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OpenGL® SuperBible, Third Edition by Benjamin Lipchak, Richard S. Wright

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Chapter 19. Programmable Pipeline: This Isn't Your Father's OpenGL

by Benjamin Lipchak

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:

  • The responsibilities of the conventional fixed functionality OpenGL pipeline

  • The pipeline stages that can be replaced by new programmable pipeline shaders

  • The shader extensions that expose this new functionality

Graphics hardware has traditionally been designed to quickly perform the same rigid set of hard-coded computations. Different steps of the computation can be skipped, and parameters can be adjusted, but the computations themselves remain fixed. That's why this old paradigm of GPU design is called fixed functionality.

There has been a trend toward designing general-purpose graphics processors. Just like CPUs, these GPUs can ...

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