The Particle System
v1.0 - 14th June 2001 - Dalai

The particle system was written by c0mpile and can be used for a number of effects, such as fires, smoke, sparks, rain, snow, etc. We have upgraded a number of bits for Thievery, such as the network code.

The first thing to bear in mind when using the particle system is that a large number of particles will cause a lot of slowdown, particularly on lower end PCs. Therefore, we recommened you use the particle systems sparingly.

The particle system works by having Generators placed on the map, these will spawn particles of a variety of textures, in a variety of ways. The Generators can be found under Actor->Weather->Generator.

  • There are a number of generators with preset properties, find one you like and place it on the map.

  • If your particles are going to cover more than a small point, then you should bring up its properties, go to advanced and set bAlwaysRelevant to true. This will ensure it generates particles all the time in a netgame, even if you don't have direct line of sight to the generator point.

  • Generator_Behaviour section of the properties:

    • Intensity - an integer describing how many particles to throw out. I would be careful if you use anything over 3.

    • SpawnProbability - the chances of spawning a particle. E.g. setting it to 0.5 would mean 50% chance each time, thus making your generator a bit more sparse.

    • SpawnType:
      • SPAWN_Normal - the spawned particles will take on the InitialVelocity.
      • SPAWN_RandomDirection - the spawned particles will fly off in a random direction.
      • SPAWN_RandomInterval - the spawned particles will take on a random velocity from MinRandomVelocity to MaxRandomVelocity.
      • SPAWN_Swirly - not sure what this does. :)

  • Particle section of the properties:
    • ParticleClass - determines the class of the particle. Particles can be found under Actor->Weather->Particle.

  • Particle_Behaviour, most properties here are self-explanatory. particleWaveExtents controls how much the particles will wave from side to side as they move.

  • Particle_Display - this section controls fading and scaling of the particles. You can choose the start and end fade/scale and the rate.

  • Particle_Display_Mesh - this is for making your particle a mesh (the Thievery generators all use sprites for the particles).

  • Particle_Display_Textures - this is for displaying your particles as sprites. You can set the number of textures and these textures, particles will randomly pick one of these textures as they are spawned. Be sure to look in Particles.utx and CyFIRE.utx for some textures to use for particles.

  • Particle_Effects - this can make your particles play sounds or spawn special effects when they're spawned/destroyed/hit walls.

  • Particle_Trails - Setting this to either 1 or 2 will cause your particles to leave trails behind them. Setting it to higher values isn't recommended due to the large number of particles spawned.