Visual Effects Tools Like In Other Game Engines

As a Roblox developer, it is currently too hard to create modern, good looking effects such as spell effects, weapon effects, projectile effects, impact effects, explosions, dimensional particles, and similar visual effects.

Other modern game engines provide comprehensive visual effects development tools that makes it possible to create the amazing visual effects that you see in so many games today. In Roblox, the tools are so limited that it is very difficult and time consuming to create good looking visual effects.

If Roblox is able to address your issue, how would it improve your game and/or your development experience?

I can say for a fact that this limitation is stopping me from building games that rely on cool visual effects. I just don’t want to have to manually create effects for 50 different weapons or spells. It takes too much time, and the results are not nearly as good as in other games.

Honestly I think this is one of the biggest factors that is holding Roblox back. You just don’t see Roblox games with the same visual fidelity as games created with some other game engines. Imagine the huge step Roblox would take if the games looked as good as other games on the market. You would attract new players in droves.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to implement this, either. Just take a look at what other game engines do, and do something similar for Roblox.


We already support custom particle effects and somewhat recently trail effects. We’re currently in the process of shipping one more effect class.

The main problem it sounds like you’re describing though is a lack of a library of “default” effects that you can insert and then customize. It seems like our editor tooling could be better too.


As Tiffblocks mentioned we already support various kinds of effects. If there’s a particular effect you want to implement in your game, but can’t due to current implementations, you will need to provide a specific example (e.g. link to a video of another game’s effect) rather than just asking for effects in general.


yes need examples please :slight_smile:

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  1. Yes, it would definitely be helpful to have a professionally designed effects library at my disposal. That would at least ease the pain of having to manually create an effect from scratch each time.

  2. But I am not sure your current system is capable of producing some of the more modern effects. Both particles and trails are 2D systems, which may not be capable of reproducing volumetric, dimensional effects. With a 2D system, you may be limiting what can be done.

All I can say is that I look at other games, and see some of the visual effects they use, and think it would be very difficult to reproduce something like that in Roblox. I will list some examples in my reply to EchoReaper below.


Beam effect?


The biggest things I want are localized fog and visual warping, like you would see from heat waves.


So let me provide some more detail and examples.

Other Game Engines
Familiarity with how other game engines provide visual effects is essential to evaluating how Roblox ranks in comparison. Both Unity and Unreal Engine are free to download, and have extension documentation, if you want to check out some other engines.

View Other Games
Hop on Twitch and check out the visual effects in some other games to see what others are capable of. For starters, take a look at the effects in these games.

  • Path of Exiles - has a ton of visual effects for just about everything in the game
  • Guild Wars 2 - showcases a lot of spell effects
  • Any Modern Shooter - for bullet and explosion effects

1). Starting With The Basics

Roblox provides a very simple fire element, but it is about as simplistic as one can get. Fire in other games has quite a bit of variety allowing for many more interesting uses.

Again Roblox has a very basic explosion element. But I am looking for many more options and variety to make the explosion more interesting.


The same goes for smoke. I need something more convincing than the 2D smoke particle system.

2). Spell Effects

Other games have really cool bubbles. They are not simple translucent spheres. These bubbles have rim effects, textures, dynamic effects, and ground intersections.

A lot of spells have effects which are displayed on the ground. This is not just a decal on a flat surface. These are effects which follow the contours of the ground. Many effects are animated and have dynamic elements.

Dynamic lightning that travels from target A to target B. The lighting is varied and moves and jumps like the real thing.


There are so many other neat effects out there that I can’t find images of everything. But if you view some of the more visual games on Twitch, you can see for yourself.

3). Gun Effects
Just about any modern shooter has these visual elements. The next time you watch a shooter, analyze the various components that make up the weapon being fired.

Muzzle Effects
Muzzle flashes and the such when the weapon fires. This could be fire, smoke, bullet shells ejecting, etc. These are not just 2D particle emitters, but true 3D effects.

Projectile Effects
When the projectile is in the air, such as when a missile is being fired, smoke that dissipates, fire, tracers, etc. I can achieve some of this with trails and particles, but it is not as convincing as other games. And with the smoke and fire elements being so basic in Roblox, it is hard to make something on par with other games.

Impact Effects
Effects when a bullet hits something like shrapnel, sparks, smoke puffs, and bullet holes. Again, I can do some of this in 2D with particles, but it is not volumetric, and takes a ton of experimentation with various particles to achieve this.


What is it that you are expecting us to do? Most of these effects were probably largely created by hand by artists working full time on these projects. The others were probably made by third parties and uploaded to places like the Unity asset store where they were put for sale. Maybe a few of them are stock effects, but these effects are usually made of smaller components which are combined by artists and included in the editor.

I’m going to try to boil down these effects to their constituent components, and at the end I will go over what is possible in Roblox right now and what isn’t. I might be slightly off about some of them since it can be hard to tell, and because I’m not on the rendering team.

Fire effect

  • The ground texture seems to be a projected decal
  • There seems to be some kind of aura effect
  • There are at least three beam effects
  • There are several normal particle systems for the sparks flying around, and for some of the flame licks.


  • This seems to be mostly normal particle systems.
  • There might be a projected decal as well.


You didn’t give any examples, but most effects are done using particle systems. Sometimes these have interactions with the environment, and sometimes they have volumetric rendering.

Bubble 1

  • There seems to be a projected decal, or maybe a custom shader.
  • There seems to be a normal particle system for the actual bubble part.

Bubble 2

  • There is a projected decal.
  • The flying things seem to be meshes.
  • There is a screen space distortion shader for the bubble part.


  • A string of beam effects whose nodes randomly teleport after random short intervals.

Lighting 2

  • There is a projected decal.
  • There seems to be an aura effect of some kind.

Gun effects

  • The muzzle flash is usually a mesh with additive blending instead of alpha blending.
  • The shell ejecting out is often a small physics object.
  • The projectiles can be done using a combination of beam and particle system effects usually.
  • Bullet holes are usually a projected decal
  • Shrapnel is usually physics objects or particle systems.
  • Sparks are almost always particle systems, sometimes interacting with the environment.
  • Smoke puffs are usually particle systems.


The following effects are available in Roblox, right now:

  • Physics objects.
  • Simple particle systems.
  • Trail effects.

The following effects are not currently possible:

  • Beams (coming soon)
  • Particle systems that collide with the environment.
  • Meshes with additive blending.
  • Projected decals.
  • Auras (these are usually a mesh with additive blending, I think).
  • Distortion effects.
  • Volumetric smoke/fog.

I want Roblox to support all of these, I think some of them may be on the roadmap. Keep in mind that everything we ship has to either perform well on mobile or have a fallback that doesn’t degrade the experience.


Not to go off topic - but perhaps in order to ensure good mobile gameplay, roblox adds an option to “bake” shadows onto the ground so it doesn’t need to render on mobile? Or even some PC games would look better if shadows rendered at a larger distance.

As for your smoke particle, @MapleMarvel, I had issues with the same thing, but I eventually figured out that 2D particles look 3D when emitting from a volume. Here’s my model that you can try out:

This uses a ParticleEmitter to emit smoke gradually. Since each texture is partially transparent, it gives a depth effect inside of the part when you play it. Not half bad if you ask me - and I think it might even be the same method used by the Frostbite engine. Try it out, and see if that’s what you’re after.


they once said they do NOT want to offer any graphical baking … … since their target and vision lies on dynamic real time graphics and such ,…


For those that are unfamiliar with other game engines, here are two short overview videos that shows how Unreal Engine does some of these things:


Yes, I am just giving a developer’s perspective that it would be nice to have some better visual effects tools. The video links are for others that may not be familiar with how other game engines do this sort of thing.


As far as the “ground effects” go, I recommend you check out this existing thread about image projection and give it some support;


@Wsly Though roblox targets a broad audience, it may not be impossible to implement some of these tricks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but lots of these effects could be achieved by simple bool values (i,e. whether or not particle simulates physics, etc.). In the video, the tracer bullets could be achieved by using a trail effect that removes after a short period of time, and shell casings are already quite popular among some guns (particularly TurboFusion). Once ROBLOX’s new lighting engine is out, there really is nothing in the way of creating an unreal engine-quality game except for custom shaders, particles interacting with physics objects, and projected decals (on stuff like terrain).


Do you know a possible way to create something like a heat haze effect or something similar that can distort the image?

I’ve seen that this could be possible with layering a beam with a zebra texture and some particles, but it still doesnt give the effect i’ve been trying to replicate with Roblox’s tools.

Here’s an idea of what i mean

Ignoring the blue, the background of the image is distorted in a circular pattern

Here it is in the BOTW engine with the Ancient Arrow as around it oyu can see it distorting the environment.

I’m not sure if this could potentially be done through something like a displacement map or something similar, as im not too terribly experienced with VFX, but it would be nice to be able to replicate this in engine.

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The only possible way I can think of is using glass elements, but this seems like far too big of a pain to get right.

Also this might look terrible on any device that’s running anything other than max graphics.

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