Obviously I am determined to throw all my time away revisiting the fancy-pants world of realtime 3D, in spite of the fact that I have inferior hardware and old fashioned skills. The Dalek pictured on the right is an example of ‘flaring’ on hilights, with placements calculated mathematically. It’s fairly expensive computationally, checking every single triangle rendered for whether it is angled so as to reflect a hilight. Today I made it also take the local curvature of the surface into account, so the size of the flares on the little hemispheres of our shiny Dalek will be reduced in future.
The degree to which 3D hardware has advanced almost scares me more than it impresses me… new cards can execute a little program for every pixel [or every fragment of a pixel], and still render bajillions of triangles per second. I guess the bottom line is that it doesn’t hurt to try to get things running fast and pretty on previous generation hardware (ie my GeForce2), but I probably shouldn’t kill myself implementing some effect that would be a piece of cake with access to vertex and pixel shaders.