of debate over what kind of effects should be 2d and what should be done in 3d. i personally think that the modder should have the option of using both. the current beam method is perfect for lightsaber style beams. but if i want to do something else, like a railgun type beam, then the usual method would be hellishly inacurate (believe me, i tried).
now if i could use a 3d beam, i could model a couple open ended cylynders (one for the smaller inner spiral, another for the bigger inner spiral), textured with a spiral beam texture. then model a few intersecting planes in the middle for the actual trail, and with some alpha channel textures, id get a real nice railgun beam. ive done renders of the things in truespace and they looked pretty good. and that is just the beginning. i could do som anime esque beams.