Let's say we're using DirectX 9/10/11. In our game we have a character wearing armor.
The armor has 50 different color variations. So, if armor is red, the first method would load the red texture from file. The second method would display the 1 base texture, with a red overlay.
Code wise the overlay armor would just contain an extra flag that would specify color.
Is it faster / more efficient to load different textures in? Or, is it faster / more efficient to color the texture on the fly?
I'm not aware if there is some huge overhead for dropping a tint over a texture...