Re: Everquest 2. I think I may have a partial solution to stuttering.
There are quite a few of us here who do understand game design. Although I do agree with basis of what ronin is saying about those whom don't know any better. I do not agree with the assumption that going from 1.1-3 would not offer much improved performance. In fact in some instances it would improve performance greatly. If you wish we can get into the technical sides as to how. But that would be rather boring, long winded, and I would sound like a carmack fanboy. The point is simply this in laymen terms. Visually eq2 is impressive. So much so its almost came as a shock to many that its not 2 or 3. The issue people in the know are having is this: 1-2 = less more ; 3 = more less. Thus the cpu is being over used when you can offload some of this by going to sm3, with longer single algs. As I havent slept yet I'm probably not making much sense here. I'm not sure it was Chris's intention to say it was easy, or anyone elses for that matter. Least not any intelligent persons. But whats the point of hlsl if its not being fully optimized in a seriously high level shader intensive game? One could assume based off understanding basic math, that certain slowdowns could be nullified, like during combat and the particle engine is going wild.
Now I can understand from a coders perspective. I get yelled at all the time for finding bugs in code. But you must also understand from a gamers perspective. As for the stuttering, thats all backend texture issues, in my opinion. The more memory you have the less intensive the stutter is, the longer it takes to develop. And yes this is from serious testing. But as in the past were at a stage where the infamous stutter will be showing its face more frequently in games. So while some people are blaming said on code paths, i am quite sure it has nothing to do with the paths. More so on the management of memory.
Sorry for my disjointed thoughts been up all night.