My guess is that this is perfectly acceptable to just about every user.
- If you don't have shaders, you have something like a GeForce 4 or Radeon 8500, and are fighting for frame-rate. In this case, not paying the price of layer-based variation is a win.
- If you have shaders, you're getting better performance because the shader creates variation more efficiently than the old layering scheme did.
I do have a goal to move more layering-type features to the GPU for future global scenery renders. There are a number of good reasons:
- DSF file size is limited - we have distribution requirements on the number of DVDs we ship. So DSF file size is better spent on more detailed meshes than on layers.
- GPU power is increasing faster than anything else, so it's good to put these effects on the GPU - the GPU is still hungry for more!
- If a feature is run on the GPU, we can scale it up or down or turn it on or off, for more flexible rendering settings on a wide variety of hardware. A feature baked into the DSF is there for everyone, no way to turn it off.