I'm looking into what the maximum settings for my engine should be (aimed at 2007+ hardware)
-16X Antialiasing (beyond this, is it even an improvement?)
-A full atmospheric model (outdoors only, using terragen as guideline)
-High Dynamic Range rendering
-Per pixel shadowing
-Some kind of fast radiosity
-Dynamic anisotropic hair (not quite sure if I understand this)
What other stuff is needed for great graphics in real time?
Also, I know that alot of games use maps (bump mapping, light mapping, HDR maps, etc.) is that neccesary? I really don't feel like implementing support for these things, and it seems like making all the maps would take a great deal of time while reducing the flexibility of your game.
Before I get told how hard making an engine like this, I realize it will be alot of work and I won't ever end up making it look as good as I want. Luckily, the nongraphical parts of the engine will be easy as I already have experience with 3D sound, UDP, and game phyiscs.