March 31, 2013 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Low-poly art is an aesthetic in 3D modeling that works with intentionally limited resources to emulate the look of first generation three dimensional gaming, and also a response to the increasing role of mobile and web platforms as 3D game spaces (some more examples can be found in this thread). A great example of this technique is game designer and 3D artist Invader Ace. Their Tumblr has character designs, game mock-ups, and small vignette scenes. A full portfolio can be found at their website, here.

Some other notable low-poly artists include: Some recent games that have used the aesthetic have been:
posted by codacorolla (15 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
These aren't first gen: they have shading! Wireframes without hidden line removal, if you please!
posted by scruss at 7:44 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

for example
posted by jepler at 7:53 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd love a tutorial for this kind of thing.
posted by wayland at 7:58 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah, I meant the first generation of 3D consoles (such as the N64 and PS1), but thank you for the clarification.
posted by codacorolla at 8:03 PM on March 31, 2013

These aren't first gen: they have shading!

I love Alone in the Dark as much as the next old person, but I'm not eager to return to that era.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:11 PM on March 31, 2013

Thanks for this post! Awesome stuff. Something about kinda-glitchy low poly art (ala invaderace) really gives me the willies. Maybe I stayed up too late watching LSD Dream Emulator videos one night or something.
posted by sonmi at 8:12 PM on March 31, 2013

Also: kentucky route zero


Jesus Christ, play that game.
posted by hellojed at 8:24 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'd love a tutorial for this kind of thing.

I'm not a 3D artist, but this thing on Reddit came up while I was collecting material for the post:

Also, the forum thread (second link in the FPP) seems to have a lot of people asking for help and workshopping their stuff, so if you were interested that might also be a good starting point.
posted by codacorolla at 8:32 PM on March 31, 2013

I love these trees.
posted by hoodrich at 9:36 PM on March 31, 2013

The two tumblrs definitely seem to walk the best line between cool-retro and dated-retro.

The aesthetic actually works really nicely with detailed (but simple) textures and modern shading techniques. I actually like it a fair bit more than the photorealistic effects that most big-budget games today try to achieve. (It also sidesteps the uncanny valley issue rather effectively)

In particular, I love this one.
posted by schmod at 9:42 PM on March 31, 2013

When I think Low Poly, I think of Low Poly Maru.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Love the look of this. Silent Hill had a very distinctive ps1 low poly look that really enhanced the whole atmosphere. I don't think those little smooth kids with knives would be as scary if they had been more detailed. Sure, most of the reason they looked like that was because the ps1 couldn't make them look any better but Konami made it work.

The more I think about it the more I kind of miss that look from back then.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 8:53 AM on April 1, 2013

similar and totally nsfw: sex64
posted by p3on at 9:42 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Games on the Nintendo 3DS games are interesting because the hardware isn't capable of a large number of polygons, but because its GPU is pretty modern it supports advanced shaders and high quality textures. So you get really good renderings of simple geometry, which is an interesting tradeoff and gives games a distinctive look.
posted by zixyer at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2013

You know, I like pushing the limits of older technology, but most of these just look old and bad. I would love it if these people found ways to make cool shapes using less polygons that could be adopted and used to make games run faster and such, less wastefully.

Does anyone still write their rendering scripts by hand, like they used to do for the Internet Ray Tracing Completion back in the early days?
posted by Canageek at 4:59 PM on April 1, 2013

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