Particle Accelerator [v1.0 released!]

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Ajare
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Particle Accelerator [v1.0 released!]

Post by Ajare » Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:24 pm

...is the rather pretentious name of the particle editor I'm creating. Hey, 'OGRE Particle Editor' was somewhat dull.

Image Image Image

As you can see, I spent quite a bit of time on some custom controls for choosing vectors and colours :). It's written in wxWidgets, so should be cross-platform, though I only have access to Win32 dev environment. wxWidgets really is quite wonderful!

There's still a small amount of core functionality to implement, plus some bugs to crush, but I'm going to have to take a break for a short while. I thought it would be good to announce its presence, because there's been some talk about world editors and tools recently, so I thought I should make myself known in case someone decides to start one too.

Apologies for the rather uninteresting demo particle systems!

Edit: v1.0 has been released!

http://www.tetracorp.net/dev/ParticleAccelerator1.0.zip

It's Win32 only at the moment. Check out the help file. It's quite terse at the moment, but should get you up and running. You may need the VS redistributable. You can get it here.
Last edited by Ajare on Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Robomaniac » Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:25 pm

Demo/Release?

Looks awesome, much more intuiative than the current editor. Very clean too
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Post by jstone » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:04 am

This looks like a really interesting tool. Right now I'm introducing the current particle editor (which is quite powerful, but not exactly user friendly at first glance) into our production pipeline, and I can appreciate the value of an intuitive interface for this sort of work.

Are you planning on releasing the source? I might be able to help you out on the Linux (and probably MacOSX) porting and I can get the tool into the hands of artists for some usability testing.

Cheers
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Post by tau » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:09 am

I would say it looks like somebody did an awesome job! ;)

Yes, demo would be nice.
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Post by futnuh » Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:06 am

Nice work on the custom controls! Is this going to be a freeware release or a commercial product? In either case, what's your guess on a release date?

Also, since you are obviously a particle guru, what affectors and emitters do you think the current API is missing?
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Post by Falagard » Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:22 am

Very very nice! Also excellent that you're using wxWidgets. I'm very impressed!
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Post by Ajare » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:23 am

It's basically working at the moment. There are a few small things to add in, like the visual representation of ellipsoid emitters (when I work out the maths), and a bug list to keep ploughing away at, but I'm hoping to get version 1.0 out in 2-3 days. Then I'll release the source once I'm happy there are no more bugs. Having said that, I now notice that the second screenshot is prominently displaying a bug! :o
futnuh wrote: Also, since you are obviously a particle guru, what affectors and emitters do you think the current API is missing?
Once this is done, I may look into extending ParticleFX's functionality. We'll see.
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Post by Estrich » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:51 am

Looks really nice!
I especially like the clean look of the GUI.
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Post by yuriythebest » Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:30 pm

I can see a great future for this tool- can't wait to see the finished result.
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Post by sinbad » Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:09 pm

Looks great :) Can't wait to play with it.

How hard was it to create those custom controls? I'll reveal my vested interest here - I'm interested in using wxWidgets myself for a tool project and I'll probably need quite a few non-standard controls, particularly in the realm of graphing (connect node A to node B, set properties etc). I see a few examples of this on the wxWidgets screenshots and I wondered how hard it was.
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Post by Falagard » Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:12 pm

Obviously Ajare is the pro here, but wxWidgets is similar to the windows API in that you have a device context and a way to plot lines, pixels, arcs, etc. to it through the wxPaintDC class.

Creating a custom control is pretty easy - you derive from wxControl and hook up the EVT_PAINT event to your function, such as onPaint, and then write out to the wxPaintDC. There are examples and documentation.
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Post by jacmoe » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:35 pm

Very inspirational! Very cool! :)
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Post by Wretched_Wyx » Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:35 pm

That looks very slick. Great job there, and can't wait to get a hands on judgement of it!
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Post by Ajare » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:11 pm

Thanks for the comments. Part of the reason for showing this off unfinished was to blackmail myself into finishing it.
sinbad wrote: How hard was it to create those custom controls?
It's pretty easy, really. As Falagard said, you just use a bunch of drawing primitives, and paint directly onto the control's window. It can be time-consuming if you want it to look good, though.

All in all, I can't recommend wxWidgets highly enough. I just took the wxOgre code straight off the wiki and dove in. If the forum and API reference can't help you, it's got a 700 page practical manual, ferchrissakes!
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Post by jomunoz » Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:47 am

The WxWidgets book can be downloaded here http://www.phptr.com/content/images/013 ... 6_book.pdf

Maybe it can help you guys start quicker.
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Post by kneeride » Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:00 am

It would be cool if you could have a number of common or useful samples. eg, a flame, a fire missile/commet, an explosion, a smoke cloud, etc.

Would also be cool if a database was managed where others could upload their own effects. ie allow the community to build a database of effects.
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Post by Fakamaz » Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:15 pm

Way up! Great job! Looking forward to try it 8)
As I saw some suggestions to features here, I would like to ask too. 8)
Is it possible to make an assignment of different materials to different emitters in a single particle maybe?
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Post by Ajare » Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:38 pm

Ok, well this probably isn't the right place, but I have a question:

OGRE's resource system is giving me a headache. When I want to save a system, I need to know all the names of current loaded systems, to make sure that duplicates names are not created. Finding these is easy, but if the one you specify already exists, I want to allow the option to overwrite it. The problem here is that I can't get the file that the system is declared in. I can get the filename, but not the full path, which I need. My options seem to be:

a) Search the entire hard disk. Not on.
b) Assume all particle scripts reside in the same directory. Not idiotproof.
c) Allow duplicate systems to be created. Bad, can crash the editor on load.
d) Search the declared resource locations for the file. Must save particle scripts to resource location directories. Not idiotproof.
e) Change OGRE. Again, not on.

Of course, if I've missed a simple 'get particle system's full path' function, then that solves it, but getOrigin only returns the filename. Can anyone who's had to deal with similar OGRE resource management issues suggest anything? I'm currently using method b).
Fakamaz wrote:Is it possible to make an assignment of different materials to different emitters in a single particle maybe?
No. Ogre's particle systems do not support this. Presumably because it's faster to use two separate systems.
kneeride wrote:It would be cool if you could have a number of common or useful samples. eg, a flame, a fire missile/commet, an explosion, a smoke cloud, etc.
I'm making a set of random particle textures to get people started, if I have time I'll make some sample systems. There are some good ones included with the CEGUI editor, by the way.
Would also be cool if a database was managed where others could upload their own effects. ie allow the community to build a database of effects.
I think the wiki is the best place. I can't see much point in adding any database management to the editor.
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Post by Oogst » Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:26 pm

Aah-h-h, good editors are exactly what Ogre needs and what makes the great difference between Ogre and Unreal 3. Your particle editor looks really useful. 8)

(Now if someone created a node-based shader editor that could be linked to Ogre... ;))
futnuh wrote:Also, since you are obviously a particle guru, what affectors and emitters do you think the current API is missing?
A bit off-topic, but while a see this question I'd still like to answer it. I have experience with particles in 3dsmax and some quite simple to create affectors that are missing now are a plane-deflector (so just an infinite plane that eithers kills particles or makes them bounce away), point-gravity/wind and angular motor (an affector that would give particles a rotational speed around a given axis).

Also quite missing is the texturing feature that one bitmap contains a grid of textures. Vertically different textures are there and the emitter randomly chooses one for each particle to create some differences between them. Horizontally would be the frames of an animation, so each texture can be animated. As this is all in one texture, it would not hurt performance to do this and it would increase the possibilities of Ogre's particles enormously.
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Post by Chris Jones » Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:32 pm

OGRE uses a set of locations to search for resources in, so its best just to stick to them, you cant make this too idiotproof, you can at least assume users arent that bad..

ogre has a few functions to search for files, which gives an info struct with info about each found file, such as its filename, path, size etc

see Ogre::Archive::findFileInfo() in the docs

any use?
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Post by bharling » Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:34 pm

Marvellous,

As a wxWidgets user myself, I'm intrigued by some of the features in your prog. Like the angle and gradient widgets etc.

Good job, looking forward to a release ( please :)! )
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Post by Ajare » Fri Sep 01, 2006 3:31 pm

Just a quick progress update - these things have a habit of taking longer than expected. Still working on it, trying to make it as robust and user-friendly as possible. Release date: "soon." ;)

By the way, it seems that the zip library that Ogre uses cannot write to zips. This is correct, right? This is quite a problem for tools. There is some more functionality that Ogre's archive system could have which would help tool creation. I feel this is quite important - I may start a thread in Feature Requests when I've collected my thoughts.
Oogst wrote: [...] some quite simple to create affectors that are missing now are a plane-deflector [...] point-gravity/wind and angular motor (an affector that would give particles a rotational speed around a given axis).
Deflector planes are already in, and gravity/wind is too (LinearForce).
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Post by Oogst » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:35 pm

LinearForce is not a point-source, it always applies in the same direction. What I meant is point-gravity (which becomes the somewhat odd point-wind when using a negative value) that draws particles to a specific point. I might be wrong, but I have not found point-gravity yet.

As for plane-deflectors: I am surprised to see you are right. :) The Ogre manual does not mention them, but I did find them in the API: DeflectorPlaneAffector. Would be nice if that were in the manual too.
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Post by gogoplayer » Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:33 am

Great work :wink:
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Post by dfacchin » Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:16 pm

can't wait to try this babe :D
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