Is it good to avoid setting a variable every frame?

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:bust_in_silhouette: Asked By CFR_Godot

Hi everyone!

I’ve got a bit of a hangup with my code that I thought it might be an idea to get the community’s input on:

Is it beneficial for my code to avoid setting a variable every frame?

For example, in my current project I have a “lock-on indicator” which is a Sprite3D that isn’t visible by default. The following code is run every frame on the player character to only have this indicator be visible when we’re targeting an enemy:

	if !has_target() and LockOnIndicator.visible == true:
	LockOnIndicator.visible = false
elif has_target() and LockOnIndicator.visible == false:
	LockOnIndicator.visible = true

As you can see, I’m trying not to constantly set the node’s visibility - it only gets set once when the exact requirements are met, and the cycle just bounces off the if statements every other time.

Is this actually beneficial or am I okay to just have the visible variable be set again on every frame?


Generally, if you can avoid setting something every frame then, being lazy developers, you wouldn’t do it. That is, if you don’t need to do the work then don’t do it.

An alternative here may be to that has_target runs some event code (like from a signal) than can change the visibility of an object when required, freeing up just that little bit more processing time for other important things in your game. But perhaps you might want to do this; only you can decide if this is important for your game.

As you’re aware, your if statements might be entirely false so won’t set the variable anyway. You could optimise then slightly for the sake of readability; e.g. testing has_target twice isn’t necessary - if !has_target is false then has_target must be true so the call is unnecessary.

spaceyjase | 2023-02-14 11:57

:bust_in_silhouette: Reply From: Wakatta

Yes it is.

Well . . . . . depends on the situation.

Minuscule and will go unnoticed

var is_active = false

func _process(_delta):
    is_active = !is_active

For visual changes however this is not the case

func _process(_delta):
    LockOnIndicator.visible = not LockOnIndicator.visible and has_target()

Typically you want to make as few draw calls as possible especially between the rapid change of frames.

As spaceyjase mentioned try to avoid redundancy and use specific conditions / signals