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I'm wondering if it's possible to have instanced mesh particles rendering on the GPU in pkfx? I have setup a simple effect and added a mesh renderer but the performance drops significantly with fairly low numbers so I'm assuming it's CPU  bound.

Is there a way to do high numbers (1000s) of instanced meshes as an effective particle system on the GPU? Is it something else that's causing the frme drop (I've only added the mesh renderer to an FX_Simple template so it simply has a basic physics evolver and nothing else).

Apologies if this is a dumb question but I'm still not sure of the capabilities of engines to draw high numbers of mesh instances (I know they can handle vast amounts of billboards).

Also I noticed on the Roadmap for the UE plugin's Particle Rendering features that there may be a feature to 'Render with geometry shaders' - would this be for GPU accelerated mesh rendering?


by Sean (270 points)

1 Answer

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Hi Sean,

The editor does not have mesh instancing, hence the massive performance hit when using mesh particles.

However, there's no such hit in neither the Unreal plugin, Unity plugin, nor in the SDK, as they all use mesh instancing.
It's really just the editor that has poor performance with mesh particles.

The feature you mention for the unreal plugin is for Geometry-shader (or compute shader) billboarding, which is not related to mesh particles.

It would be nice to have this, but we're juggling with other higher-priority tasks currently so there's not ETA for that yet.
by Julien (35.3k points)
Thanks Julien!
So it does - I should have tried that first, but great to see it working.
Thanks for answering the Q about Geometry shaders too - good to know anyway :)