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Texture profiles

Defold supports automatic texture processing and compression of image data (in Atlas, Tile sources, Cubemaps and stand-alone textures used for models, GUI etc).

There are two types of compression, software image compression and hardware texture compression.

  1. Software compression (such as PNG and JPEG) reduces the storage size of image resources. This makes the the final bundle size smaller. However, the image files need to be uncompressed when read into memory so even though an image is small on disk, it can have a large memory footprint.

  2. Hardware texture compression also reduces the storage size of image resources. But, unlike software compression, it reduces the in-memory footprint for textures. This is because the graphics hardware is able to directly manage compressed textures without first having to uncompress them.

The processing of textures is configured through a specific texture profile. In this file you create profiles that express what compressed format(s) and type should be used when creating bundles for a specific platform. Profiles are then tied to matching file paths patterns, allowing fine tuned control over what files in your project should be compressed and exactly how.

Since all available hardware texture compression is lossy, you will get artifacts in your texture data. These artifacts are highly dependent on how your source material looks and what compression method is used. You should test your source material and experiment to get the best results. Google is your friend here.

You can select what software image compression is applied on the final texture data (compressed or raw) in the bundle archives. Defold supports WebP or ZLib (default). WebP supports both lossy and lossless compression and usually results in significantly better compression than ZLib, which is a general data compression algorithm

Compression is a resource intensive and time consuming operation that can cause very long build times depending on the number of texture images to compress and also the chosen texture formats and type of software compression.

Texture profiles

Each project contains a specific .texture_profiles file that contains the configuration used when compressing textures. By default, this file is builtins/graphics/default.texture_profiles and it has a configuration matching every texture resource to a profile using RGBA with no hardware texture compression and using the default ZLib file compression.

To add texture compression:

  • Select File ▸ New ▸ Other… and choose Texture Profiles File to create a new texture profiles file. (Alternatively copy default.texture_profiles to a location outside of builtins)
  • Change the texture_profiles entry in game.project to point to the new file.
  • Open the .texture_profiles file and configure it according to your requirements.

New profiles file

Setting the texture profile

You can turn on and off the use of texture profiles in the editor preferences. Select File ▸ Preferences. The Defold pane contains a checkbox item Enable texture profiles.

Texture profiles preferences


The path_settings section of the texture profiles file contains a list of path regular expressions and the name of which profile to use when processing resources that match the path expression. The path regular expressions are expressed with “Ant Glob” patterns (see http://ant.apache.org/manual/dirtasks.html#patterns for details). Patterns can be expressed using the following wildcards:

Matches zero or more characters. For instance sprite*.png matches the files sprite1.png, sprite.png and sprite_with_a_long_name.png.
Matches exactly one character. For instance: sprite?.png matches the files sprite1.png, spriteA.png but not sprite.png or sprite_with_a_long_name.png.
Matches a complete directory tree, or—when used as the name of a directory—zero or more directories. For instance: /gui/** matches all files in the directory /gui and all its subdirectories.


This example contains two path patterns and their corresponding profiles.

All .atlas files in directory /gui or any of its subdirectories will be processed according to profile “gui_atlas”.
All .atlas files anywhere in the project will be process according to the profile “atlas”.

Note that the more generic path is put last. The matcher works top down. The first occurence that matches the resource path will be used. A matching path expression further down the list never overrides the first match. Had the paths been put in the opposite order every atlas would have been processed with profile “atlas”, even the ones in directory /gui.

Texture resources that do not match any path in the profiles file will be compiled and rescaled to the closest power of 2, but will otherwise be left intact.


The profiles section of the texture profiles file contains a list of named profiles. Each profile contains one or more plaforms, each platform being described by a list of properties.


Specifies a matching OS platform. OS_ID_GENERIC matches all platforms including dev-app builds on device, OS_ID_WINDOWS matches Windows target bundles, OS_ID_IOS matches iOS bundles and so on. Note that if OS_ID_GENERIC is specified, it will be included for all platforms.
One or more texture formats to generate. If several formats are specified, textures for each format are generated and included in the bundle. The engine selects textures of a format that is supported by the runtime platform.
For each platform, specify whether mipmaps should be generated. The property can be either true or false.
If set to a non-zero value, textures are limited in pixel size to the specified number. Any texture that has a width or height larger than the specified value will be scaled down.

The formats added to a profile each have the following properties:

The format to use when encoding the texture. See below for all available texture formats.
Selects the quality level for the resulting compressed image. The values range from FAST (low quality, fast compression) to NORMAL, HIGH and BEST (highest quality, slowest compression).
Selects the type of compression used for the resulting compressed image, COMPRESSION_TYPE_DEFAULT, COMPRESSION_TYPE_WEBP or COMPRESSION_TYPE_WEBP_LOSSY. See Compression Types below for more details.

Texture formats

Graphics hardware textures can be processed into uncompressed or lossy compressed data with various numbers of channels and bit depths. Hardware compression that is fixed means that the resulting image will be of a fixed size, regardless of the image content. This means that the quality loss during compression depends on the content of the original texture.

The following lossy compression formats are currently supported.

Textures are compressed in blocks. In 4 bit mode (4BPP) each block is 4×4 pixels. In 2 bit mode (2BPP) each block is 8×4 pixels. Each block always occupies 64 bits (8 bytes) of memory space. The format is used in all generations of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. (certain Android devices, that use PowerVR GPUs, also support the format). Defold supports PVRTC1, as indicated by the suffix “V1” in the format identifiers.
Ericsson Texture Compression. Blocks of 4×4 pixels are compressed into a single 64-bit word. The 4×4 block is divided in half and each half is assigned a base color. Each pixel is then encoded as one of four offset values from the base color of its half. Android supports ETC1 since version 2.2 (Froyo). Defold compresses ETC1 textures.
Format Compression Details
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGB none 3 channel color. Alpha is discarded
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGBA none 3 channel color and full alpha.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGB_16BPP none 3 channel color. 5+6+5 bits.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGBA_16BPP none 3 channel color and full alpha. 4+4+4+4 bits.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_LUMINANCE none 1 channel gray-scale, no alpha. RGB channels multiplied into one. Alpha is discarded.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_LUMINANCE_ALPHA none 1 channel gray-scale and full alpha. RGB channels multiplied into one.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGB_PVRTC2BPPV1 1:16 fixed. No alpha. Requires square images. Non square images will be resized.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGB_PVRTC4BPPV1 1:8 fixed No alpha. Requires square images. Non square images will be resized.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGBA_PVRTC2BPPV1 1:16 fixed Pre-multiplied alpha. Requires square images. Non square images will be resized.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGBA_PVRTC4BPPV1 1:8 fixed. Pre-multiplied alpha. Requires square images. Non square images will be resized.
TEXTURE_FORMAT_RGB_ETC1 1:6 fixed No alpha

Compression types

The following software image compression types are supported. The data is uncompressed when the texture file is loaded into memory.

Type Formats Note
COMPRESSION_TYPE_DEFAULT All formats Generic lossless data compression. Default.
COMPRESSION_TYPE_WEBP All formats WebP lossless compression. Higher quality level results in smaller size.
COMPRESSION_TYPE_WEBP_LOSSY All non hardware compressed formats. WebP lossy compression. Lower quality level results in smaller size.

For hardware compressed texture formats PVRTC or ETC, the WebP lossless compression process transforms the compressed hardware texture format data into data more suitable for WebP image compression using an internal intermediate format. This is then transformed back into the compressed hardware texture format when loaded by the run-time. WebP lossy type is currently not supported for hardware compressed texture formats PVRTC and ETC.

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