jo hi, i just tried out a modeling technique for tileable stone textures. i used supporting edges around the corners, and then gave everything the same smoothing group.the meshes are not optimized then, so quite many polys here. the result is not that cool how i hoped for.
there are 5 different materials all on the same mesh. 1 diffuse, 1 normal, one specular.
always 2 lights with realtimeshader in 3dsmax viewport. no shadows, only ambient occlusion was on.
most of the time you will need to create tileable stonemaps in games, at least, when you're into open world games.
because the unique mapped meshes have a limitation of size, since the pixels get very large, when the prop is scaled. therefore you need tiles, to keep a reasonable texelsize.
so the cons about tileables are: seams, not very defined and blotchy geometry, therfore not readable.
so here i tried a technique, which should give the model a more defined and readable look by using supporting edges around meshcorners and then apply only 1 smoothing group to all
conclusion: when the mesh is optimized, this modeling techique can work,you will get slighty rounded corners.which can be made more solid, the more near you place the supporting edges to your corner edge.
absolutely inevitable is ambient occlusion shadow, which will give your model the depth it needs to read it well. all bigger engines will give you realtime AO shadows ingame.
if not available, a workaround could be dirtmaps in mapchannel 2 to fake AO. but thats much work.
btw. if you want to test my maps, or use them, then down them here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6300026/Stone_Tests.rar
have phun, i share them for free. give credit to me, if you use them, although the specs are very crappy.