Particle Engine Musings

Member
Posts: 321
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #1
I've studied particle engines quite a bit. I've read books. I've
downloaded several examples and even have 3 working Xcode
projects. So I think I've got the basics down pat.

However, even after much playing with parameters, my explosions,
fires, and smoke doesn't look as good as in commercial games. Do
commercial games have some secret ingredients that are missing from
these (no slight intended) amateur examples? Or have I simply not found
the right balance of parameter settings for particle size, life span,
transparency, velocity, color, etc?

Also one thing has been bothering me. All the "particles" have a
black and white "puffy" cloud (forget the official name) image. Are
there any engines that use particles built from GL_POINTS?


Finally, I'm trying to represent a brief explosion, followed by a fire
and slow rolling smoke as seen from above in a 2 dimensional bird's-eye
view. Can anybody recommend an particle image that would be optomised
for this position? Or any tricks or techniques.
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
GL_POINTS are useless.

You'll probably find you need different textures and blending modes for the fire and the smoke. I expect ONE, ONE (additive) will be right for the fire, and that SRC_ALPHA, ONE_MINUS_SRC_ALPHA (over) will be right for the smoke, but some experimentation would be worthwhile Smile

additive blending is nice because you don't have to sort the particles. for noncommutative blending modes, you'll need to sort the particles from back to front.

You may also want to experiment with rotation, scaling, color change, etc. over time to give a more dynamic look.
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Member
Posts: 446
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #3
WhatMeWorry Wrote:...Do commercial games have some secret ingredients that are missing from these (no slight intended) amateur examples?
Yup, professional artists...

Particle systems with all sorts of parameters can be fun to play around with but in most practical cases they should be kept dead simple. Quality artwork and less than 10 quads can give you nice smoke and fire. Case in point: Quake 3 explosions are 1 textured quad that slowly grows/rotates and fades away - maybe a little dull by today's standards but it's still effective, and a good starting point for more detailed effects.
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Member
Posts: 321
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #4
Quote:Quality artwork

I don't suppose you have any of this stuff lying around Smile

Back to Photoshop.

I really appreciate both comments from you and OSC. Just these
two posting will probably save me weeks of going down dead
end paths. Thanks!
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Moderator
Posts: 771
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #5
Have you seen this?
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KiroNeem
Unregistered
 
Post: #6
I have found the best results for fire and smoke are just to find a real image, then make a texture in photoshop with it. As long as you are using blending withing OpenGL like OneSadCookie stated, you will be fine.
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