Question about Morphs and Tesselation

Question about a thought I had. What would be more efficient:

A) A standard ~20k poly mesh with approximately 150 different face and body morphs

B) A low-poly (under 5k) mesh that has no deformations, but instead its material map has all the morph data in the form of heightmaps, which get used through scalar parameters and lerps to represent the different adjustments made to it.

I know it’s difficult to say without actually putting it to the test, but what would everyone’s guess be? For both few characters on screen (5-15) and many (50+).

A) A standard ~20k poly mesh with approximately 150 different face and body morphs

This is the character design we are using as part of our character development.

A 20k polymesh in EU4 terms is a drop in the bucket and the nature of morph targeting is only the vertex offset data is saved and with a few issues to resolve is the more efficient approach as to the need of a large volume of NPC characters all driven on the same BP and animation channels as will as using a single skeletal rig.

As to the use of materials the general rule is the use of geometry over procedural displacement is more efficient as you a few k in morph displacement data versus the asset footprint of a 4K displacements map.

And how about something in between? 5k model, the morphs are on the model, but then it has tessellation equal to about that of a 20K model?

Well there is no easy answer with out having a clue as to the full design of the game in question. Do you need characters that can act as in “The Last of Us” or a fast paced on-line shooter like “Unreal Tournament” as the type of game usually dictates the level of fidelity required.

Do you wish to use morphing on hero models or on NPC alone?

Do you even know that if an object can or can not even be tessellated?

Our general rule #1 though is to build to what it would take to make it look good as it’s far easier to make it less than trying to make not enough do more so if you start with an object that is 20k you can always make it 5k via the addition of LOD’s or old school modeling swapping.

This keeping in mind.

Not all things should be built as to their intended use but also take into consideration other areas of the game design that fidelity does not impact performance or game play. You character or player model set up for example could be a hero version fully loaded with eye candy or as a model swap for QT events.