Out of curiosity, has anyone heard of "single surface objects"? It's a technique that pretty much any 3D API and GPU can do, but the only engine that can be used at the moment that uses it is Blitz3D, with the upcoming Attitude engine
also going to use it. I assume it's a 3D technique, though I wonder if it can be done with 2D sprites as well. It's basically a technique for rendering all the objects on a screen as a single surface, and apparently, it can result in a metric ton of objects being rendered like as if there was only one on the screen.
Though there would still be a lot of CPU use concerning 'scripts' for objects (though not as much), unless you use a magic trick involving a single 'script' used by every object relevant to it.