Deferred Lighting is now possible in hardware on the latest video cards, it has an own unique advantages and disadvantages and while in many cases the disadvantage out way the advantages on current hardware in the right situations it can outperform and look better than conventional per-pixel lighting. In situations with complex procedural shaders with many lights and shadows, the saving can be massive this is even truer in densely occluded environments. The same techniques used to accelerate objects (batching etc) can be used to accelerate lights, and if a light isn’t visible its cost is very low.

In the long term the occlusion and geometric properties of deferred lighting are its most interesting factors, no other technique allows you to render so many lights affecting a single surface without crippling performance, with deferred lighting it scales much better.


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Source code and executables are now available here. Remember, at present this is likely to only work on Radeon 9500 and above do to the reliance on high precision render-targets, which are not supported by current GeForce FX drivers.