In this chapter, we took texture mapping beyond the simple basics of applying a texture to geometry. You saw how to get improved filtering, obtain better performance and memory efficiency through texture compression, and generate automatic texture coordinates for geometry. You also saw how to add plausible environment maps with sphere mapping and more realistic and correct reflections using cube maps.
In addition, we discussed multitexture and texture combiners. The capability to apply more than one texture at a time is the foundation for many special effects, including hardware support for bump mapping. Using texture combiners, you have a great deal of flexibility in specifying how up to three textures are combined. While fragment programs exposed through the new OpenGL shading language do give you ultimate control over texture application, you can quickly and easily take advantage of these capabilities even on legacy hardware.
Finally, we covered point sprites, a highly efficient means of placing 2D textures onscreen for particle systems, and 2D effects.