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    3ds max material amount

    What has stopped me from creating levels within 3ds max has been that from some tutorial video when I started working with 3ds max/UDK, I read that it's not recommended using more than 4 materials on a model when importing it to UDK. Now after seeing how that other guy did the whole minas tirith in 3ds max and imported it to UDK, I'm wondering what are the actual concenquences of using more than 4 materials for a model? Is there a difference at all? It would be a lot easier for me to create a big undetailed level first in 3dsmax, instead of building small parts and then puting them together in UDK, so I'm then wondering, what's the difference then in using 10 materials in udk instead of 4 materials on one huge model? Big performance hit? Nothing at all? Or what?

    #2
    Test it and see how it runs.

    However, I don't recommend trying to export stuff as one big object, that would definitely kill performance. Just export the sections individually and instead of putting them at the origin, leave them where they are. When you import to UDK and place the objects in the map, their pivot points will all be in the same place, so you can set them all at 0,0,0 and they'll be in exactly the same position as what you had them in 3ds Max.

    The reason for having the separate meshes is so that the meshes that aren't visible can be dropped from memory which will increase performance. You don't want to have to have stuff loaded that you can't see anyways.

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      #3
      It's not just a problem of the amount of materials. But, each material on a mesh causes a state change in the renderer which is a performance hit. Large meshes will not be occluded unless the entire mesh is hidden from view. That means if a tiny piece of it is visible, the entire thing is rendered which is a huge performance waste. You also get no benefit from reusing meshes so your memory hit will be pretty severe. The engine is designed to work best with levels built from modular pieces.

      Even exporting as mentioned above can have issues as each piece is going to be a separate mesh, no modularity. You are still looking at a memory hit with that. I'm also not sure you want the origin outside of the bounds of the mesh. That may cause the mesh to not be occluded, but I am not positive on that one.

      Basically, you are advised to build your levels inside of UnrealEd using modular pieces that can be reused.

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        #4
        Thank you for the quick answers, but my question was simply about the materials. I don't really understand what the state change actually means, since I have not really dived into the depths of the engine or rendering at all, so I'll just ask such a simple question, which should clarify a bit better what I want to know.
        Does using 12 materials on one mesh basically equal to 3 meshes using each 4 unique materials, in terms of performance or will it take up much more performance?

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          #5
          I can't tell you what sort of performance hit it'll cause or what it equates, but I'm curious why you're using 12 materials on a single mesh. Would you consider baking the texture down so that you're working with fewer materials?

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            #6
            12 was simply a theoretical number, but why I basically rose the question after all, was for instance when I make a background building and while until now I created the structure and after that created the pillars and all kinds of other parts of the structures with different materials individually, since the structure itself had already 4 materials on it, I was wondering if it was worth it and I could just add the pillars to the structure mesh with 5th material.

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