The problem of lighting 3D scenes in hardware accelerated rasterized rendering is really hard to solve. There are no 100% solutions, and what seems perfectly obvious to the uninitiated (light just bounces around) is extremely hard to do in practise. The following blog post is about one such method that I wanted to try out for a long time.
If you need to render trails you can use particles. These give nice puffy effect. At other times you'd like to have a more well defined line (like say for missile trails). The following post shows one technique render trails with a single triangle strip optimized not to use too many triangles and does not lead to the puffy look of particles.
There's a new device being kickstartered by Oculus VR and it's called Oculus Rift. It is virtual reality headset done right. I am really interested in this project, and I decided to back it with $300 and have a shot at getting a dev kit for it. Read on for why I find it so exciting.