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Triangles Versus Quads
Question submitted by (27 July 1999)




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  Some engines use triangles others polys(quads), is there any distinct advantage (speed or easier to work with) of one over the other.  
 

 
  I personally prefer n-gons (not limiting a polygon to 3 or 4 sides.) When I switched from triangles to n-gons, I gained approximately a 40% performance boost. Of course, this will differ with each individual engine.

There are a few difficulties when dealing n-gons. The first is how to store the data. Some prefer to allocate a set of vertices per polygon and limit their n-gons to that many vertices. I've always prefered to use a linked list. They're fast and don't limit the number of vertices.

Another problem with n-gons, is where to get the data. Very few modeling tools can ouput polygons with more than 4 vertices, and I don't know of any that can output an optimized set. I wrote my own triangle->ngon optimizer, which really helped, but it was extremely challenging.



Response provided by Paul Nettle
 
 

This article was originally an entry in flipCode's Fountain of Knowledge, an open Question and Answer column that no longer exists.


 

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