@zarch: the fill rate is only increased by the backface rendering, you always increase the fill rate also when the object in front is not transparent.
JME sorts to the opaque bucket front to back to eliminate overdraw. On many cards (nVidia seems to be particularly good at this) this will lessen fill rate since it can often trivially reject fully occluded spans. This is my theory for why vertex lighting is slower on my machine than regular per-pixel lighting. Because my scene is vertex heavy but overdraw light.
Oh nice, sounds like we actually have some renderer issues solved ^^
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