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Games Entertainment

The State of Video Game Physics 170

The Guardian's games blog convened a panel of engineers and other experts to talk about the current state of video game physics. A great deal of research is currently going on to make better use of multiple cores so that advanced physics tools and engines can take advantage of all the processing power available in modern computers. Many of those tools are being put to work these days to find more realistic ways of breaking things, and game developers are trying to wrap their heads around destructible environments. Mike Enoch, lead coder at Ruffian Games, said, "This idea of simulating interactions and constructing the game world similar to how you would construct the real world generates more emergent gameplay, where the game plays out in a unique way for each player, and the player can come up with solutions to problems that the designer might not have thought of." Another area that still sees a lot of attention is making game characters more human, in terms of moving and looking as realistic as possible, as well as how a game's AI perceives what's happening. "The problem is not necessarily in having the most advanced path-finding technique with large-scale awareness; we need to have more micro behaviors, with a proper physics awareness of the environment," said software engineer George Torres.
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The State of Video Game Physics

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  • by redbeardcanada ( 1052028 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:53AM (#28492405)
    Well, I hope these guys working in a similar area are invited to be part of the panel: []
  • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:05AM (#28492471) Homepage Journal

    Breast physics are important for making characters look more realistic. (Well, the same math could be applied to other fatty parts of character models, but that isn't nearly as interesting)

    Of course, having fully interactive character models would require tons of collision detection, math to compute the results, and keeping track of the deformation of the model relative to the possible deformations. Until it is perfect, it seems that we are headed into the depths of uncanny valley [].

    Plus, this least to the best job title ever: "Breast Physics Researcher"

  • by darkhitman ( 939662 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:53AM (#28492685)
    Absolutely, assuming that by "run basic physics simulations" you actually mean "nail random shit together in a crude attempt to create a missile-launching airship."
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:24AM (#28492877) Journal

    Realism won't work any more than it works in Hollywood movies. They need a "Hollywood Physics Engine", with a bit of ACME cartoon logic tossed in. Examples:

    1. Fruit stands are magnetic: every thing comes toward them.

    2. Things fly strait up and spin end-to-end when they are blasted or exploded in any way. (see also #9)

    3. Cars hitting a bail of hay or lump of garbage fly 300 feet. Good guys always land upright while bad-guys always land top first.

    4. Sexy breasts jiggle slow and long

    5. In space, everyone can hear you scream.

    6. Sparks are the most common element in the universe. Every nick and prink causes vast amounts of sparks.

    7. Space explosions are usually poofy despite no atmosphere. If it's really big, then an expanding bluish saturn-like ring spreads out from the center.

    8. If slow-motion is used, then the bullets are 500 times slower for every 1x speed reduction in human movement.

    9. People fly almost strait up in the air if within 200 feet of any explosion. The exception is if they are near a metal hand-rail, in which case they rotate around the rail during the explosion, until facing downward.

    10. Poor tire traction, AKA "skidding", actually makes cars go faster. Heroes never win unless they skid a lot. The more smoke from the skid, the faster the car.

    11. When jumping between buildings or platforms, nobody ever has a good margin: they always barely make it. Physical laws expand the width to be barely below the maximum of the hero.

  • Re: Banking (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:59AM (#28493563) Homepage
    Space ships bank when turning because it stop your Earl Grey from spilling all over the console.

    You'd think people complaining in a physics thread would know some.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @10:29AM (#28494611)

    imagine your Willy being smacked until it bleeds

    I don't have a grounds-keeper, you insensitive clod!

  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @09:50PM (#28499839)

    You forgot a few:

    12. Every car that crashes will explode.
        12a. Exception - if the hero is in the car, it will only leak gas.
        12b. In such a case, there will always be an ignition source nearby.
        12c. The gas will always run toward the ignition source.
        12d. The gas will ignite only when the hero has just gotten free of the car, and is running away.

    13. Heroes can outrun an explosive blast

    14. Bullets don't fly straight for bad guys.

    Optional Cartoon Physics Module:

    1. You won't fall off a cliff until you realize there is no solid ground beneath you.
        1a. Attempts to run back to solid ground will be successfully unless you look down
        1b. Bonus points if you are the one to point out to your adversary that he has no ground beneath him.

    2. Getting crushed by massive objects results not in death or serious injury, but an overall bodily compression with a look strikingly similar to an accordion.
        2a. Bonus points will be awarded if victim puts up a tiny umbrella shortly before impact.

    3. Accidental exposure to high explosives will result in no injury except for a blackening of face, mussing of hair, and tattering of clothes.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard