The particle tool allows for the creation of FXF files.
The three main elements of the particle system are:
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.
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.
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.
The checkboxes above the particle attribute area control how particles are emitted and move relative to their emitter frame.
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).
[ detailed docs TBD ]
The Import Tool
Allows import and conversion from FBX files into the game-specific S4F format.