In recent years point-based geometry has gained increasing attention as an alternative surface representation, both for efficient rendering and for flexible geometry processing of highly complex 3D-models. Point sampled objects do neither have to store nor to maintain globally consistent topological information. Therefore they are more flexible compared to triangle meshes when it comes to handling highly complex or dynamically changing shapes. In this paper, we make an attempt to give an overview of the various point-based methods that have been proposed over the last years. In particular we review and evaluate different shape representations, geometric algorithms, and rendering methods which use points as a universal graphics primitive.