I have been researching this topic for a while now, and I know that there are normally multiple ways to go about it. The context is that I'm practicing my modelling and texturing for non-stylized contemporary architecture assets, meant for a hypothetical fps game that has large open urban areas. By "efficient" I mean both production time and computer resource efficient.
What are your thoughts? How do you usually approach stuff like this? What methods do you use? How do you decide how and where to use trims, tileables and atlases? Is there a specific practical reason why the industry tends to prefer one method over the others?
I have read comments from different threads asking similar questions, but in my case I have a specific kind of environment, and I feel like certain environments favour some techniques more than others.
tl;dr for the examples section below - in my case, trim sheets feel inefficient and even messy to an extent. Using atlases where I absolutely have to and tiling textures for everything else keeps things tidy and makes manual lods more efficient and easy, but also means more time spent adjusting UVs for normal mapped bevels and others things to work vs using a regular trim.
The standard approach nowadays seems to be using tiling textures or atlases as a base and trim sheets for details like window frames and other things. Then some games, of which Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is the more "extreme" example, use tiling textures and, well, extrude them in 3d. Catalyst doesn't use trim sheets pretty much at all in its architectural assets. All of their buildings are broken down into small square or rectangular facade pieces, textured with a single tiling texture or, more rarely, an atlas, and the modules are used interchangeably between various buildings in the city.
Overwatch seems to be doing both.
I then also looked at how Dying Light 2 did it and...
My main issue with the way that _I think_ they did it is that while they do use one or two trim strips for details like window frames and gratings, they also appear to pack unique glass textures either next to those trims or in a separate texture, and that looks kinda counterproductive. Because, what is the point exactly in keeping window glass and frames separate from each other when they're meant to be used together anyway, other than potentially avoiding texture bleed/mipmap issues when using frame trims alone, without the glass? It might have to do with the way their materials were set up or some other technical stuff though.
Regardless, I have tried both approaches, and while using only the tiling textures keeps everything pretty tidy and makes manual LOD creation more efficient, since your lowest LOD can be a simple plane, it's also noticeably more UV-ing work than using a traditional trim, at least for me.