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Best workflow for variants? Need some insight

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Shrike interpolator
Hey guys

So Im making some vehicles and other stuff and I need a simple base car and some custom variants.
For the moment, what I did was make a base model, UV it, and then make 3 copies basically, and then added extra details in empty UV space I left beforehand, then baked them 4x for 4x final models. That is a destructive workflow however and Im not sure what I should do. Here a overview:

(These are not upgrades and do not change in runtime, it is 4 different cars basically)

If I found a solution for AO I could also go with a simpler workflow, but without baked AO for the details, quality just goes down drastically, especially when viewed from a distance which is important.

Also if I go with UV2 tricks for AO, I will double vertice count right? I have absolutely avoided UV2 so far, maybe that is a solution but I have no experience with it and will look that up a bit now. (Edit: whats happening with the polycount formatting?)

Anyone any ideas?


  • icegodofhungary
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    icegodofhungary greentooth
    I'm not very experienced but I can offer an opinion. Method 3 seems like the way to go. Drop AO maps for the macro-AO, that is the AO that would exist from the detail pieces being near the vehicle body. Let SSAO or whatever handle that. Just have per-mesh AO for the smaller details on each mesh.

    You could also attack from the art/design things to ease the work load. For example, Instead of B being a unique piece, just combine A and C. Design A and C to to work together and also by themselves. Make them look good alone or combined. That way you can just reuse those pieces and you already know what you're getting into when it comes to their AO requirements. That would accomplish the same goal, visually (barrier, spikes, barrier + spikes), as using a unique pieces. Now you have 3 variants, but with the same number of pieces as two. If you do end up having to bake each one, now you have fewer parts to deal with.

    I hope that's helpful and not stupid! I do think sticking with fewer draw calls would be the best route. If not Method 3, then Method 1 where you combine the UVs of all accessories into one atlas.
  • Shrike
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    Shrike interpolator
    Hey, thanks for the input
    thought about it a bunch more and asked some more people
    I also think 3 is the ideal workflow at least in my case, and especially when you know how many variants you need +-

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