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The question really sums it up: What is the best way to use one particle system for playing different particle effects?

The scenario: GameObject is picked up and it starts playing a simple indicator particle effect. If the GameObject is placed on a special platform it will play another particle effect.

I have very little experience with particle systems - how would you do this?

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Attach two GameObjects to one parent, each with a ParticleSystem, and just activate/deactivate them as needed.

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Aye, this is how I have done it at the moment. Each particle effect is a prefab which is then attached to a parent. But is it possible to use just one ParticleSystem and use it for all effects? Instead of having all the possible effects as separate prefabs, it would be a lot more neat to load the wanted effect on a single ParticleSystem. – Esa Apr 30 '13 at 10:58
Well, no, not in a neat way. I guess you could somehow save all parameters of a given PArticleSystem to a file, and then load them and change everything in runtime, but that seems pretty pointless. Activating/deactivating different objects is actually a pattern that is commonly used in Unity, not just with effects but with many other things. – Nevermind Apr 30 '13 at 12:23

It depends on a situation. If you have only two different particle systems that you want to use, Nevermind's answer with two different child object is definetly the best. However, if you want to use a lot of different particle systems (for example, if you making an RPG with a lot of spell effects), you may want to instantiate/destroy (or better, take from object pool and put back there) particular particle systems each time for each such event.

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