How big is too big?

Hey, I have what I believe to be a super basic question. Let’s say that I have a game that isn’t just in a box. So maybe like a linear game like The Last of Us, Bioshock, Resident Evil, Anything like that that involves larger levels and communication between different levels. What I’m wondering is how to know when you’re level itself is too big and it’s time to create another level and unload the original level so that performance doesn’t become an issue. And also to help keep better organization within my levels.

That would depend on a lot of stuff, including what system you design for an how much memory it has avaliables.
The last of us for instance did black magic to force more stuff into ram.

Realistically there should be nothing lagging the cpu in any level regadless of its size and number of assets involved.
Thats achieved by just turning everything off, using tick aggregators, and basing almost everything off of player position.

There are many things to consider.
A relatively good starting refernce can be found here:

There are also tools to measure performance:

So the short answer is : It depends.

You have to think of which hardware should be supported. You might think of streaming levels, especially in single player you can load and unload levels to save up some performance , if this is possible in your game environment. Furthermore gpu wise it is important to lower the amount if drawcalls (materials and meshes) and so on.

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