For optimization, I always assumed many small textures (per model) were best, since it meant the engine was only rendering whatever was visible at any moment.
But evidently the engine gets bogged down by draw cells, meaning the more entities (including texture entities), the more work it has to do. Thus, I’ve started combining many texture elements into one huge (2048 square or even larger) massive map and single material.
Similarly, I’ve begun glomming lots of model elements into one huge export, assuming it was better to have one HUGE draw cell rather than dozens of small ones. This is not my experience with previous game engines (Unreal) where small individual elements were preferred because they were culled out when off screen or occluded.
Am I thinking about this properly? Because it still seems like it MUST be a drag on the engine to show a single model whose huge material includes texture content for half a dozen other models, or to show a HUGE thousands of poly model, even if we are only focusing on a small portion of it.
What’s the best practice? How to balance texture/model size and draw cells?