I’m working on a project that lets players explore user-created levels, and I want the catalog to show some kind of image alongside each level, ideally a picture of the level itself, but I don’t know of a good way to do this. I considered rendering the level in a viewport frame, but given the complexity of each level that would have major performance issues. I suppose I could let players upload custom decals as thumbnails, but that would be a pretty long and annoying process for them (plus they could also upload misleading thumbnails).
I do remember reading about someone who figured out a semi-reasonable way to display custom images by using a frame on each horizontal line with a UIGradient that would determine the color of each pixel. Perhaps I could combine this with an extremely basic ray-tracer that generated an image at the time of publishing the level and saved the image with the rest of the level’s metadata. The problem is, this would take a ton of work to implement and might not even work/look good/be performant enough to genuinely consider.
Is there a better method of creating thumbnails at runtime that I’m missing?