Need constructive feedback for improving my VFX Skills on stylized smoke puffs

Hi there, I try to get better with VFX and would like some tips and feedback, a hint in the right direction maybe.


I’m using Unity 2021.3.24f1 with High Definition Renderpipeline (HDRP).
I tried creating Textures in Substance Designer, Photoshop or Illustrator, but this time I just used a free smoke texture from Kenney: Particle Pack · Kenney
for reference:

I’m doing a smoothStep on the alpha, moving the step-edges over time (by using the particle alpha)

As you may see, my game is rather stylized, so I’m not sure if these puffs work out with the rest of the style…


The decals on the wall are not really nice either, but lets focus on the smoke puffs for now.

Context: The stone is not destructible, the bird can peck into wood and climb on that, but the stone should communicate “this is too hard, it hurts”. So I’m not even sure if the small stone pebbles may confuse the player (bigger chunks probably would).

Maybe you can see where my deficits are and what kind of tips would get me to the next level of making my own VFX. Thank you!

You could approach the effect, the same way you approach everything else in game design. This is to say, play with contrast and interest when categorising effects. If your main effect of climing has a lot of particels and general interaction, make te effect of interacting with the rock as simple as posible, a harsh SFX and a simple single sprite burst could be enough. Then in the players minde the connection is made, the rock compered to the tree less intresting visuali and shoud not be the main interest to follow.

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Hey! I got some feedback, hopefully it helps you

  1. Very, very cool 3d smokes you got in there and it matches very nicely with the environment,. I’d just use them everywhere, maybe you can do some sort of time of day or fake radiosity (AKA getting the green color of the ground to light the smoke, that’s how Zelda does some of their lighting) to give it some extra oomph.
  2. To me the decal looks nice, however the small rock fragments need some better physics. They should be rotating while falling and they feel a bit floaty atm.
  3. For the smoke you can think about how the fluid works in reality, normally smoke rapidly expands and then continues expanding but in a much slower rate. I’m basically describing this curve
    Your sprites are shrinking and I don’t think it’s doing much. I might be wrong here but I think they’re also aligned to the velocity, I’d probably keep them facing the camera.

Edit: You’re doing exactly what I described on number 3 with your 3d puffs =P

And one final question, can we do this with the little bird? [Super Mario Odyssey] Bowser's Kingdom Power Moons 1 - 38 Guide - YouTube

Yes, it’s the same mechanic in my game.

The volumetric smoke is a bit heavy on the gpu for some devices, even had a crash on a testers device, maybe the plugin didn’t like the hardware or the graphics driver…

So I tried not to use it everywhere, but you are right - it looks nice and fits the style. Maybe I can mimic the style for smaller effects or reduce the gpu load. I’ll update you soon :slight_smile:

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@KYL3R Can I ask how you achieved the 3D smoke that looks like metaballs? That effect looks awesome!