Tools

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TOOLS

Particle Tool

The particle tool allows for the creation of FXF files.

Core Concepts

The three main elements of the particle system are:

Particle Definition

This describes individual particles, and how they change over their lifetime. You can set the lifespan of a particle and how its speed, appearance, etc change. Particles have a maximum lifespan of 255 ticks (so about 8.5 seconds). Editing of the particle attributes is done via sliders or curves, depending upon the type of parameter.

Emitters

And emitter defines which particles are emitted from given points on a model. The points are identified by an index which is extracted from special naming of model frames (e.g. !3 denotes this frame is emitter index 3). You can utilise these points by emitting from the position of an emitter frame, along a line between two emitter frames, or you can emiter particles randomly from the surface of the emitter frame (assuming it has a mesh associated with it). You turn on mesh emission by clicking down the second emitter frame index below zero so it denotes mesh emission.

Effects

An effect is a set of emitters which can (optionally) be turned on and off during playback via the timings dialog. The game can trigger effects using the animation and scripting systems.

Coordinate Types

The checkboxes above the particle attribute area control how particles are emitted and move relative to their emitter frame.

World

If this is checked then the particles with be emitted in world coordinates, irrespective of the orientation of the emitter frame. So, if a particle is set to travel in the Y direction and this is unchecked, it will emit in the direction of the Y axis of its emitter frame (e.g. if the frame is animated, the direction of emission will change). If this box is checked then it will emit along the Y axis (so directly up or down) no matter the orientation of the emitter frame.

Fixed and Fixed Local

Fixed particles will remain with the emitter frame they are associated with. An example would be a glowing sword. Setting a stationary particle to fixed would cause it sit on the surface of the sword mesh even as the mesh moved around under animation. Fixed Local controls how particle movement happens when Fixed is enabled. When off particles will remain in the frame of reference of their emitter frame. So in this case, if we change the particles to move in the Y direction then with Fixed Local off the particles would remain in the same positions relative to the sword (so lifting the sword would cause them to move up and stick out like a flag). Turning in on means that the particles would be positioned along the Y axis relative to their original emission point, no matter the orientation of the sword (e.g. could fall down along the blade and onto the hilt if the sword was raised).

FaceEmit

Particles are emitted from the center of a random face on the mesh, along the normal of the face. Cannot be combined with Fixed particles.

Controls & Key Shortcuts

A          - toggle animation playback
F9         - single step animations
G          - toggle the ground plane display
F2         - take a screenshot (into a SCREENS subfolder in the EXE folder)
ENTER      - reset camera position
I          - toggle info display

LMB        - hold to rotate camera
RMB        - hold to move camera target position

CONFIG.TXT

You can set up texture paths for the particles as well as loaded meshes. This has a similar layout to the config file for the import tool. Below is an example, obviously using example paths. Note that all entries (and, indeed, the entire config file) are optional.

// COREPATH points to the path where the CORE folder containing the SHADERS folder is.  Note the trailing slash.
COREPATH D:\BUILDS\BUILD1\
// FXPATH points to the folder containing the textures used by the particles
FXPATH D:\BUILDS\BUILD1\CORE

// TEXTURES chunk can contain one or more paths, which are searched in order, for textures to load for any meshes which are loaded into the tool
[TEXTURES]
PATH D:\BUILDS\BUILD1\DATA\BATTLE\UNITTEXTURES
PATH D:\BUILDS\BUILD1\DATA\UI\TEXTURES


[ detailed docs TBD ]

The Import Tool

Allows import and conversion from FBX files into the game-specific S4F format.

Details