So this next week I'm off to visit the game magazines. It's almost the same time of year that I went to show off Galactic Civilizations I. We didn't get much preview coverage. Maybe..just maybe it's because the graphics were awful and looked like shareware from the 80s? Look at this first screenshot. This is where Galactic Civilizations I was at that point. Look at the top left, you'll see the frame rate. 36 frames per second. Which was certainly fast "enough". It's funny though because people always assume that if the graphics are bad, the hardware requirements must be low. But that's not necessarily the case. The graphics improved greatly between the GalCiv Alpha and the final game just as the graphics will improve from the GalCiv 2 alpha to the final game.
Now fast forward 3 years and here's what we're taking on the media tour (similar view). Look at the frame rate in the top left. 166 frames per second. Same hardware as the above screenshot was taken. That's the benefit of 3D acceleration. So ironically, Galactic Civilizations II, with much better graphics, may have lower hardware requirements than the first one. I suspect for most players, GalCiv 2 will run a lot smoother and faster than the first one.
The graphics are still pretty rough. But comparing to where we were in relation to the first one, we're doing pretty well I think.