Animation for Explosions

It has come to the time in my game where my mind turns towards … explosions.

Here’s an explosion I created in Blender Game Engine a year or so ago:

Just some crossed planes, rotations, scalings, and additive alpha materials with an animation on the color. It even looks OK when intersecting with other objects!

I want to do something similar in Playcanvas. Generating some planes is easy enough, as is mapping a texture to them. The hard part is getting them to fade out.
In blender, there is a property called ‘object color.’ You can animate it and blend it into the the texture. It allows per-object texture animation as opposed to per-material. Couple this with additive alpha (fading the texture to black), and you can create an nice glowing, fading out explosion.

So how can I animate alpha on a per-object basis in Playcanvas? I can manually generate planes, and create a materail for each explosion, manually fading it out by ramping the opacity every frame, but it seems cumbersome. I’m also not keen to go the sprite route.

So how can I animate the alpha of a material?

For material setup, use emissive texture with color tint, and by changing that color towards black, you can change its fading. Make sure you don’t recreate pc.Color on each update, but have one for each meshInstance pre-created.
In order to fade any specific mesh rather whole material, use this method:

var fade = 0.5;
color.set(fade, fade, fade);