Creating a simple particle effect using the Stardust Particle Engine

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The Stardust Particle Engine is a great new addition to that long list of open source AS3 projects out there on the web. While Stardust can look like a fairly complex system to get started with, this tutorial will hopefully show you how to setup a simple particle effect using the library and give you enough understanding of how it works to start making your own effects as well.

Stardust has a lot of cool features, and much of its structure and functionality will be familiar to people who have already used the Flint particle effects library or the Box2DFlash physics engine.

What makes this engine different is the way it brings all these features together in a modular and well designed package. It supports 2D and 3D particle effects (via its own internal 3D engine and through plugins for Papervision3D, ZedBox or ND3D), particle masking to help create more complex logic, and even the option to configure your effects using external XML files.

In addition to this great list of features is an excellent set of documentation, a nice introductory user guide, lots of really good code examples and even some FlashDevelop class templates that make it much easier to extend the core classes for your own effects. All of these extras are available from the links on the Stardust project home page.

So anyway, on with the tutorial, what we’re going to do is create a very simple multi-coloured smoke effect that will follow the mouse around the screen. It’s nothing too amazing I guess, but hopefully it will work as an intro on how to get started using the Stardust particle effects engine.

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