FXWars! Avalanche!: Jussing


Okidoki… I seriously doubt I will have the time to finish this for the deadline, but it’s such a cool topic I can’t stop thinking about it - so I’ve decided my not finishing won’t come from not starting. :slight_smile:

For starters, I’ve decided NOT to look at any other FXWars Avalanche threads during my working on this, to avoid being unwillingly inspired by other entries. I don’t know if I can control my curiosity, but for now, that’s my guideline.

Second, here’s my definition of the avalanche I will simulate:

    The terrain where avalanches are spawned and live. Ie, a snow avalanche would continue to evolve as long as it has a snowy slope to travel down. If it was to reach a plan of grass, asphalt or water, it would die out, from lack of new material to throw around. My AVALANCHE TERRAIN will be a snowy mountain side (very original).

    The first number of AVALANCHE ELEMENT(S). Triggered intentionally by the scene creator, me. :slight_smile:

    Tumbling elements, which, when then land on AVALANCHE TERRAIN, die, but spawn A NUMBER (for now defined as an average of three, with some degree of variation) of NEW AVALANCHE ELEMENTS. This will result in a chain reaction, and a growing avalanche. The speed of spawned avalanche elements will vary, but they will to some degree inherit speed and direction.

    To achieve the look of a huge snow cloud, each AVALANCHE ELEMENT will leave a TRAIL of PUFFY SNOW in the air, much like a MISSILE. This snow is for the rendered look only, and will NOT have force to push things around.

    To improve the look of the avalanche, each impact of an AVALANCHE ELEMENT on AVALANCHE TERRAIN will also spawn a handful (for now, an average of 5, with allowed variation) of ICE CHUNKS, inheriting speed and direction just like the newly spawned AVALANCHE ELEMENTS do. Much like the PUFFY SNOW, the CHUNKS are mostly here for the look of the avalanche, and will not spawn new elements on any impact. (they MIGHT, however, continue to BOUNCE until they come to a stop. I will decide on this later)

    Unfortunate objects like timber, masonry, local plant life, or vehicles, that might be in the path of the avalanche. They will be pushed around by the avalanche elements and the chunks.

    Affects all of the above. (duh)
    One possible exclusion might be the PUFFY SNOW. Technically, that should be affected too, only slightly, but in this short animation it might work best just to ignore it.

IMPACT summary:

    Will result in instant death of the avalanche element, but spawn new avalanche elements and chunks.

    Will result in simulated physical impact between the two, and the OBJECT will be pushed about. Since this might result in the avalanche element coming to an absolute STOP before falling to the ground, then causing a magic “fountain avalanche” of new avalanche elements popping mysteriously into the air, I will define that the avalanche element DIES on impact with an OBJECT. But for the sake of drama, it should go out in a blaze of glory, and spawn a new HANDFUL OF CHUNKS.

    Has NO EFFECT.
    I am aware that the SNOW should theoretically “flow around” objects like air, instead of intersecting through them. I will look into this later, as I sense the “correct implementation” will bring any machine to its knees.

    Will push the OBJECT AROUND like AVALANCHE ELEMENTS do. However, unlike the avalanche element, the CHUCK will continue to live, and bounce off of the object. No new spawning will take place.

    Will bounce off of each other, and push each other around.

    Have no collission effect on each other.

There… that was my beginning. I’m still only in the theoretical phase, and have not yet started a scene. :slight_smile:


One more thing: if the above definition can help anyone in their own FXWars entry, feel free to rip off the entire thing. Chances are, I won’t finish anyway. :slight_smile:


Ooh, and finally: I’ll be using 3D Studio Max 6.0 for this simulation. Photoshop for texturing, and After Effects for compositing, if the Almighty Powers That Be will allow me get far enough to actually have plates to composite. :slight_smile:

Cheers and good luck to everybody,

  • Jonas


very interesting to see another 3dsmax user here :slight_smile:


Yeah - but you haven’t started a thread yet? Are you going to? If so, good luck!

But it seems we’re going to have a hard time combining Reactor and Particle Flow. Look like we’ll have to simulate the two things independently of each other, and trigger the destruction manually, timed with the avalanche particles. That sorta takes the fun out of it. :hmm:


  • Jonas


I have only been experimenting so far, it is quite a challange, I even tried using a bunch of low poly balls and covering them with a cloth object to create some sortof a sheet over it… didnt work, also tried the new blob mesh and that didnt come out well

I think that the best way is to have lots of objects in the reactor to roll down the hill and then use particles on those objects and maybe put some sortof an effect on the particles to hide all the bad stuff :twisted:


Yeah, I suppose you can have a flock of Reactor controlled avalanche elements emit snow particles. Guess that’s one way of going.

Sounds possible, actually…

Anyway, I don’t think you should be looking into cloth or fluids or anything. Definately smoke-style particles, emitting from the main avalanche elements like missile trails, as I described in my definition above. At least that’s my angle on the problem. :slight_smile:

  • Jonas


Yeah, I’m positive, this is the way I’m going to do it. -Makes things alot more simple, actually.

The AVALANCHE ELEMENTS will be a constant group of REACTOR elements, tumbling down the slope. They ARE the avalanche, their tumbling about makes the avalanche go where it goes, and their impact on OBJECTS makes them change course, and makes the OBJECTS tumble.

All within Reactor.

But, since they’re now Reactor objects, and not Particle Flow particles, no spawning will take place. There will be a constant, user defined number of avalanche elements.

Then, making the avalanche LOOK like the typical snow avalanche, will be a matter of using the reactor elements as emitters, to emit the proper amount of snow and ice chunks through Particle Flow. But this will be for looks only.

Thanks for the input, Hexo!


  • Jonas


hmm, will you use pflow circular emitters as the objects rolling down the hill?
or special objects that are set as a pflow emitters?

wish max had some sortof a fluid dynamics


Ideally, the reactor elements will be the particle emitters. If that’s possible.

  • jonas


Yeah, thats bad that max don’t ships fluid systems, but their are quiet good plugins, for example glu3d from the 3dAliens, not very expensive and very strong, you should try out the demo at 3daliens.com!

i wish you good luck for your project, i have no time to participate the challenge…


how is it going for you?

I have done some tests with lots of balls rolling down a hill and then have them as particle emitters in p flow, then created an event that when the particles hit the hill they change properties so they bounce a bit, creates more smaller balls rolling down the hill :slight_smile:
the problem is that the particles look so out of place compared the reactor stuff, lack all interaction and all friction (with friction so they would gradualy slow down to a halt would improve it by alot)


Still haven’t done anything at all. :slight_smile:

Your progress sounds good. You haven’t started a thread? If you want to participate, you should document ongoing work in progress, so better to start a thread and NOT finish, than finish and NOT start a thread. :slight_smile: I don’t think my chances of even finishing an animation are very good, but I started a thread nonetheless.

I hope to see your test animations.


  • Jonas


I have given up on this one, I’ll post a thread when I get home with what I have already. Going to take part in the game art mini compo instead :slight_smile:


All riiiiiight, one week to go, I guess I better get started.

With everybody else having a three weeks head start, I’m gonna have to focus on shortcuts and optimization.

Here’s a quick test of a volumetric-looking particle system.


There’s tons of room for improvement, but I’ll go with it as it is - the edges look more like steam then an avalanche, and there are no shadows at all.

Plus, as you can see at the bottom, it’s all facing particles, which might give me some intersection problems later.

Now, there are no physics or any avalanche-ish thing in this clip at all, it is merely a test of the particles.


  • Jonas


Yup, I’m dropping out :slight_smile: … I have nothing yet, and the weekend is booked. Good luck to everyone else.

  • Jonas


Yipes, another week… well, it’s tempting, but I really still don’t have the time…


  • Jonas


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