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Optimizing 3D performance


Godot will automatically perform view frustum culling in order to prevent rendering objects that are outside the viewport. This works well for games that take place in a small area, however things can quickly become problematic in larger levels.

Occlusion culling

Walking around a town for example, you may only be able to see a few buildings in the street you are in, as well as the sky and a few birds flying overhead. As far as a naive renderer is concerned however, you can still see the entire town. It won't just render the buildings in front of you, it will render the street behind that, with the people on that street, the buildings behind that. You quickly end up in situations where you are attempting to render 10× or 100× more than what is visible.

Things aren't quite as bad as they seem, because the Z-buffer usually allows the GPU to only fully shade the objects that are at the front. This is called depth prepass and is enabled by default in Godot when using the Forward+ or Compatibility rendering methods. However, unneeded objects are still reducing performance.

One way we can potentially reduce the amount to be rendered is to take advantage of occlusion. Godot 4.0 and later offers a new approach to occlusion culling using occluder nodes. See Occlusion culling for instructions on setting up occlusion culling in your scene.


In some cases, you may have to adapt your level design to add more occlusion opportunities. For example, you may have to add more walls to prevent the player from seeing too far away, which would decrease performance due to the lost opportunities for occlusion culling.

Transparent objects

Godot sorts objects by Material and Shader to improve performance. This, however, can not be done with transparent objects. Transparent objects are rendered from back to front to make blending with what is behind work. As a result, try to use as few transparent objects as possible. If an object has a small section with transparency, try to make that section a separate surface with its own material.

For more information, see the GPU optimizations doc.

Level of detail (LOD)

In some situations, particularly at a distance, it can be a good idea to replace complex geometry with simpler versions. The end user will probably not be able to see much difference. Consider looking at a large number of trees in the far distance. There are several strategies for replacing models at varying distance. You could use lower poly models, or use transparency to simulate more complex geometry.

Godot 4 offers several ways to control level of detail:

While they can be used independently, these approaches are most effective when used together. For example, you can set up visibility ranges to hide particle effects that are too far away from the player to notice. At the same time, you can rely on mesh LOD to make the particle effect's meshes rendered with less detail at a distance.

Visibility ranges are also a good way to set up impostors for distant geometry (see below).

Billboards and imposters

The simplest version of using transparency to deal with LOD is billboards. For example, you can use a single transparent quad to represent a tree at distance. This can be very cheap to render, unless of course, there are many trees in front of each other. In this case, transparency may start eating into fill rate (for more information on fill rate, see GPU optimization).

An alternative is to render n