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Question about feature-specific graphics coding?

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How can I make sure that a program written to take advantage of specific graphics features like 32-bit colour, T&L etc.., stencil-buffer also runs on cards without these features? Do you have to use API-functions to determine what features a graphics card has, then run different pieces of code depending on the hardware? If I write a program which supports 32-bit colour, will older cards just automatically draw the textures in 16-bit colour, or should I make a set of identical 16-bit textures so that less data (16-bit only) is passed over the graphics bus? Same for T&L - If I were to code something that took advantage of T&L, would I have to re-write the same pipeline code for non-T&L cards. How can I ensure that the program I write utilises the latest features yet still runs on other/older cards without these features? Paulcoz.

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