Trying To Understand Atlases & Optimizing Performance

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by JTraskelin, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. JTraskelin

    JTraskelin Boxer

    Jan 20, 2019
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    I'm making a retro style pixel art platformer with a lot of tile-based graphics. I've been searching through the forum and tutorials to figure out what's the best way to handle the graphics in Buildbox to optimize performance, but I still feel like I don't thoroughly understand some things I've read.

    I understand the point of optimizing atlases and keeping their count low, although I'm a bit worried about how I'm going to be able to keep all my graphics in less than 5 atlases as I'm planning to have different backgrounds in different levels and some full screen cutscene animations - this remains to be seen when I get further with the game!

    What I don't really understand is how I should make my tile-based grounds and other platforms. Let's say I have a 32x32 pixel concrete tile which I would use to build different terrain structures. One scene might have, for example, 12 of these pieces combined into a triangle hill on the ground and another structure of 12 tiles that's in the shape of a letter C. I could make these by just duplicating the 32x32 object, or I could make the whole triangle hill and the whole letter C in separate bigger png-files as their own objects. Option one would fill a single 32x32 pixel slot in my atlas and I would have 24 instances of the tile object in my scene, while option two would have only two objects in the scene but would obviously fill a lot more of my atlas.

    To me it feels like it would definitely make more sense to minimise the amount of atlas space used, but I keep reading about how you should rather make bigger terrain pieces to minimise the amount of objects in your scene.

    Am I missing something here? Which would be the preferred way to do this?

    Another thing about atlases: there is a possibility in the atlas editor to resize the atlases to up to at least 4000x4000 px. I haven't found any information about when and how this should be used. Is it just to tweak the atlases so that odd shapes fit in better, or is there some benefit in using a smaller number of atlases that are bigger instead of a larger number of the standard 2048x2048 px atlases?

    Thanks for any attempt to force more understanging into my thick skull! :)
  2. Codifie

    Codifie Avid Boxer

    Apr 17, 2018
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    I can tell you this, I have a game that I am currently working on with well over 100 worlds and 24 Atlas's. There is zero degradation, and I have tested this on multiple devices. I hear people talk about it all the time, not sure why they are seeing speed issues because as I stated I have tested this on old devices and new and don't see a single problem.
    Sure, it is wise to keep your Atlas as minimal as possible, but that isn't always possible.
    Also keep in mind that once your 100% done and sure you will not be making changes you can use the clone feature and that will also help you.

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