Particle Systems

In Unity 5

Good evening gents and ladies.  I touched on particle systems in a previous tutorial, but this time, I’m going to go in depth and focus on particle systems, because they are so awesome they deserve their own tutorial.


The above and below screens are examples of a really weird particle system.  Well, they’re actually multiple particle systems fashioned together to create an energy barrier effect.  This effect comes from a pack on the Unity Asset Store, but I modified the hell out of it.

I’ll talk about some of the changes I made while I break down the parts, step by step.

One item of note…

Particle systems came in two flavors across the years of Unity.  The first was a Legacy particle effect, which has been discontinued.  The second is the new official effect.  There are specific differences between the two, though essentially, they can create the same effects.  However, the new particle effect generator has an integrated panel, is cleaner and more compatible with other game objects.


Particle systems function as a object component.  To add one, go to the component effects section.  I happen to like trail renderers as well, but particles are the focus of today’s tutorial.


I’ve taken the liberty of expanding some of these sections to show what they do.

  • Velocity over lifetime is what you might think.
  • Color, on the other hand, is a good way for a particle to fade out over time.  Experiment with it to get the look you want.  You may also select a gradient between two colors or a random selection between two gradients.  If you want a random or even rainbow effect, this may prove fun to experiment with.
  • Size over lifetime is a good way to make particles either shrink to nothing by the end or expand to massive orbs.  You can maintain a constant size if you’d rather not alter this property.  By default the size is constant.
  • Texture sheet animation is not something I’ll get into, partly because it deserves a tutorial in itself and also because I am not very knowledgeable about it.  Suffice to say, this option allows a person to draw from a 2D sprite sheet to make animated particles, the ultimate effect.
  • Most parts of the renderer tab you may want to leave how they are.

Up above all this, you can set the default size of the particles, the number that render at one time and the speed at which they generate.  My advice is to be careful with these functions, as they may kill your frame rate.


And then we have it.  A fully fledged particle effect.  The game below uses quite a few different image filters, via image effects, but the particles are real.


That’s all I have today.  See you on the next tutorial!

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