Delaney King

Delaney King

08-11-2022

23:25

Hotspot maps are essentially trim sheets of rectangles of different aspect ratios with weathering at the edges...

The idea being you make your model and hit a button and it matches the closest aspect ratio of poly to your faces. Nifty. However...

No matter how good your hotspot map is, it cannot cover all the aspect ratios and shapes in the space you provide. And you need the texture to be quite big as it is. If your goal is to weather the edges of a model with even texel density there is a much better way.

In this particular case, you can make two small tiling texture sets- one rusty metal and one for painted surfaces, and blend them together using a mask texture.

If you run the mask map by a blurred scratchy tiled texture, you end up with a shader that you can feed a low res mask map and vertex color into, and it turns this into edge wear and paint damage. By doing it this way, you get even texel density across the paint and rust...

and you can put wear and tear on absolutely any shape, exactly where you want it- and use up a small fraction of the texture memory.

The second benefit of baking a mask map over hotspot maps is you can also bake in ambient occlusion per model, and still have a channel free for something like dirt, dust or mold.

Hotspot maps are fine for level artists who want a quick fire and forget method for generic structures. I would pick the masking per object methods every time though. It adds a couple of steps, but the results and control are *chefs kiss*

Performance wise, the hotspot map method is a simple material and one texture set. Performance downsides are you can't LOD the meshes easily, you need big textures and you need to chop up your models uvs into lots of little islands which up your vertex counts.

So, I think they are a clever trick, but the mask method is vastly superior.

Especially once you factor on masked materials means you can move a slider to dynamically erode the paint away, brush over vertex paint to exaggerate the wear, and even do this dynamically during the game.



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