Overview

This entirely self-contained particle engine was written in C++ under Visual Studio .NET. It was used in several of my larger programming projects, including Little Johnny Has Cirrhosis. It includes the following features/effects:

  • Encapsulated inside a C++ class, so the user can include the engine in any OpenGL project by making calls to only a few simple interface functions
  • User-specifiable emitter-position
  • Point or Line sources
  • User-specifiable angle of emission
  • Variable particle emission velocities
  • Variable particle lifetimes
  • Variable particle sizes
  • Textured/colored/blended particles
  • Universal (i.e. specified by a direction) Gravity
  • Local (i.e. specified by a point) gravity
  • Time-based or Frame-based movement

Images

Here is a shot of the driver I wrote for testing & debugging; it's a simple windows dialog box that controls the particle engine. The actual rendering is performed in a separate popup GLUT window:

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Here is an example of some particles shooting out towards the left, and being sucked in by a gravity-point near the center of the cube; The cube is included in the background to show the particles’ transparency.

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Here, the particles are being emitted straight up, and being sucked into a gravity-point just above and to the right of the emitter

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This is what happens if you give a gravity-point a negative strength: it repels particles

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All of the above examples use some randomization for the particle lifetimes, therefore particles are emitted in a constant stream. Below, every particle has the same lifetime, so they are emitted in bursts that look like rings coming out from one point

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Here is an example where the emitter bursts new particles out before reclaiming all of the particles from a previous burst

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This is what a line-source looks like, with solid (non-blended) particles

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Finally, some general gravity in the y-direction…looks like a water fountain!

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Video

Here's a short clip of the engine in action:

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