Fire Propagation System in Unreal 4

Material based Fire Propagation & Degradation

I explored a fire propagation methodology to create variations of material degradation as fire spreads and comes in contact with different surfaces. The process involved developing a tool in the Unreal Engine 4 to build an adaptive intelligent fire propagation system. I wanted to improve current fire propagation systems in real-time video games by adding material based interaction as fire spreads. I developed a system that reduces scripted events and predefined paths that are not only time consuming to implement but are also not robust enough to adapt to design changes within a game level. 


Click HERE to download the Fire Propagation System.

Using the Unreal 4 game engine, I built a fire system tool with a goal to relieve the designer of having to manually script a propagation path. The tool will allow the designer to drag and drop a script into the game level, and the script will run independently. The script then allows the designer to assign a mesh and a material to the mesh. Based on its thermodynamic property, the mesh will react to fire and spread the flames to surrounding meshes who inherit the same script behavior. The system simulates a material based propagation of fire across the environment based on the user input. This system was stemmed from my observations of current fire propagation system in video games. I felt three areas could use the following improvements:


  1. Games can include different fire damage effects on environment based on different material constituents,

  2. Fire should look, burn and spread differently as it interacts with different materials and finally

  3. A solution to do away with manual scripting allowing fire to spread ``intelligently’’.

All objects react to fire and heat differently, be it organic or inorganic.  The core idea behind material based propagation & degradation, hereinafter referred to as MBPD, is to capture the propagation of fire and the degradation effects of an object or its surface details based on the underlying material when exposed to heat or open flame. The concepts are built upon how materials interact with fire in the real world.


Adding material based propagation & degradation to current real-time fire propagation techniques will break the homogenous appearance of flames by adding dynamic visual variances and improving aesthetic believability of the effects of fire in video game environments


Fire Propagation System in Unity 3D