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Learning XNA 4.0 by Aaron Reed

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Chapter 14. Particle Systems

In this chapter, you’ll get back to work on the 3D game you’ve been building throughout most of the 3D section of this book. Specifically, you’ll be adding some particle effects to your game. Particle effects allow game developers to create exciting and realistic special effects such as smoke, fire, explosions, magic, and other effects that can make the gameplay experience more exciting and attractive.

To start with, let’s talk about particles. What is a particle? In game development terms, a particle typically represents a single component in a particle effect. A single spark in a firework, a single element in a smoke plume, and a single flickering light in a magical effect are all examples of particles. The combination of multiple particles flowing in a single special effect is what’s called a particle effect.

Particle engines are the driving mechanism behind particle effects. A particle engine manipulates multiple particles to create a particle effect by applying forces such as gravity and momentum to make the particles move and react in realistic ways.

Throughout this chapter, you’ll create a particle engine that creates explosion particle effects that you’ll plug into your game when a shot strikes an enemy ship.

Creating a Particle Engine

So let’s get to it. First, let’s examine what each individual particle will look like so we can get a better handle on what we’re trying to do. Each individual particle will be represented by four vertices, forming ...

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