GPU Buffers

GPU buffers (also known as generic buffers) allow you to provide data to a GpuProgram similar as a texture. In particular they are very similar to a one-dimensional texture. They aren't constrained by size limitations like a texture, and allow each entry in the buffer to be more complex than just a primitive data type. This allows you to provide your GPU programs with complex data easily. In Banshee they are represented using the ct::GpuBuffer type.


To create a ct::GpuBuffer you must fill out a GPU_BUFFER_DESC structure and call the ct::GpuBuffer::create() method. At minimum you need to provide:

Standard buffers contain primitive elements (of GpuBufferFormat format), such as floats or ints, each with up to 4 components. In HLSL these buffers are represented using Buffer or RWBuffer types. In GLSL they are represented using samplerBuffer or imageBuffer types.

// Creates a standard buffer with 32 elements, each a 4-component float
desc.type = GBT_STANDARD;
desc.elementCount = 32;
desc.format = BF_32X4F;
SPtr<GpuBuffer> buffer = GpuBuffer::create(desc);

Structured buffers contain elements of arbitrary size and are usually used for storing structures of more complex data. In HLSL these buffers are represented using StructuredBuffer or RWStructuredBuffer types. In GLSL they are represented using the buffer block, also known as shared storage buffer object.

struct MyData
float a;
int b;
// Creates a structured buffer with 32 elements, each with enough size to store the MyData struct
desc.type = GBT_STRUCTURED;
desc.elementCount = 32;
desc.elementSize = sizeof(MyData);
SPtr<GpuBuffer> buffer = GpuBuffer::create(desc);


Reading or writing to a GPU buffer uses the same approach as other types of buffers, like index or vertex buffers. Refer back to the Geometry manual to see how.


Once created buffer can be bound to a GPU program through GpuParams by calling ct::GpuParams::setBuffer().

SPtr<GpuParams> params = ...;
params->setBuffer(GPT_FRAGMENT_PROGRAM, "myBuffer", buffer);

Load-store buffers

Same as with textures, buffers can also be used for GPU program load-store operations. You simply need to enable the GPU_BUFFER_DESC::randomGpuWrite option on buffer creation.

After that buffer can be bound as normal, as shown above. This is different from load-store textures which have a separate set of methods for binding in GpuParams.