Right now, I am programming the engine plumes for a game called Spaceflight 3D, or basically a better version of KSP2 that my team of developers are working on. Mainly to be made for my company to simulate our spacecraft in flight and orbits.

For the engine plumes, I want them to look like this example: enter image description here

This is the exhaust plume of a Falcon 9. As you can see, they expand outwards convex. Can someone tell me a method to code it. I intend to make the engine plumes animations, then use the same logic for every plume for the expantion. Will changing scale be enough? Or has it to be a separate piece of code on its own?


1 Answer 1


You would create this type of effect with a particle effect. Modern game engines often include GUI tools to let you design particle effects with little or no coding.

In Unreal 5, it sounds like you would use Niagara. There are many tutorials here.

If you are unfamiliar with particle effects, then you should focus on your game development basics before trying to remake a commercial game that was made by a team of experienced developers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be better if it included some guidance about how to use Niagara to achieve that specific look. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented May 13 at 19:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory I don't have any Unreal experience (aside from modding an old UE2 game several years ago) so I can't offer more specific advice here. I certainly wouldn't claim this is a stellar answer, but since it seems like the OP doesn't even know where to start, I hope it is still helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Commented May 13 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please make your answer definite. ' It sounds like' is not a good answer \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14 at 6:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LawnHollanderLawn I used that phrasing because I don't use Unreal, but I'm confident that Niagara is the official solution for making particle effects in UE5. Surely it's not too much hassle for you to click on the links I included in my answer and verify that for yourself? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Commented May 14 at 8:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Kerbal Space Program mod Waterfall specifically rejects the particle-system approach, in favor of a textured-mesh system. Getting enough particles to look good causes performance problems even on modern systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Commented May 15 at 0:57

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