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Large textures in 2D

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I'm using DirectX for a 2D game, mostly using the LPD3DXSPRITE interface. The amounts of textures I'm using is piling up, and I have a huge number of varied tiles, sprites, item graphics contained in large tilesets. My question is, if I have very large textures for tilesets (such as, 4096x4096), will this eat up loads of RAM? And could older systems handle a few of these large textures?

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You can guesstimate the amount of RAM you're using with a texture. 4096x4096 is 16.7 million pixels. Assuming a 4 channel, 8bpp format (like A8R8B8G8), that's 64MB for one of those textures.

So depending on what you mean by "older system", chances are it'll be fine. Everything in the last few years has shipped with 256MB or more, even low-end cards. But keep in mind that not all cards might support such large textures - if you're concerned about compatibility maybe you should consider splitting up your textures into smaller chunks. 2048x2048 or lower is pretty much supported by everything of relevance, IIRC.

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