Ok, I don't have much experience with HW particle render properties, but I just tried something, and it seemed to work....sort of...
And I know this doesn't much help your current situation, but it MIGHT lead you to something that might help...
Basicly this is about the Particle ageMapper node.
So say you map your particles with a ramp that goes from red(top), to green(middle), to blue(bottom).
Over the life of the particle, the particle will start red, then when it's about to die, it reaches the bottom of the ramp, and by then, it'll be blue.
NOTE: you CAN map textures to the colors as well for funky effects!
OR - you can kill off 2 of the ramps colors, leaving you with ONE... YOUR texture.
So, instead of the particles cycling through the ramp, it only sees one "color" and uses that the whole time.
KEEP IN MIND, I've ONLY gotten this to work so far tonight on the HW Sphere type of particle!
not sure about the rest....
So, to start:
When you get to the Dynamic attributes part, select SHADER,
move the hypershade out of the way of that small pop-up, then
select the: "Add Per Particle" option.
You will notice that in the Per Particle (Array) rollout, a new "rgbPP" attribute has been created.
RIGHT-CLICK in the box next to the "rgbPP" text, and choose: "CREATE RAMP".
(mess with the option box later, and tell us what it does!
Now, an "<- arrayMapper1.outColorPP" node will be in the box.
RIGHT-CLICK over THAT text, and move your mouse over the ONLY button that will appear, and it has a SUB-menu flyout where you can choose the magic button!
Choose this: "Create rgbUPP - > arrayMapper1.uCoordPP
Watch in splendor as your particles now become RED! whoohoo!
(red being for the top-most color in the ramp)
NOT DONE YET! hehe...
NOW, simply right-click over the rgpPP node text and choose: EDIT RAMP, OR in the hypershade, simply edit the ramp from there.
I tried applying a checker 2d texture to the red, and it DID show up, but because of the nature of the ageMapper, the checker flew by so fast, I didn't even realize it was there.
Just amke your particle lifetime a bit longer, and you'll be fine
NOTE: If you selected the PER OBJECT:
NOTHING will seem to have changed. BUT!
Look in the RENDER ATTRIBUTES rollout, and there will be 3 keyable settings that you can MAP a TEXTURE to INDIVIDUALLY by RIGHT-CLICKING over the text for the color you want to effect.
My Hypershade appears too when I try to apply a shader
The doc's scare me how they are NOT at ALL user freindly...