This is my first attempt at using xparticles. It is a dream to use to be honest. Occasional moments of where the hell am I, but eventually things started to make sense. The beauty of it is that once you set the system up you can change it infinitely by adjusting parameters as I show here.
In this capture you can see me fumbling around for the right sliders to control some of the emissions. I forget they were attached to actions! User data sliders would be the way to go obviously.
X-Particles is a powerful bit of kit, but most of all it's just plain fun.