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yurch

On the particle hit effects

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Yes, another long, technical and highly presumptous article.

Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of particle effects. I think it's one of the best ways to convey a sense of depth and motion in anything, outside of extremely detailed and expensive animation.

The new hit effect has caught my attention. I think it can be improved opon very easily.

It currently is a spherical spattering of sparks starting from the physical point in space where the projectile impacts the armor. The sparks more or less are created at the same velocity, and they all have a sort of 'air resistance' effect added that slows them down. These effects appear (and only sometimes) with penetrating hits by the higher calibers.

My first problem with the current hit effect is that it's using the spherical distribution. The vehicle armor is a surface, and to really get the visual benefit of particle effects (aside from doing expensive collision detection for 100+ items at a time) is to use this surface and projectile motion to shape the visual pattern.

Let me start out with a picture.

sodaShoot.jpg

I like this picture, not only because it somewhat represents what I'm sort of going for, but also because I hate coke. I'm fairly certain the entry point is on the right.

This conical plume (or, a restricted sphere) is what I think penetrating hit effects (effect A) should generally look like, without the exit "wound". Unless, of course, we're talking about very light vehicles.

This is what I find the current sprite effect (the one always spawned on penetration) closest to. My goal with this first conical effect is to also replace this sprite.

The backwards plume seems to always be in the opposite direction of the projectile's motion. In impacts, with 'liquid' or soft objects, this plume does not seem as affected by the physical surface as (upcoming)effect B. The kinetic energies involved are likely high enough to generally treat the particles as a liquid substance.

The next shape of impact is a nonpenetrating hit.

coins1-019.JPG

This is a nice example. (from here)

A projectile that does not penetrate will either shatter or deflect, and usually a combination of both. The fragments (from either the impacted surface or the projectile) are dispersed at a wide angle along the normal of the surface, but also tend to appear more on one side due to the projectile's velocity.

This effect (effect B) therefore has two particle distributions, the first is a wide cone along the normal of the armor (normal = 90 degrees off the surface if I'm using that term incorrectly) and the second is a smaller cone along the angle the round would deflect at.

I am assuming both of these vectors are easy to find, as armor penetration is calculated by angle and AP projectiles are seen deflecting.

I feel that all hits (including penetration) should have at least a small bit of effect B in them. Ions, being a high speed particle stream, would be particularly well-served visually by this effect, perhaps with thier own type of sparks.

Since both of these visual impacts come "from the armor", I think any of the armor's velocity should be added into the force of the particle spawn. Particles that break off a paladin going 70km/hr north should still be retaining that northward 70km/hr in thier velocity until air resistance(if any) slows them down. Air resistance is so strong on the current particles I haven't determined if this is happening or not, but I don't think it is.

I've already begun to play with the particle distribution frequencies and velocities on my client. I was a little disappointed to find that I could not (at least I don't know the var name) control either the air resistance effect(weight?) or the amount of variance in speed or resistance. I find them a little too uniform.

Anyway, thanks for reading. This posting borders on the nitpicky, but I think it is a relatively easy to implement method that will make at least one person very happy. ;)

Edit: Another idea, which I'm just going to tack on here - have you considered different kinds of projectile colors per team? I've been using a sort of "russian" green tracer for a while now, and I'm wondering if a tracer/ion color division could be created across teams. This has a gameplay aspect, so it's not necessarily a good idea.

[ May 09, 2006, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: yurch ]

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I've implemented the first part of your suggestion - directing the spray back along the impact vector - and you're right. It looks MUCH better this way already. We'll see what else we can do before the next update.

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excellent, I was going to report that the sparks fly through the vehicle like it doesnt exist, but I bet this takes care of that smile.gif

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