The substance style super shader
A significant portion of assets for Cyberpunk 2077 leverage the complex multilayered.mt supershader. The supershader has several different component files which are used to create masks to blend procedural textures without baking them. You can read more about this technique in this documentation by CDPR Technical Art Director Krzysztof Krzyścin.
The multilayered shader is composed of three distinct parts:
MLMASK files are the core element of the substance-style integration. These files contain an array of up to 20 textures which are used to control the blending between pre-defined surfaces called mltemplates. These mask textures are more-or-less 1:1 with substance-style layer masks.
Demonstration of how mlmask files are used to mask meshes. Each mask represents a separate surface.
As shown above, each mesh using the multilayer shader uses a unique mlmask file that is hand authored by CDPR artists. To take effect in game, each mask file is linked by the mlsetup file.
MLSETUP files are fairly self-explanatory when considering the name, multilayer setup. These files correspond with an mlmask file and are responsible for setting up parameters for each layer from the mlmask. Each layer within an mlsetup contains information very similar to materials or shaders.
File structure of mlsetup viewed with WolvenKit
MLTEMPLATE files are the actual visible surfaces that appear on meshes using the multilayered.mt supershader. The multilayer templates include a wide variety of surfaces such as steel, iron, aluminum, plastic, nylon, linoleum, carpet, soil, grass, rubber, concreate, and everything else imaginable. Each template can use a unique color, normal, roughness, and metallic PBR texture. The mltemplate files are selected from within each layer definition of an mlsetup file. Meshes can blend up to 20 mltemplate surfaces into a single material by masking them with the mlmask.
File structure of mltemplate viewed with WolvenKit
A sample preview of some materials created by mltemplate files