Our games at Plumbee require top quality graphics, and this poses many artistic and technical challenges. The highest quality animations and effects can be made with professional software tailored to make these - e.g. After Effects or 3D Studio Max. While we can import these to our game as movie files, they have a big file size and cannot be changed at runtime.
These two shortfalls prompted us to explore the use of runtime-generated particle effects in our games. Currently one of the best particle effect engines for AS3 is Stardust. It solves the two problems mentioned above, but there is no GUI tool for it that artists can use to make particle simulations. This makes the process very slow. A programmer has to make the changes based on the artist’s instructions and needs to recompile the app every time they want to see the results. And for artists to make the best effects they need to tweak the simulation parameters a lot.
The Stardust animation editor tries to solve this problem by creating an application which can be used to create these particle effects.
- Fully open source: MIT/Apache 2.0 license.
- Able to create all 2D initializers in Stardust and most actions. 3D effects are not supported.
- Runs in the browser, no installation needed.
- Changes to the simulation are updated in real-time, allowing fast iterations.
- Ability to save and load simulations. The savefiles are simple .zip files.
- Visualize the zones used by emitters and deflectors.
- Set simulation properties: blend mode, particle creation rate and pattern, etc.
- Able to use a sprite sheet to create animated particles.
- Able to specify a path for the emitter.
- Able to use multiple emitters.
- Use a color/background image to better visualize the simulation in its final environment.