I was experimenting with some fancy particle effects using Jos Stam's fluid solver
which looks really nice. There is a possibility that I could use this stuff in my little towship game and possibly other future projects. The main problem is that it uses quite a lot of sprites. In the range of 1000-10000 sprites. The sprites' dimentions go up to 64x64. There are many tricks to limit this number somewhat but ultimately more sprites will look nicer. So I was wondering how much would be the maximum for 'normal' computers.
How many sprites do you use for your particle effects? What should be my aim if I'm targeting 'my mom's computer' (with hardware acceleration though)? Does the size of the textures matter much (both their onscreen size and in memory size)? Is the video card's fill-rate really the only bottleneck or should I also avoid things like scaling or rotating? Is an alpha channel also expensive for hardware accelerated graphics?
ps. Yes I could go and do experiments myself somewhere, but hey, I'm lazy.