Vapor Effects

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Hello, I’d like to suggest adding vapor effects on all aircraft in-game. To be clear, I am not talking about the vapor cone in Mach 1. I am talking about the transient clouds appearing on the aircraft during high-g subsonic maneuvers. Modern jet fighters currently in-game look incomplete and bland without them.

I propose adding the visual effects to match real-life vapor clouds on the wings shown above in the photograph of an F-16 in high AoA. I will explain this phenomenon in simple words. Please correct me if I get something wrong. 🙂

How are vapor clouds formed?

Clouds of water vapor are formed when the air temperature is cooled or dropped to become saturated with water vapor below its dew point, at which moisture condenses to form a visible cloud of microscopic water droplets. When the aircraft’s wings produce lift in flight, the air pressure and air temperature over the wings are reduced, making the vapor clouds more likely to form.

It is more common to see this phenomenon occur on modern jet fighters capable of pulling higher Angles of Attack (AoA) during any subsonic maneuver. Higher AoA means higher lift and distributes a drastically different pressure around wings. The top of a wing has a more reduction of air pressure at higher AoA, causing a fast cooling and condensation of water vapor.

Below is a figure with pressure distribution on an airfoil at given different AoAs. It is to visualize the prerequisite of forming vapor clouds.


How can it be modeled in the game?

I am not a game programmer, but I do believe the vapor clouds should be fairly programmable and can be implemented in the game by setting up the condition triggers.

There are the following conditions to track and achieve the creation of visible vapor clouds:

  • Humidity value
  • Temperature value
  • Pressure value

Again, if the air temperature drops below the dew point and is caused by a large pressure distribution when traveling through humid air, then the vapor clouds form.

Not all visibility of vapor cloud effects are the same. You will see thick vapor clouds when flying closer to clouds or the sea. You will not see the vapor clouds when flying at high altitudes or through the air with low humidity; however, you will see them in a rainstorm with lower IAS. All maps must have their categories of different atmospheric conditions implemented, and there would be more blocks of code lines to implement.

Alternatively, a more simple condition trigger could be implemented with just IAS and AoA values, and no humidity, temperature, and pressure values will be tracked. I believe Ace Combat 7 and Project Wingman modeled this way.

How shall it be animated?

The shape and size of vapor clouds are dependent on the aircraft, but I believe it can be achieved the same way as how wing flutters and contrails on the wing tips are modeled in-game across all aircraft. These are dependent on aircraft as well.

Using wingspan values to determine the vapor clouds, either minor or major condensation (depending on the atmospheric conditions) can form on an aircraft, covering its wings and fuselage.

Some aircraft have leading-edge root extension (LERX) that forms condensation vortex flows as an additional type of vapor cloud. F-5 Freedom Fighter, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, Sukhoi Su-27, and JF-17 Thunder have these vortex flows. Below is an example of LERX vortex flows.

Vapor effects on prop aircraft

The prop aircraft can form vapor clouds itself; although this is rare. Still, it is possible with extreme humid conditions and other factors. Below is a photograph of a British Mustang pulling some high-g maneuver with minor condensation.

More examples of vapor clouds in real life















Conclusion | Why it should be in the game

The vapor effects do not only have cinematic values, but they also add gameplay values to the game. They will convey information to you visually about you and your enemy. You will be able to see how hard the enemy is pulling in the aircraft, providing useful information after the merge. It is worth mentioning that the vapor clouds will not and should not completely block your vision during the heat of air battles because it is unlike a vapor cone that obstructs your vision through Mach 1. It takes and covers the upper wing surface along with vortex flow and lasts much shorter.

Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestion! 😃



This is an amazing suggestion, and would add so much depth to the game. Make top tier great again!


Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yeeees!

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Damn yes. +1


Based based based based based based It’d make jets feel so much more meatier and less like floating objects


Great job on making such detailed suggestion!

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