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More polygon or painting alphas in substance painter - which is better for performance?

Suppose I'm trying to model indentations/holes on a cylinder:


Is it better to use more polygons to get the level of detail I want? Or height alphas in substance painter on a flat cylinder? Which is better for game performance? I'm using Unreal Engine 4 if that matters.

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  • icegodofhungary
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    icegodofhungary greentooth
    It depends on what the object will be used for. Is it a foregrip/heat shroud for a gun that will be seen up close in first person? Is it some sci-fi object on a ship that will be tucked into a corner somewhere? Is it some kind of distant object that will be seen from far away?

    Polygons are cheap, but you don't want to waste time modeling things that the player will never see. Masked materials are more expensive than just plain textures, so you want to use them wisely. But it all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and what you have to work with.

    Try to find real-world examples of what you're doing. If you're doing a current-gen gun then look at guns from current gen games. See how they handle that situation. That would give you a better idea of what's acceptable or not given what you're trying to do.
  • wannabe3d
    Thanks for the great advice really appreciate it!
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