Devlog #2: Lets Talk about Particles.

So I really love Unreal 4’s Particle Editor and their whole Particle Workflow in general, because it lets me do stuff like this:

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(Placeholder) Visual Indicator for the Forward Teleport-Dashing Mechanic.

The yellow flash in the viewport below isn’t its own sprite or emitter. I’m manipulating the emissive color values in that single emitter’s material flowchart.

Capture

 (A snapshot of the material flowchart and the basic layout of the Particle Emitter.) 

I’d been getting a lot of feedback from people, including members of the team that; partially because of the sameness of the dev enviroment ( the basic grid material sorta blends together after a while), and partially because of the particular input for how I’m prototyping the mechanic (Currently you double tap in the direction you want to teleport, in case you were curious); it was really difficult for people (even those playing) its sometimes easy to not notice when the play has teleport-dashed.

To combat this I wanted there to be basically a frame or two where the players vision is mostly obscured, but otherwise unintrusive, something that would show the player: “Hey, you just did this thing” in a way that isnt just printing words to the screen.

So I decided to rig up a  particle system to play a rough version of the sort of effect I was detailing when I was concepting this mechanic. A sorta “Shards of reality breaking apart as you tear a hole in space time” sort of thing (Minus the obvious post processing shaders I’d need to write to get the proper “Broken Glass” effect I’m imagining).  I used a Dynamic Parameter to set a scalar value thats multiplied by a texture map to amplify the emmisive values. I then manipulated this value at runtime using the Dynamic module in the Cascade Particle Editor’s curve tool. The resulting effect ramps down in a span of only 2 frames from 10000x the base color to just under 5x the base color.

I only really briefly looked into Dynamic Parameters, but from how I understand it you could concievably use it to alter things like individual particle’s position via a blueprint, which could lead to some pretty awesome effects, like bugs that actually cluster near light. (by setting the World Position Offset of the particles to a vector distance from the nearest light, which is calculated in a blueprint).

I don’t really have anything else to say, so instead here’s my favorite visual effect I’ve ever created in Unreal Engine 4:

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(The GPU Sprites Typedata is so much fun to play with)

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