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Graphics Software Hardware Entertainment Games

New 3D Graphics Card Features in 2006 297

Ant writes "This Tom's Hardware article says that in the latest generation of graphics cards, PixelShader has become mainstream. Version 3 features 3D effects like HDR rendering for bright light sources, and parallax mapping for even more vivid features in walls and stones. The brand-new ATI Radeon X1000 series and the NVIDIA GeForce 6 and 7 master these improved graphics features. It looks at today's newest computer games (e.g., F.E.A.R.) and compare the 3D effects."
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New 3D Graphics Card Features in 2006

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  • by enrico_suave ( 179651 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:36PM (#14479248) Homepage
    To me the media features in the silicon is what's getting cooler and cooler.

    The fact that they added h.264 accelleration support to both the 6xxx AND 7 series is pretty cool, imho. Not leaving the previous generation card owners behind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:36PM (#14479249)
    ...cheaper graphic cards...
    • ayup (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Travoltus ( 110240 )
      $500 for a card that can handle today's games, and $700 for next year's games, is not something a lot of people can afford, especially now that NVidia has CANCELED all AGP production and that means AGP computer owners have to shell out several hundred dollars for a PCI Express system and perhaps also migrate over to the 64 bit arch which is going to present unavoidable breakage of some obscure legacy software that is very important to someone out there.

      What I'm getting at is these $500-$700 cards will major
      • Re:ayup (Score:4, Insightful)

        by yobjob ( 942868 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:52PM (#14479321) Homepage
        PC upgradability is a myth. Whenever I've come to need a new piece of hardware, there's always been some snag that results in me having to upgrade my entire system.

        CPU requires a new chipset.

        Now I need a new motherboard.

        Oops, now I need new memory.

        Oh, my power supply doesn't support this new hardware.

        Damn, the PCI slot is in exactly the wrong spot - now I need to get a new case... or remove the drive cage...

        Goes on and on and on. I don't factor upgradability into any system I buy, there's no point.
        • It's unfortunate you didn't time your computer purchase better. You could've bought a DDR mobo with an Athlon in 2002 and later upgraded the mobo and chip while reusing the RAM. Your power supply would've worked fine with it too. It wasn't until the last year or so mobo's with Power Supply 2.0 power connectors came out. The ATX case lasted from what, about 1997 until 2004/5? That's plenty of time. The power connector standard that was recently replaced lasted for 5 years. AGP lasted for 5 years. My
      • Re:ayup (Score:2, Informative)

        by kormoc ( 122955 )
        I donno, $150 for a video card that plays all the current games quite well isn't that bad ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16814135160 [newegg.com] ), and I wasn't really looking for a deal.

        GFX cards are not that bad if you don't get the absolute top end.
      • You don't need to spend $500 for a card to handle today's games. I just got an X800 GTO for the princely sum of $185 (and that was the more expensive fanless model). It plays F.E.A.R just fine. These days, the best deals to be had are to buy the previous generator's high-end cards once every year or two. Buying a $150 card every year will get you a lot better average-gaming-experience than buying a $450 card and replacing it after three years.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:37PM (#14479253)
    No one can doubt that Quake wouldn't have been any more a rehash of Doom than this morning's pizza omelette save for its vastly improved graphics. However, the FPS has essentially hit a playability wall like Dale Earnhardt with the advent of cooperative team play. At this point, the genre is at a standstill, playability-wise. The only thing getting better about these games is the graphics, and though I suppose that increasing resolution is not something that is bound to hinder games, it's about as beneficial in the long-term as replacing your worn out horsewhip.
    • The above post uses similies as loosely, um, a really loose thing.
    • There is also the problem of having too much realism. When everything is almost perfectly realistic, the brain concentrates on finding imperfections - inaccurate lighting, tiniest BSP flaws, misaligned textures. This happens because in the Real World those cues are used for determination of spatial relationships (surface quality, shape intricacies etc.) so when one of them is just slightly incorrect, you get this feeling of "wrongness".

      So, actually, increasing simulation quality doesn't mean more subjective
    • I don't buy it. Yes, it takes a while for new concepts to pop up, but I'd hardly say the genre is at a standstill. BF2 didn't appear overnight.

      People are making good strides with fantasy FPS, and couple that with things like the vastly improved PVP in WoW and peoples obsession with that...I think we're just on the verge of seeing a good MMOFPS that will be what Planetside SHOULD HAVE been.

      • FPS has been continually improving. We take individually movable objects for granted now... what about maleable materials? What if every wall crumbles when you hit it with a rocket?

        The two things that are still missing from FPS:

        - Multisession persistence - the only character stats that improve over the course of a game are guns, and somewhat health and armor. There's especially a lack of persistence in multi-player FPS. What if I were to play an FPS today, and improve my character, log out, and log in t
        • Look into WWII Online. Create an account and go fight for the axis or allies in Europe on foot, in a tank, or in the air. Folks looking for a fast-paced Quake or Counterstrike experience with lots of action resetting every five minutes should look elsewhere. Wasn't that other kind of game supposed to be Planetside?
  • price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShaneThePain ( 929627 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:38PM (#14479254) Journal
    its unfortunate that top of the line cards are getting more expensive. I have an X850XT Platinum Edition myself and its great. but it cost me 470 dollars. These new cards are over 600 dollars. I would hope that top of the line cards would get LESS expensive. Also, my card has been chugging on lowest settings for BF2: special forces, but i can run regular Battlefield 2 max settings smooth as glass. whats up with that?
    • doesn't BF2 have horrible performance issues? or was that something else
      • Re:price (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sqrt(2) ( 786011 )
        The problem was EA's decision to not support older pixel shaders. In short, they artificially increased the games requirements to scratch nVidia's back.

        I boycotted EA when they bought West Wood and killed the CnC franchise.
    • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:54PM (#14479333) Journal
      Allow me to give you a suggestion:

      Stop buying the very top of the line!

      I picked up a Geforce 7800GT for a little over $300. There surely exists an ATI card at about the same price-value point.
      • $300 for a graphics card is still way too much for me. Isn't that exactly the MSRP of the baseline XBox?

        Unless PC gaming has changed drastically since I quit about 3 years ago, it's still a pain in the butt. Now that my son is getting old enough to play, I just want something we can have fun with together, with some good shared-screen multiplayer games, and which actually functions properly. I don't plan to get back into sitting alone in a darkened computer room playing games for hours on end, ever.

    • The trend has *always* been (refer to Intel CPU pricing, or different sizes of LCD monitors, for example) to introduce the new hardware at the same price point as the last generation when it first came out. So, the top of the line always costs the same, except for those brief couple months before the new top of the line comes out. Remember 3DFX? Yeah, they charged a lot for their top-end cards too. You're completely out of luck if you're hoping for the trend to change. (Sorry)
      • I don't know if you remember correctly. Back in the day, the Voodoo 2 came out at the astounding price of $200. Same for the Voodoo 1. I remember Canopus released a really expensive Voodoo 2 bundle for $250. Back then, you could spring for an SLI Voodoo 2 rig (with an astounding 16MB of net graphics memory) for $400. These days, $400 won't even buy you a single 7800GTX.
  • Unreal Engine 3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by nacturation ( 646836 ) <nacturationNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:38PM (#14479256) Journal
    Take a look at the next Unreal engine. [unrealtechnology.com] Many of these advanced features are already there. The demo video [fileplanet.com] is quite incredible. There's also Project Offset [slashdot.org] which I'm eagerly awaiting as well.
  • Linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:41PM (#14479272)
    And the best graphics card with good open source drivers are still R200 series, line the radeon 9200.
    So HDR should work great under linux, in about 2010.
  • 2006? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pookemon ( 909195 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:51PM (#14479316) Homepage
    Ah these "features" are already available and present in the current generation of cards. They've been around since at least 2004 - and viable on hardware from then (ie. 6800's etc.).

    The first example I saw of Parallax mapping was actually something done in DOOM 3 (I can't find the post on the OpenGL forum). So why are these "new features" considered "New". Looks like an advert for current gen Hardware to me...
    • You are right, but now in 2006 you'll be able to buy hardware that will actually allow you to turn all of those features on and still have a playable game.

      Everquest 2 for instance, if you want to play with all of the options turned on, you'd need 2 gig of ram an uber video card with at least 512MB ram and it still doesn't run that great. 2006 may bring those people viable performance on the settings you see in screen shots.
      • Which is due to utterly buggy and horribly unoptimized engine.

        Sure, it has some reasonably high res textures, meaning it does use 512MB texture ram, but otherwise the engine sucks.

        I mean they haven't been able to fix the pretty shadows to actually stay on for the past year - they always vanish/bug out as soon as there is a bit more spell effects going around you. And if they can't even get the damn shadows to work right, one has to wonder what other things are totally buggy in the engine

        (also funnily their
    • Re:2006? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nightspark ( 938372 )
      Yep. The "brand-new" Radeon X1k series was launched in October, and the GeForce 7 series was launched in August.
    • And you have to wonder about the gratuitous link to the F.E.A.R. website - what does that have to do with ANYTHING? I notice this a lot in articles posted by Zonk - he leaves in lots of misleading and pointless links and his grammar and sentence structures don't make it clear which link is the actual story and which are just window dressing/kickback-funded advertorial content.

      If ./ readers want to know about high end games they can use Google. News should be news, not commercials.
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @11:56PM (#14479343)
    Looking at the difference in graphic quality between the older generation of cards and the newer generation of cards, there is a jump. But the real question, is it enough of a jump to warrant the cost of a new card over one you bought last year (assuming you bought a good card last year). And that being said, how much of a jump will you get with the generation after this? These companies put out new product every year with the hope they will sell like hot cakes because of what they added. Myself, I tend to upgrade every second generation, and sometimes three.

    While these advances are all fine and good, how much of a jump would be worth say, a $500 dollar (assume you can get deals) outlay each year? While the new graphics are great, I can't say they are 500 smackers a year greater.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Pet peeve of mine:

      a $500 dollar outlay

      Read that out loud. "$500" == "five hundred dollar". "$500 dollar" == "five hundred dollar dollar". So it's a five hundred dollar dollar outlay?
    • . . .assuming you bought a good card last year. . .

      I bought a good card last century.

    • You can't just take a computer, swap out your old graphics card, and put in the $500 one. Well, you can, but it isn't the most effective use of your money. Your old processor/MB/memory likely isn't going to be able to feed that $500 card optimally, or drive the non-graphics computations going on. If you want a $500 graphics improvement, you might need a $500 processor improvement, maybe more.

    • I agree that I tend to skip a generation or two before upgrading(I'm still on my ATI 9800xt as a matter of fact). But, I think the primary reason people upgrade these days isn't simply for new graphic "goodies". A lot of people are moving into the high resolution LCD market as the prices plumet on these screens. I myself run a 1680x1050 resolution screen. My primary concern when I decide to upgrade is when the tradeoff between running a game at native resolution and sacraficing visual quality/fps gets t
  • The feature I want (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:11AM (#14479401)
    is a decent card for under $100. I shouldn't need a $150-$200 card to play 8 month old games.
    • by bradleyland ( 798918 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:51AM (#14479540)
      When you look at the hardware that's on a graphics card, the cost makes more sense. You've got a GPU with 304M transistors (G70 [7800] core), then you've got up to 512 MB of very, very fast memory (bus speeds in excess of 1000 MHz). That's heavy duty. By contrast, a San Diego core Athlon64 has 114 million transistors, but costs $245 or so. Throw in 512 MB of RAM that will run at a 1200 MHz clock speed, and you will approach the cost of a graphics card, but the GPU's aren't manufactured on the same 90nm process as the A64, so the production costs must be much higher.

      Of course, this doesn't factor in R&D costs, but there's a lot more growth going on in graphics processing than there is in x86.

      I'm not in any kind of position to make judgments (because I'm not an expert on either industry), but it seems to a laymen that the $400 price tag might just be justifiable for a 7800GTX.
    • is a decent card for under $100. I shouldn't need a $150-$200 card to play 8 month old games.

      The chintzy integrated video will play all of those games well enough. But you're going to have to back off from "11" on the display options.
      • >The chintzy integrated video will play all of those games well enough. But you're going to have to back off from "11" on the display options.

        I don't think that's true. A lot of the integrated video I see is whatever intel has laying around. They don't have enough video ram to even start up Battlefield 2 and the games these chipsets do support tend to be supported at 'low' which means 800x600, low textures, and no AA. Console games look better than this stuff.

        The grandparent is right, there are no real
        • you might want to check out nvidia 6150/430 int. GPU. Mobos for these got for sub90 bucks a pop. You get what you pay for, as long as you are not going to play your games at 1600x1200 at "uber" settings.

          • I've read some reviews, and hell it can't even do doom 3 at 800x600x30fps. For integrated video I'm not complaining, but is still outperformed by my 3 year old Geforce 4 TI 4200; a midrange card at release for God's sake. The trouble is companies don't want a low end, there's not enough profit. I guess I can't really blame them (cheap super fast Voodoo 3s basically killed 3dfx), but it still sucks to be a cheapskate pc gamer right now. Oh well, that's what my ps2 is for I guess.
    • I just upgraded from a 9600XT, a card that can be easily had for under $100. It can play all the lastest games, just at a lower resolution and/or without all the bells and whistles. If you want all the bells and whistles at 1600x1200, you have to pay.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:16AM (#14479424)
    The only thing I'm interested in new graphic features is when the card cost only $50 USD. All the video cards that I got over the last few years (Geforce 2 64MB, Geforce 4 Ti 4200 128MB, and Geforce 6200 128MB) were all for $50 USD each. Before that, I paid $150 USD each for earlier cards (Geforce 32MB, TNT2 16MB, and 3Dfx Voodoo Rush). Why pay a premium for a feature-rich card that most games don't even support yet?
  • by xwin ( 848234 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:21AM (#14479443)
    More advanced (and expensive) 3D hardware is coming out but the gameplay still sucks. There is almost nothing that UT2004 added to UT2003 except the new game types which could have been implemented on 2003. Doom3 despite all it's graphics glory is mediocre game.

    More and more money is pumped into the game and less and less imagination. Just like Hollywood movies.
    Don't get me wrong, I am all for progress in the graphic cards. But graphics do not make the game. When I am playing UT, I have no time to look at the special effects, I am more concerned with staying alive. Game must have a good gameplay not just good graphics.
    • But, the thing that UT2004 added was gameplay! So that seems to be exactly what you want. And in UT2007 it sounds like they will do that again with the Conquest mode.

      In my mind, UT2004 was exactly the right kind of sequel, adding several new and interesting game play options, including Onslaught, vehicles and new weapon types. UT2003 tried, but unfortunately produced gameplay that was not popular (bombing run, sports style).

      Alongside that they are upgrading graphics. They probably do spend too much time on
  • by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:22AM (#14479450)
    this is not a preview for any new technology that will be apearing in graphics cards that are coming out this year. it's just a long winded reveiw of what apeared last year.
  • by Skippy_kangaroo ( 850507 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:25AM (#14479463)
    It's not only games that demand these new uber-graphics-cards. Consider what is happening with operating systems. In a couple of years I'm sure the OS will require today's uber-cards.

    Core Image in OS X offloads a lot of the GUI stuff to the graphics processor. To get all the eye candy (sorry, usability improvements) you can't have a particularly old card. Vista is doing the same thing.

    Now we are really putting the G into GUI.
    • Core Image in OS X offloads a lot of the GUI stuff to the graphics processor. To get all the eye candy (sorry, usability improvements) you can't have a particularly old card. Vista is doing the same thing.

      That's not exactly true. Core Image provides the real-time framework for certain filters to execute on pixels. This includes, for a GUI example, the ripple when a widget is added to Dashboard, but it could also include filters in a Cocoa image manipulation program. Developers can trivially add the bu

  • I don't care, until (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:29AM (#14479473) Homepage Journal
    FreeBSD/amd64 is adequately supported by the drivers.

    Oh, radeon appears to be supported by Xorg, but it does not seem stable at all.

    With the feature set of the modern graphics hardware, the drivers ought to be maintained by the manufacturers with access to the hardware and the specs.

    NVidia is doing a good enough job with the Linux and FreeBSD on i386, but they don't have anything for FreeBSD/amd64 (despite posts begging for it on their forums for the last 2 years) and I am greatly disappointed...

    • they don't have anything for FreeBSD/amd64

      Nvidia's amd64 drivers are pretty stable too. Been using them for a year now - since I got my 64-bit athlon. Never had any problems running Xorg on it. The Xorg shadows and transparencies behave as expected.
    • You're right about the instability of the Radeon Drivers on Xorg. I have such a setup and I run Debian testing on it with with an AIW Radeon 9700 Pro. Using the latest ATI drivers from Dec last year, even when I'm not running a graphics intensive application, X often seems to hang heavily and without any warning. The system crashes so bad that I can't even switch consoles to halt the machine properly.

      I can successfully crash the Xorg every time just by trying to run prboom though. Don't ask me why.
    • by Fweeky ( 41046 )
      Apparantly nVidia are awaiting Page Attribute Table support [freebsd.org] before they can release a FreeBSD/amd64 driver.
  • Oh dear. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by labratuk ( 204918 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:36AM (#14479492)
    This guy is clearly quite confused about a lot of aspects of computer graphics. I think it's a fair bet to say he's not a graphics programmer. Is this a typical quality article from tom's hardware?

    He continually mixes up the significance of the capabilities of the shading languages, the 'quality settings' of random games, and just the sheer speeds of the cards.

    Doesn't have a great grasp of english either (not that my german is that good to be fair).
  • Direct3dlicious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:46AM (#14479524) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone use OpenGL anymore? Is it still up to date with all of these features?
    • Most of the new advances these days have to do with shader support, and glslang (GL shading language) is quite a bit more general than pixel shaders 3.0.
    • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @04:41AM (#14480290)
      Right now, OpenGL is on-par with Direct3D 9, now that the framebuffer object extension is out. Direct3D 10 is a wholly different issue, however. It has support for geometry shaders, constant buffers, superbuffers... OpenGL needs to catch up with new extensions or else it will fall behind, again. And this time, it may not survive.
  • Cool! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:02AM (#14479570) Homepage
    I just upgraded to the new intel Extreme graphics thingy. The Bestbuy guy said it was the best on the market. Is that true??? I mean EXTREME!!!

    He did say something about them breaking easy though. So I bought the extended warranty, of course.
  • by shoolz ( 752000 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:02AM (#14479571) Homepage
    We all get lost in graphics. Graphics don't make a game, good gameplay does. Good gameplay = tasty cake, Good graphics = icing.

    Quake 1:
    Gameplay=cake, Graphics=sprinkles
    Result: Tastes like nice cake

    Half Life 2:
    Gameplay=cake, Graphics=icing
    Result: Tastes like premium cake

    Doom 3:
    Gameplay=shit, Graphics=icing
    Result: Tastes like shit with a hint of sugar
  • PCIx (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Daysaway ( 916732 )
    When the technology is available to fully take advantage of the two-way bus communication on the PCI express cards, we will see the biggest jump in performace.

    It is great that these cards are supporting great features such as parallax mapping however being able to offload algorithms for collision and other extremely processor intensive functions will be the biggest boon for not only games, but all kinds of graphical simulations.

    Until then, the best we will get is the same quality games rendering pret
  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:43AM (#14479704) Homepage
    As I see my guts splattered on that highly rendered wall for the umpteenth time! Thanks for improving my game experience! (how about some better games to go with it?)
    • The slashdot cynicism about improvements in graphics is getting old. Have you played F.E.A.R? I'm not much of a gamer (indeed, I'm not a gamer at all --- aside from the occasional Halo match, the last game I played before F.E.A.R was Xenosaga a couple of years ago) but it really it really is an example of new technology (graphics, physics, AI) being used to create a better gaming experience. The F.E.A.R graphics and animation engine really does a good job of reproducing the weight of people and objects, mak
      • I disagree. Every level in F.E.A.R. was a dark warehouse. Think of what could have been added to that game. Haunted caves, creepy abandoned houses, etc. Nope, everything was a factory or warehouse for the entire game.

        Don't get me wrong, I had a fun time, but it wore thin to the point I played in hour-long spurts. In Half-Life 2, on the other hand, all the constant variety had me up all night playing.
  • by yobjob ( 942868 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:44AM (#14479924) Homepage
    Is how all this expensive hardware can play games at ridiculously high resolutions, yet they still don't look anything near as real as a game of football on a low resolution television set.
    • I tend to ascribe that to resolution specifically (or, better, our minds ability to connect-the-dots on low resolution displays). On low resolution the fluidity of motion is more important since we'll make up for the lack of detail anyway, but it is apparently easier to create higher resolution for computer games than higher fluidity (artists cost?), so they try to achieve realism that way, which doesn't really work. Case in point: I saw the FF movie on crappy resolution first and was utterly stunned at its
      • Correct. The mind is much more sensitive to correct motion. I guess good motion blur and very good animation together can help a lot. Lighting is very advanced these days, in static settings PRT can make it look very real if used together with HDR. So this one isn't lacking, but animation is. Lighting has been pushed a lot in the past, but animation was left behind. A serious mistake. Half-Life 2 did it right (or at least less wrong than most) by improving animation.
  • by majid_aldo ( 812530 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @08:38AM (#14480924)
    examples in fp shooters:

    - shadows. eg players casting shadows add a strategic element to gameplay.
    - water effects. eg players can hide in water. depending on lighting conditions, the water can be transparent or reflective.
    - HDR effects. eg. if you just came out from darkness (hiding) it should be a disadvantage to you.
    - motion blur. eg if you use a rapid fire weapon you should be disadvantaged b/c you should experience vibration.

    having said this, however, i don't see any other gameplay altering graphics features. from now on, all i expect to see is a steady march towards more realistic rendering.
  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:50PM (#14485590)
    The games pictured in those screenshots exemplify what's wrong with the gaming industry. Every single one of those games except one is a damn FPS, and the one that is different is another of many RTS games. Some of those are probably decent in their own right, but how many times do we have to play the same thing?

    I'm impressed by what they're accomplishing in terms graphics. It's fascinating to me. At the same I have no desire to play any of those games because they all provide the same generic experience. It's like there's a game design template that all these developers grab ideas from. For all the innovation in graphics there is very little being done in story-telling, gameplay or mechanics. What about AI that can learn and adapt to the player? Apparently FEAR has some good AI, but it's basically reactionary, and the game itself is a lame take on generic Japanese horror movies; the developers watched the Ring one time too many.

    There certainly is a place for ultra-realistic games. However, that these kinds of games don't inherently negate every other genre; less-realistic games aren't inferior. Is chess any less of a game because I can play a PC strategy game that runs pixel shader 3.0?

    The marketing people spout the generic drivel that they're opening new vistas in gaming. We'll I have yet to see anything even remotely on that scale. These people have convinced the average, ignorant consumer that graphics are the pinnacle of good gaming making it difficult for anyone with less than the most advanced graphics to compete effectively.

    These new games require massive budgets, a legion of employees and several years to complete. There's no way in hell an independent developer can compete on those terms. It's likely why Nintendo has decided to focus on gameplay over advanced graphics. The flashy graphics will impress everyone initially, but the excitement dies quickly the game itself offers nothing new.

    The key question is, can you convince people that your game is superior based primarily on gameplay? I think it's a difficult proposition nowadays, the gameplay had better be phenomenal.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.