I played around with some runway lighting today to see if textured polygons 
are feasible.
Here is what textured, billboard runway lights look like :

With 6 * 10000 ft runways all in view at one time my frame rate dropped from 
50 down to 20 FPS on an old Ti 4200.
I think 6 * 10000 ft runways should pretty much cater for any large airport.
That's close to 5000 runway lights.

This is just a hardcoded test to see what the performance impact is if one 
uses a brute force approach with zero performance enhancements.
One could probably cull in between lights beyond certain distances which would 
help performance and look a bit better from a distance.

Also I'm not sure what sort of impact billboarding and distance scaling has on 
performance - it would probably be faster if I had fixed polygons.

If my Ti4200 can do the job then I'm sure newer video cards like the nVidia FX 
5700 and up should handle these lights quite nicely.


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