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a 3d game’s requirements are very flexible. someone with 32mb of video ram is still in good shape when it comes to casual gaming. i know that most new 3d games now require at least 64mb and pixel shading support, but those games are like Half Life 2, Quake 4, and FarCry. those games are targeted for ‘hardcore’ gamers that do spend money every year for the latest ati or nvidia cards. those games are programmed with that in mind.
i think that the huge amount of video memory on video cards these days have produced lazy programming habits. the more memory, the better of course, but now developers have just decided to say ‘you NEED 64mb and PixelShading to play this game’even though it’s extremely easy for a developer to make a low end version of the game with half quality textures and no shading. it just takes more time. i know time is money, but they are probably losing more sales than that due to lofty system requirements.
casual games that are downloaded from the internet usually don’t even require more than 4 or 8 mb of ram on the video card. keep in mind that 3d doesnt require a good graphics card anyway, it just helps a lot. i think a really good example of this is Half Life 1. im pretty sure when it was realeased it was targeted for cards that only had 2 mb on board. considering the end results, thats pretty amazing. considering a first project from any team probably wouldn’t be more advanced than that, i think it’s safe to say we could target a setup with only 8mb or so and still make a fun, eye pleasing game. it wouldn’t be cutting edge, but it would be full 3d.