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The Particle Editor can be found in the Database View/Particles tab. You can use the Particle Editor to create particle effects and tweak their parameters, but also manage and store them.

In order to use a particle effect you can either drag and drop an effect into the perspective view or you assign the effect to a selected particle entity. This entity determines the basic location, angle, scale, and or link information with other entities.

For advanced techniques, please see Particle Editor Advanced Techniques.




Load Library

Open the browser and pick up the particle library you want to open.

Save Modified Libraries

Save On-Memory Libraries to the disk. This button saves whole libraries on memory if there are any changes, not only the current one.

Add Library

Add new library. New library is remaining until close the editor. If you want to keep it, use Save Modified Libraries before you close the editor.

Remove Library

Remove current library. A warning will pop up. It doesn't remove the library file from the disc, just remove current library from on-memory library list. If you want to redo the edit of current library without restarting editor, then you can remove library at once and open it again.

Library Selector

Select the current library from on-memory library list.

Reload Library

Reload current library. A warning will pop up. If you want to redo the edit of current library without restarting editor, then you can reload library.



Add New Item

Add new item on current library. New Particle Name window will pop up, to set group name and item name.

Clone Library Item

Clone current item and all of sub items, and then put it to the clip board.

Remove Item

Remove current item. A warning will pop up. It doesn't change the actual library file on disc, just remove item from on-memory current library.

Assign Item to Selected Objects

Assign current item to the selected items on the scene. Only work when you selecting a top node of the each item in the Item View.

Get Material From Selection

Sort material from selected item on the scene, and make it current on the particle editor. Only work when selected item correctly has a particle parameter.

Reload Item

The button name is Reload Item, but its reload current library currently. A warning will pop up. If you want to redo the edit of current library without restarting editor, then you can reload library.




Removes last change.


Removes the last undo.


Copies all the settings for the currently selected entry to the clip board.


Writes any entry data from the clip board to the current entry.



Add Sub Effect

Lets you create a new sub-effect for the actual particle system.

Remove Sub Effect

Removes the selected sub effect.

Enable/Disable All Sub Effects

Enables or Disables all sub effects from the selected (sub-) effect.


Editing Concepts

Base Parameters

Besides the input of the base value, most numeric parameters can be randomized and varied through extra values. They allow random variation and evolution over particle and/or emitter lifetime.

To access the variation controls, click on the expand (+) widget next to the value. When closed, this widget is colored if any variation values are non-default.

A variable parameter can have the following components:

  • Base value: This is also the maximum value the parameter can be (any variations only reduce this value).
  • Var Random: This is the maximum fractional amount that the Base value will randomly reduce by.

Control Curve

You have the following tools to edit control curves. You can find the control curves under most params, these are for dealing with how the particle is represented over time. X = time Y = strength.


  • Adding a point: Double-click the spline graph.
  • Moving a point: Left-click a point and drag it around.
  • Changing a point's tangents: Select the point and press Space (This toggles the spline tangents at that point between continuous and non-continuous. Continuous tangents move more smoothly through a point (ease in/out), while non-continuous tangents are more abrupt. To make a given spline segment completely linear, set both end-points to non-continuous.) Clicking to the left or right of the point will effect only only that side point. 
  • Deleting a point: Double-click an existing point, or select it and press Delete.

In the above picture, we are looking at the control curves for the Alpha. So below I'll describe what happens with the alpha channel. (but the same principle applies to the other params that have this feature).

  • Emitter Strength: Use this param to control the alpha strength over the lifetime of the particle. Only works with finite particles. If continuous is set, this has no effect.
    Above it starts out at the maximum value (1), drops to zero 1/2 way, creeps back up again then slides back to zero towards the end.
  • Particle Life: Use this to control the alpha over the individual particles life time. Eg: Use this to fade a smoke particle away to nothing, once its lifetime has finished. Depending on where you reduce the value to zero, the particle will fade out earlier / later. 

Color Parameters

The Color parameter works a little differently.

  • Random Var is a percentage value that varies the Base Color, separately in each component.
  • Life Curves are color curves that multiply the Base Color. Thus, they don't show the resultant color directly (unless the base color is white). They are edited with a color gradient control.
  • Adding a point: Double-click the bottom of the control.
  • Moving a point in time: Click a point and drag it around.
  • Editing a point's color: Double-click the existing point.
  • Changing a point's tangents: Right-click the point to toggle the tangents between continuous and non-continuous.
  • Deleting a point: Select the point and press Delete.

Child Effects

An effect can have any number of child effects, created and shown in the Item View as nested sub-effects. They can be nested to any level. There are 2 kinds of child effects:

  • Regular Child Effects behave just like separate effects, except they are spawned with and attached to their parent effect. Each child effect has its own independent lifetime, etc. This allows you to create an overall effect that consists of several parts.
  • Second-Generation Child Effects are effects that are attached to the individual particles of the parent effect. That is, a separate emitter is spawned for each particle of the parent effect, and those emitters move with their parent particles. This allows you to create much more complex effects. You can nest second-generation effects multiple times, creating 3rd-or-more generation effects. Be careful, however, since the number of particles created is equal to the product of the child effect Count and the parent effect Count.

Particle Effect Creation Workflow

Prepare a Library

Same as many other elements in CryENGINE, particle effect data is saved in Library file (xml). Default place to put it is: Game\Libs\Particles.

Every particle effects in game are managed on this way, and then you can find any particle effect in game at this folder. Every effects are classified into each library as it looks, like water, or smoke_and_fire.

The first thing you have to do is make a new library, and save it in the appropriate place. After this, add your new Groups or Items in it.

Group and Item

Every particle effects are belonging to Group. At first, you have to make new group to add new Item on your library.

Prepare Texture and Apply Materials

Texture is most important element of the particle effect. It is not too much to say that more than half of the weight to make effect looks great, is on the quality of texture

Edit Parameters

After you set texture to the new item, then next you tweak parameters. If you intend some problem which more easy to solve on texture at this time, don't hesitate to back to texture editing

Implement into Game

Finally, implement the particle effect in the game. You save your library and tell new effect name to someone who need it.

In most cases, the work is done at this time. But sometimes you also do implementation work by your self, like put emitter on to scene and link it to asset, or control it by the Flow Graph, or Track View.

Also you can setup Material Effect to tell the engine a correct bullet impact effect depends on hit point's material, or make full screen effect on Flow Graph and implement it into particle effect. You can use Entity Library tab on Database View, to implement effect into any props in game.

Item View

In the Item view you can access and organize your particle effects.

Right-Click Menu




Cut current item and all of sub items, and then put it to the clip board.


Copy current item and all of sub items, and then put it to the clip board.


Paste items on clip board to the selected item.


Clone current item and all of sub items, and then put it to the clip board.


Rename current item.


Delete current item and all of sub items.

Enable/Disable All

Toggles enable and disable on current item and all of sub items at once.

Assign To Selected Objects

Assign current item to the selected items on the scene. Only work when you selecting a top node of the each item in the Item View.

Preview Window

Positioned at the left bottom place. This can preview each item separately, by just make it current.

Known Problems: Can not correctly playback material using effect like refraction.

When taking a screen capture video, should be closed. Otherwise the screen capture program will try to capture this window also, and fail. To do this, simply drag the top window edge to the bottom and restart screen capture program.

Tool Tips

Tooltips: As you hover over the different parameters inside the Particle Editor, you can see the tool tips at the bottom of the Particle Editor. If you have the Particle Editor spread over two columns, the tip is displayed under the left column.


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