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Should I replace textures with materials?

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Hi! I'm currently rendering my objects using no lightning and fixed function with just one texture. I'm planning on rewriting my renderer to use shaders instead. I have pretty simple objects. Currently, all my objects just specify it's vertices and a texture. Should I instead have them specify it's vertices and a material (which then knows what textures to use)? How do other people do this? Also, I want lightning with shadows. I've looked at deferred shading, is it a good route for me, or should I look at other options (what other options are there?). I have pretty simple geometry, but possibly alot of lights.

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