Hey there! It's been a while since I've posted here and I've come with a very overly specific issue. I've been working on a tank model for my portfolio using some new techniques I've picked up with my last gig, and I've come across an issue texturing tank treads. I know that tank treads in old games were modelled as a singular belt with projected normals that made them look like they're made out of individual components. For this portfolio project, I made a complete belt using interlocking plates and chains in Maya, and as such, the mesh count and polycount is pretty nutty, but I'm not too worried about it since this is more an exploratory project for renders.
While I'm satisfied with how they interlock, and I'm not particuarly stressed about rigging or the polycount going bananas, the texturing part is starting to trouble me. I could texture a single segment of the tank treads in Substance and simply use those textures for each iteration along the chain, but that would make the repeating texture pretty easy to spot. I did some research into UDIMs but I'm not entirely sure if that's the way to go, as I'd still end up having to create several materials in Marmoset to apply them to the tread segments.
tl;dr: I'm struggling to find a way to texture the tread segments in a way that won't seem repetitive, and won't require me to set up 5 tread materials to alternate between in Marmoset. Would baking and texturing in Marmoset be a better alternative in this scenario? Or is there a way to use a singular segment texture and somehow create randomised damage throughout the chain with masks in Marmoset? I've never had to model something with multiple, repeating identical meshes (beyond bullets), so I would genuinely appreciate any ideas you may have!
something i did back in 2003 (max)
Toy Tiger - YouTube
though if static the same material for each track link should be ok, it's when animating that you need some variation as it can look like the tracks are not moving