If you are a UE user and you check the monthly free stuff, I am pretty sure you already downloaded FluidNinja VFX Tools, a nice-looking particle system for Unreal Engine. Today we are taking a closer look at FluidNinja VFX Tools and see how it works.
FluidNinja VFX Tools is a set of tools that lets you create your own fluid visual effects for your games. It may look very complex at first, but the developers assure you it’s pretty simple to use. There are actually two different versions of FluidNinja. FluidNinja Live is for real-time fluid simulation, and FluidNinjaVFX is for baked simulation.
To make the effects, you use the NinjaTools, which is an interface loaded inside a level. In that interface you can select among various presets, and then modify different parameters to create the effect you want.
When you have the effect you want, you click the “Record” button in the “Bake” area, and then you save the materials and textures. You can then use this dynamic material as a visual effect on your level.
All the effects are created using fluid simulations, which produce very nice results. This is the slightly complicated part, since the simulation has many parameters that you can tweak to get the desired results. On top of that, you can also modify the input method to create very specific effects. For example, you can use Niagara effects as an input for your simulation, or you can even draw the input yourself with your mouse.
Another thing you can do in FluidNinja VFX Tools is export a Velocity Field for particles. This is a vector field that you can use to drive Niagara effects particles for some real-time effects.
In the project that is created, you also have a wide verity of levels displaying different kinds of effects, so you can see how the effects are used in a level, and also the source objects (materials, flipbook textures, etc.) used in the creation of that effect.
The developers of FluidNinja VFX Tools have a series of tutorials where they teach you how to use the VFX creation tool, how to export the simulations and how to use the resulting visual effects in your game. FluidNinja VFX Tools is not a tool that you can just pick and then modify parameters randomly to get the effect you want. You need to devote the time to learn how to use the creation tool and the effects of the parameters, so you know what you are doing.
FluidNinja VFX Tools is a very good starting point to get into fluid effects for Unreal Engine. If, after using this for a while, you realize your game could benefit from real-time visual effects, then you can make the jump to FluidNinja Live.