I thought of points too. Since @DevelopDaily said “spheres”, I went for the geometry-based recommendation
I would not recommend shaders though, for a beginner it’s a tough spot to get into. I don’t know how advanced your knowledge is, @DevelopDaily, and I don’t know how critical performance is to you, it’s all about trade-offs.
If you go for billboards (points solution) - you can gain a lot in terms of vertex shader load, but billboards tend to tax fragment shading, since they have a lot of overdraw. You’re always drawing a square, so if you want a circle, you’ll be wasting a lot of cycles drawing nothing to the screen, even with good use of
I still think you will fare better with “points”, because they give you a very natural LOD, because smaller billboards just take up fewer GPU cycles.
You said that there are “thousands” of spheres every minute, that’s actually not a lot, depending on how many thousands we are talking about. Lets say you are talking about the rate of 100,000 objects per minute, that’s only about 28 objects per frame. If you have less than 10,000 objects on the screen at any given moment - I would suggest that going with Instances should be more than sufficient. If you have more than that - perhaps it’s worth looking into the point-based solution (billboards).
Billboards come with their own problems:
- they don’t respect lights
- they don’t have shadows, don’t receive them, and don’t cast them (well).
- they have no depth, so when they interact with one another, or anything else - it will be painfully obvious that these are flat images and not “spheres”.
if those concessions are not a problem for you to make - I’d say give it a go.