Chapter 20

OpenGL 4.3, Shaders and the Programmable Pipeline: Liftoff

Programmers mutiny! We’re going to throw off our shackles and take over the engine room!

The first radical advancement of OpenGL, since its creation in 1992, was the inclusion of shaders in OpenGL 2.0 released in 2004. Shaders are ancillary programs, attached to an OpenGL program, that run on the GPU and are written by the user to supplant and enhance parts of the graphics pipeline formerly of fixed-functionality. They are written in a C-like language called the OpenGL Shading Language (abbreviated GLSL).

Historically, shaders evolved as a response to the increasing capabilities of GPUs and the need to expose these to the application programmer. Before the standardization of ...

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