hmmmm…. in the original models I gave to Gavin the scorched trees were already black….
For the moment it is not using any external model files for the trees. The tree models have been written in pure OpenGL/C code. Not something to do usualy but this should make them as fast as possible to squeze out that last ounce of performance.
The only external things that are used are the textures. I can make the burnt ones blacker quite easily though.
For an example of how burning trees can impact gameplay, apply damage, and so forth, check out the (5-year-old) RTS, Total Annihilation. Firing into the trees and starting a forest fire in your enemy’s base was often a good strategy. I’d often start one to clear out an area before settling it.
Another idea… what about having the trees regrow over time (doesn’t have to be anything fancy). That way you have to keep on top of it to stay safe.
Also, what if trees provided cover (nobody knows exactly where you are) to compensate for the vulnerability to fire damage.