Ideas for a bullet trail / tracer and impact effects

Any suggestions for how to make these?

I’ve made one, but mine is a little too performance intensive and it is also missing some of the cooler effects.

I used a white tube, and an updatable mesh. Right when a bullet is fired I create this tube along a path, and then I very quickly collapse the tube from the source the point of impact. Even though on the first frame its just a long tube from A to B, the eye seems to perceive as motion thanks to how it collapses.

So that was cool, but making a whole lot of these updatable tube meshes is a little too much on the lowest end machine that I’m targeting (it almost works though). Also, I want to try making the smoke trail after effect which is popular in several games now. It’s a bullet tracer that starts hot white/yellow, and then rapidly fades into being a little wispy smoke animation, and the whole thing is gone in like 100 ms. I think there may be another important part of the effect, which is that the fading from white to smokey occurs gradually (well, pretty fast) along the length of the tracer – like my collapsing tube that creates the illusion of a bullet traveling along the path.

So I was wondering if anyone knew of approaches for making these? Tubes? Ribbons? Animated sprite on some other mesh? Billboards?

I’ll be experimenting, but would appreciate tips/ideas.
TY :smiley:

Please have a look at this old game : StarFighter

The lasers are managed by a little pool of billboarded triangular planar particles in a SPS. They colored with a simple gradiant and are scaled quickly to give the impression of a real fast displacement.
The laser impacts on the enemy vessels are also managed by a little pool of billboarded planar quad particles (they could have been sprites also, or standard particles, here they are SPS ones).

I think it’s better to use very low poly meshes (so 2D ones are better in final) to render fast and numerous trails or impacts


we have this too


A smoke like particle system parented to the projectile mesh will probably yield the best results