How Many Particles Can Dance On The Tooth Of A Sawblade

— 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.

People are sleeping all over the floor of this carpentry shop because there aren't, in fact, any other houses in the settlement because this was set up for a screenshot. Thanks a lot, simulated people.

Sparking sawblades! (People are sleeping all over the floor of this carpentry shop because there aren’t, in fact, any other houses in the settlement because this is a Potemkin Workshop set up entirely for making a pretty screenshot. You can thank our character simulation for ruining the set-piece by making people sleep in the only existing shelter they could find.)

It's a ... uh. It's something.

It’s a … uh. It’s something. ( — As example of what Chris has left for us in the particle effects file.)

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!

Smoke!

Smoking is cool.

No, too much smoking!

Oh no, that’s too much smoking! It’s not cool anymore!

Burning Cookies

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 —

Many cookies burned to bring you this information.

Many cookies were burned to bring you this information.

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.

Glory to the Pain List!

16 Comments

16 Responses to “How Many Particles Can Dance On The Tooth Of A Sawblade”

  1. Thomas says:

    The last image was actually a picture of Chicago taken from the Canadian shore.

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    • SamuelMarston says:

      You win.

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    • James says:

      Your knowledge of geography fails you. There isn’t any place you can see Chicago from Canada. Detroit yes but not Chicago. Secondly I would put Chicago’s air against any large city in Canada’s air, as ours smells like pizza and chocolate.

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  2. Godwin says:

    Nice one, as usual 🙂

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  3. Map says:

    Eldritch cookie-baking grandma matriarchs confirmed.

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  4. Wootah says:

    I notice that the stoves all face the same way in the stress test. Does putting them in random orientations measurably increase the amount of stress put on the system?

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  5. MOOMANiBE says:

    It shouldn’t, no. I simply was clicking as fast as I could to place tons of them, and didn’t bother rotating, haha.

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    • Wootah says:

      Can they only be rotated to match the grid or can rotations be by something like 4 degrees?

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      • MOOMANiBE says:

        Currently rotation is cardinal directions only – logical, since the game is based around square tiles. A more technical answer than that would probably have to be fielded by one of the programmers, honestly. :X

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  6. Detritus says:

    I expect many Eldritch purple sparkles.

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  7. Bogrune says:

    Loved the sneaky Gom Jabbar reference. It kills only animals, remember.

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  8. kikito says:

    Loved the fact that people decided to go to sleep on the most unhelpful place possible. Emergent things like that are the reason I like this kind of games.

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  9. Essmir says:

    Will the finished game lock as god as the first screen?

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  10. tubs says:

    Why is the smoke in the last screenshot not propery depth tested? It’s occluding the chimney things of the ovens in front/above.

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    • MOOMANiBE says:

      Haha, don’t worry, we know. It actually works fine within the particle editor, it’s simply a bug within the game space. Nicholas knows and it’s on his list, assuming he hasn’t fixed it already.

      As a general rule, anything we’ve newly implemented has a period where the kinks need ironing out. But then, seeing stuff like that is why this is an actual development blog!

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