I'm now at the point where I've had to make some decisions about how much further detail I should model. You may recall at the beginning of this thread that I plan to paint a good deal of the very fine detail into the color and normal maps. Not only that, but my rig isn't so good that I can keep modeling past 1.5 million polys (current smoothed model is at about 1 mil).
So, the next step in my game asset process is to copy the model, remove smoothing, and simplify it into the low-poly model that would be used in a game. Then, I can bake the high poly into a texture to be applied to the low poly. I will paint more detail into that bake as needed (sensor greebles, panel lines, small windows, escape hatches, phaser detail, etc).
For those interested, a normal map
is akin to a bump map, but it stores a lot more directional information into RGB values. Many games use normal mapping to give a more convincing depth while keeping the assets as light as possible.
Here's where the model is now, before I start tearing into it to make the low-poly version!