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Ikaruga-like particle effects?

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I've been thinking over this for a while, however I cannot come to a conclusion about making particle animations (I tried using emitters and gravitational pull) that resemble the ones from Ikaruga. For those of you who have played it, I am talking about the power shot that fires in a parabollic manner all around your ship, visually looking like "wings" if you will... Youtube has a nice video of the gameplay sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd95jQ57_eM&search=Ikaruga Anyone have an idea how a person can achieve this? The thing that strikes me the most is how graphically-perfected the tails of the particles look... that is, IF they are using a particle system to emit those.

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Are you talking about the bluish-white missle things?
If I were to make a cheap hack I'd use an animated sprite - that'd be the quickest option. You can also try the missle as a particle and do the trails with shaders. I'm sure the equation f(x)=a(x-h)2+k would fit in somewhere.

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Yes I am talking about the blue stripes. The first problem I see with using animated sprites is the fact that it would be difficult to animate because the stripes can curve every which way..

Gamespot has a few nice screenshots actually..

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I'd go for a triangle strip too with a transparent texture rendered in additive mode. You store the previous positions of each "homing missile" and use them to draw your strips. I'm not sure I understand the "gravitational pulls" thing but as the missiles are going to a specified target, just using a specific initial velocity and orientation gives you the curvature you see...

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I dont know if its relevant, but maybe you could use some smooth curve (such as spline) to generate them lines. For example, first point being the spaceship, 2nd point being random near the ship, 3rd being the targeted enemy -> turn these 3 points into a smooth curve.

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The precise behaviour of the missile in Ikaruga are a little more complicated than what you're after because they behave in a manner representative of the order in which they must hit to maintain a chain. However, the actual display appears to be a strips of quads/triangles with an appropriate texture for each section (tailing towards the end). Whilst the entitiy grows outwards from it's start point I believe it has a fixed length when in full travel. The best way to to it would be to have the path determined by a single point steering like a car and the remaining locations simply stored in an array. Whilst each element won't necessarily be located at exactly each previous position you should be able to determine the necessary points. A spline would seem like complete overkill.

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