I have made a few assumptions about OpenGL performance. It is eighter extremely fast, or extremely slow.
When I compile the Vasphere.c program that comes with OpenGL, and run it on the slowest computer I have in stock - a Pentium 166 - I still get 700.000 triangles per second in a full-screen window without hardware acceleration, e.g. under software.
Then, when I run some other OpenGL demo that features texture mapping, it slows down to a crawl on that Pentium 166. When lighting is switched on, it slows down even more, leaving me with about 1.5 frames per second in a low-poly scene while running under software only.
How is this possible?
I read somewhere that there are two versions of OpenGL for the Win32 platform out there, a
Microsoft and an SGI version, and the SGI version would run extremely fast under software while the Microsoft version would not. Maybe it's because of two different OpenGL implementations I may be using
I am thinking about software mode speeds a lot lateley when I got hired at a computer company. During lunchbreak people start playing Halflife and Quake III on they're workstations, and since they can't bring a 3D card at work and start screwing open they're workstations, they play in software mode.
So it seems there is still a market for software rendering, now all we have to do is find out why OpenGL behaves so versatile under Software.