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Displacement mapping vs different meshes for each character type?

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Do you think it's more effective to use displacement mapping to customise characters or to make a seperate model for each character?Like if I want my character to have adjustable levels of muscularity,I can use a displacement map to do it,but I would have to store different meshes created when using the map on the original mesh,depending on the muscularity level for each player that does it,basically resulting in a bunch of new meshes just like the second option.

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Displacement mapping ends up costing more in cycles, as you are for every draw call, for every vertex reapplying the delta to the mesh. You don't need to store a different mesh for each object *because* of this - you just change the displacement map texture with each draw call.

I found it cheaper to store the transformed positions/normals/tangents in a separate vertex buffer space per character as the displacement mapping cost does build up. However when you take LOD into consideration, you can save a fair bit of memory if the different LODs all map back to the same displacement map.

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