How to find your POLY COUNT and what is reasonable
As people sometimes get lost - this is how to do it in SimPE 1) Open up your mesh file in SimPE 2) Click on the Geometric Data Container in the Left Window
3) Click on the Geometric Data Container in the Right Window
4) The plugin view should appear at the bottom of the screen, if it does not, click on the plugin tab and get that to show
5) FACECOUNT = POLYCOUNT
6) If your creation has more than one Group/Subset, the polycount is ALL of them added together.
See examples below - these show BODY meshes, but the info is in the same place for objects.
What is a reasonable poly count?
For objects - the rule of thumb is to aim for 800 poly or less per tile that the object takes up. But again - that can vary depending on the complexity of the object. Comparing to several similar Maxis meshes is another way to see if your counts seem in line with 'normal'. You will find that some detailed Maxis meshes go over this 'guideline' - so do check some game meshes in addition to this general guideline.
Note that means a 1 tile object ideal = 800 or less, an object that takes 2 tiles, ideal = 1600 or less, etc.
Most body meshes are in the 2000-3500 range on poly count.
Extra details or alpha additions tend to make the count a bit higher.
Hair is also usually in about that same range.
What is too high?
Generally if you're not within the range of similar meshes made by Maxis - then you should investigate ways to reduce the count. If your poly count is twice Maxis amounts - that is high, but perhaps justifiable, if the item has a lot of curves or extra details. Higher than that it should be something super-special.
You're taking the time to make a mesh; take time to know what is a 'normal' poly count and to use just enough mesh detail to get the effect you want and create more detail using your textures. The better your textures, the better the overall impression your mesh will make.
Why do we care?
Each item and sim on the lot you're on has to be loaded into memory - the textures and the meshes - to be rendered by the 3D graphics card *in real time* so that you can move about on the lot and see everything. While one item being high poly will probably not impact things, the more high items on the lot, the more likely things will slow down. Most folks don't like their game to get all laggy and slow. That is why certain details are created by using good textures, and the meshes are created on the simpler side and thus lower poly.
Of course we don't want everything to just look like a box, so there will be polys in your creations. But make an effort to keep them reasonable, and everyone's game will be a happier place.