Ninja that I did previously came in at just over 3000 polygons so I will aim for around the same for the orc.
I decided to show more of my work process as I did with the concept for the orc. On the left here you can see how I put together the orcs head. With poly modeling I start with a basic geometric shape, for the head a cylinder with 8 sides. The trick is to do as much as possible with as little as possible.
Its very tempting to get right into the mesh and start modeling wrinkles and eye lids, but for most games it's a waste of time because you don't get close enough to the model to see this level of detail. For the most part you can create the fine details with the texture map and bump map ( you can see good examples of texture and bump maps in my chest mimic model).
When I first started in games we hadn't grasped this and I think most of our character models had around 1000 polygons spent just on the head. The game was a first person shooter (Timesplitters) and you just never got close enough to the characters to see all that carefully sculpted detail. Other characters were too busy running around shooting you in your pretty head.
This is the base mesh for the orc. I've kept this so I can make variants. The leather armour version is going to be the first version.
Above is the orc warrior in leather armour ready for his skeleton and bind. I've given him a basic axe and shield. He currently comes in at 2500 polygons, so less than the Ninja. I have already put the skeleton in and got the mesh deforming. I still need to add the controls and rigg for animation. Once I am happy with the way the character moves and the skin deforms I will start the paint job and get my UV mapping head on. It's a mistake to UV map before you know the model is going to work for animation. This is because a poly mesh will always need tweaks so that it deforms properly with it's skeleton. If you have UV mapped first, tweaks are going to make a pigs ear of it.
In my next post I will show the skeleton and rigg and probably a test orc animation. There might even be a bit of colour if I get on to the textures.