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luxoid

Fastest and most efficient foliage with realistic density and look in Unity

Question

Hey everyone! 
I am working on a graphics / performance update for my simulator and I would like to achieve realistic looking natural landscapes with high density of vegetation. Stable 60fps and least lag is very important to have for fluid simulation even when running it on non high-end computers.
By using Unity's terrain system I couldn't make realistic vegetation density with playable FPS on a middle spec computer only when I used manually placed / painted objects with a custom editor script and marked them as Static for batching.

 

I have included 2 screenshots of what I could achieve with custom painted objects with LOD system and Static Batching. It is now running at 60fps mainly with some minor fps drops when SpeedTrees are in LOD0 on an older i7 2600k cpu / Radeon RX460 based pc.

 

There are some assets which can combine objects or do a much faster instancing to have various type of plants in realistic density without any serious performance impacts. I am curious about how it is possible to optimise foliage like that. I even read somewhere that a forest of a single tree prefab can be optimised to have the same performance costs like using that tree only once in the scene. If so then how?

 

Can you please help me to find a working solution or give any advices?
Thanks a lot!

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Edited by luxoid

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Thanks for your reply.

I have tried GPU instancing but couldn't see any difference in performance... maybe I haven't set something properly. I will investigate it further.

 

Wow Impostors asset is looking great and extremely useful! Will definately check this.

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