Particle System Initializers

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general concepts

To add an initializer to your particle, set the Properties dropdown to "Initializer" and right-click in the window below. This will bring an "add..." popup.

Alpha Random

Inits the particles with a random alpha.

Parameter Description
alpha_min Minimum alpha for the particle.
alpha_max Maximum alpha for the particle.

Color Random

Sets the particle's color to a random color between two specified colors.

Parameter Description
color1 First color to choose between.
color2 Second color to choose between.
tint tint is a percentage (0-1) of how much of the local lighting should be applied to all particles.
tint control point this is the location where lighting is sampled from. Lighting is not per particle with this initializer.
tint control point movement threshold for speed, the initializer only re-updates its lighting check if it has moved farther than this threshold.
tint clamp min/max this clamps the lighting sample to a certain range. It keeps the lighting withing an expected variance.

Inherit Velocity

Used for emitters attached to a moving entity. It will cause the emitter to add it's own velocity to each spawned particle.

Parameter Description
velocity scale the percentage of the velocity to inherit - can be higher than 1 for more than 100%.


Position Within Box Random

Inits the particles inside of a box with a certain speed.

Parameter Description
x_min Minimum distance in the x-axis.
x_max Maximum distance in the x-axis.
y_min Minimum distance in the y-axis.
y_max Maximum distance in the y-axis.
z_min Minimum distance in the z-axis.
z_max Maximum distance in the z-axis.

Lifetime from Sequence

Sets a particle's lifespan based on the animation length of the sequence based on a given FPS. Use with the 'use animation rate as FPS' flag in Render_Animated_Sprites render type to work hand in hand. If both have the same FPS settings, a particle will map it lifespan and animation together perfectly. Used when a single particle type consists of many sequences with varying sequence lengths (some have 10 frames, others 60, but all must act appropriately without slow framerate, etc.)

Parameter Description
Frames Per Second Sets the desired FPS for the animation. This is mapped to lifespan according to the number of frames in the sequence the particle receives via a sequence_random or other sequence defining initializer.

Lifetime Random

Randomly sets the lifetime of a particle.

Parameter Description
lifetime_min Minimum lifetime for the particle.
lifetime_max Maximum lifetime for the particle.


Lifetime Pre-Age Noise

Treats a particle as if it has already spent part of its lifespan. All operators that act off of lifespan will act appropriately.

Parameter Description
time noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the time part of the noise function - based on particle spawn time. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar.
spatial noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the spatial part of the noise function - based on particle spawn location. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar. Time noise is added to spatial noise, so set one or the other to zero in order to receive no effect from that portion of the function.
time coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Essentially moves the result of a given time input to a different seed.
spatial coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Essentially moves the result of a given spatial input to a different seed.
absolute value noise returns -1 to 1 which is mapped to the output range. Using absolute value bool (0/1) , the output can have sudden shifts in direction as the number approaches zero and then bounces back into positives instead of going into negatives.
invert absolute value essentially flips the curve created by using the absolute value flag. So instead of getting sharp valleys, you get sharp peaks. The math is 1 minus the absolute value of the noise.
start age minimum the lower boundary to map the noise to. This sets the minimum age to add to a particle.
start age maximum the upper boundary to map the noise to. This sets the maximum age to add to a particle.

Position Modify Offset Random

Moves the initial position of a particle in world or local space relative to its emission point. Can be used to emit particles along a line while still using parts of a sphere emitter or relative to a secondary control point.

Parameter Description
offset min XYZ minimum offset.
offset max XYZ maximum offset.
offset in local space this bool (0/1) sets where to use world or local (emitter) space to do the offset.
offset relative to radius this bool (0/1) sets whether to treat the offset values as an amount relative to the particle's radius. For example, if the offset is set to 0 0 1, and two particles have a radii of 32 and 64, they'd be moved vertically 32 and 64 units respectively.
control_point_number the control point relative to which offset will occur.

Position Modify Warp Random

Warps the initial position of a particle in world or local space relative to its emission point. Can be used to stretch initial emission shapes. A sphere can be stretched into an ovoid, or smashed. Useful in addition to sphere emissions distance bias and absolute value to create squashed domes, rings (the elongated ring seen in Portal), etc. Warped particles initial speed is also warped by the corresponding amount. So particles that are stretched will have a higher initial velocity, while those that are squashed will have lower.

Parameter Description
warp min XYZ minimum warp.
warp max XYZ maximum warp.
local coordinate space this bool (0/1) sets where to use world or local (emitter) space to do the offset.
control_point_number the control point relative to which warp will occur.
warp transition time treats the min/max as start and end sizes for a warp that takes place over the specified time. So the emission placement of each new particle will be warped over time.
warp transition start time when the warp transition will start
reverse warp in the case of a warp transition, it will make it run backwards (max to min)

Position Within Sphere Random

Inits the particles inside of a sphere with a certain speed.

Parameter Description
distance_min Minimum distance to spawn from the center of the sphere.
distance_max Maximum distance to spawn from the center of the sphere.
distance_bias A bias to the distribution of particles in the system in X Y Z relative to each axis. 1 1 0 will create particles only in the X Y plane, while 1 1 10 will create roughly 10 times as many particles near the top and bottom of the sphere as on the X Y parts. Useful for creating discs, rings, and polar effects.
distance_bias_absolute_value Setting any axis to zero will eliminate particles from one hemisphere of the distribution. Can be used to create hemispheres, quarter spheres, etc. Use wil distance bias to alter the effect. Use negative values in distance bias to flip the hemisphere from one side to the other.
bias_in_local_system Boolean (0/1) value which sets the biasing to use the local space of the emitter rather than world space.
control_point_number Control point which to spawn relative to.
speed_min Minimum initial speed of the particle emitted outward from the sphere.
speed_max Maximum initial speed of the particle emitted outward from the sphere.
speed_random_exponent the exponent which determines the biasing of particles towards one end or the other of the random range.
speed_in_local_coordinate_system_min Local space minimum initial speed of the particle in x y z.
speed_in_local_coordinate_system_max Local space maximum initial speed of the particle in x y z.

Radius Random

Inits the particles with a random radius.

Parameter Description
radius_min Minimum radius for the particle.
radius_max Maximum radius for the particle.

Remap Initial Scalar

Allows you to map any initial scalar to any other. Really useful for mapping creation time of a timed system to something else, like alpha to have a system that over time produces particles of higher or lower alpha for example.

Parameter Description
input field the field to read from
input minimum the lower end to map from
input maximum the upper end to map from
output field the field to write to
output minimum the lower end to map to
output maximum the upper end to map to
output is scalar of initial random range rather than overwriting the original value of the output field, the remapped value is multiplied against the initial output field value

Remap Noise to Scalar

Allows any scalar parameter to be initialized to a select range via a noise function. The noise function is mapped based on both time and space, each with their own coordinate scales and offsets. This creates a range of results that are non-random but vary based on creation time and position.

Parameter Description
time noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the time part of the noise function - based on particle spawn time. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar.
spatial noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the spatial part of the noise function - based on particle spawn location. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar. Time noise is added to spatial noise, so set one or the other to zero in order to receive no effect from that portion of the function.
output field the scalar to set the initial value on. Radius, Roll, Alpha, Life Duration, etc.
time coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Two initial scalar noise functions set to different outputs (say alpha and radius) set to the same coordinate scales will behave the same. Offsets allow for the same scale mapping, but at a different part of the noise. So for example all small radius particles may have a high alpha rather than a low one if the offset is used.
spatial coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Two initial scalar noise functions set to different outputs (say alpha and radius) set to the same coordinate scales will behave the same. Offsets allow for the same scale mapping, but at a different part of the noise. So for example all small radius particles may have a high alpha rather than a low one if the offset is used.
absolute value noise returns -1 to 1 which is mapped to the output range. Using absolute value bool (0/1) , the output can have sudden shifts in direction as the number approaches zero and then bounces back into positives instead of going into negatives.
invert absolute value essentially flips the curve created by using the absolute value flag. So instead of getting sharp valleys, you get sharp peaks. The math is 1 minus the absolute value of the noise.
output minimum the lower boundary to map the noise to. This sets the lower range of what the resulting output will be. So for example, to create smoke with a minimum radius of 12, set this to 12.
output maximum the upper boundary to map the noise to. This sets the upper range of what the resulting output will be. So for example, to create smoke with a maximum radius of 24, set this to 24. In the noted example, smoke radius will range from 12-24 based on the noise function.

Rotation Roll Random

Starting from a base angle, randomly offsets the particle a certain number of degrees.

Parameter Description
rotation_intial Initial rotation for the particle (in degrees).
rotation_offset_min Minimum number of degrees to randomly offset the particle.
rotation_offset_max Maximum number of degrees to randomly offset the particle.

Rotation Speed Random

Used to specify a per-particle rotation speed. Use the operator Rotation Basic to update the particle's rotation based on its rotation speed.

Parameter Description
rotation_speed_constant A fixed speed in degrees/second
rotation_speed_random_min Minimum number of degrees/second to randomly spin the particle.
rotation_speed_random_max Maximum number of degrees/second to randomly spin the particle.
rotation_speed_random_exponent Biases the random speed either toward the specified min or max. 1 = equally likely to be min or max. >1 = more often selects values closer to max, <1 = more often selects values closer to min
randomly_flip_direction If 1, causes the spin to randomly be multiplied by -1 (switching between clockwise and counter-clockwise spin)

Velocity Noise

Allows particle velocity to be initialized to a select range via a noise function. The noise function is mapped based on both time and space, each with their own coordinate scales and offsets. This creates a range of results that are non-random but vary based on creation time and position.

These particles use no random velocities, their velocity is defined by their initial velocity noise. Time with minor variations in position determine where they fire out to. You can see that over time they vary, but are not random.
Parameter Description
time noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the time part of the noise function - based on particle spawn time. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar.
spatial noise coordinate scale this sets the scale of the spatial part of the noise function - based on particle spawn location. Larger numbers will appear increasingly random, while very small numbers will map to a similar area of the noise and look very similar. Time noise is added to spatial noise, so set one or the other to zero in order to receive no effect from that portion of the function.
time coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Essentially moves the result of a given time input to a different seed.
spatial coordinate offset this sets the offset on the noise function to draw from. Essentially moves the result of a given spatial input to a different seed.
absolute value noise returns -1 to 1 which is mapped to the output range. Using absolute value bool (0/1) , the output can have sudden shifts in direction as the number approaches zero and then bounces back into positives instead of going into negatives.
invert absolute value essentially flips the curve created by using the absolute value flag. So instead of getting sharp valleys, you get sharp peaks. The math is 1 minus the absolute value of the noise.
output minimum the lower boundary to map the noise to. This sets the minimum speed to give to a particle. Of course for particles moving in all directions, XYZ should all be negative.
output maximum the upper boundary to map the noise to. This sets the maximum speed to give to a particle.

Velocity Repulse from World

Pushes the particles away from any nearby surfaces upon spawn. Traces are shot out in the cardinal directions from the specified control point. Particles receive a push in the most open direction if any nearby directions are blocked. Good for giving the impression of pressure imparted effects in enclosed areas.

Parameter Description
minimum velocity the minimum velocity scale that will be imparted on each axis if there is nothing blocking nearby the control point
maximum velocity the maximum velocity scale that will be imparted, pushing away from any blocked directions
collision group the collision group to test against. DEBRIS or NONE recommended.
control_point_number The point to do the tests from
Per Particle World Collision Tests Will cause each particle to do its own test. SLOW - USE WITH CAUTION.
Use radius for Per Particle Trace Length Makes the trace length of per particle tests the particle's radius
Trace Length The distance to trace each direction.
Inherit from Parent If set to true, the control point number field becomes the field to read data out of. Rather than doing traces, the initializer reads them from the control point. This is used for performance. A parent particle can do the test once, and all children can inherit the data rather than duplicating the same test many times over.
control points to broadcast to children (n + 1) If broadcasting to children, this is the control point to start with. It requires 2 control points to store the data.
Child Group ID to affect When broadcasting the CP, only send to children in this group ID.