Grass cones

Mistakes can create for some fun visuals, but in the end I want it to look more like grass on Earth. Any ideas why I’m getting cones? Common issue?

I’m guessing you have the grass rendering as strands (rather than objects), your global hair settings is on strand, and you have Close Tip on. I also think your hair radius is pretty large for the scale of the scene.

Strand hair means that hair renders as a cylinder, rather than a camera-facing, flat strip. Close tip means that the end radius is essentially forced to be 0, effective starting at the last segment of the hair.

For realistic grass, I would at least use strip, if not real geometry meshes as the grass. If you’re not willing to spend money on a grass pack or a bunch of time modelling grass, I recommend using real scale values on the grass width, render as strips, and find a good grass/leaf material to download and use for it (Chocofur’s leaf shader might be adaptable).
Keep the scale small, use lots of child particles, and prepare for long render times.

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Ah got it. Thanks for your help. There are so many settings in particles that it’s easy to get lost, but indeed I found that I did have closed tip on and a radius of 1 down to 0. I didn’t even realize that was a thing as I don’t remember turning that on this time or even before.

Is it maybe a new default?

I don’t think so, at least in terms of radius and Close Tip. I’m not so sure about the defaults between Strand vs. strip hair, though.
The thing I often find frustrating is that the default hair radius is in Blender Units, rather than scaled based on scene units.