There is a todo list for the Gratuitous tank Battles beta, and something not officially on it (because nobody mentioned it) was to make the explosions and flames and so-on look better. People keep telling me they look great, but I want them to look tons better. That means a lot of tweaking, optimising and theorizing.
It’s amazing how many variables you need to get particles looking right, and then how much more code. I have special code for flames, for flamethrowers, for ground bursts, for smoke plumes, for debris, for emitters attached to moving units… and so on. It’s quite a spaghetti mess of complicated and differently designed systems, but it seems to work.
Hopefully by the time the game ships to final release, the effects will look a lot better. It’s one of those things I really enjoy coding (even on Good Friday when i should be eating chocolate!), so I can often justify silly amounts of time on it.
I also have grand plans for target designation laser effects, flickering shields and pulsing damage textures, but not enough hours in the day. How annoying…