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Submitted by Stephan Schaem, posted on December 13, 2002

Image Description, by Stephan Schaem

Here is an IOTD for anyone interested in particle system, generic editing system and 3d UI.

The central UI is an XML/Property Set editor. The structure edited here is a DVE.

The UI system is using a Direct3D or OpenGL module for all its rendering. The look is achieved using a custom Stardock DirectSkin file loader that pack the data into 3d texture.

Surrounding the UI shot we see different sample of the FX configured as Particle Wipes. From a screen going up in smoke to a 3d plane flying away with shadow and pixel dust. The particle system offer over 40 keyframable emitter & behaviors parameters enabling a wide range of result.

The UI show the editing of the first keyframe of the first object residing on the second video layer. The spline system include a compiler & interpreted for expression evaluation, the x86 compiler is invoked at FX load time. In this UI we can see that the X component of the gravity vector is modified using a sine wave based on a global 'time' variable. By making the Spline manager, FX system & Editor discreet component its then possible to create new class of FX and have them automatically supported throughout.

The system will let a user add an expression on a member of sub structure. Most registered base type are also exposed as sub structure making it possible to animate the alpha component of a color part of a structure thru a complex expression.

Currently we only used this tool in house but plan to release it at some time for third party content creation.

Stephan Schaem (a.k.a T21)

PS: This particle system exercise the Rnd() function shown in a previous IOTD.

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