I'm curious how 3D effects like spells in Warcraft or Torchlight are implemented graphically. I just finished a book on Direct3D and feel pretty comfortable with it and 3D graphics in general, but I am not sure how I'd do something like have a character 'cast a lightning bolt' or some other spell graphically. I would assume it has to do with particle effects or animated texture coordinates, anybody able to give me some more specific insight? Thanks
In terms of what you are trying to accomplish you are more likely looking for an answer that relates more to game architecture.However, the rendering techniques for effects in games vary enormously, but here are a select few of those that I have come across for beginners:
There are an enormous number of other techniques including even using pixel and vertex shaders but this should get you started.