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

OSS Leftovers

  • Nextcloud 12 Officially Released, Adds New Architecture for Massive Scalability
    Nextcloud informs Softpedia today about the official availability of the final release of Nextcloud 12, a major milestone of the self-hosting cloud server technology that introduces numerous new features and improvements. The biggest new feature of the Nextcloud 12 release appears to be the introduction of a new architecture for massive scalability, called Global Scale, which is a next-generation open-source technology for syncing and sharing files. Global Scale increases scalability from tens of thousands of users to hundreds of millions on a single instance, while helping universities and other institutions significantly reduce the costs of their existing large installations.
  • ReactOS 0.4.5 Open-Source Windows-Compatible OS Launches with Many Improvements
    ReactOS 0.4.5 is a maintenance update that adds numerous changes and improvements over the previous point release. The kernel has been updated in this version to improve the FreeLoader and UEFI booting, as well as the Plug and Play modules, adding support for more computers to boot ReactOS without issues.
  • Sprint Debuts Open Source NFV/SDN Platform Developed with Intel Labs
    AT&T has been the headliner in the carrier race to software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). But Sprint is putting its own stamp on the space this week with its debut of a new open source SDN/NFV mobile core solution.
  • Google’s New Home for All Things Open Source Runs Deep
    Google is not only one of the biggest contributors to the open source community but also has a strong track record of delivering open source tools and platforms that give birth to robust technology ecosystems. Just witness the momentum that Android and Kubernetes now have. Recently, Google launched a new home for its open source projects, processes, and initiatives. The site runs deep and has several avenues worth investigating. Here is a tour and some highlights worth noting.
  • Making your first open source contribution
  • Simplify expense reports with Smart Receipts
    The app is called Smart Receipts, it's licensed AGPL 3.0, and the source code is available on GitHub for Android and iOS.
  • How the TensorFlow team handles open source support
    Open-sourcing is more than throwing code over the wall and hoping somebody uses it. I knew this in theory, but being part of the TensorFlow team at Google has opened my eyes to how many different elements you need to build a community around a piece of software.
  • IRC for the 21st Century: Introducing Riot
    Internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC's best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There are also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC.

Tizen News: Phones and TVs

  • Tizen 3.0-powered Samsung Z4 now available with offline retailers in india
    The Samsung Z4, the fourth smartphone in Samsung’s Z series and a successor to the Z2 (and not the Z3, as many would assume), has been formally announced and made an appearance at the Tizen Developer Conference (TDC 2017) this past week. The Z4 was rumoured to make its way to India on May 19th (Friday) and it did – arriving with offline retailers after launching in the country last Monday (one week ago).
  • Samsung 2017 QLED TVs World First to support autocalibration for HDR
  • Samsung approves You.i TV video platform for Tizen TV app development
    While Samsung has developed Tizen TV apps using JavaScript, You.i TV’s Engine Video app runs on Native Client (NACL), a web technology that does not only allows C++ applications to run in a standard browser but is said to be 24 times faster than JavaScript. Now that Samsung has approved You.i TV’s video engine platform, developers can craft more video content for Tizen Smart TV owners.
  • Samsung Smart TV gets a new Glympse app that enables location sharing on the TV
    Samsung Smart TV, powered by the intuitive, self-developed Tizen operating system, has gotten a cool new app which enables consumers to view the location of their friends, loved ones or even a pizza delivery or cable technician in real-time directly from their home’s largest screen. The new app is developed by Glympse, the leading real-time location services platform.

How To Encrypt DNS Traffic In Linux Using DNSCrypt

​Dnscrypt is a protocol that is used to improve DNS security by authenticating communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver. DNSCrypt prevents DNS spoofing. It uses cryptographic signatures to verify that responses originate from the chosen DNS resolver and haven’t been tampered with. DNSCrypt is available for multi-platforms including Windows, MacOS, Unix, Android, iOS, Linux and even routers. Read
more

Debian-Based Untangle 13.0 Linux Firewall Tackles Bufferbloat, Adds New Features

Untangle NG Firewall, the open-source and powerful Debian-based network security platform featuring pluggable modules for network apps, has been updated to version 13.0, a major release adding new features and numerous improvements. The biggest improvement brought by the Untangle NG Firewall 13.0 release is to the poor latency generated by excess buffering in networking equipment, called bufferbloat, by supporting a queueing algorithm designed to optimize QoS and bandwidth to enforce a controlled delay. Read more