By Orion Granatir
Particle systems are an ideal candidate for multi-threading in games. Most games have particle systems and their general nature of independent entities lends well to parallelism. However, a naïve approach won’t load balance well on modern architectures. There are two complementary approaches, task-based threading and SSE, which are ideally suited for particle systems and will obtain maximum performance from multi-core processors.
A particle system is ideal for threading because it’s essentially a big loop that operates on a bunch of independent objects. Because the objects don’t need to interact (they don’t write to shared data), they can easily be spread across multiple threads.