Texture resolutions for buildings and objects

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  09 September 2012
Texture resolutions for buildings and objects

Hello everyone,

I've just recently shifted into game development as a 3D modeler. While I was working on short films for college projects, texture resolution wasn't much of something to worry about but now that I'm working with real-time rendering, I need some advice on ideal resolutions.

As I've been researching on game texture resolutions, I find that people say the general resolution to work with for games seems to be 512 x 512. At some point I'm doubtful that I use a really low resolution for the model while other times I worry that I'm using a resolution higher than it should be.

I'm curious about what resolutions would I need to work with if I was working with buildings or anything that basically contributes to environment (floors,walls, ceilings, pipes, etc.) as opposed to smaller objects.
  09 September 2012
For game development, it really does depend on the engine you're working with. For a long time 512x512 was a good standard, but no longer, unless you plan on going straight to the Xbox or Playstation and leaving potential PC gamers in the dust.

Most texturing for modern games is much higher. 2K minimums for characters, 4K is what you want to be working with though. Often 2K for the face and 2K for the rest of the body - but you said you were doing environments, correct?

In Skyrim for example, most (good) environment textures are also 2K, but sometimes there will be 1K textures for small objects or sections of buildings. With all the additional VRAM in modern graphics cards, and the power to push larger textures faster, 2K textures are no trouble at all and of course look better at higher resolutions. A 512x512 texture though for a building could work just fine if it were tileable, and I imagine many of the textures are just that.
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  09 September 2012
Yep. Depends on the game engine used. Level of detail (LOD) can be very fexible, or not existent at all. In a nutshell, you need to use a higher resolution texture image if your players see increasing pixelization in textures as their view gets closer to an object.
  09 September 2012
Thanks for the tips, guys. If 1-2k resolutions are reasonable for modern day games, then that should be alright. I guess I've been following an old texture resolution guideline it seems.
  09 September 2012
I don't have much to add but I think the key quote here is "to work with", since you can always reduce the texture size later, but ideally not the other way around. Even if your game will only use 512 textures (which is pretty limiting for a lot of objects), you'll probably want to work with something larger.

Some game designers have been known to work with 8k or even 16k textures as it allows them to be destructive if they have to, and it gives them a lot more space to make modifications.
  09 September 2012
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