea a lot, but it works best with a dearth of shading and a general flat feel to the graphics, allowing players more opportunity to visualize 3D depth for themselves.
 
Not a fan of muddy looking and jaggy polys but I'm in love with Sega's HD XBLA versions of Dayatona USA and Virtual On OT.





Virtual On Force looks really good too.





Also I'd kill for the PS1 WipEouts to get the same HD treatmeant, Sega classics and REZ has.
 
I absolutely adore it, its so effective when its done well. My favorite is when the textures are chunky, poppy, and pixely like old toony capcom games (Megaman Legends, Battle N Chase, and Rival Schools)
Heres a few of my favorite modern lowpoly stuff (aside from the obvious like kenneth fejer):

How does one go about making textures like this?
 
How does one go about making textures like this?
Well its basically just like making pixel art. Since things are so low poly, its easy to unwrap everything into block shapes. I also find constraining yourself to small texture sizes also helps with keeping the chunky pixel look.
Kenneth Fejer includes his textures with all of his work if you want to look at them for reference

Thats the easy part of the battle, the second part is "tricking" your program of choice to display the textures unfiltered, since all of them want to do the opposite.
This old post from polycount has instructions for some programs. Its from 2008, so im not sure how relevant it still is. I know the maya instructions worked for me with 2012 edition but the blender ones are definitely out of date.
 
Well its basically just like making pixel art. Since things are so low poly, its easy to unwrap everything into block shapes. I also find constraining yourself to small texture sizes also helps with keeping the chunky pixel look.
Kenneth Fejer includes his textures with all of his work if you want to look at them for reference

Thats the easy part of the battle, the second part is "tricking" your program of choice to display the textures unfiltered, since all of them want to do the opposite.
This old post from polycount has instructions for some programs. Its from 2008, so im not sure how relevant it still is. I know the maya instructions worked for me with 2012 edition but the blender ones are definitely out of date.
Thanks! I've wanted to do stuff like this.
 
Thats fucking AWESOME. OMG downloading now. Thats spellbinding.


ITT: hottest thread on gaf
It is pretty awesome, yes. One of the few games that got an audible reaction out of me when I realized what the terrifying twist was (I half-jokingly classified it as "horror game" over in the indie thread).

Curious to hear your impression.
-----


Another small (free) indie thing that fits the bill: Heavy Bullets.

It's still in alpha, but already quite fun to play.
 
Low poly pixellated textures are the reasons why I think Homeworld and Cataclysm still hold up graphically.



It also lends itself well to papercraft conversion.

 
Now that resolution/framerate/texture fillrate isn't an issue, low-poly styles can certainly have their own charm. Choosing low-poly character designs can certainly work and look neat as a conscious style decision. Low-poly environments, on the other hand, are a bit more problematic. You can certainly go for an angular/pixelized look for the environment, but it's not exactly old-school, since the environments in early 3D games tend to look pretty horrible due to polygon, texture, and lighting limitations. Those environments in the OP, for example, are still far beyond anything the PS1 or N64 were capable of, especially lighting-wise.

Low-poly characters with unfiltered, low-res textures= cool.

Low-poly environments with low-res textures= yuck.
There may also be games today using a low-poly environment on purpose. Anyhow,
you are right in general. Low-poly isn't retro per se. Getting the real retro
lock requires much more to be done like you said. Reducing color and shading
is one part. Another part I find important is also to consider the output
device, i.e. the oddities of a CRT TV (RGB color mask, phase shift, leakage
etc.). The crisp picture of today's LEDs won't add much to the retro
experience. But given today's high-resolution displays, it might be worth
trying to implement color/shadow masks for doing color reproduction, i.e.
color halftoning / dithering, with some limited shades per color/gray
component, as well as effects like color bleeding, afterimages etc. I think
this will make an interesting look esp. if objects are continuously moving in
3d space. We will see! ;)
 
In their heyday they were pretty rough. The low and fluctuating framerates, poor anti-aliasing, flickering, and low resolutions that came with the territory of 3D at the time didn't do them any favors.

Now that that stuff's no longer an issue, though, low-poly styles wielded well could really deliver some amazing results. I hope to see indies experimenting with it a lot in the coming years.
Its like the style was done away with before technology could perfect the art design. So yeah, I'm really hoping for a resurgence. Oh god, the stuff that runs through my mind.
 
One thing I want is a game that is just huge vast and open. Like imagine you go into a city and there are hundreds of little low poly, expertly crafted models running about. Again, the technology of the time this art style was new couldn't handle such a thing, but now we can.
 
Reminds me of that VG Remix contest with sketchfab scenes

http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=124337

You can actually view the scenes in your browser if it supports WebGL
The pokemon and Advance wars ones... wow. I want to see 3D remakes of old classics done like that.

Advance wars: http://sketchfab.com/show/02435afd2ac14791b7090593fff92ecb
Pokemon: http://sketchfab.com/show/9221b8f190114baba1aa5a560d75b970

Edit: another Advance Wars: http://sketchfab.com/show/6973f0bc978543008ec193369552b37e
 
I love me some low poly art and this one started my love for it... I'm actually old enough to have played it when it first came out. With that said, I need to make some warm milk and go to bed.

 

Shig

Strap on your hooker ...
I love it. The way some people go crazy and jizz their pants over pixel art is how I feel about N64 and earlier low-poly art. I've said it before, but give me a new Starfox game that looks like this and I'm forced to buy a Wii U:
In my dream world, they'd do 3D Classics overhauls of Starfox and Stunt Race FX for the 3DS. Image depth and a silky smooth framerate would really give those games a whole new lease on life.
Just add some aliasing and I'm good to go. Every time I'm listening to a podcast and someone is like, "old 3D doesn't hold up like pixel art does," I cringe and part of my soul dies.
Well, it doesn't, not in the way it was originally delivered. No matter how good the models are, when they're served with low, inconsistent framerates and flickering surfaces, that's not easy to stomach anymore.
 
Just add some aliasing and I'm good to go. Every time I'm listening to a podcast and someone is like, "old 3D doesn't hold up like pixel art does," I cringe and part of my soul dies.

Smearing vaseline over it won't make it look fine.

Just look at this. That's 320x200 pixel artwork using 256 color. And it still looks absolutely great. It's not HD. Not even 480p. But it's fine. It doesn't look like shit. It doesn't make my eyes bleed.
 
Smearing vaseline over it won't make it look fine.

Just look at this. That's 320x200 pixel artwork using 256 color. And it still looks absolutely great. It's not HD. Not even 480p. But it's fine. It doesn't look like shit. It doesn't make my eyes bleed.
I'm not sure how you equated anti-aliasing as smearing vaseline. Maybe really really poorly done AA is like that. That's not what I'm talking about. As far as the pic, eh. It looks nice. I think practically every 3D screen posted in this tread looks well too. It's not as technically proficient as a modern 3D game (none of the sprite stuff holds up compared to like BlazBlue either) but I like that look and it holds up fine for me.