Chapter 9. Efficient Shadow Volume Rendering

Morgan McGuire Brown University


A security guard’s shadow precedes him into a vault—enough advance warning to let the thief hide on the ceiling. Ready to pounce on an unwary space marine, the alien predator clings to a wall, concealed in the shadow of a nearby gun turret. Yellow and red shadows of ancient marbled gods flicker on the walls of a tomb when the knight’s torch and the druid’s staff illuminate the statues inside. These are just a few vivid examples of how real-time shadows are used today in gaming.

Real-time shadows are now required for new 3D games. Gamers are accustomed to the perceptual, strategic, and cinematic benefits of realistic lighting. Unlike other effects, shadows aren’t ...

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