Material Instances Resources in SM BP Question


I have a quick question regarding material instances and the resources it uses when attached to a BP.

So for instance (no pun intended) I create a texture for some pipes. I create parameters within the material editor which allows me to add dirt and scratches through an alpha channel or what not.

I then create a SM pipe and make it a Blue Print, within its construction parameters I create a material instance of the above material and configure it so I can adjust the alpha channel of the dirt, so basically I can drag the pipe into the editor and in the attributes add different degrees of dirt.

So my question is, if I had 20 of these pipes with each pipe having a different degree of dirt, does that mean the engine has loaded 20 versions of this texture? Or am I better just literally making a material instance and have maybe 4 instances of dirt that I can simply drag onto the pipes in the editor replacing the texture with the instance version of the texture.

I know instances are not complete new textures for the engine to load each time and its more efficient then actually having 4 versions of a texture, but what method above is better, or are material instances such low cost that its nothing to worry about ish.

Im just concerned that if I have many pipes running around my levels all with different material instances it could be costly?

Please advise :slight_smile:

Thanking you in advance.

I wouldn’t worry about it for a bunch of static instances. You only really start to worry when you try to dynamically update tons of instances using MIDs (material instance dynamic). and then people usually find a way to use a material parameter collection since you can pass lots of info to many things for cheap. Wouldnt really help for artistic tweaking of unique variants though. Don’t worry we do the same thing all the time.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I guess using lots of material instances is pretty normal now a days. Last time I worked in a game engine was for Unreal Tournament 2004.

I shall BP SM away - yay