Im using blender to create landscape for a game being built with scenekit.
As it is just a landscape, I won't be using any animations so I'm wondering before I dive too deep into blender, should I be using blender to create the geometry and then create my own materials in scenekit?
I could still create the shadow, emission, specular etc. maps in blender but would there be a performance benefit or penalty for doing it this way?
Also if this is a path I could take should I then be exporting as .dae or is there a way to export to a normal map that xcode would be happy with?
Best How To :
SceneKit supports materials exported in DAE from Blender. It doesn't support every possible shading option that Blender has, but unless you're doing exotic stuff it should cover most of what you're looking for.
At run time there's no difference between materials loaded from DAE and those created programmatically.
What you do want to think about at authoring/export time is stuff like real-time versus static lighting/shadows and high-poly geometry versus baked normal maps. In other words, material performance is more about how the materials are set up (complexity) than where they're set up (imported or at run time). See WWDC 2014 session 610: Building a Game with SceneKit for some tips.