Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Game physics starts to get real

Filed under
Gaming

Part of the appeal of computer games is that they can take you places and show you things you would never find on Earth.

But increasingly game makers want their creations to match the real world in one crucial respect. Namely the physics used to underpin the action, reaction and interaction of every element in the game world.

Not long ago games action was notoriously uniform. Fire a rocket and the resulting explosion would look the same every time. The scenery may not even be damaged.

But better physics means you can let the computer work out what happens when rockets are fired at zombies, bunnies or rebounding surfaces. It will be different every time.

The physics in ground-breaking games such as Half-Life 2 and Doom III is only the beginning.

Limits on the processing power and computer memory available to game makers means that only relatively large rigid bodies were modelled effectively in these recent titles.

This means that you get a good idea of what happens when grenades meet packing crates or circular saw blades interact with zombies. What you get is everything splitting or shattering into relatively large chunks.

It does mean that it is hard to model the interaction of anything smaller than those chunks or such things as liquids.

But even this offers a huge range of possibilities so much so that in Half-Life 2 players get a gravity gun that lets them take advantage of the realistic action/reaction and interaction of objects. Many of the puzzles in the game that held up the progress of its central character Gordon Freeman revolved around exploiting physics.

The gravity gun was one of the many factors that made Half-Life 2 fun to play despite its linear plot.

David O'Meara, chief executive of physics software firm Havok, said Half-Life 2 offers a hint of what is to come.

"Half-Life 2 is the standard now in terms of what the consumers sees," he said. "But it was developed over a number of years and the standard of physics today is not what the consumer sees."
Already there are games that can model interactions using elements as small as bullets and realistically show what happens when they hit a foot or ankle, said Mr O'Meara.

The next big change is modelling interactions between objects and environments made of particles - effectively big molecules.
This will give game designers unprecedented freedom to build worlds and have the objects, animals and people in them react to each other like their real world equivalents.

The next generation of consoles and powerful desktop PCs will give designers the scope to model entire worlds of such small elements, said Mr O'Meara, although there were going to be moments when other things, such as animation of faces have prior calls on memory and processing power.

There are also more firms producing physics engines, such as Ageia, Meqon and others, that developers can use to give games a more realistic feel.

"There are games coming out where we know what's been achieved and it is at least as startling as what has been seen in Half-Life 2," he said.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

  • Is there need for Red Hat Certification training in Zimbabwe?
    A local institution is investigating the need to train Systems Administrators/Engineers who use Linux towards Red Hat certifications. The course is targeted at individuals with at least 2 years experience using Linux.
  • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) By The Numbers: Valuation in Focus
  • Fedora @ Konteh 2017 - event report
    This year we managed to get a booth on a very popular student job fair called Konteh. (Thanks to Boban Poznanovic, one of the event managers)
  • Fedora 26 Alpha status is NO-GO
    The result of the second Fedora 26 Alpha Go/No-Go Meeting is NO-GO. Due to blockers found during the last days [1] we have decided to delay the Fedora 26 Alpha release for one more week. There is going to be one more Go/No-Go meeting on the next Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at 17:00 UTC to verify we are ready for the release.
  • Fedora 26 Alpha Faces Another Delay
    Fedora 26 was set back by a delay last week and today it's been delayed again for another week. Fedora 26 Alpha has been delayed for another week when at today's Go/No-Go meeting it was given a No-Go status due to outstanding blocker bugs.

GNOME News: Gtef, GNOME 3.24 Release Video, Epiphany 3.24

  • Gtef 2.0 – GTK+ Text Editor Framework
    Gtef is now hosted on gnome.org, and the 2.0 version has been released alongside GNOME 3.24. So it’s a good time for a new blog post on this new library.
  • GNOME's GTK Gets Gtef'ed
    Developer Sébastien Wilmet has provided an overview of Gtef with this text editing framework having been released in tandem with GNOME 3.24. Gtef provides a higher level API to make it easier for text editing or in developer-focused integrated development environments.
  • The Official GNOME 3.24 Release Video Is Here
    By now you’re probably well aware that a new update to the GNOME desktop has been released — and if you’re not, where’ve you been?! GNOME 3.24 features a number of neat new features, welcome improvements, and important advances, most of which we’ve documented in blog posts during the course of this week.
  • A Web Browser for Awesome People (Epiphany 3.24)
    Are you using a sad web browser that integrates poorly with GNOME or elementary OS? Was your sad browser’s GNOME integration theme broken for most of the past year? Does that make you feel sad? Do you wish you were using an awesome web browser that feels right at home in your chosen desktop instead? If so, Epiphany 3.24 might be right for you. It will make you awesome. (Ask your doctor before switching to a new web browser. Results not guaranteed. May cause severe Internet addiction. Some content unsuitable for minors.)

today's howtos

AMDGPU Vega Patches and AMD Open-Sources Code

  • More AMDGPU Vega Patches Published
    Less than one week after AMDGPU DRM Vega support was published along with the other Vega enablement patches for the Linux driver stack, more Direct Rendering Manager patches are being shot out today.
  • AMD have announced 'Anvil', an MIT-licensed wrapper library for Vulkan
    AMD are continuing their open source push with 'Anvil' a new MIT-licenses wrapper library for Vulkan. It's aim is to reduce the time developers spend to get a working Vulkan application.
  • AMD Open-Sources Vulkan "Anvil"
    While waiting for AMD to open-source their Vulkan Linux driver, we have a new AMD open-source Vulkan project to look at: Anvil. Anvil is a project out of AMD's GPUOpen division and aims to be a wrapper library for Vulkan to make it easier to bring-up new Vulkan applications/games. Anvil provides C++ Vulkan wrappers similar to other open-source Vulkan projects while also adding in some extra features.