3D Platformer GameDev Series – Weekly Blog #10: Health Pickup and Particle System Effects

Oh my… the weeks sure are rolling by. I am now about one third of my way through the 3D Platformer Udemy Course! Today, I will add another object to the game scene for player health pickup. Afterwards, I will revisit the particle system and use it to create some interesting effects when the player is killed.

If you have read my last few blog posts in previous weeks, you should know by now how game assets or objects are added into Unity and programmed to interact with the player. Just like the checkpoint or the spike trap added earlier, a game asset of a heart container for the health pickup is added into the game scene with an appropriate-sized collider for the player to potentially enter:

HeartPickup (add to game scene)

In the same way the checkpoint and spike trap were set up, the ‘Is Trigger’ on the ‘Health Pickup’ collider is enabled to allow the following ‘HealthPickup’ script attached on the object to work:


And in the ‘HealthManager’ script, for the “AddHealth” function:

HealthManagerScript (addhealth function added)

As you can see above, the coding and logic for the health pickup is very straight-forward. The result when the game is run, is thus, rather simple (the heart disappears when the player walks over to it and the player is healed):


Next, it is time to revisit Unity’s built-in particle system. This was used a few weeks back to generate lights to appear from an active checkpoint. Today, the particle system will be used again to create a death effect for the player when killed. In order to do this, the following code is first entered into the ‘GameManager’ script (see yellow and green boxes):

GameManagerScript (updated for player death effect)

Here, a new method called “Instantiate” is introduced above. Instantiate means to create a copy/clone of any object or any prefab (in or outside of the game scene), returns it, and allows the copy to appear at a newly specified location and rotation. Already, I can think of so many ways the instantiate method can be used in game development; from inventory systems to character customization to enemy transformations, I anticipate this will be a method I will utilize more and more in my game development endeavours.

Now, back to Unity. After setting up the script, the next step is to create a particle system effect (two systems grouped together make up the effect here):

PlayerDeathEffect object (particle system)

As you can see, there are a lot of different parameters to adjust and play around with in Unity’s particle system to achieve a desired or intended effect. For the player death effect, general parameters that are changed include the Duration, Looping, Start Lifetime, Start Speed, Start Size, 3D Start Rotation, and Gravity Modifier. Various parameters within the following are also added, taken away, changed, and/or adjusted: Emission (burst time, number of particles, etc..), Shape (the shape of the volume in which particles are emitted; i.e.- spherical), Size over Lifetime (particle size from beginning to end; i.e.- linearly big to small), Collision (physics can affect particles), Renderer (how the particles are rendered; i.e.- particles are cubes).

After creating the ‘Player Death Effect’ prefab, it is assigned to the ‘deathEffect’ variable in the ‘GameManager’ script that was set up earlier:

PlayerDeathEffect (assign in game scene)

Alas, to see how the effect looks in the game:

PlayerDeathEffect (in-game)

I must admit, lately I have been coming up with some ideas for a 3D platformer now that I have a little bit of development knowledge for the genre. This may be premature of me to say, but I really hope that I can finish this course by September or October. In effect, that will leave me with a bit of time until the end of the year to come up with a simple and fun design for a game to develop next year. My goal is to create an original 3D platformer in 2021 while continuing the weekly blogs to share my development process  for it (which would include any and all struggles along the way… *nervous chuckle*).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the (longer) read this week! Stay tuned for next week when I learn how to update the UI to display the player’s health and add another new object to the scene! Can you guess what that object would be? 🙂

– Taklon

One thought on “3D Platformer GameDev Series – Weekly Blog #10: Health Pickup and Particle System Effects

  1. the particle death effect (of the character splitting into blue and yellow particles) looks pretty cool to me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s