Sheson, I was just working with some of my low triangle meshes for grass. I realized you can end up with many more triangles by intersecting them with each other. In other words, I can create a tree lod model with only 3 panes, but make it look like it has a dozen. Still need two tree lod atlases though or the butterflying will be...
Actually, this might solve the butterflying too. Will let you know.
We already can feed LODGen.exe with different versions of billboard meshes (your own NIF template) were it then sets the billboard texture. I "just" need to add multiple textures replacement and their atlas creation and a proper way to define all the resources so they are picked up automatically. No ETA, though. Can be still a while out.
Adding normalmaps to billboards can improve them a lot (more) than just adding additional sides.
Have a look at Simplygon. It can create multiple billboards for a tree but also impostors (new triangles with new textures faking small pieces of flora/leafs/branches - like a truer 3D LOD tree), which can be a solution to high-res trees. I am trying to establish how to create an automatic workflow since Simplygon does not know NIF so right now there is importing/exporting via 3DS Max or Blender involved.
Simplygon is free for non commercial use and now can be installed as a local application (only Windows 10 though... but that is what we have virtual machines for).
BTW, textures for the same object/tree should always be on the same atlas, otherwise you can not utilize batching. If there are more textures for other object they go on the next atlas.
Edited by sheson, Yesterday, 03:19 AM.