Indie Game Development - "Having fun, making fun"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dev Log - Visual Effects

Last month I completed all the special effects in the game.  Although I used both 2d and 3d particle effects in Ultimate Dodgeball and Kick'n It using the effects system provided by Microsoft in the XNA code samples, I quickly realized I would need something more.  With three character classes and upgradable powers there are simply a LOT of special effects in the game.  Rendering that many particles would simple slow the game down to a crawl. 

In addition, there were types of effects I  wanted to do that the Microsoft samples were not designed to handle.  Luckily I discovered DPSF particle system.  While this particle system doesn't run on the GPU like the Microsoft system, it enabled me to control the orientation of a particle instead of always having it face the camera.  Therefore, I could make lightning, shimmers, walls of flame and portals.  Best of all, it supports animated particles. 

Now, instead of rendered hundreds or thousands of particles for a single effect, I could use another great tool - the TimelineFX Editor to create an awesome particle effect and export it as a sprite sheet.  I could then display that animation in-game on a single animated particle, saving performance.

Discovering these resources and methods not only enabled me to complete a much larger number of particle effects, but to step up the quality at the same time.  I'm excited to see what people think when I enter focus testing.

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