I was thinking about a variety of games that I've played. It can be hard (for me) to tell which graphical techniques they use. I would never aim to write a AAA killer (due to the effort/reward ratio), but what sort of techniques are expected for a game not to look dated? A few examples:
- Textures - simple, with normals, relief-mapped, procedurally generated, sub-surface scattering?
- Geometry - number of polys, tessellation?
- Lighting/shadows - forward, deferred, soft shadows, SSAO, global illumination?
- Effects - HDR, bloom, FSAA, volumetric fog, god rays?
- Sky - skybox, animated, day/night, weather, seasons?
What would be your baseline must-have for a FPS that won't turn off paying consumers?