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CHAPTER 3

Shaders and Materials

INTRODUCTION

Shaders allow for a level of realism in games that is stunning and getting better all the time. In Figure 3-1 there are some screenshots provided by NVIDIA. As I write this, the latest crop of DirectX 10 cards is out, and the quality of the graphics is amazing. Simply put, a shader is a miniprogram that processes graphic effects in real time. For example, the reflec- tions on a surface can move in real time instead of being “baked” or permanently painted into a surface. Shader effects are very powerful visually, even if viewers are unaware of what they are seeing. That is, the average player would have a hard time defining why the game he or she is playing looks so good. It ...

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