Level of detail is not a new concept in 3D. In fact game engines make great use of LOD to dynamically be more efficient with local resources. LOD or level of detail allows you to dynamically change the resolution of an object based on the distance it is to the scene’s camera.
Learn how to use drivers to save scene geometry while keeping the needed detail.
Here, Jonathan Lampel shows a trick where you can easily create LOD, or Level of Detail in Blender, using Blender’s Drivers. While Johnathan shows this tip off in Blender, there is nothing here that will make it Blender specific. As long as you have a 3D application that can make use of set driven keys, you can use this technique.
While it is not a true geometry swapping system, Jonathan’s trick can be created easily, and does offer great help when you have a large number of highly detailed objects in a Blender scene.