I'm trying to make a magic emitter and I started with a black smoke emitter. I'm trying to add small stars to it but having difficulty because the other particles are strongly connected to the emitter parameters (so for example, I had to change the tint to get my stars white but now the smoke is not nearly as dark). Anyway, when I change the life setting of the small star particle it delays the creation of the stars as well as the life of the stars. What other setting is making the creation delayed? Life variation is only 3, but this should not delay creation, yes?
Just a guess here, but the delay might be caused by the Transparency gradient. If a particle type's Transparency Gradient starts out black and then fades in to white, and you increase its Life, it will take longer to fade into view. So if you move the second point of the gradient closer to the start, it might speed up how fast they appear.
To darken the smoke again, you'll have to do it in the Color gradient, since Tint affects the entire emitter.