Particle Collision Mesh Occlusion

Is there a way to make the particle always appear before the mesh so that the plane doesn’t appear awkwardly “crossed into” the mesh?

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The simplest method is to create a second camera attached to your main camera and reset its transformation which only renders the culling mask of “transparentFX” layer and change clear flags to “depth only”, remove all ui/audio listener/flare component from this new cam object. Remove the TransparentFX layer from main camera’s culling mask, then change layer of your particle effect (including all child object) to transparentFX. This way object of TransparentFX always appears before those rendered by main camera.

Another method is to add collision module and set world mode to your particle system, make sure your buildings or alike have collider attached and the explosion emitter shape is not inside the collider when the effect plays. This is not recommended for mobile.