I am a bit disappointed by GL2. It’s very different from what 3dlabs initially proposed.
Did you hear about the internal performance counter? Or the multiple rendering threads in the same context? Fine they were rumors but they came from rather qualified sources.
Let alone the uber buffers. They worked hard on them just to drop them. Difficult extension they were but I still don’t believe they were SO difficult.
When I consider latest NV chips are just catching up with P10 (wich was released before NV30) and ATi chips are even more behind in functionality, I begin to fear this is a marketing move.
I really like ARB_npot and I love to have GLSL in core, while I heard VP/FPs are still faster.
About the hardware issue, it’s not so bad.
There are very few TNT2 still running here in north-east Italy. Most of the time you can count at least on NV15+ functionality and performance.
The actual state of art seems to be 3000+ processors with GF4MX video cards (or integrated graphics) however. What a delight. Yes, everyone still thinks a PC has only a single processor.
The TNT2 is happily no longer important in the market.
However, the Intel Extreme is still going strong, and it’s not that much better than a TNT2. In fact, in some ways, it’s worse – while it has 4 texture units, it uses unified framebuffer/texturing memory which competes on bandwidth with the CPU, and it has only a single pixel pipeline. This is true for Intel Extreme 1 and 2 – the 915G, aka Intel Extreme 3, has 4 pixel pipes, and supports pixel shader 2.0 functionality, but still is a shared-memory device.
To target a game that I’d sell two years from now, I’d buy the cheapest machine possible from Dell’s consumer site (www.dell4me.com) today, and make that The Minimum Spec. My goal would be to make the game run well on this machine (with minimal features – single diffuse map plus light mapping; single directional vertex light; etc). This is likely something like a 1.6 GHz Celeron with Intel Extreme, and 256 MB of DDR266 memory. Then, a year from now (a year before I actually released the game), I’d go back to the same site, and buy the highest end machine they sold at the time, and make sure the game looks great on that machine, while running at least at the frame rate of the cheapest machine.
Then, by the time you release, you have two configurations: simple-and-fast, and pretty-and-still-fast. The people with the ultra-latest graphics cards at release, probably won’t get the super-latest features, but they’ll get good frame rates and can probably crank up the resolution.
In this context, remember that the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro is over two years old now! Meanwhile, Intel Extreme is still going strong. It’s a crazy world.