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Muzzle flares and shell casings
In an effort to increase the game's immersion factor, I've changed my focus to adding little effects that make the game just look cooler.
I began by adding muzzle flares to the pistols. It may look a bit weak at first; that's probably because the flares appear in front of sand. You also can't notice from the .gif but the muzzle flares quickly fade out to nothingness. It looks better than just disappearing.
You can also see the shell casings quickly (perhaps too quickly) launch and bounce away from the pistols. Those were generated by a particle effect where the particle texture is literally a render of a shell casing. One particle is emitted with each bullet and starts with a random rotation. The particles are physics enabled so they bounce off the ground.
Before you give me bonus points for pistol recoil, you should know that effect has been in place for many months already.
Dust and footprints
I'm happy with how these effects are coming out so far. If you look closely at the player's boots and at the tumbleweed, you will see dust being kicked up. The boots also "leave" footprints near the character's feet. I might add a little more dust; haven't decided yet.
This was accomplished by adding a "floor" component to the ground which lets me specify a "kick-up" particle effect and sound effect. The character and tumbleweed each have components that detect if they're in contact with the floor component in some way, and use the floor's particle effect. As for the footprints, they spawn where the character's feet are at specific animation frames and then quickly fade away. That will only happen if the character is in contact with a floor script that has any particle effect; I'll probably retool that setup in the future to also support walking over puddles and such if it comes up.
I was supposed to have worked on other things; but I really wanted to get what I did out of the way so that I can turn to player weapons. After the weapons are done I can work more on enemies, level content and balancing it all. I want players to have really powerful looking weapons that don't make the game into an overpowered walk in the park. I can't wait to see the machine gun dump lots of shell casings!
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