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 not just one tree, but a number of trees together as a group. This can be especially effective if you can see an area but cannot physically approach it in a game.

You can make imposters by pre-rendering views of an object at different angles. Or you can even go one step further, and periodically re-render a view of an object onto a texture to be used as an imposter. At a distance, you need to move the viewer a considerable distance for the angle of view to change significantly. This can be complex to get working, but may be worth it depending on the type of project you are making.

Use instancing (MultiMesh)

If several identical objects have to be drawn in the same place or nearby, try using MultiMesh instead. MultiMesh allows the drawing of many thousands of objects at very little performance cost, making it ideal for flocks, grass, particles, and anything else where you have thousands of identical objects.

See also the Using MultiMesh documentation.

Bake lighting

Lighting objects is one of the most costly rendering operations. Realtime lighting, shadows (especially multiple lights), and global illumination are especially expensive. They may simply be too much for lower power mobile devices to handle.

Consider using baked lighting, especially for mobile. This can look fantastic, but has the downside that it will not be dynamic. Sometimes, this is a tradeoff worth making.

See Using Lightmap global illumination for instructions on using baked lightmaps. For best performance, you should set lights' bake mode to Static as opposed to the default Dynamic, as this will skip real-time lighting on meshes that have baked lighting.

The downside of lights with the Static bake mode is that they can't cast shadows onto meshes with baked lighting. This can make scenes with outdoor environments and dynamic objects look flat. A good balance between performance and quality is to keep Dynamic for the DirectionalLight3D node, and use Static for most (if not all) omni and spot lights.

Animation and skinning

Animation and vertex animation such as skinning and morphing can be very expensive on some platforms. You may need to lower the polycount considerably for animated models, or limit the number of them on screen at any given time. You can also reduce the animation rate for distant or occluded meshes, or pause the animation entirely if the player is unlikely to notice the animation being stopped.

The VisibleOnScreenEnabler3D and VisibleOnScreenNotifier3D nodes can be useful for this purpose.

Large worlds

If you are making large worlds, there are different considerations than what you may be familiar with from smaller games.

Large worlds may need to be built in tiles that can be loaded on demand as you move around the world. This can prevent memory use from getting out of hand, and also limit the processing needed to the local area.

There may also be rendering and physics glitches due to floating point error in large worlds. This can be resolved using Large world coordinates. If using large world coordinates is an option, you may be able to use techniques such as orienting the world around the player (rather than the other way around), or shifting the origin periodically to keep things centred around Vector3(0, 0, 0).