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Feature: 'Texture Compression Techniques And Tips'

In today's main Gamasutra feature, Allen Sherrod compares and contrasts the A8L8, DXT and 3Dc methods of texture compression, also analyzing how each format stacks up aga...
In today's main Gamasutra feature, Allen Sherrod compares and contrasts the A8L8, DXT and 3Dc methods of texture compression, also analyzing how each format stacks up against the others when dealing with decal textures and normal map images. In the introduction to his article, Sherrod explains: "The amount of artwork in a modern video game is tremendous when compared to games of the past. The texture images that are being used are higher in resolution, numerous in numbers and heavy with detail. Although graphics hardware has come a long way and offers us a lot of memory, we still don't have enough space to the point where we can load images without the concern and issues that arise with running out of memory. Techniques like bump mapping, normal mapping, etc further complicate things because 1) the resolution of these images are often pretty large in size and 2) normal maps created from geometry data have to be huge in order to fully cover a model object with a decent level of quality. In order to make the most out of the memory we have available to use, we must use image compression in our video game applications. By compressing texture images, we can reduce the amount of memory that each image requires on our hardware and, in some cases, we can use the compression techniques to increase the visual quality of normal map images. Using compressed textures can also boost an application's performance, since we are not required to send as much data down the pipeline." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, which also includes more information on texture compression comparison (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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