Graphics question: Bioshock(one)'s level of graphics done in Unity

noob question;
I’m trying to learn more about Unity’s graphics capabilities and how to use them, since I’ve only done programmer art up till now. My question is, how would graphics on the level of Bioshock one be done in Unity in terms of shaders/polycount/whatnot. How much of the detail was just texturing and bump maps? Those were massive environments, what kind of polycount was that?

I’m asking in relation to Bioshock, because it’s the nicest looking game my crappy computer can run with no lag.

Im a graphic artist, and just starting to get into unity myself. Bioshock was agreed an amazing game. Well to start they wrote there own game engine for that game, but that doesnt mean that unity doesnt have the capabilities to be close to it. If you get into the game and look really close at stuff you can tell what is textured and what is poly, alot of it is trickery to make your eyes think they are looking at something that is really just a texture. One way to do it, if your using blender, or something of the like for your assets, is to build your asset with the highest poly count you can manage. Once that is done bake out texture maps of the the high poly model. Next do a retopology of the model with a low poly count. You can then apply the high poly texture maps to your low poly and bam! You have what looks an appears to be a high graphic model. Its all about trickery. The maps your going to want to make are, diffuse, specular, occlusion. Those should give you what you need to have high detail graphics. IF im wrong somebody correct me but thats what ive learned from years of working in blender.

Here is a tutorial on cycles texture baking in blender.

Something important that people don’t address often i think is to not mistake art direction for quality of actual models. Art direction is the style of the game, and i think the appeal of it’s graphics is high certainly because of the direction. Now other than that, it’s carefully making your models so as not to waste polygons and use them where needed, using normal maps to add detail to a low poly model, textures with proper alpha channels to make use of specular areas.

Again about art direction, take note of gorgeous games that aren’t pushing the envelope in technology. What did you like about them and why.