"2. The Strategic Bombing of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
In Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, the player is given the keys to a massive, futuristic army and sent off to battle on a warring planet. During the game’s development cycle, the need for a lot of different types of explosions arose quickly. The team ended up creating over 210 unique explosion effects to account for all the diverse ways that military units can blow up, from electrical explosions to mushroom clouds of black smoke.
“We felt that explosions were a really important part of making exciting vehicle combat,” said Steve Mumford, the Senior FX Artist at Blackbird Interactive.
As a result, at any given time, half the map is lit up with firefights. However, the mayhem comes at a cost to CPU performance. During intense moments, the game’s frame rate can dip, slowing the speed of battle. To find a solution, the programmers created visual tools that determined which explosions were hogging the resources and took them down a notch."