What to use for trails?

Hi, I'm new to graphics programming and I have a question. Has anyone here done stuff like the trails that starships in Homeworld leave behind them? I trying to find out what graphics primitives I need to create this effect.

I've found an opensource game (SFZ), which uses Ogre3d and they create the trails with RibbonTrail (it's in Ogre3d) which is a subclass of BillBoardChain. So it seems the thing is done with billboards.

Is this how it's done? Or maybe there are better/faster ways to do it?

You mean like this one here in a car?

It’s done with a particle system. There’s an editor (RenParticleEditor - comes with the sources or binaries) and you can simple use it to tweek the thing to look exactly like you want it to and the save it as a .jme file. You can then load the file as a normal model (examples like TestBinaryImport) and attach it to any movind node, like a ship or plane.

Thanks. I was thinking about particles, but I’m not sure if this effect can be achieved with them.

Here’s a screen from Homeworld2 http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/pc/homeworld2/0916/home_screen022.jpg

The blue trails are definitely particle systems or any similar concept. The red/orange laser guns I'm not sure, probably a very long and thin quad with a slim gradient texture repeated in it… Artists are capable of many things with almos no resource.

This is done by ribbon emitters; ribbons are just like particles except the quads are connected to each over, they each share 2 vertexes with another particle and have a faded texture. The result is what you see in that screenshot. Some user posted on the forums a “LaserTrail” class which is an implementation in jME. Hmm, this is something that should be in jME- added to ToDo list