Modeling LODs for easy modification?

I’m making 3d models for an external game engine, and I’m trying to figure out the best workflow for creating models with multiple levels of detail, while still being able to make later changes that would propagate to each LOD.

Just for a simple example, let’s say I’m creating a cylindrical fence post. The simplest LOD might just be a triangular prism, and the most complex would be a cylinder with 12 sides. Would you just create multiple cylinders, and for any later changes to the height/diameter of the cylinder, apply the same modification over and over for each LOD? For some objects, I would just use the subsurf modifier on my base mesh, but that can add unnecessary geometry that I don’t want in my game models.

I’m coming from a background of using a lot of parametric CAD software, so maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. I’m used to creating models in a very iterative way, and parametric modeling allows me to still easily make changes late in the design process that that will propagate to multiple objects at once.

How would you guys go about this? Do you usually just try to finalize everything about your models before creating LODs for them?

Ok, I think I may have just found a good solution. The hook modifier looks like it could be really useful for making the same change to different vertex groups across different objects.