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Modelling/Displaying Projectiles

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Does anyone have any suggestions for how to model/display projectiles? I''m mainly interested pseudo-modern day stuff, not lasers. Obviously, rockets and thel ike are slow and larege enough that it''s probably worth having them represented by actual models. What about bullets/cannon rounds? What I''m working on will involve fairly large amounts of space, it''s not close in action (obviously, this could effect what''s desirable as far as rendering goes) and there may be a good number of rounds going off (especially if multiple machine guns start going off). The projectiles are controlled by a particle physics engine, and are not "instant" point to point lines (I want the player to have to lead targets realistically, etc...). Do people use 3d models or do some sort of billboarding? If using 3d models, how complex are the models and if billboarding, what sort of a technique? Is there another oslution I''m missing out on completely? Any other thoughts on the topic? Unfortunately, search isn''t currently working, as I''m sure this has been discussed before! Onnel

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The simplest method is probably using very simple models (something like 20 polys) and possibly have a motion-blur "trail", or you''ll hardly be able to see them if they''re fast. (and if you''re not supposed to see them what''s the point in rendering them in the first place??) The trail could be some more triangles shaped like the "end" of the bullet, but drawn with increasing alpha from bullet end to trail end.
GTA3 (was playing it again yesterday) simply draws alpha-blended white lines along the bullet trajectory, so you know where it came from, which doesn''t look so nice but works fine, and I''d rather have that than some bullets I can hardly see. Keep gameplay in mind and what you''re trying to accomplish with your graphics. (after all, graphics are a tool, and not the game itself)

- JQ
Full Speed Games. Coming soon.

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Thanks for the ideas. I''m really not sure it''s worth rendering the bullets themselves (except in cases like missiles, obviously). I do like the GTA3 solution of a simple line with some alpha on it...I guess I''ll have to try both and see if it looks like it''s worth actually using models.

Onnel

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Unreal Tournament uses instant hit (no rendering) bullets for Sniper Rifle and Enforcer (a kind of pistol, for the two of you who don''t know the game!) and simple yellowish alpha-blended thin lines for minigun bullets, which are not instant-hit. Check out the demo version (http://www.unrealtournament.com/) if you don''t have the game, the minigun there does exactly what you''re trying to do I think.

- JQ
Full Speed Games. Coming soon.

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Yup..I understand the difference between the instahit and the modelled projectiles (from both a rendering and a physics standpoint). I was thinking of UT as well and the happy face on the flack cannon alt (I think) shell...so they were 3d modelled projectiles....

Onnel

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Arrggh not the smiley!!! (I keep getting that straight in the face at LAN parties)
In fact, I think some of the UT projectiles are billboards, the flak ball should be a proper mesh though, as it''s pretty big. The plasma rifle shoots billboards though, as does the shock rifle secondary function. (those damned blue balls)

- JQ
Full Speed Games. Coming soon.

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