What Is an Effect?

XNA Game Studio 4.0
An effect initializes the graphics pipeline for performing transforms, lighting, applying textures, and adding per-pixel visual effects such as a glow or a lens flare. Under the covers, an effect implements at least one shader for processing vertices and at least one shader for processing pixels.

During rendering, the graphics pipeline transforms 3D geometry to a 2D surface, giving you the option of adding lighting, texturing and many other per-vertex or per-pixel visual effects. An effect initializes the pipeline to render 3D geometry using vertex and pixel shaders, although you can also render a 2D sprite with an effect.

There are two types of effects. The first type runs on all platforms including Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox 360; this effect is easy to get up and running quickly. The second type runs on the Windows and Xbox 360 platforms only; this effect is designed for developers who are interested in developing custom shaders for high performance.

In This Section

What Is a Configurable Effect?
A configurable effect is an optimized rendering effect designed for Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone. A configurable effect is created using a built-in object with options for user configuration.
What Is a Programmable Effect?
A programmable effect is a general purpose rendering effect designed for Windows and Xbox 360 (not Windows Phone). A programmable effect is created from vertex and pixel shaders written in the High Level Shading Language (HLSL) and is completely customizable.

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