I see lots of link for cool fire propagation system and such, but there’s a lots of moment when this case doesn’t apply, key factor here is gameplay. Most of the time as FX artist, you have to adapt to gameplay features.
The surfaces in the DOS2 last x amount of turns and basically time is frozen at player turns. So fire can last forever, and can fill the entire screen. It’s basically classic pen and paper roleplay timespan. Added to that the camera can unzoom very far, outch.
That moment of game embarrassed me honestly, a lots of computer framerate died here .
The fire fx was a placeholder and I got the task to improve it, and sometimes your arrive in mid-production and have to deal with the tool you have, with limited time constraints and almost no support (everyone was busy as hell). At the time I didn’t know the engine well and lacked shader knowledge. Indeed it scream to have more variations, as always easier said than done, especially on custom engine. No fancy doc or tutorial to save you…
I made the mistake to kinda avoid test the fire in the worst case scenario too, filled half of the screen and such but didn’t tried hard to push gameplay to ultimate limit.
Technically : In DOS2 the info we had access from surfaces was basically a mesh with very basic , low poly vertex paint. One of the problems is, once a zone is “on fire” it just white vertexpaint and that’s it, up to you to come up with variations in shader and your own trick to have randomness. Instance were distributed but we didn’t have interactions between them.
If I had to do it again, I would try to fusion fire instances and aswell try to have a lot more variations via shader, gradient map have lots of capabilities in that regard. Also I would make fire more alive in time, dying out before burning again, like wind blowing it.
To summarize :
. Always test in worst case scenarios. Worst camera possible, worst lighting, worst everything.
. Communicate with code and game designer !
. Focus more on blockout and gameplay interactions, then you get fancy with firesim flipbook and such.
If you have more specific questions, I would be happy to answers