Using Unity Free, Are Texture Atlases Useful?

Hello and good day everyone,

I’m looking into optimization and learning a few things concerning that for when the game I’m working on requires that sort of knowledge. Basically, I have a fairly large town map that’s filled with static meshes. As best I can discern, to reduce draw calls, it’s best to have as many objects as possible use only one material. To achieve this, I’ve ran into something called a texture atlas. However, I am a bit confused because I’ve also ran across something called batching, and what I can understand, the kind of batching that would help is the kind that I can’t get in the free version of Unity. The confusion comes in because it seems almost like batching is required for this sort of idea, combining textures for different objects, to really work. Would I be correct in my understanding, or do I simply have things all kinds of mixed up? To put it another way, are these two things, texture atlasing and batching, independent of or dependent on each other?

Thanks for your time and I hope your day is a great one!
-Hypocrita_20XX

Batching works in Unity free. In order to batch, the objects must have less than 900 vertex attributes (which usually means lees that 300 vertices). In addition, objects must share exactly the same material, and you cannot change any properties of that material at runtime. A texture atlas allows the same material to be used on different objects by having the uv coordinates of the object to point to different parts of the atlas to get the texture for the specific object. Put another way, if two objects have different textures, you will need an atlas and appropriate uv coordinates for each object in order to create a single material between that can be used objects. And a single material is required for batching.