I've run the tear test with default LODs and no physic model because I wanted to see how the uploader was going to calculate them. And I wanted to see what happens with that when a mesh becomes more complex and detailed. That's why I've choose an organic form with a Subsurf of 1 and 3. But more tests are needed about, as Drongle one (with more photos please! Remember not all people reading these post have a good english... as me, per example... so any graphical material are welcome to understand you all better).
Arton, thanks for the article. Is the way I use to work, but I still without fully understanding SL Uploader and why i guet some ramdom of toppic results with it.
Yeah, it's for driving nuts Drongle. But how little enough are those difference when we are dealing more complex meshes?
Drongle, I think I didn't understand you when you talk about looping... when one do a manual subsuf model by looping, one use to have more control about final number of verts/faces than when one use the Subsurf or Multires Mods in Blender. Using the Subsurf, in theory, what can give you is a more uniform mesh in your model, which uses to mean a more uniform UV faces. Do you mean with same final number of verts between manual looping and Subsurf Mod?
About the UVs... my personal opinion is that I'm going to still working as always: customizing my UVs for texturing better (specially because I work with ZBrush too and have a different unwrapping method than Blender). For me, by now, it's better, but's that's my personal choise.
About Tris vs. Quads... my partners and I did some time ago a simple test about with a LP organic leaf. We were thinking that maybe converting to Tris the leaf could help to minimize LI, because in theory will help the uploader to don't have to convert Quads to Tris, or will not have any difference. But our result was that Quad model was giving quite less LI than Tris model. For triangulate our Quad Model, I used Blender's Tris Modifier. UVs unwrapping method used was Projection. I don't remember if shading method was flat or smooth, sorry.
We have to remember that saving 1 or 2 prims can be important for mesh creators (sellers and artists too) that have prim limit restriction. Per example that's my case: when I do big art installations in a full sim (my last one was with my team: The Sea of Cubic Dreams at LEA25. All mesh*. We spend over 10.000 prims), I use to not be quite worried about if my assets are some prims down or up LI conversion, but when I have to design with prim limit restriction (we reproduct a part of it for a charity event, but with a limitation of 300 prims)... the story change. Any mesh creator should need to plan better the "how to do for SL" uploader (efficiency), users (quality) and land LI restrictions their stuff before starting modeling. And that means that any tricks that can help to optimize a model, without loosing really much quality at least in Med LOD at mínimun LI possible, can be really helpful. Understanding how much can or not be important shading and UV unwrap can be important depending of what you want and need to create.
*Mostly beveled clon cubes of different sizes and editor's physic tab settings to make them interactive without scripts. The base-cube was optimized to be able to be saw at distance, also with poor graphics. The cost in prims of this cube was of 7 prims (it was big). Unwrap method used for the cube was UV unwrap with Mirror Mod. Smooth shading. Modeled in Blender 2.6.