Thanks Reedbeta, def going in the right direction. Excellent. Really appreciate your great help and advice. I'm getting the gist of what you're saying, and I think that's pretty much what I'm getting at. Half of my problem is figuring out the exact terminology and classifications of what I'm seeking to do, which is very defined and thought-out conceptually in my mind and on paper.
I'm looking to do quite a lot with what must be called "displaced vertices" and such; basically a lot of math somewhere directly prior to the actual frame display. The thing is, I want as few polygons as possible, but I'd like to do adjustments to the polygons somewhere along the render pipeline (and where is something I'm trying to figure out). One of the things I'm struggling with is dealing with what are inherently "structural" things and not actual display things. I.e., usually, the line segments (sorry! That's what I meant by "vectors", learning the correct lingo here) of meshes exist in the undisplayed mesh matrix world of the engine, but not in the actual frame on the screen, where they're "colored over" and not necessarily used as lines themselves.
Firstly, I'd like to use certain line segments ("outline" ones, basically") to draw comic-book style "ink" lines. This would obviously vary frame to frame and require (I'm assuming) algorithms to determine which polygon vertices and line segments are actually the current outline ones. It would also mean, of course, that I'm seeking to directly use the usually non-displayed polygon vertices as art tools themselves (black lines), and that I'm seeking to have artistic control over how they're displayed (what I meant by artistic adjustment to vectors). I'd also have to develop algorithms of some sort to "color in" the spaces made by the outlines (what I meant by placeholders basically), and I'd like to use the polygon points in between the "outline" line segments to determine the shading and such, as those points would obviously contain info about how far various portions of the in-between-the-lines segments protrude inwards or outwards in the mesh in that particular frame. I'm also seeking to figure out how to dynamically create polygon "points" that would generate temporary polygons over a certain area of a mesh. I.e., if for a brief moment a mesh needs to bend or morph in a certain section of its body, I want to be able to create said "points" and have either shading data and/or literal polygons and vertices be created, if only temporarily for the movement.
Hope that all makes sense...? If it doesn't, let me know and I'll go at it again; I know exactly what I'm going at, but I don't know if it's coming across very clearly...
Thanks so much for your help!
I'm really appreciating devmaster.net and the forums; by far the best dev forum I've been on. Thanks again. Great stuff here.