Careful or You Might Burn Down the Forest

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.

Super Space Trooper - Buuru Fire

A reasonable level of success in the fire and billowing smoke effects. The flames and smoke are comprised of 6 particle effects. Click for larger image.

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.

Posted in Images, Screenshots, Super Space Trooper, Unity 3D, Video Game Development
12 comments on “Careful or You Might Burn Down the Forest
  1. SuperSpaceTrooperVG says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Ririess1 :)

  2. Ririess1 says:

    If I talk only about the smoke and fire, not bad but the fire need more
    life ^ ^

  3. SuperSpaceTrooperVG says:

    Not a pain at all! I really appreciate the feedback.

    You’re right, the fire kind of seems to come out of nowhere, and lacks detail at the bottom. I’m hoping that the 3D modelling of the boss I’m currently working on will “hide” the base of the fire, as it will be emitting from the boss itself. If it doesn’t I’ll definitely need to do something because I’ve also noticed what you’re saying about the bottom of the fire before too.

    As always, thanks for the continued feedback! :)

  4. Izitmeee says:

    Oh, I see! And now that you mentioned it I remember those images, and I understand everything better. Though, if I can still be a pain in the ass (and I’m being that just because I really like what I see in your video), something is needed at the base of the fire: as of now it seems like it’s growing from a bottom glowing fireball. Maybe just adding some darker areas on the ground beneath it would work? That said, I suppose we’ll go through that area flying fast, so it’s just awesome as it is :)

  5. SuperSpaceTrooperVG says:

    Thanks! I see what you’re saying. So it’s not the fire or smoke on their own but the way they integrate together. I can see what you’re saying. However the fire itself, coming from an oil refinery, acts as it would according to the videos and images I’ve referred to of oil fires during the 1st USA/Iraq war. Maybe context helps?

    In reference pics, fire shoots up very fast and quickly converts to a dark black smoke. This is what I was trying to reproduce. Perhaps you were already aware of that?

  6. Izitmeee says:

    I am not an expert on particles. But I’d say that what I dont’t like is the fact that it doesn’t “fit” with the smoke. The smoke is really awesome, and very realistic in a stylish “end of the world” way, while the fire seems more of a glowing pillar. The actual particle effect is cool, but maybe it would be better if it started with a wider base and then concentrated more on the top – and maybe more random forces pushing the particles?

  7. SuperSpaceTrooperVG says:

    Can you give me any suggestions on how I may be able to improve it. I was actually quite happy with it, but it’s certainly all a work in progress so anything you can offer would be helpful :)

  8. SuperSpaceTrooperVG says:

    Thanks, Icemaz.

    If you can give me some tips on what you like for your GUI, I’d certainly revise what I have. I’ve never been happy with it but haven’t taken the time to redesign it at all.

  9. Icemaz says:

    Yay music!
    Also, looking good :)
    Also, also, the GUI needs work, but I’m sure that will come much later.

  10. Icemaz says:

    Yay music!
    Also, looking good :)

  11. Icemaz says:

    Yay music!

  12. Izitmeee says:

    I have to admit I’m not very fond of that fire, but the smoke is simply super-awesome! :)

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