Static mesh or Skeletal mesh?
I'm making a large building with many windows that have shutters. I made a mesh in 3ds max with 4 bones, one for each hinge. I had planned to have the shutters in various open positions and thought that skinning it to a bone structure would help keeping everything aligned and then just export 4-6 static meshes in different positions. But then I thought, perhaps it is better to just export the skeletal mesh to UDK, then instance the mesh in my scene and position variations there.
Is it possible to manipulate a skeletal mesh in a scene without animation? Just to position it and such? Or should I stick with the original idea and create several versions as static meshes?
If the shutters wont animate (like opening and closing in the wind) i think its unnecessary complication (and even if they do you could use matinee on static meshes, i think static meshes are cheapest to render..)..
i would export just 4 different positions.. or maybe just one shutter, then take my time and place it in the editor (not that hard if you do everything on the grid).. that way you will get more randomness cause you can create shutters in all positions plus busted shutters that hang on only one hinge etc..
Are skeletal meshes much more expensive?
any particular reason you would wanna use skeletal meshes?
in case of window blinds i see no dilema.. go with static meshes, just use the grid for easier placement and export with pivot at the hinge of the blind.. then if you need to animate few of the blinds use kismet..
I dont know exactly how much more expensive they are, but i would say quite some.. considering all the stuff that needs to be calculated for skeletal meshes.. weights and such.. but dont know exactly.. maybe somebody else can tell you more precisely..
No, no special reason. I had only thought that it would be more effiecient on the engine if i had 20 iterations of the same mesh that i could pose in the scene rather than having 5 pre-posed static meshes duplicated 4 times each. that and I would have more variation/randomness with the skeletal mesh at a lower cost. I had planned to use the shutters skeletal mesh in at least one part in the scene as the player will have access to one balcony.