I did this tailpipe fire effect for the game project Hyperbeat. it is basically a texture panner with a gradient map. Textures was done in Substance Designer since it is really easy to iterate and keep it tileable. The shader was prototyped with Shader FX in Maya but since this shader should be integrated to our own game engine Igloo, it needed to be rewritten in clean HLSL. I like to work with intuitive tools when ever I can since they permit me to have a creative and fluid workflow but I think they eventually will limit me. I also like to have a good understanding of the render pipeline.
We needed to render the transparent effects after all the solid meshes since we only wanted to read from the depth buffer. It was also important to sort the different parts of the mesh so that they would overdraw each other in a proper way.
We later on added speed and turn indata to the shader cbuffers so I was also able to modify the effect based on these data.
These mesh based effects are really fun to work with and are easy to control.