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Yes, but not limited to those. You can also play for recoginition with pose(s) and animations, color scheme, playercolor placement scheme, silhouette, props...

The thing is that I always see that historic autenticity always wins in these forums against the gameplay/readability. May work on some cases, but can hurt gameplay / game experience for sure. That's why unit visual design is a very complex and important area in zoomed out / isometric RTS that usually have behind several concept art studies and tend to sacrifice historic accuracy in benefit of clarity and readability. There are other solutions that can alleviate the hard choices that have to be made on unit visual design... a good example are the banners with specific and easy to read unit types of the batallions on Total War series which allow them to make units that you have to zoom in to see differences between them, but it is clear when you zoom out and see the banners.

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Here's a quick dirty bake from a personal project as an example of detail-is-not-everything.

You can test this texture set out hidetail textures.rar on an m_armor_tunic_long and compare in-game (downscaling to 256 first) with the regular zoom option with any other unit that looks similar, and you'll see how little benefit for gameplay visuals these do.

Even with much less details than this, some fancy shader effects allowing to see reflections moving when the unit moves is much more impactful than any super-duper-detailed textures you create.

Small preview:

imagen.png

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On 07/10/2020 at 21:48, Enrique said:

Here's a quick dirty bake from a personal project as an example of detail-is-not-everything.

You can test this texture set out hidetail textures.rar on an m_armor_tunic_long and compare in-game (downscaling to 256 first) with the regular zoom option with any other unit that looks similar, and you'll see how little benefit for gameplay visuals these do.

Even with much less details than this, some fancy shader effects allowing to see reflections moving when the unit moves is much more impactful than any super-duper-detailed textures you create.

Small preview:

imagen.png

That skin shader looks very good to clean up and add norm map on body if its possible. If its procedurally generated to make all skin tones easily. Also te metal surface.

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The skin is taken from a makehuman model. I just multiplied dirt in top and used a tiling small skin texture to make the pores detail:

Spoiler

 


imagen.png

 

 

 

The metal is a simple color, multiplied with vertex colors, and then the dirt on top. It is pretty simple, but in a PBR engine, the reflections and fresnel makes all the heavy lifting in the shader:
 

Spoiler

 

imagen.png

 

 

 

Apart from that, I just used a sunlamp in the front, and another without shadows in the back. I just baked it without much more setup to get the result from above.
On a more serious test I made a few months ago, the result on a PBR engine with a similar unit mesh as 0AD (1.2k triangles) looks like this (this is with 2k textures though):

Spoiler

 

imagen.png

 

 

But the heavy-lifting is done by the engine and PBR visuals. This is the diffuse:

imagen.png

So as you can see... the biggest impact in visuals will always reside on the engine and the shaders that is able to pull-off.... not the amount of detail in the texture.

 

If I remember correctly I left somewhere in the forums a high-res version of a guy with this armor? or similar?  it is just a matter of creating a setup for baking all the details into a 0AD unit. Both normals, AO, diffuse... Then you can just create hi-poly versions of the units you want to it and bake with the setup.

 

 

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