So, I’m back from outer space. (Haven’t really poked around here since it was called elysiun(?).org). There’s lots of questions about content, which I find a little silly (but not silly enough to not butt my nose into your busines ^_^).My case … this is art… you want lightning? you put a picture of it in the appropriate place. Bingo, lightning.
The real question: How do you want to orient this picture? intuitive answer (assuming shooting from the fingertips of the protagonist): An animated billboard sprite that is mounted on a Dude (or even just a three demensional transparent scaffolding with animated texture–yes, much better), that–when activated-- tracks-to target and changes length based on a near distance sensor ray thingamgig or coordinate distant equation script? (I am way out of practice! sorry!) … and then after postulating about those things I would enquire about the specifics of that. (Which I apparently need to, badly)
Other possibilities: Do you want it to be persitant and funky like those li’l glass orbs people touch? In that case you might want mess with mesh and bone… or!.. or!.. a vertex shader! yes… a vertex shader, with some pixel shader glow-funk atop.
'just some ideas