Optimizing Character Textures/Atlases for Zombie crowds

I am trying to figure out if it is worth it to use Texture Atlases for skinned mesh characters for a mobile game.

I have 1 Zombie model with 4-6 different textures. I would have a mob of Zombies that could include all 4-6 texture variations on the same model.

Assuming I just have 4 textures, Is it worth it to build a single 1024x1024 texture atlas containing all 4 textures, then shift UVs to change appearance…Or should I just use 4 separate textures at a smaller size like 256x256?

Right now I don’t feel the atlas approach is going to buy me much, but just wanted to get some feedback.

The best way to tell would be to try it both ways and use the profiler to see which gets better performance.

But, in theory, atlasing would be beneficial, because it would cut the relevant draw calls down by 1/4 and allow unity to utilize dynamic batching.

On the other hand, as a general rule, you shouldn’t spend too much time optimizing until the end of the development cycle, as you won’t know the worst problems, and may end up spending a bunch of time on trivial ones.