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In game design, an expensive entity/effect/function/whatever is one that takes an unusually long time to process at run-time. As an example, in Source, expensive to draw entities are named lights and dynamic light sources.

Care must be taken when implementing expensive concepts, and if possible they should be avoided or optimised. On the other hand however, if you have an area that is otherwise very cheap to draw you have leftover budget to add something expensive!

See also