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I'm trying to understand how much graphics programming actually needs to be done if you are using an engine like Unreal Engine to build and package a game.

I understand some of this might have to do with whether the engine in question supports your targeted rendering features or not. Generally speaking however, if you didn't need to add any rendering features to the engine, would there be any need for graphics programming at all?

Doesn't it handle all of the needed rendering instruction under the hood right off the shelf?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close as this question seems like it would be much better on gamedev.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Olivier May 7 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Yes engine can do it all, consider a webpage as a analogy. Strictly speaking a webpage needs no javascript. But you still might find it useful for some stuff. In game terms, you might want some procedural element, or unique intersection finding for yout zubaluba beam, or some shader because hey its less work than starting photoshop. And so on... $\endgroup$ – joojaa May 7 at 19:21
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Any full-featured engine such as UE4 or Unity will include a fully functional renderer out of the box, with support for multiple platforms/APIs, and typical modern graphics features such as PBR shaders/materials, various types of lights and shadows, global illumination, particles, postprocessing effects, etc.

If the built-in renderer already handles everything you want, there is no need to do any graphics coding with these engines. But many games have at least a few things they want to do differently, or custom effects that aren't built in, so they will extend the engine with some of their own shaders or graphics passes.

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