So, I’m trying to build an outdoors map in Portal 2, and I want to add rain to it. Naturally, I first grabbed a func_precipitation and put it over the map. However, regardless of what I did to the size of the brush and its’ settings, it didn’t do anything, so I can only assume that it’s broken in Portal 2. I even looked up several tutorials, and followed them carefully, but despite how simple the tutorials made it appear, Portal 2 simply refused to render any rain.
So, I did my research and discovered that info_particle_system weather was another option I could go for. After fixing the Portal 2 authoring tools particle viewer, I went about searching for a good effect to use, and found the effect for the sprinkler system used in the boss chamber in the final moments of the game. It looks very nice; it has mist above it, dynamically collides with world geometry, and even displays little splashing sprites when it hits the ground. However, it’s also incredibly expensive, as it was only used in a smallish space in the original game, and is designed to dump a ton of those lovely, yet expensive particles in a rather small radius. This makes coating my entire map in the stuff sort of impossible, as covering a decent sized field with them causes my game to crash, even if I try to space them out as far as possible.
After struggling with that, I decided it would be best to go find some new particles to use, which were more optimal for usage as weather. I decided to extract some particles from Team Fortress 2 and use those instead. However, while I was able to get the .pcf files loaded in Hammers’ Particle Browser, I couldn’t get them to appear in game. Apparently, Valve made it so that particles can only be loaded by a particles_manifest.txt file outside of the BSP named mapname_manifest.txt. This is a major problem, as I can only upload a .bsp file to the Portal 2 workshop, and asking people to download and install content seems silly and ineffective. We all know half the people who subscribe to things don’t even look at the workshop page, let alone read the description, and having the map itself bug the player about installing stuff is annoying and personally seems a little unprofessional to me.
Since a custom particle system is out of the question, I’m considering parenting a few info_particle_systems with the Portal 2 sprinkler effect to the player, but that could pose some more issues; you wouldn’t be able to see the rain through portals, as it would only spawn around the player. Also, if the player were to go high enough, or go near the “walls” of the skybox, they could potentially push the info_particle_systems past the skybox and into the void, which I hear is not a good thing for performance. That would also likely prevent them from spawning particles, which would disable the rain temporarily, which obviously isn’t ideal.
Does anyone have any better ideas about how I could go about doing this? I seem to have worked myself into a little rut again, thanks to me trying to use features that are standard in most games, but broken in Portal 2 :T