Special Effects


I have a space ship model that I’d like to add certain effects to and I’d like opinions on the best way to add these effects. “Best” in this case meaning looks good/realistic. The ship split up into several pieces (engine, engine bay, wings, cockpit windows, etc) and is completely textured.

  1. Thrust from an engine and thrusters ? I’ve tried changing the material values for the triangles that represent the engine - toying with the emission values to make it appear as if it was giving off a orange or red glow. The results were sad - the whole ship seemed to be affected by the material rather than just the engine (and the engine bay). I have also thought about transparent texture mapped cones - changing the texture map rapidly to animate the trusters.

  2. Cockpit glow ? I’d like to have the cockpit window appear to glow and have the surrounding portions of the ship be affected by the light (so it looks realistic). Is this better done with a positional light, material effect, light map texture, or some combination ? My attempts at this have been just as bad looking.

  3. How do I limit the effect of lighting and material ? As mentioned above, my calls to glMaterial* seemed to effect the entire ship model rather than just the specific triangles I desired (I set the material, drew that portion of the ship, then reset the material values back to the defaults). The entire ship seemed to glow red for example.

I’ve got a whole bunch of other questions but I’ll leave it at this for now. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.


For inspiration watch the “VERGE Technical Demo v1.1”. You can download it from http://verge.ae.pl/
(It looks really great )

Originally posted by Marc:
For inspiration watch the “VERGE Technical Demo v1.1”. You can download it from http://verge.ae.pl/
(It looks really great )

I’m inspired


An even better example of what I’m looking to duplicate is the Beam screensaver - done entirely in OpenGL. Download it at www.3dfiles.com

im inspired, but still have no clue on how to go about.

I’m the same - inspired but clueless. Searching the web shows hundreds of examples of how to make spinning cubes - not one showing how to make jet thrust, engine exhaust, etc.

  1. I would use a particle system for the engine thrust. Just emit 500 or so particles that start out white, fade to yellow, then to red and use an additive blend.

I bet that’d look ok…at least it’d look better than the cone idea.

  1. I’d go with lightmaps for that, but if that is too much effort, just try sticking a positional light in there.

  2. Dunno why its doing that…seems odd to me.


I saw lots of particle systems out there. Some nicer than the others. Yet, I still feel inadequate about making my own system. How in the world do you control all those particles? There should be some sort of theory behind it.