The Heroic Billboard differs from the Village Billboard in that it's often used to represent temporary auras or the kinds of things that happen very briefly in the game. I usually think of them as rings that appear under a player's feet that face upwards. If you are a skill coder, you will encounter these kinds of skills very frequently.
(I'm using the term “heroic” somewhat loosely here–technically you can put a village billboard on a player and a heroic one on a merchant, I just wanted a shorthand way to differentiate them that was sexier than Type 1 and Type 2).
Here's an example, taken from the Exalted Aura proc in the Theolentist class. The green ring around the player and the pet is meant to represent the effects of the aura being active:
So, how do we make this simple effect? Well, as it turns out, we covered most of the hard stuff in the previous post.
To get our Particle to face upwards, instead of right at the camera, we just change (at the Particle level) the RENDER TYPE from “Billboard” to “Billboard Up.” Now it always faces upwards. :)
You may also notice that Exalted Aura is translucent rather than opaque like the icon used for the merchant. The reason is that the RENDER STYLE for this effect is set to “Additive” instead of “Alpha.” Additive means that the effect is translucent, with any overlaps between particles adding on top of each other. Think of how prism in reverse: with a prism, white light gets fragmented into a rainbow. With Additive rendering, colored light from the image adds to itself and gradually turns white. There are some other differences, but that's the gist of it. (You also don't have to use a Additive effect for your heroic auras, they just seem to be much more common than the totally solid Village style we just saw.)
FYI, if you are looking for a good source graphic to use for your Heroic Billboards, MEDIA\PARTICLES\TEXTURES\PATTERN has a ton of circular images you can use.
There is one other hurdle with Heroic Billboards that is not necessarily related to the particle itself: putting it on the character. We can do that by just adding the name of the Unit Theme to the Unit Themes field on any Effect with an affix. The particle effect will be active as long as the Effect is active. For example, for Exalted Aura, the Unit Theme is called IZAU_DEFLECTIONSHIELD_UNITTHEME and it is attached to the Dodge Chance bonus:
[EFFECT] <STRING>ACTIVATION:DYNAMIC <STRING>DURATION:ALWAYS <STRING>TYPE:DODGE CHANCE BONUS <STRING>STATMODIFYNAME:izau_boostrange_stat <STRING>STATMODIFYPERCENT:100 <STRING>UNITTHEME:IZAU_DEFLECTIONSHIELD_UNITTHEME <BOOL>EXCLUSIVE:true <BOOL>MODIFIERISBONUS:true <FLOAT>MIN:1.5 <FLOAT>MAX:1.5 [/EFFECT]
In summary, here is our overall Particle Effect recipe:
RENDER TYPE - "Billboard Up" FRAMES HIGH and FRAMES WIDE - 1 (usually) RENDER STYLE - Alpha OR Additive TEXTURE - Whatever we want it to look like (check out MEDIA\PARTICLES\TEXTURES\PATTERN for easy to grab examples) LIFE TIME - 0 QUALITY - LOW
TYPE OF EMITTER - Point VELOCITY - 0 NUM LOOPS - 1 KEEP LOCAL - True NO EXPIRATION - True EMITRATE - 1 EMITDURATION - 0[/quote]