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Basic Optimization - Cull Distance

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Have you heard about Cull Distance? This is another form of optimization that exists within the Unreal Engine, it uses as a rule the distance between the camera and each object in the scene.

Discard distance is based on centimeters (UE 4/5 standard measurement) - Be very mindful of this, it took me a long time to figure it out, and I made mistakes that slowed me down and required a lot of rework.

- Discard distance varies based on engine settings, specifically with “View Distance”.

The UE settings have 5 levels, the last being “Cinematic”, this is not considered by the “Cull Distance” at the time of the game, so always make sure you are testing the discard distance of the SMs being maxed at “Epic ”, never in “Cinematic”.


During the development of my first game, Montti Constanttini, with the planning already defined, I went through the creation of the level, inserting the values ​​of “Cull Distance” it was months of work, when we made our first packaging, SURPRISE! The whole map disappeared. As I developed with config. in “Cinematic” I set values ​​as 1000, 2500, maximum 3500, this means that in the maximum graphic in game, the player would only see the items less than 35 meters, already in the minimum graphic at 14 meters. After this great xp acquired, today in addition to developing at the maximum on “Epic” I always check on the lowest settings, in addition to setting distance standards for certain places, I do regular packaging.

Let's go to the examples:

An SM with Cull Distance set to 1000. With settings set to “Epic” the SM disappears when the camera exceeds 1000 cm (10 meters).

  • Cinematic: 10000 cm (1000% of the “Epic” pattern)

  • Epic: 1000 cm (100% of the “Epic” pattern)

  • Far: 800 cm (80% of the “Epic” pattern)

  • Medium: 600 cm (60% of the “Epic” pattern)

  • Near: 400 cm (40% of the “Epic” pattern)

  • Applying Cull Distance

In the “Rendering” category in the “Details” window with the SM selected, expand the LOD section, the fifth option “Desired Max Draw Distance”, entering a value like 5000, your object will disappear as soon as the player passes the 50 meter mark of this object, that's if the graphics are on epic.

Note: In Unreal Engine 5, this setting is not in Rendering, but in HLOD.

For the SM to have a minimum existence distance, set “Min Draw Distance”, this option will make sure that this object will not be dropped at the set value, if the drop is set to 10 meters, and the game settings are at low, the object will be discarded with 4 meters, however, if a value of 600 is set for "Min Draw Distance", 600 becomes the lowest possible option for discarding this object.

The value that the SM will follow for the in-game discard is the value shown in “Current Max Draw Distance”.

NOTE: To visualize the SM disappearing in editing, just press “G” inside the “Viewport” to enter game mode.

I hope I have helped you to gain a little more information about scenario development, and that this can help you go further and further! My name is Alisson Almeida Environment Artist and creator of Six Sides and if this article was useful to you, share it with your friends and until next time!


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