Vox: Why video games are made of tiny triangles

"Inside your favorite games — Red Dead Redemption 2, Fortnite, PUBG, Rocket League — you’ll find millions of tiny triangles.
...
Games today are meticulously detailed. They’re mysterious and heartwarming, and colorful and stylized. And that makes them a technical challenge. Though computing power has skyrocketed, gamemakers keep competing to add more detail to their games, pushing the limits of what even the newest technology can compute. Game technology needs to constantly keep up with gamemakers’ creative ambitions.

Triangles are a key part of how these gorgeous, detailed games appear on your screen — the hidden heroes we should all thank as we play. This simple shape helps keep the number of computations needed for each detail as low as possible, allowing the player's computer to process these elaborate games.

Watch the video above to find out how triangles make room for creators to build the beautiful games that exist today..."
HugeJerksays...

When I started in games, we could create assets with polygons that had more than 3 vertices, as long as it was coplanar. This probably still works because when the switch from software rendering to hardware was going on, even the early cards like the S3 or 3DFX would automatically handle it by converting it into triangles.

HenningKOsays...

cos you can always make a flat (coplanar) surface by connecting three points in space. Not necessarily true for any more than three. Simple as that.

antsays...

Which games, you guys? I almost worked for Activision in 1998, but they didn't want me after my job interview.

CrushBugsaid:

/raises hand

CrushBugsays...

MDK2
Neverwinter Nights and expansions
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Jade Empire PC
Mass Effect PC
Mass Effect 2-3
Dragon Age 1-3
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Anthem

antsaid:

Which games, you guys? I almost worked for Activision in 1998, but they didn't want me after my job interview.

antsays...

Wow. That's an impressive list. I only played the old games like the original MDK and Neverwinter Nights. Hey, I just finished the main quest in the original Oblivion game! Which developer roles were you doing in each game?

CrushBugsaid:

MDK2
Neverwinter Nights and expansions
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Jade Empire PC
Mass Effect PC
Mass Effect 2-3
Dragon Age 1-3
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Anthem

CrushBugsays...

All of them have been in Production. Everything from running teams across disciplines, planning, problem solving, organizing, to getting food for the team. I am not a project manager; I just don't have that kind of brain. The most appropriate title I have had is Technical Producer, since I am usually working mostly with programmers to solve problems.

antsaid:

Wow. That's an impressive list. I only played the old games like the original MDK and Neverwinter Nights. Hey, I just finished the main quest in the original Oblivion game! Which developer roles were you doing in each game?

antsays...

Nice. Is your employer hiring IT roles like QA testers?

CrushBugsaid:

All of them have been in Production. Everything from running teams across disciplines, planning, problem solving, organizing, to getting food for the team. I am not a project manager; I just don't have that kind of brain. The most appropriate title I have had is Technical Producer, since I am usually working mostly with programmers to solve problems.

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