One of the challenges in making Elemental has been to create a game with a very distinctive look. A lot of land-based strategy games tend to look pretty similar to one another.
What we want with Elemental is an art style that someone will instantly be able to identify with this particular game. To that end, we have developed an art-style that is kind of a water-color look.
One of our challenges is that we want players to be able to zoom in on units as closely as they want or zoom out as well and have the performance be good while still being pretty and have varying degrees of visuals based on the hardware.
At the low end, we want most Pixel Shader 2 cards (ATI 9800 or Geforce 6800 or better or most remotely recent laptops) to run the game fine. But by fine, we don't mean ugly but rather stylized. With stylized graphics, we can do some interesting things to make the game attractive on lower end cards rather than just turning off shadows and lighting and making the game look ugly.