A couple of enterprising BioShock fans have begun a project to make the game run on video cards that don't support Shader Model 3.0.
The project was started by a 2K forum user known as ScottJG as a reaction to the fact that his video card could run Half-Life 2, STALKER and even the upcoming Crytek shooter Crysis, but would not run the hotly anticipated BioShock. He was soon joined by another forum user and graphics enthusiast who goes by the name of WarAnakin.
Initial efforts targeted the BioShock demo, which ScottJG claimed to have running on his system "after an hour." While the hack is imperfect, with various textures missing during gameplay and inordinately long load times, the fact that a relatively casual effort by two members of the community has resulted in functioning support for older hardware has led some users to criticize 2K Games for its decision to require Shader Model 3.0 video cards. There have also been comparisons made to Oldblivion, a fan project which allowed owners of outdated video cards to play the graphically-demanding Oblivion RPG with acceptable image quality and frame rates.
While 2K has yet to comment, efforts to improve the unofficial Shader Model 2.0 support continue. More information, as well as patch files and instructions for use - at your own risk - is available on the 2K BioShock Technical Support forum.