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How does texture size/format affect speed?

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I just wondered what difference I''d get between a 256x256 and a 64x64 texture. Also, if I can use a 256 paletized texture instead of 32bit rgb would that be faster or slower? Does using the compressed texture formats cause much slow-down and do the TNT2 + Voodoo3 cards support this? What are normal sized textures for like grass or rock/snow/mud etc?
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I know that 256x256 is the optimal standard. For now...



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> I just wondered what difference I'd get between a 256x256 and
> a 64x64 texture.

When thinking about texture size, two things must be taken into account :

1. Video memory usage
2. Video memory bandwidth

(1) is pretty obvious. For (2), remember that the bigger your texture is, the bigger amount of memory your GPU will have to read and thus, the slower it will be to render your polygons. Note that mipmaping allows to save bandwidth when your objects are far enough to not need a big texture.

But basically, bigger textures are slower, at least when your objects are near enough to need the 0th level of mipmaping.

> Also, if I can use a 256 paletized texture instead of 32bit
> rgb would that be faster or slower?

It should be faster if the card supports it. I've never tried it though so if someone who has could tell us for sure it would be safer. You can also make a quick test to see which one's faster.

> What are normal sized textures for like grass or rock/snow/mud
> etc?

It *really* depends on what you're doing and what your target configuration is. Some games don't use textures bigger than 256x256, and U2K3 can use 1024x1024 textures only for a character if you set it to a good enough level of detail. However, remember it's pretty useless to use a huge texture for a little object. My advice would be to try different sizes and choose the one which looks good without killing the framerate.

> I know that 256x256 is the optimal standard

I've never heard of such a thing, please elaborate. I know that 256x256 was often used because older cards (like Voodoo 1&2) don't support textures bigger than that but I'm pretty sure a 256x256 texture will be slower (or as fast as) than a 64x64 one.

> Does using the compressed texture formats cause much slow-down
> and do the TNT2 + Voodoo3 cards support this?
A compressed texture is meant to be faster than an uncompressed one since you use less memory bandwidth (and since the decompression is hardware accelerated it's kinda free).

As far as I know TNT2 & Voodoo3 cards don't support texture compression, as least under OpenGL. All GeForces and Radeons support it though.

[edited by - Prosper/LOADED on January 31, 2003 10:05:54 AM]

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