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Exploring particle-creation tools

From: Building Flash Games with Starling

Video: Exploring particle-creation tools

So we now have our major gameplay and our game created, but you'll notice that obviously when we shoot a bullet and it hits an alien, well nothing happens, they both just disappear. It's not exactly the most thrilling gameplay ever. So now, we want to include particle effects, like I mentioned when we downloaded the Starling framework, the particle features actually an extension. We've already incorporated that into our source code. But now the question is how do we create these particle effects? Well I am going to show you a tool that's Mac only that's called ParticleDesigner and we downloaded that when we were setting up our system.

Exploring particle-creation tools

So we now have our major gameplay and our game created, but you'll notice that obviously when we shoot a bullet and it hits an alien, well nothing happens, they both just disappear. It's not exactly the most thrilling gameplay ever. So now, we want to include particle effects, like I mentioned when we downloaded the Starling framework, the particle features actually an extension. We've already incorporated that into our source code. But now the question is how do we create these particle effects? Well I am going to show you a tool that's Mac only that's called ParticleDesigner and we downloaded that when we were setting up our system.

And this is not a free tool, so you can see I am using just the trial version here, so it says unregistered. But this allows you to visually create particle effects. So this tool is geared for iOS development. That's why you're seeing things displayed here in an iPhone. But with this particle thing, I can drag it around to see the effects of these particles. But most importantly, there is a huge library of user-submitted particles that I can check out. So I can just click on one of these to see how these particle effects look.

Now one thing to note is when you use these in Starling, they may look slightly different, and that's because of the way in which Starling is doing things. It's not an exact duplicate, but you can get pretty close by doing this. So you can use your own images for particles, like here is one of these like falling rocks. Let me just go to a couple of more of these. So here is a lava flow; really, really cool stuff. Now the real thing is that you can then edit these. So let's say I use this particle here.

I can go to Emitter Config, and then this allows me to adjust all of these properties to change how the particle effect is actually going to look. So let's say I wanted to change the gravity. I could come down to Gravity y and change it, so it's a different gravity. Now all of these, or most of these properties, can be adjusted in Starling at run time, so say you wanted to have an effect where the particle effect was actually changing over time, you can absolutely do that. And here you can see the texture that's being used on this particular effect.

But again, being able to have one of these existing particles as kind of a starting point for you is a really cool thing. Now when you want to save these, first of all in the unregistered version, it's not going to let you. But if we look at the particles that I've included in the assets, we can see we have this explosion.pex file, and that's the file that you export from ParticleDesigner. But then you also export a PNG which is the actual particle, and this is what the particle looks like.

And remember, this is actually a part of our texture atlas now. But if I look at this file, I am going to look at it just in the Text Editor, we can see that it's just an XML file. So you can actually come in here and adjust these things in the XML or you can actually do it at run time in Starling. Now I did want to show you one other tool which is really nice. This is actually a web-based tool created by One by One Design. So if you go to onebyonedesign.com/flash/ particleeditor, this is a similar type of editor, but this is actually now displaying this in Starling.

So this is actually built in Starling right here. So you are going to get an exact representation of how things look. Now another thing is that you can actually load in particles that you built in ParticleDesigner. You can change the texture of the background here. So I can adjust these values. So let's say I wanted to reduce the number of particles that I am using, and that's an important thing. And when it comes to performance, you want to make sure you are not using way more particles than you need. Often times, you can get away with lot smaller number of particles, and achieve the same effect.

So here I can change, let's say, the gravity of this. We can see that as I adjust these, things change. I can change the blending, the color values. So let's say I wanted to adjust the color of this, well that changes the alpha. So maybe I want to make these blue, a more purple effect, you can see things are changing. Another thing to be aware of with ParticleDesigner is that it uses a different coordinate system. So let's take this example. This would actually be flipped in Starling.

So the Y is actually flipped when we are in Starling. So if you are going to be designing particle effects in ParticleDesigner, make sure that you are aware of that, and you actually reverse things in ParticleDesigner so that they work. So in conjunction with these two tools, you can create just an incredible array of really nice particle effects that perform really well. So in the next movie, I am going to show you how to incorporate the particle effects that I've provided for you into our game.

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This video is part of

Image for Building Flash Games with Starling
Building Flash Games with Starling

46 video lessons · 9525 viewers

Lee Brimelow
Author

 
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  1. 2m 9s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
    3. What you should know
      48s
  2. 10m 21s
    1. Checking out the finished product
      1m 10s
    2. Downloading the Starling framework
      4m 13s
    3. Installing Flash Builder
      1m 44s
    4. Installing additional tools
      1m 30s
    5. Overview of the Starling framework
      1m 44s
  3. 13m 0s
    1. Creating the Flash Builder project
      2m 40s
    2. Setting up your Starling scene
      6m 7s
    3. Creating the main game class
      4m 13s
  4. 13m 52s
    1. Creating the IState interface
      2m 14s
    2. Creating the three game states
      3m 50s
    3. Building the state machine
      7m 48s
  5. 22m 14s
    1. Creating a static assets class
      2m 3s
    2. Adding images and creating textures
      3m 24s
    3. Creating sprite sheets with TexturePacker
      6m 26s
    4. Creating the main texture atlas
      3m 29s
    5. Creating and importing bitmap fonts
      6m 52s
  6. 14m 16s
    1. Creating the Background class
      5m 55s
    2. Adding the logo
      2m 58s
    3. Adding the play button
      3m 4s
    4. Implementing the destroy method
      2m 19s
  7. 56m 47s
    1. Adding the background
      1m 3s
    2. Creating the Hero class
      6m 14s
    3. Creating the Bullet class
      1m 44s
    4. Creating the BulletManager class
      4m 23s
    5. Using the StarlingPool class
      9m 24s
    6. Firing bullets with the mouse
      7m 24s
    7. Creating the Alien movie clip
      1m 58s
    8. Creating the AlienManager class
      8m 12s
    9. Overview of collision-detection options
      3m 10s
    10. Creating the CollisionManager class
      10m 51s
    11. Implementing the destroy method
      2m 24s
  8. 7m 59s
    1. Adding the background
      1m 10s
    2. Creating the "Game Over" text
      2m 43s
    3. Adding the Try Again button
      4m 6s
  9. 20m 5s
    1. Exploring particle-creation tools
      4m 52s
    2. Adding the smoke texture
      5m 3s
    3. Creating the Explosion class
      2m 6s
    4. Creating the ExplosionManager class
      8m 4s
  10. 11m 5s
    1. Creating sound effects with cfxr
      3m 5s
    2. Adding the sound effects
      3m 42s
    3. Creating the Score class
      4m 18s
  11. 6m 1s
    1. Starling optimization tips
      4m 8s
    2. Helpful Starling resources
      1m 53s

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