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What would be the most efficient method to create a character who can switch armors ?

Hi, I’m creating a side-scrolling A-RPG in Blueprints and was wondering which of these methods is the most efficient based on your experience:

I plan to release the game at first on PC but if I succeed and can get approved by Nintendo I’d love to get my game onto the Switch.

Being a “2.5D” game most of the meshes are lower polys than if it was a FPS or TPS but I know I should still consider the animated vertices count and shader complexity low if I want to release on High end mobile hardware (Switch).

  1. Create a “nude” base character mesh and import all the armors Skeletal Mesh to add onto it weight painted for deformation if applicable (like most if not all of the RPG tutorials for UE4 I can see on internet).
  2. Make my character a combination of the skeletal meshes that will replace the different body parts once equiped (I think that’s how Monster Hunter works).

I might be wrong but here what I found :

Pro of #1 :

  1. Relatively easy to set-up and versatile.

Cons of #1 :

  1. Render twice the animation (move the vertices on the legs for exemple and legs armor)
  2. I think the polygons of let’s say the legs underneath are still rendered even if they aren’t visible due to the armor (also the texture might be streamed).

Pro of #2 :

  1. Lower polygon count/animated vertices/Material complexity

Cons of #2 :

  1. I have no idea how I can implement this method (Yup that’s about it).

If anyone has anything to share about this kind of system you’re more than welcome. Thanks !