Particle Engine Question

Hi, i have coded a simple particle engine to simulate fire. The particles are all camera-aligned. But the problem is, since the fire is placed in a 3D world, but goes only in the X and Y dimension, if i walk around the fire and look down the X axis, the fire looks like a thin line.

therefore, i additionally need to align the entire particle system (not just the particles) to always face the camera. can someone give me an idea of how to do that?


Rather than try to camera-align a 2D particle effect, it would probably be better to just make a 3D effect. Whatever code you are using to generate and evolve the fire particles along the X and Y axes could probably be applied to the Z axis as well.

One of the nice benefits of using a particle system is that they give a feeling of ‘volume’ that old-fashioned sprite explosions/effects lacked. If you camera-align your system, then you are taking away this benefit.

i have tried this method already but it looks like a rectangular volume.

tim, did you mean billboarding?

No, I wasn’t really referring to billboarding. Billboarding is what makes the individual particles be camera-aligned, but I would not reccommend trying to do the same to the particle system.

Gammastrahler, if your fire effect looks like a rectangular solid when put in three dimensions, then you should probably change your code to generate the particles radially. For example, rather than:

newParticle.x = SPREAD*(2randomFloat() - 1)
newParticle.z = SPREAD
(2*randomFloat() - 1)

write something like:

radius = SPREAD*(2randomFloat() - 1)
angle = randomFloat()2PI
newParticle.x = radius
cos( angle )
newParticle.z = radius*sin( angle )

This assumes that you use the y axis as ‘up’ for your fire system, and that you control the distribution of particles in that dimension differently…

try this, before drawing

float mat[16];
glGetFloatv(GL_MODELVIEW_MATRIX, mat);
mat[0] = mat[5] = mat[10] = 1;
mat[4] = mat[8] = mat[1] = mat[9] = mat[2] = mat[6] = 0;