CompressedTexture2DArray in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive tutorial on the CompressedTexture2DArray class in the powerful game engine, Godot 4. Whether you’re a budding game developer or a seasoned programmer looking to expand your skillset, understanding how to work with textures is crucial in creating visually stunning games. In this tutorial, we’ll delve deep into the world of texture arrays, exploring the functionalities and benefits of using CompressedTexture2DArray, and how it can enhance the performance and appearance of your games.

Textures are like the skin of your game world, giving life and color to your characters, environments, and props. With the introduction of the CompressedTexture2DArray class, Godot 4 makes managing an array of textures easier and more efficient, especially when it comes to optimizing the performance of your 3D games. So, buckle up as we navigate through this exciting feature, learning with practical examples and friendly guidance every step of the way!

What is CompressedTexture2DArray?

A CompressedTexture2DArray is essentially a collection of textures that have been compacted to take up less space on disk while being stored or transmitted. This compression is beneficial because it can reduce download times, save storage space, and sometimes even improve rendering performance in your games.

What is it for?

In game development, efficiently managing resources is key to a smooth gaming experience. CompressedTexture2DArray is designed for scenarios where you have multiple textures that share similar properties and can be treated as one, such as textures for different frames of animation or various textures for the same model in a game.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to implement and utilize CompressedTexture2DArray within your Godot 4 projects can:
– Reduce the memory footprint of your game.
– Speed up the loading of textures.
– Enhance your game’s performance, especially critical for platforms with limited resources.

Moreover, with the growing complexity and graphical fidelity expected in modern games, mastering texture compression techniques is an invaluable skill for any game developer aiming to optimize their creations for all kinds of devices. Now, let’s start working with CompressedTexture2DArray and see this powerful tool in action!

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Continuing our exploration of the CompressedTexture2DArray class in Godot 4, let’s dive directly into some practical examples. By learning to manipulate this resource, you’ll be enhancing your Godot projects with optimized texture usage. Remember that getting hands-on experience is the best way to solidify your understanding, so let’s jump right in!

Creating a CompressedTexture2DArray

To start using CompressedTexture2DArray, we must first create an instance of it in our project. Here’s how you can create and configure it via GDScript:

var texture_array =
# Configure your texture array here
# For example, set the format to one that supports compression
texture_array.format = Image.FORMAT_DXT5

Setting the format to a compressed format like `FORMAT_DXT5` is critical, as it defines how the image data is stored and ultimately how much compression will be applied.

Loading Textures into an Array

Once we have our CompressedTexture2DArray configured, we can start adding our textures. The following example illustrates how to load and add individual textures from the filesystem into our texture array:

var path = "res://path/to/texture"
var image =
image.load(path) # Load the image from the path
texture_array.add_slice(image) # Add the image to the array

Keep in mind that all textures within the CompressedTexture2DArray need to have the same dimensions and format to be compatible.

Applying the Texture Array to a Material

After populating your texture array, the next step is to apply it to a material that will be used by a MeshInstance or similar. Here’s how you can assign your texture array to a spatial material:

var material =
material.albedo_texture = texture_array
# Assign the material to a MeshInstance
var mesh_instance =
mesh_instance.material_override = material

With the material now using the texture array, the MeshInstance will display the first texture in the array by default.

Switching Between Textures in the Array

To access different textures within the array, you’ll need to adjust the UV2 coordinates in your material or use a shader that accounts for the additional ‘z’ index in the texture array. Here’s an example of how you can use a ShaderMaterial to access different slices of the array:

shader_type spatial;
void fragment() {
    // use UV2 to access the desired texture slice
    // 'index' should be the index of the texture slice in the array.
    float index = 0.0; 
    ALBEDO = texture(texture_array, vec3(UV, index)).rgb;

This shader code would be part of a larger shader script that you would attach to a ShaderMaterial and then to your MeshInstance, similarly to the SpatialMaterial example. Remember to replace `’index’` with the actual index of the texture slice you want to access.

By mastering these basics of the CompressedTexture2DArray class, you’re paving the way towards creating more complex and performance-optimized game assets. In our next section, we’ll expand on these concepts and show you how to dynamically switch textures during runtime and handle events that interact with texture arrays. Stay tuned!Enhancing our proficiency with the CompressedTexture2DArray class involves exploring dynamic texture swapping and interaction handling. Proper utilization of these techniques can significantly enrich the player experience and elevate the graphical finesse of your game. Let’s dive into more examples to expand on our understanding.

Dynamically Switching Textures During Runtime

At runtime, you may want to change the displayed texture based on user actions or game logic. You can achieve this by updating the UV2 coordinates or altering the slice index you’re accessing within the shader. Here’s an example of how you might change the currently displayed texture slice dynamically:

func update_texture_slice(mesh_instance, slice_index):
    var shader_material = mesh_instance.material_override as ShaderMaterial
    shader_material.set_shader_param("slice_index", slice_index)

This function assumes that you have a shader parameter named “slice_index” defined in your ShaderMaterial.

Don’t forget to update your shader code to use this `slice_index` variable accordingly:

shader_type spatial;
uniform float slice_index;

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = texture(texture_array, vec3(UV, slice_index)).rgb;

Handling Animation with Texture Arrays

Animating sprites or textures can significantly benefit from using texture arrays to optimize performance. Below is a simple approach to switching between slices to create an animation effect:

var current_frame = 0
var max_frames = 10 # Assuming we have 10 textures for our animation

func _process(delta):
    current_frame = int((current_frame + delta * 10) % max_frames)
    update_texture_slice(mesh_instance, current_frame)

This `_process` function updates the `current_frame` based on the delta time and then calls our previously defined `update_texture_slice` function, looping through the frames to create an animation.

Interacting with Texture Arrays

You might also want to change textures in response to user input, such as clicking or touching an object in the game. Here’s how you can change to a different texture when the `MeshInstance` is interacted with:

func _input_event(camera, event, click_position, click_normal, shape_idx):
    if event is InputEventMouseButton and event.pressed:
        update_texture_slice(self, (shape_idx + 1) % max_slices)

This `_input_event` function gets called when there is an input event on the object, and it uses the `update_texture_slice` function to cycle to the next texture.

Setting Up Texture Arrays with Code

Instead of setting up a CompressedTexture2DArray by hand, you could also load all suitable images from a directory, creating a texture array from them as shown below:

var texture_array =

func load_textures_from_directory(directory_path):
    var dir =
    if == OK:
        var file_name = dir.get_next()
        while(file_name != ""):
            if file_name.ends_with(".png"): # Check for your texture file format
                var image =
                if image.load(file_name) == OK:
                    # Optionally compress the image here
            file_name = dir.get_next()

This function scans a directory for image files and adds them as slices to the texture array. Ensure that your images are in a compatible format and are all the same size.

Mastering these advanced interactions with CompressedTexture2DArray will give you greater control over the visual elements in your Godot projects. It will help you create engaging and interactive experiences that can stand out in the crowded space of indie games. At Zenva, we always encourage you to experiment with the code snippets provided, tweaking them and seeing firsthand how they impact your game. Happy coding and game developing!Continuing our journey through the world of CompressedTexture2DArray in Godot 4, let’s further explore its capabilities with additional code examples. We’ll see how to implement various features that will solidify your understanding and open up new possibilities for your game development projects.

Optimizing Load Times with Texture Compression

Loading times can impact user experience, especially when dealing with large texture files. Here’s an example of compressing an image in Godot before adding it to the texture array:

func compress_image(image):
    image.resize_to_po2() # Resize the image to the power of 2 if necessary.
    image.compress(Image.COMPRESS_S3TC) # Compress using S3TC/DXT
    return image

func add_compressed_image_to_array(image_path):
    var image =
    var compressed_image = compress_image(image)

This `compress_image` function utilizes Godot’s built-in methods to resize and compress the image, which can be more efficient for GPU memory usage and can improve texture loading times.

Animation Frames with Texture Arrays

When it comes to using texture arrays for animation, we can easily iterate through frames by updating the index used to access them from the array. Here’s a way to integrate it into your animation logic:

var animation_speed = 0.15
var animation_timer = 0.0
var frame_count = 5

func _process(delta):
    animation_timer += delta
    if animation_timer >= animation_speed:
        current_frame = (current_frame + 1) % frame_count
        update_texture_slice(mesh_instance, current_frame)
        animation_timer -= animation_speed

By managing the `animation_timer`, you can create a fixed-duration loop for your animations, cycling through each frame.

Using Texture Arrays with Particles

Texture arrays can be extremely useful for particle systems where each particle could use a different texture slice. Here’s how you can set up a ParticleMaterial to use a texture array:

var particle_material =
particle_material.process_material =

# Your custom shader code for slice selection should go here.
particle_material.process_material.shader.code = """
shader_type particles;
void process() {
    // Access different slices based on some particle property
    COLOR = texture(texture_array, vec3(UV, lifetime_ratio * slice_count)).rgb;

# Now assign the ParticleMaterial to your Particles node
$Particles.process_material = particle_material

This allows particles to utilize variations in texture to make the effect more dynamic.

Loading Texture Arrays from Pre-compressed Files

You might have a scenario where you’ve pre-compressed your texture files for more efficiency. In that case, you’d want to load those pre-compressed textures into your array:

func load_precompressed_textures(texture_paths):
    for texture_path in texture_paths:
        var image =
        # Assuming files are already compressed on disk with a suitable format

Loading precompressed textures can be a huge time and resource saver, particularly for larger games where asset management becomes more important.

Adjusting Slice Indices in Material Shaders

Sometimes you might want to adjust the texture array slice index on the fly based on certain conditions in your game. To do this, you would modify your shader code to calculate the index every frame:

shader_type spatial;
void fragment() {
    float slice_index;

    if (CONDITION) { 
        slice_index = INDEX_VALUE_A; 
    } else { 
        slice_index = INDEX_VALUE_B; 

    ALBEDO = texture(texture_array, vec3(UV, slice_index)).rgb;

This snippet shows how you can dynamically change `slice_index` based on a `CONDITION` you define, such as distance to the player, time of day, or interaction status.

Remember, experimenting with these snippets by incorporating them into various parts of your Godot projects will not only reinforce what you’ve learned but potentially inspire innovative uses for texture arrays. Game development is an art of technical prowess and creative solutions—continually pushing the envelope is what makes it so rewarding!

Where to Go Next in Your Game Development Journey

Congratulations on taking an important step in your game development journey with Godot 4! By learning about CompressedTexture2DArray, you’ve equipped yourself with valuable knowledge to optimize your games. However, the learning doesn’t stop here. The world of game development is vast, filled with countless techniques, tools, and best practices waiting to be discovered.

To continue developing your skills and building impressive games, we warmly invite you to check out our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive learning path is designed to take you from the basics of game creation to building full games with the free and open-source Godot 4 engine. You’ll dive into creating rich 2D and 3D environments, coding in GDScript, implementing engaging gameplay mechanics, and so much more—all at your own pace.

Interested in exploring a wider range of topics in Godot? Be sure to visit our broader collection of Godot courses. Regardless of your current expertise level, we have something that will help you level up your game development proficiency. With Zenva, you’ll have all the resources you need to go from beginner insights to professional game development techniques, enabling you to create polished and compelling games. Embrace the opportunity, and let’s keep creating together!


Embarking on the adventure of mastering CompressedTexture2DArray is just the beginning of what you can achieve with Godot 4. By embracing the complexities of texture management and optimization, you’re well on your way to crafting games that stand out in terms of performance and visual appeal. Let this be a stepping stone to broader horizons in your game development journey, where each skill learned is an asset to your creative portfolio.

As you push forward, remember that continual learning is the key to success in game development. We invite you to join us at Zenva’s Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, where your passion and our expertise meet to unlock new potentials. There’s a universe of game development wisdom waiting for you, and we’re here to guide you every click of the way. Here’s to your future as a game developer—let the creation and innovation never cease!

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