I am Fran Avilés, Level Designer on Deep Rock Galactic. However, I am not going to talk about caves yet.
Every new element that we introduce in our game (or in any other game for that matter) needs 3 different kinds of intervention: conceptual design, technical implementation, and visual representation. That’s the case of a very simple (but effective) object that is going to populate some of our caves from now on: the exploding plant.
The specific behaviour was defined by the design team: it has very few health points, they regenerate over time if the plant is not shot, there is half a second of delay between the plant reaching 0 health and the actual explosion, and they can cause chained explosions. The artist created a model that could both communicate its function and fit the aesthetics of Deep Rock Galactic, while one of our programmers implemented all the behaviours.
The material that the artist had created already had more than enough properties for our purposes. Just by connecting the health of the plant to the emission and to one of the parameters of the displacement function, the plant behaviour became more apparent: