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The question is two fold:

  1. What happens on a device when a texture is too large for it to handle? Will it crash or simply downsize it?

  2. In Unity if I use texture atlases of size 4k and then set Texture Quality in the Quality settings as half res will it run normally on devices with maximum texture size of 2k?

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According to this thread automatic downsizing may not work, but setting half res should work.

On a related note, do you really need textures that big? If all you want from a big texture is to use it as an atlas there is really very little reason to not just use 4 2k textures instead of one 4k.

And I assume that this is about writing games for phones, for PC graphics anything that doesn't support 4k textures is really ancient.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The thing with 4k atlases is that you can fit more objects into a single draw call when batching. And yes, mobile devices are the target. \$\endgroup\$
    – Esa
    Aug 12 '13 at 8:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Esa If you end up with 4 draw calls instead of 1 I wouldn't think it's a big performance impact. You better avoid hundreds or thousands of draw calls, but most likely this isn't going to be much of a dent in your performance. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12 '13 at 9:36

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