Feb 28, 2011

Revisiting Flight404 Particles

In February 2008, Robert Hodgin published a series of Particle System examples that demonstrated many of the techniques behind his amazing work (i.e.: Magnetosphere). The examples, however, use some advanced GL calls (accessing JOGL directly) and no longer work in Processing 1.0. I would say a student comes to ask me about updating these examples several times a semester and I usually respond by pretending I know what I’m talking about and pointing the student some vague openGL direction. It’s time for me to bit the bullet and figure this out myself.

Step 1 is simply to recreate the examples using Processing’s core drawing functions sans fancy GL. Now, they run a great deal slower than Robert’s original examples because they are no longer using display lists.

Check out the source or download flight404.zip.

Step 2 is to use the wonderful AndrĂ©s Colubri‘s GLGraphics library to optimize for performance. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Step 1a is to create OPENGL textures directly like so:

particleTex = TextureIO.newTexture(new File(dataPath("particle.png")), true);

(Thanks to Jeff Gentes and Ben Hosken for chiming in)