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Can materials be categorized by type?

For example, can different metal materials be referenced more generally as “metal” when programming particle effects and sounds? I am making textures in substance painter so there are tons of different materials to reference in UE4.

Each material can have a a Physical Material assigned to it, which, in turn, can be assigned to a particular Surface Type.
The list of surface types can be accessed later.
e.g. If some hit result has returns with the surface type “Metal”, create sparks.

Absolutely fantastic. Works great! Thanks, Kris!