zbrush high to low (WITHOUT using normal map?)

Zbrush newbie learning the ropes here. All the tutorials online for a workflow from hi to low poly uses normal maps (The low poly is just this awful cage mesh that just wraps around the entire model i.e. pics below)

IIRC, source engine will disable per-vertex lighting on props if you include a bump map (which I **don’t **want). Can someone help point me in the right direction on what the workflow is to get proper low poly model out into 3ds max?

NOTE: this is going to be an animated prop (a small drone hovering around the map) so lots of changing light values on the prop.

EDIT: I’ve tried decimation master but topology gets artifacts, my painted texture disappears, and all the polygroups are baked into one polygroup (which makes it a bitch to paint textures on for hard surface modeling)

try an ssbump - I think that gets around the bumpmap limitation.

I don’t think models support that shader – only map brushes do.

The whole idea of ‘baking’ means baking normals - that’s the only way source gives additional mesh data is via normalmaps. There’s no magic bullet to avoid that.

I’m not 100% on this, but I believe vertex lighting is only for static props anyway, making it dynamic in the environment gives you point lighting regardless of if it has normalmaps or not.

As for making the low poly, you’d probably want to manually retopologize/remake the mesh in max and build the cage from that.

I’ve gotten the poly count to about 2000 which I’m okay with currently. Seems like hell for texturing though, especially since a lot of the uv’s are symmetrical but small bits of differences in dynamesh will cause inconsistencies when I unwrap.

I’ll post an update once/if I find a way past this.

Also, yeah, ssbump doesn’t work for the VertexLitGeneric shader.