What is more expensive, a model with 5 materials, and five 256 sized images or 1 material and one 1280 sized image?
Ok so while making a game I have noticed that people are obsessed with optimization when its not really needed. And when I ask what is more expensive this way or this way its basically the loudest person's way is the correct way. But no one truly knows because then I'll ask more hypothetical questions not about the game and more about unreal and textures and models in general and then I get the answer "I don't know". So with this hypothetical question I can get some answers. All I want to know is efficient ways of comboing materials and textures and poly counts and yeah. Also the question is 256x256 and 1280x1280. 1280 is 256x5 so I am sure you guys can figure where I am getting the numbers from. And please no one answer with "well it depend" because I know it depends. Just is more materials or more textures more expensive is the base question.
asked Feb 22 '16 at 03:55 AM in Rendering
It's about drawcalls, One Mesh with 5 Materials = 5 Drawcalls, multiply by however many Meshes, One Mesh with 1 Material = 1 Drawcall per mesh, this is why there is instanced meshes for stuff like foliage that have many of the same mesh and materials.
So yeah math wise: 10 soldiers with 1 mesh and 1 material = 10 Drawcalls, 10 soldiers with 1 mesh and 5 materials = 50 Drawcalls.
There is also a limit on how many textures per Material if you develop for Mobile for example, so having all that stored in one big texture is easier on the performance for loading.
And I'd say the "depends" is less about the performance and more about "depends if you care" in the context of what you are building and how much you and your intented audience will care :)
answered Feb 22 '16 at 11:14 AM
The first reason you're not getting a straight answer about this is because it depends on what you're developing for if you're developing for mobile you have to worry about polycount obviously but you also have to worry about draw calls for every material you have it counts as a draw call. You're developing for Xbox one or Playstation you should still keep an eye on your draw calls and materialsbut not as important as how expensive your materials are in computations.So you need to know what you're developing for first. After that it's a balancing act obviously as an artist you want things to look as good as possible . In your case I would go with a single material at the larger size. At a 256 resolution it's not much and it's a pain in the ass managing 6 materials on a model especially if you come to find out later on that you need to do something that affects all six materials at the same time. I know because I have a model that has six materials on it that are 2048 textures and plans changed on it down the road in our game and I ended up having to make the model look like it was printed and it turned out to be a real pain in the ass.
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