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What is a render target?

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I'm having a hard time finding a definition for what a render target is, I'm looking at one of the tutorials for HGE (2d game engine) and it uses a render target for something but I don't see what it's doing. To me it just looks like the target is being used as a texture to draw the sprite with, but how is that any different from just assigning a sprite an image? Index to HGE documentation Tutorial 4 is the one that uses render targets.

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