When this chapter was first outlined, I knew that I was going to leave plenty of questions completely unanswered. The chapter was going to end too soon, and I would leave all the readers with just enough vocabulary and ideas to play around in 3D without enough knowledge to make Quake VI. There's a lot to know, for one thing. The most recent advances in video hardware have replaced the fixed function graphics pipeline with the programmable pipeline. Now you can write little programs that draw pixels and move vertices, and some of these programs can be truly amazing.
At the 2003 Computer Game Developer's Conference I watched a simulation of fluid dynamics programmed completely with pixel shaders. Instead of manipulating texture values and red, green, and blue components of a texture, the values were things like pressure and velocity. The graphics card was performing partial differentials entirely in the GPU.
I don't know about you, but I haven't seen anything that cool since the first hardware accelerated 3D graphics card.
I hope you are still hungry—I certainly am.