A modular, data-driven particle system with retargetable back-ends
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README

Particlasm 2 - a high-performance, modular, data-driven particle system
Copyright (C) 2011-2013, Leszek Godlewski <github@inequation.org>

This is a nifty little project I've originally written as a university
assignment, which later evolved into my graduation project at the Silesian
University of Technology.

Inspired by Unreal Cascade (Unreal Engine 3's particle system editor), it
combines the artist-friendly concept of particle-processing modules with a
blazing-fast implementation.

Processing speed is achieved by compiling the predefined emitter modules - coded
in raw x86 assembly language, basing heavily on SSE instructions - into two
contiguous buffers of native machine code and a contiguous data buffer, thus
removing most of the usual function calling overhead, significantly reducing
memory access counts (most of the time all the necessary data fits in the
registers) and practically eliminating cache misses. The design also displays
potential for some awesome parallelization.

The 2.x branch brings a radical change in architecture. While 1.x's compiler was
also written in x86 assembly, further development and maintenance of the code -
x86-64 porting issues, in particular - was extremely difficult, to the point
where I started looking for a higher-level alternative. I've settled for a code
generation approach - libparticlasm will now generate assembly and call NASM to
assemble it into a raw binary blob. As a result, both compiler code and module
code improves in terms of readability and reliability.

Particlasm is being developed using Code::Blocks, GNU make, GCC and MinGW-W64.
The workspace consists of three projects:

* libparticlasm - the actual library, with a retargetable code generator
  (currently only x86(-64) assembly is supported) written in C++, an API in C,
  plus a reference implementation of a functionally-equivalent engine also
  written in C++,
* hostapp - the host application, based on Lesson 19 from NeHe Productions
  (http://nehe.gamedev.net/tutorial/particle_engine_using_triangle_strips/21001/),
* headless - a headless (i.e. no rendering, just plain particle processing)
  application for benchmarking particlasm implementations,
* edificle - a work-in-progress user-friendly editor of particle effects backed
  by libparticlasm.

To build, just run make in the root directory of the project. You can also build
individual components by running make in their respective directories.