If you want to learn the secrets behind creating mind-boggling effects in your game, then take a few minutes to read the article that Keith O’Conor wrote for Game Developer Magazine in April 2012. Conor is a Senior Rendering Coder at Radical Entertainment.
Managing particle systems efficiently was a key task in building life-like special effects like dust, smoke and water into Cogswell’s Project X short animated films.
In the piece Conor talks about Radical Entertainment’s particle system composed entirely of a component-based feature set, techniques to reduce memory usage and fragmentation, managing vertex buffer memory demands, fine-tuning rendering performance and much more.
We highly recommend that all Cogswell Digital Art Engineering degree students check this article out. They have also included a snippet of code at the end of the piece.
Special effects as seen in the student animation "The Offering"