Let There be Light – By Fire!
Today I spent about eight hours trying to perfect the fire I have been working on for my indie video game. The fire is supposed to be shooting out of a pipe within an oil refinery, though the pipe hasn’t been modeled yet. Using picture reference materials I found on Google, it’s been difficult to achieve the realistic look I’m going for. The complication is with the way that the flame shoots out at a high speed and quickly converts to a very dark sooty smoke which lingers on as it heads towards the sky.
In the end, I did manage to get a fairly convincing result, as can be seen in the image below.
How it Was Made
The effect is made up of about six particle effects. The first is for the brightness of the flame – a kind of baseline. The second is an overlayed dark smoke which appears more and more the higher up the flame it goes. Third is another flame later with a higher contrast to give the fire a sharper look. Fourth is the beginning of the heavy dark smoke above the flame. The fifth particle effect acts as a wind in that the particles flow off to the side. It’s quite wide and slower than the smoke below or the flames below that. The sixth and final particle effect is a more spread out dark smoke which dissipates slowly into nothing.
Behind all of this is yet another particle effect of dark smoke that’s fairly opaque and represents the accumulation of smoke in the sky above. Likely dispersed by a jet stream. It can be seen in the sky in the picture above.
The results are pretty decent, though I would like to spend a bit more time reducing the particles to save on CPU processing. But perhaps I’ll write a tutorial for anyone else that wants to do the same thing in Unity 3D.