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Designing a material system

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I'm only really familiar with the material system from the Source Engine, and I'd like to make a better one for my own uses. I've looked at tutorials for Unreal material editor, and I like how a material works like a tree of stages (directed graph).

I'm wondering if there are any other material systems I should check out to get more ideas. Also, how do the Unreal Engine's shaders work? Does it generate and compile a new shader based on the material definition? Does it do it at compile time or run time?

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