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The State of Video Game Physics

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the god-does-not-play-fallout-with-universe dept.

Games 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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Don't trust the client (1)

battlemarch (570731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492197)

Yeah, that's nice and everything, but you can't trust the client.

Re:Don't trust the client (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492689)

You could go peer to peer, that way if one player messes with his gamestate all he gets is a desync.

Re:Don't trust the client (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494657)

And so someone sets up a botnet and gets to arbitrarily manipulate things.

Re:Don't trust the client (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494661)

You can't trust the client for anything that effects other people - but things like computing rag-doll physics and some special effects there's no issue with doing it on the client. It really doesn't matter to game play if they happen a little differently on each machine, or not at all.

Two acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492229)

GTA MMORPG

there's your 'WoW' killer.

figure out how to do that and it will have far more impact than having physics a little more realistic in some situations.

Re:Two acronyms (3, Informative)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492289)

Ever hear of All Points Bulletin [apb.com] ?
Way to be behind the curve, AC.

Re:Two acronyms (2, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492367)

Re:Two acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493327)

I use to play that game on the Lynx II, best game evar!

Re:Two acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494997)

Just watched the video. While all of that may have been rendered in-engine, not a single frame showed actual gameplay. Vaporware.

Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (5, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492241)

One of the toughest aspects of calculus-based physics is teaching how to intuit it. Space-based games (i. e., ones involving the behavior of light, planets, and other celestial entities) written to conform to actual physics laws would be a fun way to teach students how to intuit physics.

This generation of students is just damned lucky to have access to such computing power. In the old days, the most readily accessible computing power was an 8080 hobbyist board. Simulating the universe on that is impossible. The students of that era were stuck with just manipulating integrals and derivatives.

Life is unfair. I hate it.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (4, Interesting)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492279)

You know, some of us youngsters were brought up on the idea that calculators should only be used to multiply large numbers together and nothing else. I know that I've benefited greatly by having restricted calculators / computer use on exams that require a more fundamental understanding of physics than simply plugging numbers into equations.

And if you can't intuit physics then you probably shouldn't mess with it. I remember when my first physics teacher told me that calculus was nothing more than mathematics for the purpose of physics and all of a sudden calculus made so much more sense, taking mathematics and equating it to physics and the real world just seemed to simplify the whole thing.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (3, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492455)

Problem with that is that limit based calculus itself is fundamentally based on abstract concepts like finding the sum of infinite parts. A physical analogue to an equation can make grappling with the physics much easier, but I don't think understanding goes the other way. Who "gets" electromagnetism and uses that to help them learn partial derivatives? It can easily go the other way though

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493893)

A few years ago, one of my teachers -- a physics teacher -- was studying to get a math degree and be able to teach the same class math and physics. That way he'd be able to go "Ok, so I told you about Laplace, now let's see how we can slow things down using a big electromagnetic coil".

Wish I knew that before I took physics (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494337)

Seriously though, when I was first going to college I took placement tests for physics and calculus. They said my physics was excellent, my calc sucked. (But honestly the physics test was pretty much "Do ya get newton's first law?", anybody who saw Mr. Wizard would have done well.) Anyway the physicist who looked over my results pretty much said, "Yeah, you should take the hardest physics 101 we have, the calc shouldn't be much of an issue." Turns out silly me, that "physics" course was more of an applied calc course, guess how I did? :) (What's even more disturbing is that I actually got only one question on any test completely right. Turns out the question pretty much difficult for any of us to solve it if we tried calc yet wasn't bad if you used simple geometry.) Oh the other hand I retook Physics years later after my calc was good. (Man does it make way more sense.)

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495209)

>And if you can't intuit physics then you probably shouldn't mess with it.

So, nobody should mess with Quantum Physics?

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492457)

I don't think that'll help very much. Ever watched someone try to play Mario Kart, and they just can't figure out how to take a jump or a turn? You'll always get those kinds of people; sometimes, they just don't get it, they can't learn how to play games and build logical mental constructs based on trial, observation and error. They just don't think that way.

Maybe it's politically incorrect to say this (and in all likelihood, unscientific as well, but I'm going with my gut): if you can't get it, then you'll probably never learn it, even if someone teaches it to you, so why even try. Even I myself wonder if I believe that.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493599)

If you want a research population, try IT software engineers. There are so many that just don't grasp a few basic concepts that I'm wondering what that one woodpecker is waiting for.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492475)

Don't worry, for whatever reason this generation of students doesn't yet have the software to simulate physics for the purposes of learning. We do have software to make manipulating integrals and derivatives easier, but it doesn't become useful until quite late. Really it's still overhead projectors and acetone slides, you're not missing much, but hopefully that is yet to change

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492957)

One of the toughest aspects of calculus-based physics is teaching how to intuit it. Space-based games (i. e., ones involving the behavior of light, planets, and other celestial entities) written to conform to actual physics laws would be a fun way to teach students how to intuit physics.

Do such games actually exist? Every title I can think of has blatantly bogus physics. Even when discounting FTL-travel (which I can forgive on the basis of no one living long enough to actually reach another star during their lifetimes otherwise), you often see simulations in which spaceships behave like planes: they bank, they share common orientation, their relative speed never exceeds something that is humanly understandable, etc.

This generation of students is just damned lucky to have access to such computing power. In the old days, the most readily accessible computing power was an 8080 hobbyist board. Simulating the universe on that is impossible. The students of that era were stuck with just manipulating integrals and derivatives.

Life is unfair. I hate it.

Should we get off your lawn now?

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (2, Insightful)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493079)

I can forgive the banking, as it is due to the ships maneuvering thruster arrangement. They are often depicted as four thrusters (two up, two down) near the front of the ship, and sometimes an opposing four at the back.
Firing opposing pairs of thrusters causes roll, firing both up / both down causes pitch, so the only logical way to turn is to bank and then pitch up.
This layout saves having another pair of thrusters to allow turning without rolling, plus you only need to account for stress in two directions, rather than three, plus the torsion of the rolling action.

Re: Banking (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493563)

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.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493239)

Old as it may be, Elite II makes a fair attempt at keeping within the bounds of Newtonian physics. And all on a single-density floppy drive.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

Novus (182265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494409)

The I-War [wikipedia.org] series is one of the few space combat games I've seen that adheres to Newtonian physics (apart from having two different forms of FTL drive). It also averts the usual silliness of having a high-tech spaceship and requiring pilots to manually aim at distant targets; automatic targeting is standard on most weapons.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494177)

One of the toughest aspects of calculus-based physics is teaching how to intuit it.

One of the toughest apsects of calculus in general is the plethora of conflicting notations, none of which are very good.

Re:Nice Way to Teach Actual Physics (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494481)

Hallelujah, if you want to understand orbital mechanics in an intuitive way, just mess around with a simulator like Orbit or even games such as Spacewar!

Yes, Spacewar!, the first computer game, from 1961. It actually wasn't that bad in the physics department.

The player is the biggest problem with destruction (2, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492275)

When it comes down to it even a truly realistic game where even high explosives have difficulty rearranging the landscape I'm still going to find a way, one way or another, to do something that was either unexpected or unwanted.

So you've either got arbitrary restrictions or arbitrary game ending scenarios because I just happened to collapse a skyscraper or fourty that the plot needs.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492331)

Designing a game around elements being destructible is critical for this reason. Arbitrary restrictions aren't always necessary to prevent required elements from being destroyed. Things like "bomb dogs" or unavoidable "security checkpoints" provide a canon approach to restricting destruction of key locations.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492441)

But that's just like the agents in Enter the Matrix. Either you keep it within the rules of the game and thus run the risk of the player actually beating your supposedly impossibly stacked but still realistic odds, or it's still going to wind up being another readily recognizable arbitrary mission failure and restriction.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492389)

A common work around for that problem is to initiate a plot sequence at the beginning of a scene change. This method is more common for large world and 3rd person. Another approach is a penalty system where the player is punished for destroying a plot sequence. This method is used frequently in first person shooters where a mission is failed due to friendly fire. In both cases, the key to addressing this issue is scope management. As games get more complex I imagine tools will automate the relation between objects and their references within some scope. If the object is referenced beyond its initial scope (when and where it was created), such a tool would automatically expand the scope and implement some sort of generic default action (mission failed?). It's a very interesting problem because it hints at the need for a virtual timeline as a means of identifying or creating the scope of a given plot sequence.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492749)

Red Faction Guerilla lets you wreck buildings at will and AFAIK it's not a problem. From what I read it simply respawns buildings if it really needs them for a mission. You don't really notice because it's at the other end of the map and mission buildings are usually not significant outside the mission (they can be marked as EDF buildings in a mission but outside of the mission they'd count as civilian while other EDF buildings are always marked as such) so you might not even remember that you flattened them. At times the physics are a bit wonky with massive buildings held up with almost all support destroyed but that's a detail issue, not a problem with the general design of being able to wreck everything.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493111)

I believe this actually is where gaming is going though, to a very real physics model which takes away the feeling of artificial limits.

Where necessary, limits can be placed on the gaming through outside factors, e.g. in a military game, unacceptable civilian deaths leading to failure, or in a GTA type game, the feds arriving.
I think to make the experience feel unlimited, these limits need to be applied through such in-game factors, rather than certain skyscrapers being magically indestructible.

It should be easy in most cases to work the story to provide the necessary incentives, say putting one of your side's key characters in the skyscraper with the bad guys, preventing all-out destruction.

There does come a point to enjoyable gaming where we, the players, have to choose to embrace the story, rather than vandalizing the sandbox we are playing in.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493895)

i find vandalizing the sandbox to be the most enjoyable way of playing a game..

Morrowind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493269)

Morrowind's response to killing a plot-critical NPC was to tell you that you screwed up big. Then it let you keep playing, knowing that you couldn't complete the plot normally. Why can't a similar system be used for this?

Re:Morrowind (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493919)

Because continuing only makes sense if the game has a sandbox world. Most don't.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494415)

Stop players from destroying your plot points Metroid style. You want to smash through this locked door? Too bad, you don't have the bazooka yet. You want to knock down this skyscraper? Come back in two levels when you have the BFG. We won't need it then. Make destroying big and important structures something rare and special and hard to do.

Re:The player is the biggest problem with destruct (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495039)

So you've either got arbitrary restrictions or arbitrary game ending scenarios because I just happened to collapse a skyscraper or fourty that the plot needs.

Well, do it like in the real world. If the bad guys headquarter gets blown up before some story mission, relocate him to a different building. Its not like reality stops working just because some building gets blown up, people work around it, construction workers repair it, police mean jail the person who did it and so on, a video game can do much of the same, especially when it is an open world game to begin with. Its also a simple matter of economy, blowing up big stuff requires lots of explosives, simply don't give the player a way to obtain them or just rebuild stuff on the right side of the map, while the player is blowing stuff up on the left. A single player can't level a whole world.

Garry's Mod (2, Interesting)

SnakeEater251 (872793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492281)

This is why games like Garry's Mod have become so popular. You can run (basic) physics simulations on your home computers without needing to shell out too much cash to do so.

Re:Garry's Mod (3, Funny)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 5 years ago | (#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."

Re:Garry's Mod (1)

skyride (1436439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493383)

If you think that, you've COMPLETELY missed the point of the game.

Yours truly, Garrys Mod Player

No more (4, Interesting)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492365)

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I preferred the simpler games, the ones that didn't have as rigid physics and things of the nature. Compare modern first-person/third-person shooters and compare them to the classics like Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda or Goldeneye. They were so much fun because handling was so easy, you could move, you could strafe, etc. It was so much better! And yet, as games become more realistic, all that happens is that your character becomes more sluggish and less powerful, harder to manipulate. All for the sake of reality, and graphics which will always get old. But the gameplay never gets old. That's why classics are what they are - they're acceptable graphically and a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Want proof? They still have Street Fighter tournaments, Melee tournaments, etc. if you look around in the right places. On the other hand, who cares anymore about Metal Gear Solid 4? Man, even playing Super Mario World is much more fun than the New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, simply by virtue of the fact that the older one is simpler, freer, gives you more control, more imagination, more room to enjoy it.

Seriously? It's gameplay that makes you come back, not reality. I wish we'd drop the reality of things and just make games fun. But I guess now I'm old enough to just make my own games. Sigh. It had to come down to this, didn't it?

Re:No more (2, Interesting)

StackedCrooked (1204878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492435)

I would agree with you that the 3D obsession in the past 10 years was kind of silly. It all had to be 3d all of a sudden, and it ruined many games. For example the old Worms was fun, the 3D version sucks so bad.

However, the introduction of physics is actually something that I am not complaining about. I love too see how debris tumbles down and stuff. And I like the current trend of 2D gravity games as well.

Re:No more (3, Interesting)

banffbug (1323109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492691)

...the classics like Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda or Goldeneye.

I was hoping you'd mention games from the commodore 64, not the other 64!

Re:No more (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493255)

What, like Bubble Bobble? Last Ninja? International Karate or International Karate Plus? F14 Tomcat wasn't too bad I thought. I think the most accurate in physics was probably "Thrust", albeit only in two dimensions.

Re:No more (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492727)

Mod parent up. Games are supposed to bring a break from reality, not emulate it badly.

Re:No more (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492813)

I agree, and I'd go stronger than just less-high-fidelity 3d simulations. How about deliberately cartoony? 2d? Anything with a style and interesting gameplay is good as far as I'm concerned. Would Braid have gained anything by being 3d? To the extent that games are visual art as well as games, high-fidelity 3d simulations actually seem like they limit the degree of distinctive style that a game can bring. And a focus on them doesn't usually help gameplay either, because all sorts of cool ideas become too complicated to implement if you have to integrate them with some crazy physics engine with all sorts of edge cases. I've heard of even relatively simple stuff getting cut, like dumbing down NPC AI because it screwed up the pathfinding algorithm.

I'm not saying there's no place for the style of game that is basically an accurate physics simulation in which you can do things. But it's not clear to me that it's where the current best cost/reward tradeoff lies.

It seems at least a few other people agree, because many of the recent games that have created buzz have been based around something cool other than more-realistic graphics and physics. World of Goo was based heavily around a physics engine, for example, but a totally unrealistic one that gives it its characteristic style (and, incidentally, one they built with $10k).

Re:No more (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492867)

I wouldn't say WoG's physics engine was wholly unrealistic, it felt pretty similar to something like Bridge Builder or Pontifex, just with a more elastic building material.

Re:No more (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492823)

Oh, physics can add fun. While Crazy Machines didn't benefit from improving the physics over The Incredible Machine games like Red Faction Guerilla turn the physics into a major gameplay element, letting you disintegrate the ground under an enemy's feet or enter a building through a wall with your sledgehammer (or vaporize an enemy in cover along with what he's hiding behind). I also really liked NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits (formerly Icarian) with its puzzles about moving blocks around your character.

Re:No more (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493911)

but crazy machine did benefit from running properly on a modern OS. it isn't as good, but it's a damned good substitute compared to nothing at all.

Re:No more (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493123)

On the other hand if you looked at ultima underworld which was one of the best games in the 90s to integrate physics, the game is a classic and everything afterwards in first person perspective after it was more or less a step back...
The main issue nowadays is that physics in most action games is only integrate the way you can blow up things, it becomes more interesting as soon as they get out of this stage by utilizing it as puzzle part or simply by trying to make a virtual world within the game like the ultimas did!
The problem is most games are not good to begin with and just to integrate physics to blow things up does not make them better!

Re:No more (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493133)

Well, a game like Deus Ex (which is a GREAT game) could have benefitted enormously from the player being able to, say, create a new door with some c4.

Re:No more (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493145)

I don't really like advanced realistic-explosion-simulate-every-water-molecule physics myself. It seems like a substitute for gameplay these days. And god forbid the physics requires a whole bunch of libraries on operating systems I don't actually use.

Gameplay != What big game studios want (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493187)

It's gameplay that makes you come back, not reality.

100% true. But major game titles are big business, and what they want is for you to play a new expensive game for a short while, then buy another. Your going back and playing games you already paid for gives them nothing, or worse than nothing.

Re:No more (-1, Flamebait)

Dr. Impossible (1580675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493233)

Compare modern first-person/third-person shooters and compare them to the classics like Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda or Goldeneye. They were so much fun because handling was so easy, you could move, you could strafe, etc. It was so much better! And yet, as games become more realistic, all that happens is that your character becomes more sluggish and less powerful, harder to manipulate.

What does this even mean?

Seriously? It's gameplay that makes you come back, not reality. I wish we'd drop the reality of things and just make games fun.

"I wish they would stop making games that I don't like to play, even though I could simply choose not to play them." I'm also pretty sure that realism and fun are not mutually exclusive, and that realistic games are not a recent invention.

Re:No more (2, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493325)

I'm the first person to dream of games made of trillions of individual atoms and realtime raytracing, but sad to say, I agree with you. I think games can have the best of all worlds - simple control mechanics, luscious, AND clearly defined, detailed graphics (rather than greyish, over texture-mapped, cookie cutter style 3D objects), and 'abstract realism' which looks convincing and often colorful, rather than just trying to imitate this world.

Music in games is the same now. It must be 'real' (usually bland) orchestral stuff, rather than a melody which is fun and memorable to listen to like many of the older games.

Re:No more (2, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493713)

The real problem is that most of the big videogame companies would like to mimic big movie companies.

When they meet investors, they explain that they want to provide an experience similar to a movie, even though in my opinion, these are quite separate domains, but this makes the investors dream (and take out their cash).

I was a game programmer, and I stopped working in videogames mostly because the games I worked on were less and less funny to play as I was going older.

I remember one of my colleagues in 1985, who dreamt about a 'game' where you could walk into a city.
I guess he should be happy with Shenmue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenmue [wikipedia.org]
But I still wonder what is funny in doing this ?

Real life is so fucking boring !

Re:No more (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493997)

Want proof?

Forgetting something? Maybe half-forgetting something?

Re:No more (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494317)

Compare modern first-person/third-person shooters and compare them to the classics like Perfect Dark, The Legend of Zelda or Goldeneye. They were so much fun because handling was so easy, you could move, you could strafe, etc. It was so much better!

I would not, ever say that a console-based FPS handles easily... especially not one using that hideous N64 controller.

Still, your point stands. Gameplay is more important. That said, extensively thought-out physics could go a long way in making or breaking the gameplay in some titles.

More Realistic != More Fun (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492401)

Indeed, some of the most physics-accurate games I've played, have been some of the most generic and dull in memory. Greater physics can add to a game, but /designed/ physics, is what makes a game /fun/.

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492489)

Watching a zombie realistically fall over onto a handrail, then slowly slump backwards and fall off, isn't what makes L4D fun, but it'd be a less enjoyable experience without it. Constant reminders you're playing a game aren't a problem for some types of game, for others they are

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492539)

Disagree. I'd find the game more enjoyable with more time spent on important gameplay elements rather than junk like that which I won't really notice after the first time. Better yet, if they don't have to worry about silly stuff like that they can get the game out faster, cheaper, and move on to make another game. Unless you're writing a simulator, increasing the realism rarely makes the game better.

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494447)

I don't think you have to worry about them getting another Left 4 Dead out "faster and cheaper".

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (2, Interesting)

mad_minstrel (943049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492527)

While I believe that's true in most cases, there are some games where realistic physics actually do make them more fun. Just play Red Faction: Guerilla.

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493053)

Reminds me of a great parody of Trespasser that involved a futile (live action) attempt to stack coke cans... wish I could find the video, Google is failing me... anyone?

Re:More Realistic != More Fun (1)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493829)

Portal is probably the best example of physics designed around the game, not the other way around. Or maybe not. In either case, Portal was a blast even though it was probably one of the simplest, shortest games I've ever played. You know what I'd love to see? A scifi game that actually played around with gravity. Every scifi game (where you can get out of a ship and run around) has the same gravity in every location. Take Mass Effect for example: You fly up to a planet and check it out: Most of them have near Earth gravity. Then there's a mission on Earths moon, and guess what? The Moon has the same gravity as Earth! Why? Oh, right, because the game engine only supports a single, unified gravity for any given environment. This is why scifi games usually suck. When you can't even represent what it would be like to be in lower gravity, what's the friggin point of visiting other planets? How about space stations that use rotational gravity? But think! These days maps are critically designed to have you go from A to B to C on the prescribed path through the prescribed targets. If you could jump up on a ridge and run past that, well, there goes a bunch of development hours down the tube. But how grand it would be! I miss the freedom of movement in games. The day I logged into a new game and I couldn't jump over a curb, I think I died a little.

Soft cars and violent crashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492447)

Why can't we have this? (Ok, the closest thing is Burnout, but there the cars only turn soft in the crash sequences.) Car crashes looks absolutely crap in GTA IV and similar games.

In a real crash, a car is *far* from stiff. Look at some crash videos to see what I mean. In todays games the cars seemingly consist of different modules, each which several levels of damage premodeled.

The hobby simulation project Rigs of Rods [rigsofrods.com] is the only game I know that actually has softness implemented in vehicles. Imagine these physics in a photo realistic action packed game.

Important: Breast Physics (3, Funny)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492471)

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 [wikipedia.org] .

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

Re:Important: Breast Physics (1)

grikdog (697841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492585)

I'd be happy with beasts that aren't basically jelly bags on rigid armatures. A cat's sacrum has more than fifty degrees of freedom, not just forward and backward, as the Japanese have successfully illustrated for over three hundred years.

As far as women go, I once watched a woman walk across a playground using eight independent and unsynchronized rhythms — right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm, hip sway on three axes and Balinese head waggles — completely unaware of anyone watching. Old enough to be a well-schooled dancer with kids, and pretty memorable.

Re:Important: Breast Physics (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492809)

Breasts, damnit, not beasts!

Re:Important: Breast Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494023)

Tomb Raider Underworld has breast physics.

Get Lora Croft to some standing jumps and rotate the camera to the side... you notice her lady bumps bounce ;)

First poIst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492481)

fucking surprise, 1. Therefore there of the founders of clearly. There it. Do not share poor priorities, fatal mistakes, offended some With THOUSANDS of support GNAA, bring your own for a moment and To place a paper part of GNAA if is the worst oof collect any spilled become obsessed of OpenBSD. How (7000+1400+700)*4 become an unwanted These early moronic, dilettante despite the FreeBSD at about 80 she had no fear a BSD box that needs OS. Now BSDI your own towel in The resources that told reporters, people's faces is

Ballistics (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492755)

I, for one, would like to see bullets stop flying straight and true, unaffected by gravity or wind. Marksmanship is a skill, it's not just placing the crosshairs on a target and pressing the mouse like some sort of flash game for 5-year-olds. One of the worst, and I mean worst, features of Return to Castle Wolfenstein was the Panzerfaust. Point and click, and the thing flies straight as an arrow (actually, straighter). I'm sure a lot of the problem is that most computer nerds have never handled a firearm, and they have some mental model of how shooting works...mostly built out of old episodes of "T.J. Hooker" and similar cop shows.

Re:Ballistics (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492885)

Or they just want it to be easy for the player who probably doesn't really know how bullets behave and never handled a real gun. I mean, games also have very unrealistic combat ranges most of the time when anything longer than 100 meters requires the use of a sniper rifle.

Re:Ballistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493685)

The bullets in Delta Force 2 behaved that way.
Perhaps not perfectly, but wind and distance made quite a difference when sniping.

Re:Ballistics (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494925)

There's a difference between "bullets being affected by wind" and that Panzerfaust you described.
Most of the time in an FPS, a bullet isn't going affected by gravity or wind until you get to the ranges where a sniper rifle is needed. At that point, I've noticed most games set in a fairly modern era ("future tech magic" can explain super-accurate guns) do model stuff like bullet drop and wind.

Also, consider the audience of RtCW. They want an FPS where you shoot Nazi-mutant things. The devs wanted to include a rocket launcher weapon, and a Panzerfaust was probably the closest thing to that you could find in that time period.

Red Orchestra, for example, instead features a Panzerfaust that works realistically, and you have take into consideration the arc of the projectile and the size, distance, and movement of the enemy tank for anything outside of point-blank range.

Gaming physics have reached the level you're seeking for. It just depends on what developers think their players want in a weapon.

-.- sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492815)

This is stupid. Who cares about the physics in games. If you're coding for physics instead of for the games speed/fun then you are doing it wrong.

Realistic Doesn't Sell (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28492877)

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:Realistic Doesn't Sell (1)

KneelBeforeZod (1527235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493361)

4. Sexy breasts jiggle slow and long

Yes! More jiggly physics! We won't be happy until it reaches BEYOND realism!

the physics of you willy being destroyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28492923)

imagine you willy being smacked until it bleeds

Re:the physics of you willy being destroyed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494611)

imagine your Willy being smacked until it bleeds

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

The problem is. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493005)

When a developer creates distructable scenery and lots of alternate routes, it means that they have to produce a lot more content, that the user won't see on every run-through. This means games get shorter (or development times get longer). Admittedly, one sees higher replay value, but generally that's not considered as valuable. Personally, I miss the epicly long singleplayer games of old (Half Life 1 anyone?), and would like to have the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the tendancy is towards very short single player games.

Re:The problem is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494365)

This would be less of an issue with a large public domain archive of high quality (Non polygonal NURBS models that can then be polygonized later at LoDs required) models. Need a destroyable fire hydrant? Use a CAD/CAM NURBs based fire hydrant assembly. (I can crank one out in about a half hour. I model shit all the time at work just to kill time.)

Crowd sourcing such things, or even offering a bounty on good models would go a long way to reduce this overhead, but it would require a detachment from the "No, that is MY IP!" paradigm.

I have often wondered if I should try to start such a Creative Commons based high quality model archive.

Do you think there would be a demand for it?

Re:The problem is. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495201)

There are plenty of programmers out there with good ideas that are servely limeted to what they can do due to lack of 'art' - be it 2D, 3D, etc... Something like that would probably gain a lot of support and use. It may even pave the way for a proper open source game community.

Re:The problem is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494961)

Not necessarily. A lot of the research on destructible geometry they're talking about is a process of doing the destruction automatically, without the need for an artist to define how every possible piece of debris looks. For instance, if an artist designs a wooden board and passes it certain parameters (like the strength of the material, how it breaks, direction of the grain...) then the engine should, theoretically, be able to break the board at any place, automatically. It's complicated, but plenty of games are already starting to exploit this to various degrees.

Re:The problem is. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495167)

That wasn't the problem I was referring to, rather that by creating destructable scenery, it becomes a lot harder to ristrict players to a set route, and therefore multiple routes have to be planned and created.

Am I the only one (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493007)

Am I the only one that is tired of all these epeen graphics and physics that make any machine that costs less than a grand run like a slideshow while the AI makes Forest Gump look like a genius? I swear the AI was better 5 years ago than it is now.

I picked up MoH:Airborne in the 10th anniversary pack and by the second level it was just sad how fricking awful the AI was. Sure the game looked nice and all, but when you have Nazis lining up to hide behind the EXACT SAME COVER that you have already piled corpses by like fricking firewood, I mean come on now. And if you crank the difficulty on high in the new games all it does is give you EA style cheating where you can be in the perfect cover and everybody knows exactly where you are, or you get a green ass grunt that can snipe you from a half mile away with a crappy bolt action without even an optic scope, meanwhile you pound bullet after bullet into them and they act like they are the Terminator.

So if any game designers are reading this, enough with the epeen graphics and physics already. They graphics and physics were good five years ago. Nobody cares if in the heat of battle every stick falls correctly when you blow a building up, but they sure as hell notice when the bad guys just tiptoe through the tulips while walking through a killing field where you have piled up bodies all over the place. And please don't say online makes up for your shitty AI either, because it doesn't. If I wanted to deal with a bunch of campers, lamers, turtles, and teabaggers I would be playing Halo. There were plenty of games in the past like the original Far Cry that would give you a decent fight. Build on that instead of turning our PCs into slideshows.

Oh yeah, and quit calling them "multi-platform" when you try to pass off some lame ass console port as a PC game without even taking a second to think about a decent PC control scheme. Thanks.

Re:Am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493331)

Oh yeah, and quit calling them "multi-platform" when you try to pass off Windows XP and Windows Vista as separate platforms. Not that anybody actually believes that bullshit anyway.

I think this is the greater "multi-platform" sin.

Re:Am I the only one (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494183)

I don't agree. If they list WinXP and WinVista as separate platforms who cares if the controls actually work? By contrast a "multiplatform" game that has console controls without even the slightest thought to the PC is nothing but an expensive paperweight. let me give an example-

I picked up Turning Point:Fall of Liberty for the PC at Gamestop for $10 (I refuse to buy any game that hasn't been out for awhile because I am on XP X64 and their shitty DRM doesn't work on my system so I have to crack my games, but that is another story) and when I get it home and fire it up the FIRST thing I am greeted with is a menu screen with NO mouse cursor, instead there is a pic of an X360 controller with buttons labeled for which to push to change menus! I thought I was buying a "multiplatform" game? If I wanted to use an x360 controller I'd buy a 360! And it went downhill from there. It was quite obvious that nobody on the development team actually bothered to play their game with anything but an x360 controller, as even the simplest commands like scrollwheel=switch weapons would lag so badly that often you wouldn't even know if the game had received the command or it would spin back and forth past the weapon you are trying to use.

I could go on and on listing "multiplatform" games with controls so horrible on the PC that the developers should be ashamed of themselves. Cold Fear, hell even GTA:SA, which was inexcusable as GTA3 and GTA:VC had great controls! Considering how much money it costs to develop a game you'd think they spend five fricking minutes to make sure their controls work. No wonder so many game developers are going out of business. Quite putting out lame console ports as "multiplatform" without even bothering to give us functional controls and you'd see more folks buy your damned game!

Between this and the epeen graphics and physics cutting huge chunks of the market out while the AI is so laughably bad makes me wonder if the game industry isn't being run by the PHB from Dilbert. They certainly are incompetent enough.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494919)

citation?

Re:Am I the only one (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494067)

What pisses me off is the ability of Engineers or repairers to have abilities that Human players don't have.
For instance in CoH:ToV you can't repair your own HQ. The AI can and does exactly that.

False (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28493889)

God damnit, i hate people like you. Games werent better back then. It's a common mindset.Ever heard an old lady talking about how everything used to be bette? Ever heard your parents talking about how their generation were better? It's the same mindset. You tend to believe the games were superior simply because they are imprinted in your brain as good memories. Surely if you would have played Halo 3 as a kid you would in 10 years say that halo 3 was better than any "Modern" shooter. It's simple logic and it's also the truth. So get the fuck out.

Sounds familiar... (1)

jdagius (589920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493929)

>> "... and the Player can come up with solutions to problems that the Designer might not have thought of. "

Maybe the world is just a big game and we're the Players. What would happen if we did not play the game the way the Designer wanted it to played?

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth;
both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air;
for it repenteth me that I have made them.

:-)

Dude... (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495155)

here I thought I was the only one that thought of Bible verses when getting high!

Mathius 7:77 And Jesus said be happy!

Uh... huh huh huh (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28493947)

I hear a lot of talk that videogaming has moved beyond the adolescent male mentality...

"Many of those tools are being put to work these days to find more realistic ways of breaking things"

I rest my case. [youtube.com]

Social/Strategic "Physics" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494079)

I am a sucker for emergent gameplay. It is enjoyable making my own doors and watching a structure crumble piece over piece in the new Red Faction. I very much appreciate the connection they are trying to make between physics and emergent gameplay. But, I am curious how far these physics could really take the player into emergent gameplay.

It seems like AI, obviously on an individual level, but perhaps even more so on a massive social and strategic level would seem to be much more fruitful for emergent gameplay. I realize AI is not easy, but I can't help but think it couldn't be too hard to have a society or a strategy crumble the same way a Red Faction structure does.

Who Gives a Damn? (3, Insightful)

xjimhb (234034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494137)

Why is the physics of the game world important? The thing that really counts is the plot and the game-play. Requiring super-duper CPU power (or GPU power) for the physics and the graphics is another big waste. Looking at all these new ... and expensive ... games makes me want to dig out my old Sega Genesis and play some of the old games like the Phantasy Star titles. Kindergarten graphics, no real attention to physics, but those games were FUN!

I'd love to see a Linux port of those games!

Re:Who Gives a Damn? (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494931)

I'd love to see a Linux port of those games!

What's wrong with using an emulator?

Re:Who Gives a Damn? (1)

xjimhb (234034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28495145)

An emulator would be fine, except I don't know how to get the game into my PC. Those games came on "cartridges" and there is no matching socket to plug it into. Somebody would at least have to figure a way to extract the code into a readable file.

Re:Who Gives a Damn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28494993)

I used to never really worry about it until I played Oblivion. The first time I shot an arrow into a hanging bucket over a well, and saw it dance a bit and then finish with a tilt because of the weight of the arrow on one side, I was in awe. That was just so cool.

So, if used correctly, I'm all for it. I also understand the simple games and the fun of side scrollers for example. It just depends on what you are shooting for (pun intended).

The problem with these new physics (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28494571)

I think the problem with modern gaming is that basically designers just go "OK, now destructible environments are getting pretty good, let's just slap that into our game cause that's the way to go".

What I think they should rather do if they took a more artistic approach to game design would be "It would be cool if we could make a game that would consist in blah blah blah" then see if it can currently be done and then do it.

Game designers do what they can, not what they want.

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