— Not nearly as many as can be emitted by a small oven, it turns out, due to what is probably a quirk of rendering that needs sorting out. More on that in a bit.
Nicholas has talked about particle system before in terms of technical development and something about the spelling of “aurochs” which, yes, we should all be on the same boat about now. This point established, the particle system has had some tools built and was turned over to the art team who, it seems, have a great deal of enthusiasm for making everything in the game sparkle, smoke, and on fire.
The tricky bit with particles is attaching them to animations and making them move in all the clever ways that no one really thinks of until there’s a need for it. For example, you don’t imagine a control on particle drag until you start making smoke which needs to puff out of pipes and grates in a convincing stream that emits quickly at a horizontal angle then slows and drifts upward. Nor does one imagine the utility of a velocity-aligned particle until you need to have embers popping out of a blacksmith’s forge.
So: we set Mr. Chris Triolo, professional animator, in front of the particle tools and said “make cool stuff happen” and he came back with a list of demands for Nicholas. Upon going through this cycle a few times, referencing the beloved echidna & feeding Nicholas lots of coffee, Mr. Triolo got his tools and produced piles of charming animated gifs. It’s a system!
As a test case for smoke and sparks, Mr. Triolo set us up with the delightfully smoking oven you can see here previewed in the particle editor (whose name is “PLED” due to some acronym I have completely forgotten).
Lovely! So hey, why not put the engine to a bit of a stress test? So off he goes —
He does nothing by half-measure, that one. The framerate held up admirably with a screen full of this nonsense.
The interesting rendering quirk (for, er, people with peculiar ideas about what constitutes “interesting): these test-ovens run much better than the power saw even though the ovens spit out way more particles. We think it might be to do with the rendering properties set on the power saw but … well, it’s another item for Nicholas’ Pain List.