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Game Rendering Terminology

These are terms every tech-savvy game artist should know.


On Draw Calls & Batching

Unity - Manual: Draw Call Batching


(definition needed) If the view camera (the viewer's eye) can't see it, don't bother processing it and only worry about what the view camera can see.

  • Trivial Accept/Reject Culling
  • Back-Face Culling
  • Occlusion Culling
  • Clipping

Draw Call

On Draw Calls & Batching

Unity - Manual: Draw Call Batching

Render Pass vs. Draw Call

Pasting into alpha channel photoshop

Fill Rate

(definition needed) Long thin triangles can cause slower rendering.

Frame Buffer

(definition needed)

Frame Rate

(definition needed)


The Graphics Processing Unit is a parallel processor for floating point operations; it's the heart & soul of your graphics card. It's mostly used for rendering calculations, but it can also be tricked into doing physics, particle systems, vertex skinning, real-time texture compression, etc. It frees the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to handle the rest of the processing tasks in the game like transforms, AI, sound, etc.

Pixel Shader

(definition needed)


(definition needed) T-vertices can cause gaps or seams.

Texture Fetch

(definition needed)

Transform Cost

(definition needed)

Vertex Cache

(definition needed)

Vertex Shader

(definition needed)

Vertex Splits

A ton of vertex splits can cause vertex cache misses.


(definition needed) Video memory


(definition needed) Also known as the Depth Buffer.

These are generally 16-bit buffers that store the depth of a pixel (in relation to it's distance from the camera) as a black & white value. See Wikipedia's Z-buffering page.

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