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Billboarding Laser Beams

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I was wondering what youd have to do different to do a billboard of a laser beam, so it looks like a laser from all angles but is positioned in two points intead of one.

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When I coded laser beams a couple of years ago, I found that using two orthogonal quads looks just as good and renders faster than one billboarded quad. I suggest trying that.

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Extrude a quad in direction of cross product of laser beam direction and camera to beam direction. Should work fine unless I'm forgetting something. I implemented this for gunshot tracers for one of the artists a while back.

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Ahhh, that reminds me of G-Police on the PlayStation back in the 90's, which also had Laser Beams.

But in G-Police, if you looked from above, you could see that those where not really billboards, but rather something like:

|   |   |   |   |   |   <(---


With each | being a quad, so when looking though the canopy, they would be projected near together on the screen.

But maybe look at G-Police?

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One other possibility, and was how the lightsabers were done in the Jedi Knight series, is to make a line made up of small circles.

[][][][][][][][]

The saber blade was made up of a line of billboarded quads like the above, and on each was an alpha'd circle, the circle center white, and the outer edge the colour of the laser. With them all facing the camera all the time and blended together, they always had really nice looking saber blades in those games, which looked good from any angle. If you keep the quads overlapped enough, then you will always get a smooth beam too.

Personally I agree with Knarkles approach though for simplicity and have also found it works fairly well in msot cases.

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most of those seem to be for a laser bolt(like a bullet), i mean like a laserpointerish beam, like the sniper rifles in half life, am i correct?

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