The slow (diffusion–limited) oxidation of metal nanoparticles has previously been proposed as the mechanism for ball lightning energy release, and argued to be the result of a normal lightning strike on soil. Here this basic model of networked nanoparticles is detailed further, and extended to lightning strikes on metal structures, and also to the action of other storm–related discharges or man–made discharges. The basic model predicted the important properties of ‘average’ observed ball lightning, and the extension in this paper also covers high–energy examples of ball lightning. Laboratory checks of the theory are described, and predictions given of what conditions are necessary for observing ball lightning in the laboratory. Key requirements of the model are a sheltered region near the strike foot and starting materials which can generate a metal vapour under intensive heating, including soil, wood or a metal structure. The evolution of hydrocarbons (often plastics) along with metal vapour can ensure the local survival of the metal vapour even in an oxidizing atmosphere. Subsequent condensation of this vapour to metallic nanoparticles in networks provides the coherence of a ball structure, which also releases light over an extended time. Also discussed is the passage of ball lightning through a sheet of building material, including glass, and its occasional charring of flesh on close contact.