Nomenclature Processing Machine


    2.0.0-beta3 • Public • Published


    Version License

    This component allows replaying particle systems with baked behaviour. This is, instead of calculating the position of all particles on each frame using maths, that value is taken from a cache file (JSON format) with the movement of all the particles already calculated.

    magic gif

    In short:

    1. Install the particleplayer Blender add-on.
    2. Design your particle system in Blender, and export a JSON.
    3. Use this component to load the JSON and reproduce same particle system.

    cover gif


    • Baked particle system loading
    • Animation speed / duration
    • Frame interpolation (no frame jumps when replaying at slow speeds)
    • Replay only a percentage of particles (randomly picking on each loop)
    • Delay and loop
    • Overall simulation and particle scaling
    • Particles texture, color, shader and blending

    Real-time particle systems behaviour (using already made solutions or your own) is often good enough but sometimes specific 3D packages (Blender, Maya, Houdini, Cinema4D or many others, for example) can give you much more control and direction, with lots of parameters, forces and influencers. This is what is this component for, and has some pros and cons that you should be aware of:


    • Easier, more complex and richer particle system behaviours. Use all the features and power of your 3d package. You can do whatever you want: add multiple sources with arbitrary shapes, use fluid solvers, add multiple forces, influencers and collisions... On the cache file only the final position (and rotation) of the particles is exported, so it does not matter how you design them.

    • More performant for complex simulations Since all the hard work has already been done by the 3D package, when in real-time the component just has to replay the animation, not calculate anything. Each particle system takes one draw call (one merged buffer geometry).


    • Static behaviour. Since behaviour is already baked in the cache file, particles move always the same. This can be overcome using count parameter so only a random percentage of the particles are used on each replaying, adding a lot of variation effectively.

    • Big cache JSON files. If you don't take care, cache files can be quite big for big simulations (both in number of particles and duration), increasing downloading times. Here is a table with some example numbers:

    10 frames 100 frames 500 frames
    10 particles 1.7K / 2.3K 19K/ 25K 100K/ 130K
    100 particles 17K / 22K 177K / 236K 0.9M / 1.3M
    1000 particles 160K / 222K 1.8M / 2.3M 9.5M / 13M
    10000 particles 1.6M / 2.2M 18M / 23M 95M / 121M

    * Values using default precision = 1000, without / with rotation exported

    ** These are raw sizes, without server compression, which in the case of JSON is very significant.

    File size can be drastically reduced by:

    • Exporting less particles and shorter animation :D
    • Only exporting position, not rotation of particles
    • Use step parameter to export every x frames instead of all frames. Using the interpolation parameter of the component can do marvels here, and the difference can be unnoticeable:

    step comparison

    So, as a general rule, you should use this component for small and short simulations. Ideal for visual effects like sparks, magic spells, small trails, visual accents, and such.

    For A-Frame.


    Property Description Default Value
    blending Particle's material blending mode. Possible values: 'normal', 'additive', 'multiply' or 'substractive' 'additive'
    color Particle's material color '#fff'
    count Number of particles to draw. If less than total available, they are picked randomly. You can set a specific number or a percentage (using % symbol) '100%'
    delay Milliseconds of wait until replaying the animation 0
    dur Duration (in ms) of the animation 1000
    img Texture to use in particles. None by default (flat plane)
    interpolate Interpolate particle positions among frames on slow replayings (big enough dur parameter) false
    loop Whether loop the animation (true) or not (false). Alternatively, you can use a number here for a specific number of loops 'false'
    on Event that starts the animation 'init' (on app start)
    poolSize Number of possible simultaneous systems to play at once 5
    protation Particle rotation offset. To fine tune their initial rotation 0 0 0
    pscale Particles scale. By default particles are about 0.1 width (final size depends on texture ratio). You can increase their size changing this scale factor 1.0
    scale Scale of the overall system. Each particle position is multiplied by this factor 1.0
    shader Particle's material shader. Can be 'flat', 'lambert', 'phong' or 'standard' 'flat'
    src File cache JSON resource

    Events emitted:

    event Description
    loop last frame reached, will start another loop
    finished all loops and frames finished, animation ends

    Cache file format

    You can generate a cache file using the available exporters (only Blender for the moment, you are welcome to add support to other 3D Packages).

    You shouldn't care about this section unless you want to implement a new exporter. Cache file format is a plain JSON file with these main fields:


        version: '1.0',
        precision: 1000,
        rotation: true,
        sprite_rotation: [0, 0, 0],
        frames: [<frames>]

    where <frames> is the array of frames of the animation, and each one is another array with the position (and optionally rotation) of all particles, in array format:

        frames: [
            [particle1_data, particle2_data, ... particleN_data], // frame 0
            [particle1_data, particle2_data, ... particleN_data], // frame 1
            [particle1_data, particle2_data, ... particleN_data] // last frame
        // and each particleX_data has the format:
        [pos.x, pos.y, pos.z, rot.x, rot.y, rot.z]

    To optimize the final file size, all position and rotation values are multiplied by precision value and then trunc() when exported (eg. '0.233523523'.length > '233'.length).



    Install and use by directly including the browser files:

      <script src=""></script> 
      <script src=""></script> 
       <a-asset-item src="particles.json" id="particlesJSON"></a-asset-item>
        <a-entity particleplayer="src: #particlesJSON"></a-entity>


    Install via npm:

    npm install aframe-particleplayer-component

    Then require and use.



    npm i aframe-particleplayer-component

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    • ngokevin