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Kandee Koray
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I really have no clue what exactly the mesh is, as far as i know, the difference between mesh, and a regular sculpt, is a mesh is better quality. Im a fairly new sculptor, and i was kinda confused, cause when i sculpt, its a sculpt mesh, i still dont really see the big deal is, i guess i just dont understand it. Ive read alot about it, and watched videos and blah blah blah, but i still dont see the difference between sculpts, and mesh. Maybe im missing something? Can someone help me out on what it is?

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The only big deal I see so far about mesh is that its full incorportation into SL will probably force me to find another virtual world. I did not come to SL spend a fortune on computers and/or computer upgrades to be awed by more bells and whistles.

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Even a normal prim (box, sphere,...) is in technical terms a 'mesh'.

The difference between sclupties and the new meshes:

- sculpties have an unchangable UV-layout, meshes can have custom UVs. 

- sculpties have an unchangable topology, always ~2000 triangles. New meshes can have any kind of topology.

- sculpties have an unchangable collision-shape for physics, meshes can have a custom collision shape 

- sculpties are stiff/rigid, meshes can be set to have skin weights where they move/bend with avatar's skeleton 

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Sculpts have one texture map, mesh can have up to 8.

@Yoki - what you see on your screen has always been "3D Models" (ie meshes).  Prims are meshes too, just predefined simple ones.  A custom mesh can be more efficient than a prim.  For example, a box prim used as a wall has 12 to 108 triangles used to display it (depending on view distance)  A mesh version can use 4 triangles.  That's because a box prim always has all it's sides, whether you can see them or not.  A mesh does not need parts you can't see.

Badly made mesh objects can definitely cause lag, just like badly made prim and sculpt objects do, it's up to the designer to be efficient.  The Linden Lab staff have heavily penalized complex mesh items in upload cost and "Prim Equivalents" (how many prims they count on a parcel).  So designers have a strong incentive to be efficient.  Actually, I think the penalties are so high very few people will use mesh objects except for avatar attachments, so Second Life will not change drastically, or very fast.

 

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Yoki Enoch wrote:

The only big deal I see so far about mesh is that its full incorportation into SL will probably force me to find another virtual world. I did not come to SL spend a fortune on computers and/or computer upgrades to be awed by more bells and whistles.

Doubt that'll happen to the degree you make it seem like it will, considering I use an x1600 for my graphics card and I haven't had any issues stemming from mesh. x1600s were considered mid-range in 2005.

Efficient, professional use of Mesh is much much better than sculpties in terms of client-side rendering, as far as I am aware. 

 

 

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Sculpties were basically mesh 1.0, an inelegant, dirty and cumbersome hack to enable some kind of mesh import without having to change the code from the ground up. The one advantage of sculpt prims over mesh is the low prim count. You can display a fair amount of detail on a single prim, whereas the prim count of mesh is quite ridiculous at the moment. I'm guessing that sculpties will continue to be used in prefabs, furniture, vehicles, and other builds where prim count is important, whereas the fashion industry will favor rigged mesh objects over rigid sculpties.

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Acheron Gloom wrote:


Yoki Enoch wrote:

The only big deal I see so far about mesh is that its full incorportation into SL will probably force me to find another virtual world. I did not come to SL spend a fortune on computers and/or computer upgrades to be awed by more bells and whistles.

Doubt that'll happen to the degree you make it seem like it will, considering I use an x1600 for my graphics card and I haven't had any issues stemming from mesh. x1600s were considered mid-range in
2005
.

Efficient, professional use of Mesh is much much better than sculpties in terms of client-side rendering, as far as I am aware.  

I redesigned my sim recently and threw out all plants and furniture made with insane amounts of conventional prims. I thought it might be slower if nearly everything was sculpted, at least initially after entering the sim, but it's actually more performant. My palm trees are now made of two sculpts instead of ten or more conventional prims and there is a lot less lag, even when I log in with my old notebook. I'm guessing that mesh will have the same positive effect. Or would have if the prim count wasn't so ridiculous.

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Anyone trying to avoid mesh should never have joined SL, or any other virtual world. Mesh is everywhere. Prims, sculpts, everything has an underlying mesh to it. The mesh program going through in SL just gives creators more control over the shape of meshes and the appearance of objects. With luck and skill, the mesh objects generated will make SL more efficient and interesting for everybody.

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Rusalka Writer wrote:

Anyone trying to avoid mesh should never have joined SL, or any other virtual world. Mesh is everywhere. Prims, sculpts, everything has an underlying mesh to it. The mesh program going through in SL just gives creators more control over the shape of meshes and the appearance of objects. With luck and skill, the mesh objects generated will make SL more efficient and interesting for everybody.

I really have to agree here, even the ground is made from a mesh, to say that meshes will force anyone to leave SL is naive.

In regards to the difference between a scuplt and a mesh, a scuplt is a cylinder that has been unwrapped, but it will always be a cylinder and it will always have a sphere for a physics shape, a mesh has no such restrictions and can have a physics shape that is as complex as the mesh model itself.

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Marielle Caerndow's answer is very good, imo. Best, it is succinct. 

I would say the difference between mesh and sculpties is control. One has way more control with mesh. I doubt I will ever build another sculpty with sharp edges. Nor will I try to build scupties with detailed textures. I can make much better use of texture space using the custom UV Maps possible with mesh.


DanielRavenNest points out that everything in SL is mesh. Prims and sculpties are simplified ways of working with mesh. With the addition of what we label Mesh we are free to work directly with the mesh vertices. In sculpties and prims we can only work with settings that influence the vertices. It is a big change.

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What is the biggest differences?

1 - Mesh is easier to make with more customization

2 - Mesh is a standard 3d object that can be used in almost any 3d game.

 

What's the big deal?

Well, it frees up creators to, at least, learn how to make things for other platforms. Plus, you have your stuff, not LL. With animation and textures, you can use those almost anywhere, with some minimal adjustments. Our objects that we make in SL, those can only be used in SL, or a similar platform using the same code. With mesh, we can do whatever we want with our objects, just like we can with textures and animation. In programs like UNITY, you can just drag an SL mesh right from your pc's folder, into the UNITY program. It's really that easy and that universal.

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This is what I wrote up BEFORE I learned about the prim costs scaling up with size and that LODs all combine into the cost of the prim count... if LL does mesh right these would be the advantages over Sculpties... Currently these advantages still apply to small scale items like AV's and accessories and small physical vehicles


    When Mesh is fully released it will make Sculpties 100% obsolete. No matter what your opinion is its a fact that Mesh is better in every single way then Sculpties. Let me walk you through the details on exactly why that is. Here is a brief lesson about video game graphics in general. Everything you see in here is made up of "Polygons". Prims and Sculpties are all made up of them. Your computer graphics card is what is used to display all of these. The more polygons around you the more work your computer has to do to display them. So the lower the polygons the better and faster your computer can display them. For those who would like to see the polygons in world you can go to your Preferences in the Advanced tab check "Show Advanced Menu" and "Show Developer Menu" save and exit the window and then press Ctrl + Shift + R. It will go into wire frame mode, press it again to exit. You can see all the polygons behind the scenes. A bit more in depth, a Prim, Sculptie and Mesh are made up of polygons. A polygon is made up of 2 or more triangles. A triangle is made up of 3 vertices (vertex). Vertex > Triangle > Polygon > (Prims, Sculpties, Mesh).

    So with Second Life a prim box should have 6 polygons because it has 6 sides however these have 54 polygons because they use 9 polygons per side to work with the prim system such as hollow, taper, cut, etc. With Sculpties every single Sculptie no matter how simple or complex, no matter how large or small, they all have 1024 polygons... This is because they use a 64x64 or proportional texture to use the colors of each pixel as a position for each vertex. So Sculpters, myself included, would simply "hide" unused vertices which works to create nice looking Sculpties but still puts more stress on the graphic card. So say you want to make a complex shape that looks like 2 boxes and save prims so you use Sculpties. Sure you saved on prims on the sim count, but your hurting everyone who views it with the high polygon counts where as with Mesh you could easily make the shape in 12 polygons vs 1024... Do you see already how inferior Sculpties is? http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/535/meshvsculpt.jpg/

    The biggest thing Mesh is introducing is the ability to upload a "physical" model along with the visual model. Here is a example of a physical model http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/88/dropshipcollisionmodeld.jpg/ the blue box is the physical model and the white ship is the visual model. A physical model is what your AV is actually walking on, it is completely unseen. Physical models take up a huge amount of computer processing power. Most people have never noticed that every single Sculptie uses a sphere as its physical model no matter what the shape. So say you had a Sculpted square floor. Behind the scenes the physical model is round so you would fall through the corners of the floor so you basically have to use yet another invisible prim to make the floor solid. They do this to save on computer processing power and simplify the physical model. With Mesh you'll be able to custom fit your physical model to the Mesh which will save a hundred times more on computer processing because on a simple Mesh floor you can have the physical model 1 to 6 polygons instead of a sphere... Second Life also splits up the visual and physical aspects of the Mesh so physically moving vehicles such as cars, airplanes, spaceships can has a super low physical model but a extremely high visual model. Ive seen a 150,000 polygon ship take up only 13 prims physically and was able to be flown. That's equivalent to 150 Sculpties... that's INSANE!

    Another huge thing Mesh has over Scultpies is the ability to upload several LOD's (Level Of Detail) models. What these are is when you set your objects graphic setting to low, medium or high you can have a individual Mesh for each... So on low a wall in a house could be just 1 polygon. On medium it could have the baseboards and trim modeled in. On high you could go as far as to model in cracks or outlet plugs in the wall... This saves so much for people with lower end computers and you have complete control on how each setting looks. On the other hand with Sculpties SL simply reduces that 64x64 texture down so they have less resolution. Which on the lowest setting on most Scultpies I have are not even recognizable...

    Yet another thing Mesh has over Sculpties is how smooth they can look visually. The vertices in a Sculptie are all "snapped" to a 256x256x256 grid when they are uploaded here and do not have any decimal places. Its 256 because it uses the color of the pixels. The color range is 0 to 255. I make large ships and the exteriors are always very bumpy and rough looking because of that limitation. With Mesh I've already seen cars that are mirror smooth because Mesh uses a decimal point system when it places the vertices.

    Last major thing I can think of is Texturing. You will now be able to texture the correct way with Mesh. Since the max upload size currently in SL is 1024x1024 the highest resolution per polygon on a Sculptie is 32x32 pixels because you have no control over the "UV" mapping. UV mapping is basically how the texture is laid on top of the model. With Sculpties you are stuck with the default UV mapping and cannot edit it, instead you have to texture around that limitation which almost always creates a loss in resolution. With Mesh you will be able to apply a 1024x1024 to each polygon if you wish, meaning greater resolution. Here is a visual example http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/535/meshvsculpt.jpg/ as you can see it only takes 3 texture images all compressed into the same texture to make up the Mesh object. While the Sculpted texture needs a instance of every texture laid out again and again over 25 of the original 3 textures had to be duplicated out on the texture because of the lack of UV editing... Not to mention the polygon difference... The end result is visually the EXACT same.... so why use sculpties any more?

Here's a sum up of the FACTS about the pros and cons of each just off the top of my head.

Mesh Pro's:
- Most people who Sculpt already use programs that can do Mesh such as Blender and 3ds Max
- 1 to 64,000 Polygon counts per object = total control
- Ability to make custom physical models
- Physical and visual prim counts split up
- Low end computer friendly with Level Of Detail models
- Better and smoother looking
- Faster building times
- UV mapping

Mesh Con's:
- Higher upload $L costs

Sculptie Pro's:
- People are already used to it
- Low upload $L costs

Sculptie Con's:
- Every sculpt is 1024 polygons
- Sphere physical models
- Lost resolution on low graphic settings
- Slow building times (average sculptie for me takes at least 1-2 hours)
- No UV mapping
- Very graphics card intensive
- Creates tons of computer lag for low end users
- Bumpy on long smooth surfaces

About Me

    I've been using Sculpites ever since they first came out you can see my line of large ships I create have been with Sculpties since SL introduced it so I know a thing or two about them. I've learned all the tricks and techniques to creating with them. Ever since the beginning I have hated the Sculptie system. I've used 3ds Max in RL for 9+ years previous to SL and the way you have to work wit Sculpties is everything wrong about content design for video games. There is no optimization or concern about triangle or polygon counts what so ever. I had to adapt to it to be able to make decent looking stuff in here. With Mesh coming out I am very excited to actually be able to model the REAL way now!

Moo Spyker

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Moo Spyker wrote:

.... so why use sculpties any more?

1.) Because I can slap a sculpt map onto a 128 x 128 meter large megaprim and get a giant building with 1024 polygons that has a prim count of one :)

2.) No matter how many scripts I add to the abovementioned huge @$$ build, the prim count won't exceed the magical number of one.

3.) I can even make my giant sculptie physical, and the prim count will still be one.

4.) For many types of clothing (hats, shoes etc.) and body attachments (such as horns or wings) it simply doesn't matter. Why would anyone care if their shoes are sculpted or mesh based?

5.) There is a huge repository of full perm sculpt maps that are being sold by established merchants. If I buy from them, I can be 99% certain that I purchase their own work and not something that was stolen from a Renderosity or TurboSquid seller.

6.) Sculpties are here, they're queer, we all have oodles of them and love them to pieces. I've just redesigned my sim using tons of sculpted content, and I'm not going to replace all this with mesh anytime soon.

7.) How long do you think is it going to take before everyone uses a v2-based viewer with mesh support? I'm still using Phoenix, and I'm planning to do so as long as possible. I'd give it at least another six months before merchants can start thinking about selling mesh content.

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I own two sims, and when mesh hits the grid, I will be using it on my sims. I will also be selling mesh products.

If people don't want to be able to see everything in SL, that is their choice. I will not cater to them on my sims or with my products. They are welcome to stay away if they don't like that.

I think you will see a lot of people take that same stand.

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@ Ishtara: Don't be so sure about the theft part. There are some sculpty makers who can and have used various methods offered by 3D modeling software (shrinkwrapping, projection, etc) to copy 3D mesh works from outside 3D content sources. So, the fact that something is a sculpt map does not mean it wasn't made in an illegal or unethical way.

By the same token, it is disturbing that people seem to automatically assume that most people creating mesh need to steal it. Some of us have been modelers outside of SL for years.

@Vivienne: Amen to that. However, I do think that Ishtara has a point that it will take some time for mesh to be viable from a commerce standpoint. I think it may take six months to a year to grow significantly and be adopted gridwide. I think this will be partly because of all the misinformation and paranoia being spread. But also, I believe the complexity of mesh metrics (especially the issue of scaling and linking mistakes/parcel returns) will scare some people in the beginning. And, let's not forget the luddites. :matte-motes-stress: That being said, I am most definitely going to create mesh for my personal delight and some for sale, keeping in mind it will be awhile before those types of products really pick up steam.

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Mesh will kill all your snails, eat your cheese cake and urinate on your moms best tea cozy. It is mean, dangerous and really we are playing with fire....we just don't have good enough particle engine with phsyics simulation to tell it is fire. 

I have heard the only thing that seperates a man who works with mesh from a lion tamer is you can make mesh in your underwear, no one will see you...but then I saw a man get eaten alive by a mesh and spat out his full clothing and it convinced me a dial up connection could save me from a cheesecake swamp if monday never arrived and a hat left in a bush never had a chanve to kill two birds....but only in a full moon with a grimacing left handed monk present and flying through the area...ONLY  then.....otherwise, we cuold all die using this BS....yes, it is a long story to explain all these things, so I will digress and get back to taking about mesh being like sulpties.

THERE IS NO MESH UPLOADS! There are collada files uploaded, these, in turn, make mesh in your computer! Yes, by magic and math you convert files of garbage stuff that does not read like those nifty books in plain english...nope, they are a mess and they are dragged from your hard drive or RAM into existance by burning hot electricity surging at millions of hertz...they are amazing, it is a wonder they don't upload themselve really....but, you know...they have to be rendered first and then are stuck in teh GPU and can't get out....I bet they try to though! THey want to get you and destroy your life to I bet! 

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Ashasekayi Ra wrote:

@Vivienne: Amen to that. However, I do think that Ishtara has a point that it will take some time for mesh to be viable from a commerce standpoint. I think it may take six months to a year to grow significantly and be adopted gridwide.


 

I think like anything thats new and shiny, people will adopt meshes fairly quickly, especially when you see the quality that is possible with meshes compared to anything else thats been seen so far. Just yesterday I was skimming through some prefabs on the marketplace, I saw one for L$16000 and was gobsmacked by the price, but it had 5 star reviews and everyone who had bought it loved it, so I went in world for a look myself and while it was nice the only thing I could think was that a mesh version would be so superior in everyway.

One of the main features of the house was how the shadow baking had been done and while it was okay - decent it was slightly pixelated and there were discrepancies in the 'fake' light sources. With meshes you can have programs like maya and blender bake shadows, occlusion and ambience from precise calculated light sources giving you fantastic lightmap to recreate some pretty stunning scenes, in addition instead of just standard boring shadows you can use nifty little options like ray trace shadows which give shadows a much more realistic effect.

To give you an example:

Shadow Example.png

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Vivienne Daguerre wrote:

I own two sims, and when mesh hits the grid, I will be using it on my sims. I will also be selling mesh products.

If people don't want to be able to see everything in SL, that is their choice. I will not cater to them on my sims or with my products. They are welcome to stay away if they don't like that.

I think you will see a lot of people take that same stand.

 

I didn't say that I'm against mesh or won't use it as soon as somebody develops a mesh viewer with a proper v1.2 interface, that's something you read into my post. All I said was that sculpties still have their purpose and that I will continue to use the existing sculpted content, especially all the content that I've already bought.

ETA: Most people that I see in my sim still use Phoenix. If you want to alienate the huge v1.2 viewer user base by using mesh, go ahead. Personally, I don't think that's a wise move at this point.

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Ashasekayi Ra wrote:

@ Ishtara: Don't be so sure about the theft part. There are some sculpty makers who can and have used various methods offered by 3D modeling software (shrinkwrapping, projection, etc) to copy 3D mesh works from outside 3D content sources. So, the fact that something is a sculpt map does not mean it wasn't made in an illegal or unethical way.

By the same token, it is disturbing that people seem to automatically assume that most people creating mesh need to steal it. Some of us have been modelers outside of SL for years.

You also read something into my post that wasn't there. I didn't imply that all mesh content must be stolen. What I said was that there are many sellers of sculpted building supplies with an established market presence that have proven themselves to be trustworthy. If I buy their supplies, I know that I won't be met with a "missing from database" error or DMCA notifications somewhere down the line. With mesh import, a lot of new players will enter the field who don't yet have the same kind of reputation.

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York Jessop wrote:

 

I think like anything thats new and shiny, people will adopt meshes fairly quickly, especially when you see the quality that is possible with meshes compared to anything else thats been seen so far.

You forget that in order to adopt meshes, people will have to adopt viewer 2. I gave Firestorm another chance today, but it failed to impress me. I crashed three times in a row, couldn't get the built-in AO to work (it refuses to load some of my animations), and I can't possibly RP with this abomination that once used to be a proper IM window. V2 is just not an option for many people, and until that changes, mesh won't be an option either.

 

One of the main features of the house was how the shadow baking had been done and while it was okay - decent it was slightly pixelated and there were discrepancies in the 'fake' light sources. With meshes you can have programs like maya and blender bake shadows, occlusion and ambience from precise calculated light sources giving you fantastic lightmap to recreate some pretty stunning scenes, in addition instead of just standard boring shadows you can use nifty little options like ray trace shadows which give shadows a much more realistic effect.

 

We don't need any more textures with baked shadows, we need proper shadow rendering within the viewer. Baked shadows were only an interim solution and will look pretty unrealistic once everyone uses system shadows.

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Thats a very good point about V2, I have no doubt there will be some who will not want to use it, but they are going to have to get used to the idea that V1.X.X viewers will not be supported for much longer. Its like those of us who refused to upgrade to Windows Vista/7 (I was one) and stuck with XP because its what I knew, but I had to take the plunge and now im as comfortable with Win7 than I was with XP. V2 is the same, its not perfect but it works and it gets easier to use as you get used to it not to mention when people start seeing mesh rice everywhere in the unsupported viewers (which looks like crap) they might consider the best option to be to just take the plunge.

In regards to viewer shadows, I cant help but feel your contradicting yourself here, realtime shadows are a feature of viewer 2, but they also require a pretty hefty computer to render, many current games and 3D environments use baked shadows because they reduce the amount of resources that are need to render everything else, SL is more affected by this than most other 3D environments because there is an added process of streaming aswell as rendering. Baking a shadow add no addition cost to anything, if they are subtile enough you can even use them pretty well with shadows enabled!

Regardless, baking shadows turns a product from meh  to wow. People want realism and ambience, i thought being an RPer you would have wanted this too?

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" Its like those of us who refused to upgrade to Windows Vista/7 (I was one) and stuck with XP "

</rant> I use v2 because I am meshaholic, but for those who hate it, that example is too small a change. It's more like the changes in Office 2010, which totally destroyed all accumulated UI knowledge, wasted screen space, hid all the most frequent controls and doubled the number of clicks needed for anything. Though I am forced to use it, Office 2010 remains to me an absolute abomination, an encapsulation of arrogant disregard for the user, unfit for purpose. I have to do all serious writing work on a machine with an older version of Office. While not sharing their horror, I do sympathise with those who feel that way about v2. </rant>

"Baking a shadow add no addition cost to anything"

I'm not sure that's really true if you include hidden resource costs.  I have an underground chamber on Aditi that uses baked textures. To get sufficient surface detail, it has to use eight 1024 x 1024 textures, despite using UV stacking where possible. The walls are still a bit fuzzy. The underlying textures are just four 512x512 tileable textures. Those tileable textures can be re-used on other meshes in the same build, while the baked ones will fit only on this exact mesh. So the use of baked textures does have a very significant hidden cost in increasing the storage and bandwidth required for textures. Excessive texture download is still a major source of lag.

I think this is an important hole in the scheme for making mesh prim equivalence reflect resource consumption. The resources consumed by multiple large custom baked textures is not taken into account at all in that calculation, although it may be as high or greater than the rest of the consumed resources*.

Some easing of this problem may be achieved if we eventually get to be able to overlay small tiled textures, for high resolution surface detail, with much lower resolution untiled baked textures sufficient for the lighting effects. This could save a lot of texture download. With any luck, this will be an early product of the materials project we hope will follow mesh release.

*this is a guess, I would love to see some real figures.

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You could bake shadows onto any size texture, if you used a 1024 texture with no baking on it, it would cost exactly the same as a 1024 texture with baking on it. I understand what your saying that to get better baking results you would have to use a higher resolution texture but when you compare say a house that has no baking on it to with the same house with baking the difference is astounding at no extra cost.

If you were to enable shadows and lighting on the viewer, your 'costs' would go way beyond texture sizes.

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Indeed, no explicit cost, but big hidden cost compared to small tiled re-usable textures.The walls of my gallery uses three 512x512 tiled textures. If I used baked textures, it would need at least 20 1024x1024, and then it would still be fuzzy at close range.  Unfortunately, you don't control whether others use the advanced lighting options or not, and that's another whole problem because things look too different with and without them, baked or not.

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