I am in the final stages of developing the Equipment System. Got weapons working woho. However I’ve hit a massive brick wall on Armor. My Strategy is to segment the mesh into multiple skeletal meshes; Head, Body, Legs, Feet, Arms, and Hands.
I would prefer not to have 6 skeletal mesh components “hard coded” to the character, I would prefer to attach them dynamically. For instance if the character is “naked” then only the Head mesh is active with an entire single skeletal mesh active. My reason for this deals with difficulty I’ve had baking normal maps that do not have seams in them, though they may be barely visible they do show up some times (using blender to bake normals).
you should bake in xnormal instead of blender, and to avoid noticeable seams, make sure not to weld or split any verts after baking. if you have parts that are mirrored and welded, you should mirror and weld them before baking, and move the mirrored side outside the uv space. if you straighten the edges of uv islands, align them with an axis, and snap them to pixels, it can remove alot of problems. for organic shapes, this might cause a lot of stretching, but stretching is not as noticeable as seams, so it can be worth it. to make aligning things easier, you can use the “follow active quads” option in the unwrap menu.
anyway, as for armor systems, your solution sounds like it should work. in c++, you can add components at runtime, but if you are using blueprint, you might need to have all 5 skeletal mesh components created in the editor, and just change their mesh at runtime.
Holy $#!7 5 years of modeling in blender and I did not know about that function lol. Texturing is not my strongest skill; modeling, rigging (skinning), sculpting, and programming yes. Thanks for the pointers and the you tube video, this may change my overall strategy and greatly simplify it. I’ve been able to get the seams “barely” noticeable but still there, and some animations would make it worst. Hopfully I can take your pointers and greatly improve the overall quality.