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Making of a fire particle



Hello everyone, for this first entry, let's talk about how I made fire particles in Twisted Minds.

I wanted to create a fire particle made with a sprite sheet to decreased the number of particles I needed. Episode 3 will have a lot of fire involved. I didn't want to use the example from the manual, which needs too many particles. As a comparison, I decreased the number of particles I needed from 10 to only 5. I know, not a big deal, but it's still optimization, and the fire looks more real, even though we are far from reality.
After days of searching on the internet how to make sprite sheets and atlases, I finally tried  Blender's 2.9 new simulation system.
If you don't know Blender or didn't know about this new system, this brand-new simulation, named Manta Flow, allows for more realistic fluid simulation, better performances, etc. It was an open-source framework that got added into Blender by default. After a quick search, I found this tutorial on YouTube TUTORIAL (SR) - BLENDER 2.90 - SIMPLE REALISTIC FIRE and replicate it on Blender to get this fire simulation.




After competing for the simulation, I rendered each frame as an image sequence. I didn't start from frame 0 but frame 50, the time our magnificent flame grew. I was now back on square one. How can I make a texture sheet automatically?  I use Krita for my textures, so I looked into it but didn't find anything interesting. I then stumbled upon a free software called Free Texture Packer. I thought I was done. I put all my frames into the software, and it came up with 3 different atlases, two with 64 frames and one with 22. However, the result was not what I intended.



After checking Leadwerks manual for particles system, I realized this Texture packer had created an atlas that goes from up to bottom then left to right, whereas Leadwerks reads atlases from left to right then top to bottom.
Back in square one once again. Hopefully, I quickly found a new little piece of software that would deliver me from this nightmare: GlueIT a little software made by Kerrigan. The only (minor) problem with Glueit was I couldn't choose the number of rows and columns there is only one option for the number of columns. So I had to do some math. 50+64 = 114-1 (because I start from frame 50 and not 51). 113 + 64 = 177-1. I had my two atlases, going from left to right then top to bottom. However, I didn't want to throw out the leftovers, so I decided to use all unused frames and glue them with already used frames. No one would notice anyway. 
Here are the wonderful results in Leadwerks.


The only problem I have is with the second atlas. I don't know why but some frames get cut... So I won't be using it too much or for far away.

If you are interested in all 3 atlases:

Atlas 1Second atlasThird atlas










Thank you very much. Next time we will go over how I made skyboxes using Space Engine and Krita.

If you have any advice to optimize, get better results, or tips on how to simplify the process / create sprite sheets more easily, I will be glad to take them!
Have a nice day.
Ttiki, Agur.

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