I'm using Blender for Unity3D game asset creation. The Array Modifier does something great (see below) that I would love to be able to do for arbitrary collections of objects. I'm hoping someone might provide instructions / pointers / plugin / ... to help achieve! So...
An unapplied Array Modifier creates an entity that behaves like a single mesh during export but can still be modified easily (e.g. change the curve, parameters, etc).
I wish to 'group' arbitrary objects to export the same way (possibly sub-including the results of an Array Modifier).
A concrete example
A table comprises legs and top.
The legs are identical so array-ed or group instanced (depending upon layout). (Those legs might internally use Curve Modifier which we want to tweak in the future and their spacing might also need tweaking (picture doing this with a long curving fence if you're thinking manual answers!)). On export, the arrayed legs appear as a single mesh (which appears in Unity3D as a single GameObject). Perfect!
The table top needs including (otherwise its separation degrades performance due to requiring an extra draw call).
- Group-ing in Blender does nothing (that I can tell?).
- Parent-ing them merely produces same parenting in Unity = same performance issue.
- Join-ing them will make the single object but prevent easy future modification.
My research found is-it-possible-to-group-several-objects-and-then-manipulate-them-scale-rotate which suggests both parenting and grouping but otherwise nothing.
The only potentials I see involves temporarily joining before / during export. This seems annoying overhead. 'Before' requires keeping the blend files outside Unity losing the lovely auto-update. IIUC Unity imports blend files through some magic Blender-invoking that does an FBX export. 'During' might involve some programming hooks that might join things during that export but not modify the original file?
All thoughts welcome! Thanks in advance!