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

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