Well it is important as a 3d artist for me to understand alot of the graphical coding (especially with titles like gameSpace in the works) ...
bump mapping really is more of a realism effect, because to add detail without polygons is part of the textures job.
i'd recommend against using it really unless you have it as a turn off option - especially for entire worlds, as it does eat up processor power and VERY fast.
it probably would be good for you to look into several things which bump mapping is based around to add effect...
Lightmapping, Projection Mapping, Blend/Multi-texturing, Phong shading and Shadowmapping.
All forms of mapping and shading tend to be a combination of blending textures, premade and engine calculated to get more and more realism within a game.
As a graphical programmer, it is oftenly thier job to add the most realism without stepping on the feet of the main game programmers... as i've noted, really need to make sure there is atleast a playable demo before you think about advanced effects!
Trust me there are ALOT of advanced coding & art tutorials comming from myself, however i'd like to fix up my website - get the beta of gameSpace finally out for testing and get back upto date with work stuff.
As soon as I have time, there will be some cool addons for DBpro - probably just in time for Patch2 at the end of this month. A few team members of FMTau are also about to release something truely outstanding, which I actually want Kevin (UWdesign) to checkout first as he is gonna be like a kid in a candy store with it
Holy jumping mother of god NOOOO!!!...