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How do I get those great effects ingame

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Hi

I have read about particle engines and implemented my own simple bon fire. But when I look at big title games the effects are really beyond what I can accomplish.

Are all ingame effects (DX9) built using particle engines, or are there something else to get those special magic spell visuals?

Please point me to any tutorial/guide you can think of...

samples:

[img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7BU--yyQmVE/TNi6M0EHC0I/AAAAAAAABLs/RCeUMkcdmV0/s1600/002.jpg[/img]
[img]http://spicytunas.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/haste.jpg[/img]
[img]http://videogames.gameguidedog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Fable-The-Journey-E3-Preview-Magic-Effects.jpg[/img]

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It are all combinations of particles and shaders. Shaders can make things glow, reflect, bloom, etc. While particles are little pieces/objects with a behavior and a time line. Using these in combination can create these effects. The top 2 effects just use flat planes to display the textures added with a shader the bottom uses a sphere + plane.

Look for HLSL (high level shader language).

And obviously, since your listing AAA titles it will not be that easy to create these awesome shaders :D.

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