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I have been told by another highly skilled Unity artist that Unity cannot efficiently handle non square images. Since that doesn't sound right to me, I wanted to get a second or third confirmation to that claim.

Having worked in the game development industry for almost 15 years, I have always understood that best practice was keeping in powers of two, but that if the UV map called for it, a 1024x512 map was acceptable, rather than using a 1024x1024 map with 1024x512 pixels of wasted UV space. Granted, that was best practice on game engines other than Unity.

Can anyone confirm that in Unity's case, it is better (best practice) to have a 1024x1024 image containing UV islands occupying 1024x512 pixels, rather than using a 1024x512 image map to exactly accommodate the UVs?

Which platforms can use non-square images and which ones cannot with the Unity engine? I am particularly interested in whether or not this limitation affects PC builds.

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Yes, it can. But certain devices will suffer. For example, iOS PVRTC texture compression doesn't work without square textures. I think Unity makes them square, so you end up with your textures taking up a bunch more RAM to accommodate PVRTC.

See Unity Documentation: 2D Textures for more details.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Where can I find out which devices will suffer from non-square textures? How about PC? I would like to know more of the specifics please. \$\endgroup\$ – Bryson Jack Jul 10 '15 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Experimentation is the best way to be sure. Put in a texture on the platform in question, then look at the resulting Texture2d you get at runtime. Then you'll see what happens. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo Jul 10 '15 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the only way to know if texture compression doesn't work on non-square textures on a given platform is by eyeballing it then, is that what you are saying? Would you say from your own observations that PC builds support non-square texture compression? \$\endgroup\$ – Bryson Jack Jul 10 '15 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't have to eyeball it. You send it a 1024x512 texture, and on iOS, you can check its properties and it will be 1024x1024. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo Jul 10 '15 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for that clarification. Do you know about whether or not PC builds support non-square textures? \$\endgroup\$ – Bryson Jack Jul 10 '15 at 17:30

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