In my game I am using the classic rocket-trail effect as seen in Half-Life or any number of games; basically a rocket has behind it a set of vertices and they are connected by (effectively) billboarded quads with a smokey texture to give the impression of a contrail behind the rocket.
However, in rendering this effect I use the procedure:
render the rocket
for each vertex in the contrail
push tranformation matrix
translate to that vertex
calculate and create the matrix for the billboard effect here (i.e. for a quad that goes from this vertex to the next)
multiply that matrix
draw the quad
pop the matrix
That too me seems to be a bit intensive for one rocket render, with (depending on contrail length and the amount of time between “vertices” being dropped along the path) probably ~10 vertices per rocket. I could just do the billboard transformation once, or another one of my plans was to have the contrail follow a helical pattern along an axis coaxial with its path giving a more interesting path, but I dunno.
But am I right, given a scenario of like 20-30 rockets being on the screen at the same time, plus the rest of the scene, I’m guessing this present scheme won’t scale very well?