2D Game Prototyping in Unity3D: Sprite Manager Systems

As I explained in my previous post, usage of Unity3D‘s built-in GUI class can be a real performance killer on the iOS and Android platforms due to the high amount of draw calls.

Using a Sprite Manager system, such as GUISpriteUI, this performance issue can be entirely resolved.

To reduce the high number of draw calls, you could generate a 3D mesh on the fly, containing all separate rectangles for your 2D graphics. This mesh can then be sent to the GPU in a single draw call, along with one big texture atlas containing all your 2D images.

This is exactly what a system like GUISpriteUI is doing. It dramatically reduces the number of draw calls (perfect for iOS and Android), but requires some set-up effort.

Unfortunately, every advantage has its disadvantage, and this isn’t different for the GUISpriteUI system.

In order to make it work, you’ll need some additional time to set up this system. Also, you’ll have to create a sprite object for each image you want to show, making it slower to use. I’m sure this may be no big deal when implementing a full game, but when prototyping, this is slowing you down.

We can conclude that this system is perfect for 2D UI in both 2D and 3D games, but that it’s less interesting to use for rapid prototyping.

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