I am actually the one who made and uploaded the video. The world is small
The Effect in the video is archived by doing exactly what Eric Rufelt suggested: Have the backbuffer accessable in a shader and write it to another rendertarget by applying a small modification of the UV-Coords of that pixel. You can try with a static texture first.
For the particles I used another buffer to accumulate the displacement-vectors from the different particles (Using MRTs). I'm using the center of the particles and the luminosity of the texture to calculate the displacement-vector. This is then written to my distortion-buffer using additive blending, which gives a nice effect without the need of normalmaps or similar textures, since the game doesn't supply those
You should try to get the distortion-effect running for something simpler first without many overlaying triangles first. This makes things really easier.