Pixelpart 1.4 Released - Plugins for Game Engines
The new version of Pixelpart is finally here! I am happy to announce the release of version 1.4, which offers a ton of new features and possibilities.
Plugins for Unity and Godot 3
You can now play effects you created in Pixelpart directly inside game engines using the new runtime plugins for Unity and Godot 3, instead of relying on sprite sheets or image sequences. The plugins let you modify an effect and individual particle emitters, force fields and colliders dynamically from script, even while the effect is playing. You can find further information on how to install and use the plugins in the documentation included with Pixelpart. Note, however, that only Windows, Linux, and macOS are supported as of version 1.4. If you want to ship to consoles, mobile or web, it is recommended to still use sprite sheets or image sequences. Support for more platform is going to come in the future. If you find any instances, where the plugins don't function properly, please report them in the community hub under "Bug Reports"!
A short guide on how to install and use the plugins can be found in the documentation (Help menu in Pixelpart).
With this release it is now possible to export effects as videos! The video is encoded with the royalty-free video codec Theora inside an ogv file. Supporting other common video codecs and formats like the H.264 codec (commonly used in mp4 files) is a bit tricky, because they are patent-encumbered and come with license fees. For now, I have decided to not include any proprietary or patent-encumbered codecs and stick to the Theora codec. Support for other formats is planned for future updates.
Animated PNG Export
In order to place an effect on a web page, effects can be exported as GIFs, but the GIF format lacks several desirable features like partial transparency. This release adds the option to export effects as animated PNG files (.apng), which are like GIF files, but support 24 bit colors and partial transparency. They are supported by most major web browsers.
Trail Renderer for Particles
Sometimes it is useful to not render each particle as an individual sprite, but to combine them to a single, continuous trail (think of sword slashes and lighting bolts for example). The new trail renderer is suited for these exact situations.
Better Force Fields & Colliders
Force fields and colliders have experienced a major revision. In previous versions they were always part of an emitter. This was problematic: To let a force field or collider affect multiple emitters, it had to be copied to every emitter, which was tedious. Now, they are their own object type and, by default, affect every emitter, but you still can exclude specific emitters if needed. Further updates:
- New randomization for force fields that uses a grid with variable size, where each grid cell has a slightly different force direction and strength
- Better collider physics, which allows particles to properly slide down colliders
- New fiction property controlling the sliding behavior
- Multi-line colliders, so creating complex collision shapes is easier[/list]
New Particle Emitter Settings
In previous versions, particle emitters were inflexible in some situations. For example, it was not directly possible to let an emitter produce particles with a time-dependent initial opacity, only the opacity over a particle's lifetime could be adjusted. The release adds the following properties to allow for more complex effects:
- Initial particle velocity
- Initial particle size
- Initial particle opacity
- Initial particle rotation
- Variance for angular velocity
It was only possible to include a single background image In previous versions. The new version of Pixelpart allows you to add an arbitrary amount of sprites, which can even be moved on motion paths or animated with sprite sheet animations.
Existing post-processing effects have been improved and a lot of useful effects have been added:
- Gamma Correction
- Color Curves
- Film Grain
- Bilateral Filter
- Kuwahara Filter
Translations for the following languages have been added:
The language can be set in the application's preferences. Although the interface has been translated with care, the translations may not be perfect, so if you are proficient in one of those languages and think that the text of a button, a menu option or other elements sounds wrong, please report this in the community hub under "Bug Reports". Translations into other languages are planned.
The software is also now able to display Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese characters correctly. Entering names for emitters etc. with those characters is still buggy, however.
Open-Source Runtime Library
The runtime library (implemented in C++) that is used to simulate particle effects in Pixelpart is released as open source at Github: pixelpart-runtime. If you have a custom game engine, you can integrate this library to load and simulate effects you have created in Pixelpart directly in your game engine.
- New effect examples and emitter presets.
- Effect examples can now be previewed in the main menu.
- Optimized particle rendering.
- Graphs, motion paths and gradients can now be copy-pasted.
- Pan and zoom available for the graph editor.
- The file dialog now offers the option to show/hide hidden files and adds buttons for zooming in and out.
- Bug fixes regarding the file explorer.
- The Help menu now shows a link to the documentation.
- Some other general improvements to the user interface.
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