To create special visual effects, game programmers often make use of particle systems. Particle systems work by emitting vast numbers of tiny particles and rendering them efficiently—much more efficiently than if they were sprites. This allows you to simulate effects such as rain, fire, snow, explosions, vapor trails, and many more.
Particle systems are driven by a great number of properties. By great I mean about 30 properties, which all influence not only the appearance and behavior of individual particles but the whole particle effect. The particle effect is the totality of all particles working together to create a particular visual outcome. One particle alone does not make a fire effect; ten still don’t get ...