I am looking for resources that can provide me with a better understanding of what kind of things shaders are used for in games, what they can do, and maybe even more importantly, what they cannot. I understand how the graphics pipeline works and all that, and I have made some very basic shaders in GLSL (mostly just to replace the fixed-function pipeline functionality), but I don't yet fully understand which things are only possible with custom shaders, which things can be done more efficiently, etc. I have been able to find some examples of certain techniques, most notably lighting, but I am looking for a more higher-level overview of their usage.

Links to and explanations of certain interesting techniques, as opposed to an overview, are also appreciated (but less than an overview ;) ), preferrably in GLSL or pseudocode.


You can find something here and also here. And if you want, you can find a lot of information in GPU Gems 1, 2, 3 and Shaders for Game Programming and Artists (I think, it's not about GLSL, but about HSL and shaders and games generally).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Those are some excellent resources! \$\endgroup\$
    – notlesh
    Apr 11 '11 at 20:55

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