Aliasing is perhaps the most fundamental and widely discussed 3D rendering artifact of all time. Yet, it is often not fully understood in the gaming community. This article is intended to provide an in-depth coverage of the topic of real-time anti-aliasing, particularly as it applies to games, while remaining accessible to all interested parties.

The various types of aliasing and anti-aliasing methods discussed throughout the article will primarily be illustrated by means of screen-shots from an OpenGL program designed to show a variety of aliasing artifacts. You can download this program here.

Let me add a few words about performance before we start: while it is obviously a central aspect in all real-time graphics, we will focus primarily on the why and how of anti-aliasing for now. General performance characteristics will be mentioned, but rigorous benchmarking of all the anti-aliasing methods presented in this article in multiple real-world application scenarios would go beyond the scope of what is already a double-whopper of information.