Please pardon the random spacing of text, I can't seem to fix it
For those who plan on using more than alien_fx.pcf, please let me know what particles you'll be using so I can put them all together into a single file specific to your map once you're nearing completion.
Since this is the general resource area, I guess this is the appropriate area to put these for people to use. These particles were created for my map, although I felt that others would benefit from them as well, so they're getting a public release!
The particles intended for use are testable in the pre-compiled map included, and state their names upon pushing the corresponding buttons. The particles included are:
The download also contains the vmf for the map, as well as a vmf containing the particle system placements for the UFO, mothership, and props (models not included). Now for a run-down for each of these systems, as some of them have some catches.
The alien_mothership_explode, alien_mothership_explode2, alien_mothership_explode_red, and alien_mothership_explode_blue all derive from the same thing, the mothership being destroyed. The difference between the first and second is that the second lacks the center fiery explosions. The red and blue versions contain team colored effects in the center explosion. There will NOT be an explosion particle that engulfs the entire model, as large particles lag the game terribly the closer you are to them. This is why the Meet the Medic taunt is laggy sometimes. These particles can move with the model around 2.5-3 seconds after it starts if they're parented to it.
The alien_mothership_explode_center, alien_mothership_explode_center_red, and alien_mothership_explode_center_blue particles are isolated versions of the center explosions. They simply lack the explosions and electricity appearing around the metal of the ship. These also can be moved with the model at 2.5-3 seconds in.
Incase the aliens win, alien_mothership_laser is intended for endings. This is a 15 second particle that lasts all of the round end time. Framerate won't suffer as long as the mothership is at a safe height above the map, but even then, it won't be too noticeable.
I had a feeling people would want separated laser particles, so alien_mothership_laser_sep1, alien_mothership_laser_sep2, and alien_mothership_laser_sep3 were engineered just for that. Sep1 is the charge-up phase of the basic laser particle. The minimum time between this and sep2 should be 5 seconds for a clean transition. Sep2 is of the charged phase, with a large glow appearing under the ship. This also takes about 5 seconds for it to reach it's next transition state. If these particles are viewed too far from the side, the illusion of a large laser-charge will be lost, as they have to be flat to not clip with the mothership. Be wary when using sep3, as these particles are very laggy when you're too close to them. If you plan on using this particle, it's best that after 5 seconds, you stop the particle and have some form of overlay to convey the laser destroying the area. Alternatively, having it be used just as the round ends would work too. Also keep in mind that because this is made for a skybox, it won't appear on the main arena when being used. The most ideal location would be it being used on an area just outside the map. The first and second separated particles are able to move with the model if parented.
For some silliness, alien_abduction and alien_abduction_cows were created. These particles use control points to be managed, so they're very flexible when being used. The particles can go about 2000 HU between control points before they start to fall apart. The basic abduction is intended for map use, while cows is for background areas. Do remember though that the particle MUST be at the base of where you want the beam to go, with it being sucked towards ControlPoint1. Empty info_particle_systems make for good control points. Framerate will drop slightly when using these and getting up close as well.
Since there were a ton of new props added for the contest, it seemed as if most of them were begging for some particles to assist in their looks. So from this, 22 new particles were born! To start, alien_props_canister_xlg, alien_props_canister_lg_bubbles, alien_props_canister_md_elec, alien_props_canister_md_glow, and alien_props_canister_md_glow2 are internal effects that go to the capsules. The first two are bubbling effects, with the xlg one having some warping effects to it. The smallest one didn’t seem big enough for bubbles, so instead got electricity and glowing effects to occupy it’s space. These can be rotated with the prop, and are to be aligned with their Z axis. The alien_props_canister_pieces_lg_light and alien_props_canister_pieces_md_light are lighting effects that were quickly thrown together incase someone wanted some type of small effect for the capsule pieces. The large version is much more stable than the medium one, so if that becomes an issue, I can see if I can fix it at all. The alien_props_cannister_top_xlg_hotplate and alien_props_cannister_top_xlg_hotplate2 particles are jump-pad particles specific to three of the capsule pieces. They're a little tricky to position, but they are available in the template vmfs. The fiery effects alien_props_chimney_fire and alien_props_chimney_fire2 are flames that go onto the holes of the melted chimney. The green effects are the same fire, but green. For the crawler and grabby arm, alien_props_crawler_core is an electric effect that goes into their glass capsule area. For the raygun, the alien_props_raygun_laser and other two were created. They have a one second chargeup time and an instant laser afterwards that is emitted from the X axis (the large part of the particle entity). The laser cannot collide with players, but will show a moderate sized explosion on where it hits. The second one removes some excess chargeup energy that is emitted from the sides, while the third one is the same as the first but with the laser smoking afterwards. Can be rotated at any angle, but should be still just before the chargeup is finished. For the little walker, there’s alien_props_walker_laser which is basically a small version of the raygun laser, and alien_props_walker_pop for it exploding if attacked. The ‘nogibs’ version has no leftovers after it explodes. Each of these particles’ specific positioning is available in the vmfs included.
For the ring pieces, alien_props_ring_rings and alien_props_ring_rings2 were initially created as generic jump pad-esque effects, however, I realized that the hole of the ring is roughly the exact same size as the control point disk. Because of that, I thought it’d be cool if they had control point effects for it, so I created alien_cp_blue/neutral/red/yellow. These give off a faint glow of their color above them to show who owns it from a distance, while glowing their color through effects inside the ring.
As for the requests, alien_teleporter_blue/purple/red/yellow were created for Fantasmos for his teleporters. They’re size-set dramatic electric effects whose front is towards the X axis of the particle model. They can be rotated along the Z axis, but can’t be on the X or Y due to how the particles are generated. If these are too graphic intensive, I can edit it and reduce its emission rate.
For Crash, there’s teleporting effects. I may have gone overboard with teleporting out effects as I assume that not many people will be close around it, alien_teleport and alien_teleport2. The second one is much less lag-inducing. The one that counts though is alien_teleportin, which is a flash and particle ‘bubble’ around the player that gets teleported, as well as a Mega Man-like flashing in effect.
For Aly’s request, and probably anyone who has a giant laser, is alien_laser_blue/green/red/white. This is a laser effect that uses control points and the two entities’ rotations as well. The laser starts at the system itself, with the energy ‘muzzle flash’ spurting out towards the X-axis of the system. It connects with CP1, and uses it’s rotation for the collision effect. If it is a info_particle_system, then the knob on it is where it should be colliding against.
As a quick preface, ALL particle files have had some form of a modification for either fixes, some optimization purposes, or just to make them look better, so be sure to update your pcfs. ALSO, TF2's Source engine is starting to reach the breaking point of how many particle names it can handle, so when you go to test the particles on the maps, be sure to restart TF2 after playing one and have any custom particles disabled initially when trying out them out, or else some won't be loaded in and will cause some very strange errors. AS A FINAL NOTE, when you've gotten all of the particles picked out for your map, send me a message, and I'll put them in a file specific to your map to make sure that it only loads what it needs (I'm not kidding when I said Source is hitting it's breaking point). Now for the particles!
New to aliens_fx.pcf thanks to Egan's request, is alien_abduction2! This is an abduction beam that only requires the particle emitter that the control point would normally be for the original beam, but what makes it unique asides from its looks is that it's beam can be blocked and interrupted by physical terrain. This one is very thin though when it comes to it's actual ring width, so don't put it too high.
Inside alien_aly_red_fx.pcf and alien_aly_blue_fx.pcf are special sci-fi core particles partially inspired by plr_scoville! The alien_core_red/blue are rather large balls of light that pulse and emit embers constantly. There are also modified laser particles, alien_laser_red2/blue2 to act as stabilizers, but can only function properly when vertical. What would a fancy core be though without it blowing up spectacularly? That's what alien_core_explode_red/blue/red2/blue2 are for! The first two explode in a tremendous fashion after an implosion, and send shockwaves up through the lasers that overload them. The last two are the same explosions, but without the laser overloading particles. Just as a warning, the explosion SLAUGHTERS framerate when closeby or in it, it's intended to be used after the round ends, also since the explosions are 15 seconds long exact. If someone wants a simpler version, pop me a message and I'll see what I can do! Although I can't guarantee it'll look as pretty. This particle should be placed in the exact same position as the stable core one.
Egan thought that his skybox cities were too well constructed and properly standing, so he wanted me to help him fix that. This is where alien_nuke1/2/3 come in! They are all the same nuclear explosion, but with different changes. The first and second one are the same small size, but the first one lasts no longer than ~20 seconds compared to the 60 second lifetime of the second iteration. The last one also lasts 60 seconds, but is massive compared to the others. Again, I'd like to stress that these are for skybox use only due to their size and framerate murder when getting inside the cloud. If you put them in your skybox, put it far away from your gameplay area, as the rendering box might bleed into it if it's too close horizontally
Jump pads are very gimmicky and cliché sci-fi props, but that doesn't make them any less fun claims Fantasmos to the TF2 maps community! To help try to solidify his statement, I made jump pad particles for his rescaled cannister_top_lg.mdl . The idle particle for these is rather simple alien_jumppad, with a laser charging particle being alien_jumppad_laser that takes 3 seconds to charge before looping. You'll have to ask him about the prop though, as I can't find a download for it. To go along with these and anything else, I have created MEGA LASERS because the first lasers were too TINY AND BABY-LIKE for the destruction he needed. I only did red, green, and blue due to his request, and because a white one wouldn't look nearly as impressive and interesting. If one is wanted though, I can quickly toss it together. They are about 3 times the size of the first laser and are quite shnazzy to look at!
Finally getting done what I should've done a week ago! One more, maybe final update to the Mercs vs Aliens particles. With this update comes some new particles, a few minor fixes, and a long standing fix for a bug that I should've caught in the beginning. As always, these are testable in the two maps packed along.
To start it off, the mothership's charging energy has had a slight modification. It's a nearly unnoticeable change to the energy that spins around and forms the ring, but a good minor addition nonetheless. The blue core explosions also have been fixed. The blinding glow has been readded as for some reason it didn't copy over initially. The alien teleporters in fantasmos_fx are FINALLY FIXED. They now can be rotated along the Z axis. They have to stay vertical, as I couldn't figure out how to fix two of the particles to emit properly at other angles. The teleporting in effect now has a much smaller version, alien_teleportin2, which is meant for the little crawlers. This should always be in the default rotation of the particle emitter, or else the mega-manning-in effect will be angled. As per request, the smallest canister now has two new effects, alien_props_canister_md_glow2_blue and alien_props_canister_md_glow2_red. These are simply team colored versions of the second glow effect. The alien capture point particles also have been made so that they can be parented to the control point, and move along with it.
As for some brand new effects, the UFOs now have explosions! The alien_ufo_explode effect should go in the dead center of the bounding box, and is an explosion reminiscent of the generic payload explosion. This also comes with alien_ufo_explode2 which is intended for when a UFO crashes into the ground. It is meant to be used ontop or behind a hill, but can work in other areas too. These also come with skybox versions, alien_ufo_explode_alt and alien_ufo_explode2_alt. These are 16 times smaller than their counterparts, but function exactly the same. I also felt that having just the RGB colored mega lasers was lacking, so for fun I made a white version, alien_megalaser_white. This one is a little unique. As to prevent it from being too boring to look at, it has faint rainbow effects to give it some visual interest.
I hope you all enjoy these special effects, and if you have any questions, issues, death threats, or a request for a slight modification or scaling for one of these, don't be afraid to ask. Do immediately notify me if anything goes really wrong though!