Let’s say that I have a character with a material. The regular material is what it is. Now let’s say that I have a bunch effects for things like when they are on fire, drenched in water, being electrocuted etc etc. What is the best way to handle this? Is it cheaper to have a low poly “inflated” version of the mesh, with all of the effects on it, or is it cheaper to just make one huge master material with all of the effects on it for the actual character mesh?
Going with the big complex material route, I’d obviously have to rely on lerps or some kind of real-time switching(if-thens). This leads me into another question: If there is a chain of commands behind some kind of lerp/if-then like that, do they count toward performance if they are essentially switched off? Like if a lerp is at zero or one, does it still have to perform all the math for the other input; even though it’s essentially deactivated?
On the other hand, going with an “inflated” low poly mesh, that has a material with all of the various hazard effects, would I be paying more to render it out; due to the increased polygons and having to handle the translucency shading? I can see that having an extra mesh+extra material+overdraw from translucency is going to cost something, but is it going to cost more than just using one big complex material?