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Comparing PC Game Physics 217

Posted by Zonk
from the phighting-physics dept.
John Callaham writes "On Wednesday we posted up comments from Havok about rival AGEIA's use of their physics processor in the PC version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Today we have an expanded article with point-to-point comments from AGEIA that address Havok's statements." From the article: "How much interaction do you want in your PC games? It used to be that graphics were the number one factor in picking up a new game but now players are asking more and more about interactions in the environment. One company that has provided such interaction is Havok. They have developed a physics engine that has been used in a ton of games, including most famously in Valve's first person shooter Half-Life 2. Recently, Havok announced plans for a new physics engine, Havok FX, that would use Shader Model 3.0 graphics cards to further enhance game interactions and physics."
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Comparing PC Game Physics

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  • On physics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by remembertomorrow (959064) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:50PM (#15275252)
    How much interaction do you want in your PC games?

    Interaction is great and all, but please give humanoid NPCs more rigid joints! It looks silly seeing them flopping around with elastic joints, or doing backflips after being shot in the face.

    That, and being able to move enormous metal crates simply by shooting them, breaks any immersion the game has created. :/
    • That reminds me of the F.E.A.R. demo. At one point, I lobbed a couple of grenades into an office to take care of the clones that were bunched up inside of it. After the incoming fire stopped, I moved into the office to investigate. One of the clones had actually been thrown up against the wall and was lodged against an off-kilter bulletin board, hanging head-down with arms and legs flat against the wall. I had to take a break until I stopped laughing.
    • "more rigid joints!"

      Telivision actors don't go limp enough when they pretend to get knocked unconcious. Which is why many people don't seem to realise someone who is really knocked out is all floppy.
    • Re:On physics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nugneant (553683) <c45kyew02@snea k e m ail.com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @01:29AM (#15275547) Homepage Journal
      Interaction is great and all, but please give humanoid NPCs more rigid joints! It looks silly seeing them flopping around with elastic joints, or doing backflips after being shot in the face.

      I disagree, to a certain extent.

      When it comes to NPCs and enemies "reacting fo' realz" - I disagree. Sure, give them better AI (so long as "better" means "less predictable" and isn't a codeword for "can spawn other enemies to hate-rape you on sight, and requires so much processor power that there is only one enemy per stage"). But frankly, attempts have been made to make realistic physics, and without exception these games always feel muddy and unplayable. Give me Burnout Revenge over Flatout any day of the month of the week's year, kthx.

      What works in the real world, with near instantaneous brain-body 3D real time control, and TOTAL SENSORY IMMERSION(TM) (note - I've patented that trademark, so now everyone has a damn good excuse to avoid the outside world) tends to take a bellyflop when you're interfacing via a mouse/keyboard/gamepad/John Romero's Magic Glowing Orb, looking at a monitor that, at best, does a good job at tricking your eyes into 2.5 dimensions.

      It's been proven that people do not want "real physics" - they want "Hollywood physics". When they say "better physics", what they're saying is that they don't want paper-thin enemies who fly at 100 MPH from a shotgun blast. They want ragdoll dudes who will spin 1080 when you blast off an arm, then look at the stump, still gushing blood, and fall face-first, even though real people would scream in pain and probably not do much after the blast.



      HOWEVER - when it comes to scenery physics, HELL YES. Nothing irritates me more than the Magic Unbreakable Door, found in virtually every 3D shooter. I've got rockets the size of a HUMAN BEING here. You mean to tell me a wooden door will take five of them? Other objects of note:

      * - Telephone poles OF DOOM (found in most racing games, Grand Theft Auto)
      * - Wooden Support Planks WITH ARMOR-ALL (found in a lot of shooters - okay, one or two shots isn't going to do much, but if I take a tommygun to a 2 by 4, the tommygun wins)
      * - Ground of SOLID STEEL (almost every FPS - see my next point for more)
      Dirt mound OF GOD (if I hit a dirt mound with an RPG, it should fly apart. I think that games should be REQUIRED to accurately simulate the effects of RPGs on scenery - and maybe this will keep the next five or six clone-developers from adding the damn thing. When I was in my formulative years I never imagined that I'd be saying this, but I am sick and tired of Rocket Propelled Grenades, Rocket Launchers, Giant Phallic Things Which Explode On Impact, and/or "Bazookas". They are done in every action game. They are always virtually the same. Once I play a game where a hit with a rocket will cause buildings to explode, key cards to become redundant, and mazes to be a thing of the past, I will buy back into the "Bigger and more explosive is BETTER" philosophy. And I'm not talking about Zombies Ate My Neighbors or Duke Nukem style "oh look, it's a suspicious crack in a wall, PERHAPS A ROCKET WOULD LOOK NICE HERE" linearity. I'm thinking more along the lines of the (criminally underrated) Future Tactics, except more brutal).



      Anyway. Instead of worrying about the Next Big Thing, and bitching about how all games are the SAME, and becoming suckers for arm-deadening, fruitily-named attempts at brute-force "innovation" (like, uh... gee, nothing's coming to mind, so I guess this is strictly hypothetical :-P ) - instead of this, how about we collectively lobby to get these things done right? An RTS with millions of genero-zergish units per side. A FPS with real-time rocket-based-dynamic-level-modification and death-physics so mind-jarringly violent (and bloody) that Jack Thompson and Joey "Senator" Lieberman simultaniously combust. A sports game where I can choose to attempt a brutal tackle tha
      • The inability to blow up scenery has more to do with level design than anything else. It's damn hard to keep things interesting if you allow the player to just blow up anything in their way.

        Your sports game scenario won't work well either. You put your backup player in the game and have him violently take out the other team's staring QB. The other team is screwed for the season, but you're simply out your worst player. It's something that's cool once but takes away from the game past that.

        For your car crash
      • * - Telephone poles OF DOOM (found in most racing games, Grand Theft Auto)

        Err... ever hit a telephone pole in real life [google.com]? The only reason GTA is playable is because the majority of street-lining utility poles don't completely destroy your car! (Why they were inconsistent about how much stopping power various poles have, I'm not sure...)

      • First off I dont think hes talking about stopping the characters flying back more talking about when there arms seem to fold in to there bodies and all sorts as they flop around.

        Which also brings me to the second point that is creating physics thats complex enough to simulate real life does not necessarily mean you are going to use it to simulate real life.

        Kind of like CG, my mum asked 'Whats the point of getting all these computer effects to look like real life when we already have a real world.' but it wa
    • Re:On physics (Score:3, Insightful)

      Interaction is great and all, but please give humanoid NPCs more rigid joints! It looks silly seeing them flopping around with elastic joints, or doing backflips after being shot in the face.

      Hear hear!

      I was watching a coworker play Unreal Tournament, and I had to work to keep myself from laughing every time a player got killed. It looked like someone tossed a dummy.

      Also, don't forget that every person in a modern shoot-em-up is nothing but a bag of blood. They must be - it seems like 25 gallons get spilled
      • People play games primarily for fun rather than for strict realism - particularly when it comes to maiming and killing other human characters - as in Hollywood movies, people tend to prefer some things to be represented in a more abstract fashion.

        For the vast majority of people, things like tactics, team play, 'fun physics' and humour are more important in games than realistic deceptions of human suffering.

        I find the notion that some people would like to play an accurate murder simulator (with detailed and
      • "Slow Motion Corpses" might have been enabled. It's intended to get exactly that reaction. UT is more the Cartoon end of the FPS genre.
    • Re:On physics (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579)
      That, and being able to move enormous metal crates simply by shooting them, breaks any immersion the game has created. :/

      Better yet, no crates at all. Every bloody first person shooter has crates, more often than not because it's about the only thing you can move. They also happen to be cuboids which is rather convenient for simplifying any gravity calculations. Some games like HL2 & Far Cry try to be a bit more imaginative and you'll also see barrels and some more complex objects, but it has a way to

  • by invader_allan (583758) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:51PM (#15275255)
    I remember going back to play Duke Nukem 3D many years ago (I stopped playing the game many, many years ago) and found it nearly impossible to play. Half Life is not unplayable, but boggy by todays standards. It is really remarkable how the physics rendering advances along with the graphics, and how important it is to game play.
    • Counterstrike doesn't have advanced graphics or physics. It's still played by hundreds of thousands of people.

      Gameplay is more important than Graphics and Physics combined.
      • But CS:S does, and I think it ranks number two or three in overall usage (at least of non-MMOs). As far as I'm concerned the gameplay between the two is equal given the same level of physics and graphics, but as you can have better of both with the newer version (and it's not that taxing of a game, so a crap computer is no excuse) I don't see why not. Of course, I'm just asking for people to flame me there.
        • Actually, you can play CS on a PII 233 with 64 megs of ram, and until some jackass throws a smoke grenade, you can play pretty well. CS:S requires higher computer specs. I know my Computer Repair class in high school didn't upgrade from CS to CS:S because all we had was a bunch of crappy PIIs.

          When I LAN, we usually play CS over CS:S, too.
          • Huh. Well, any computer purchased in the last five years should be suitable. Though considering you're not even meeting the requirements for XP with those, I think your version of CS is the least of your worries. Personal preference I guess with LANs, but I don't have a good computer just so I can have 8000FPS with crap graphics.
  • Missing the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:52PM (#15275261) Homepage
    "It used to be that graphics were the number one factor in picking up a new game but now players are asking more and more about interactions in the environment."

    I find myself buying fewer and fewer games as time goes by, and I believe it's thinking like that that really shows why.

    It's not graphics that are the number one factor, it's gameplay. There's no debate here. I want pretty visuals from movies, and I want great gameplay in my game. Don't get Blink 476 or whatever's popular for audio, either. Put your money towards making a non-buggy QUALITY gameplay experiance!

    Fuckdamnit, that pisses me off.

    The only people who say "How are the graphics" are going to be buying "EA *SPORT GAME* 20XX" every 9 months, anyway. So, they don't know what they're talking about.

    Lets get another Fallout or a Starcraft. The graphics can be a generation or two behind as long as it's fun to play!

    Just look at the Revolution and what it has to offer. Graphics aren't very improved, but the chance for gameplay being amazing is there, and that's what's important.

    /rant
    • by dj245 (732906)
      Fallout 1 was the only game ever that I actually cried at the end, it was so sad and powerful. That was the only time I ever was that emotional about a video game. So what made that game so special?

      1. The writers of the story didn't pretend they were some lofty gods obsessed with staying true to the theme of the world environment, they joked around with quests and put in blatant references to monty python, mad max, etc. These made you want to pay attention to what the npcs were saying. Did that group o

    • It's not graphics that are the number one factor, it's gameplay. There's no debate here

      There is a debate. Graphics are the number one factor in picking up a new game. By the time the player gets to the gameplay, the it is already off the shelf and paid for.

      The only people who say "How are the graphics" are going to be buying "EA *SPORT GAME* 20XX" every 9 months, anyway. So, they don't know what they're talking about

      However those types of people are the majority of consumers. Doesn't matter if they
    • Have you every thought if it might just be you growing up that shifts your interest?
      Thats the typical reason for such rants combined with the nostalgia reality distortion field.

      True, fallout _was_ a once in an eternity game, but that doesnt mean the quality is correlated with the lack of graphics (which wasnt that bad, btw, back when i was released)
    • by cgenman (325138)
      The point is not the gameplay. The point is the experience. If your experience is reduced if you can't get over the fact that the graphics look bad. Or don't evoke the images they are supposed to evoke. Sure, Starcraft has a limited visual experience now, but A: it was amazing for the time and B: there have been a lot of amazing games released since which players just couldn't get into the experience because it was a cheap, unbelieveable 2D sprite engine. Certain games it works for, but to get into the
    • Look at Oblivion. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vo0k (760020)
      Most of people asked say Morrowind was better than Oblivion.

      What could make Oblivion better, or at least equal to Morrowind?

      These:
      Better grass distance?
      More details in the LOD (distant textures) area?
      More objects covered by the physics engine? (furniture, rocks, plants)
      Items possible to shatter, smash, break, dent?
      Containers displaying their content in 3D and not in 2D menu?
      Better voice acting?
      Books that burn?

      Or maybe these:
      Less linear quests not forcing the next step on you?
      Shorter load times of locations?
      • Surely BOTH would be better ?

        The people that implement list 1 are generally not the people that implement list 2.

        • Generally people that implement both lists are paid by the same people, from the same pool, so often tradeoffs must be made, fire a writer and two designers, purchase physics engine and redirect two coders to implement it instead of making the extra spells, then tell the NPC designer to implement NPC schedules in AI instead of thinking of some smart things for the NPC to say. And some things from the list 1 make some things from the list 2 impossible or problematic, all the extra polygons, landscape effects
      • Or maybe these:
        Less linear quests not forcing the next step on you?
        Shorter load times of locations?
        Not removing levitation, slowfall and a dozen other classic spells?
        More factions to join, interesting quests?
        Dialogues and text that always makes sense, never seeing hearing the same thing less than 5 seconds apart?
        New, interesting books you haven't read in Morrowind already?


        Perhaps you and I played a different game.

        In Morrowind, I was running around never finding out where the quests went until I got sick of
    • I find myself buying fewer and fewer games as time goes by, and I believe it's thinking like that that really shows why.

      Naaa...you're just getting older. Just like the rest of us. Life intrudes...

    • You should wait to see what kind of success the Revolution has before you hold it up as evidence that gameplay matters most. :P
  • by Avillia (871800) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:53PM (#15275262)
    Ball hits wall, ball reflects away from wall at the exact angle it hit. No need for all this garbage.
  • by Avillia (871800) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:59PM (#15275283)
    A 'comparison of PC Game Physics' should not have a summary obsessed with one technology and one company (Havok).
  • growing older (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:09AM (#15275322)
    I find myself buying fewer and fewer games as time goes by, and I believe it's thinking like that that really shows why.

    mmm... have you controlled for 'growing older'?

    quite a significant variable

    btw, those games you think were so great? they aren't.

    I still have fond, fond memories of the original UNREAL TOURNAMENT and have been sorely disappointed by subsequent releases... and yet when I go back to play UT1 I can't stand it... it pales in comparison to the more recent versions, even though the underlying gameplay is better.

    • those games you think were so great? they aren't.

      I dunno, I've been enjoying the fuck outta Pin*Bot on the NES lately. Pirates! also is a really damn fun NES game. I never played it till just recently. MegaMan is still fun. Meanwhile, all the hott PC games I've bought in the last few years collect dust. I suppose it's just a matter of taste.
    • Re:growing older (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:49AM (#15275455) Homepage Journal
      What? If you think Fallout and Starcraft were not in the top 5 games of their years, and among the top 25ish games of all time, then you really don't belong in a discussion about the quality of games. This is not a game preference thing; it can be said objectively that these games embody everything that can be good about games in general, and specific to their genres. They were revolutionary, evolutionary, spawned good sequels (WC3 is a functional sequel to SC, not WC2, regardless of the story), sold insanely well, and pretty much cleaned up by any other metric you care to apply.
      • What? If you think Fallout and Starcraft were not in the top 5 games of their years, and among the top 25ish games of all time, then you really don't belong in a discussion about the quality of games.

        I've no doubt it's in the top 5 games of that year... for example, I think Dune 2 was undoubtably the best game of its year. But I've also realized that when it comes to "all time", you tend to make everything relative. I think there's at least 25 newer games and clones thereof now that are all better than the
    • I just installed the Yuri's Revenge expansion for Red Alert II and have gotten more play out of that game than Act of War and C&C Generals combined. I've spent more hours in Starcraft than World of Warcraft.

      I'm not that old.
    • I think it's the novelty. "You never forget your first."

      I remember being absolutely blown away by Doom. Wow, you could have 3D graphics, and travel vertically in the level as well? I mean, how cool was that? We played that game for months. AFAIK it's where the term "heroinware" originated. Doom II? Well, same game, different levels... Oooh, Duke 3D had better graphics than Doom, (and jet packs!) but it was still kind of the same game, with a couple of O.J. Simpson jokes thrown in.

      Far Cry, F.E.A.

    • I think UT2004 corrected a lot of UT2003's mistakes and didn't deviate all that much from the original UT's gameplay.

      2k4 brought back the less harcore agressive feel of UT with the change in models, it made the sniper's rifle powerful in close combat, like in UT, it brought back the modes that were sorely missing from 2k3 like assault and also nerfed the adreniline combos somewhat and made them less influential in the gameplay.

      I'll agree that 2k3 was inferior gameplay wise to UT, but 2k4 had everything th

    • Re:growing older (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)
      You do realise that Starcraft is still insanely popular, don't you? They have televised tournaments in Korea - people not only play the game for money, but other people (lots of other people!) watch them.

      Not too shabby for a game that's what, 7, 9 years old?
  • Gimme interaction. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nugneant (553683) <c45kyew02@snea k e m ail.com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:12AM (#15275335) Homepage Journal
    When Duke3D came out (seems like it was ages ago... forever, one might-- ouch, okay, sorry, sorry), it was right around the same time as Quake.

    As a 13 year old, I figure I represented the "market" a lot more accurately than I do in my wiser (and more bitter / broke) years. It was Duke3D all the way for me, and I didn't think twice about it. Sure, Quake had better multiplayer (according to PC Gamer at least), but I was still netless at home. The novelty of shooting a wall and leaving actual bullet holes was thrilling. Getting to "play" pool, leaving footprints in the bloodstains left behind... all of this added up to a game that was fun way beyond the point where it should be. I don't mean to knock Duke3D, of course, but after the first episode the level design took a nosedive. Compare anything from the second episode to, oh, how about Healing Vats from DOOM. For me, it's a no brainer, at least when it comes to the simple question of "which of these levels is better, from a strictly looking-at-it-in-the-automap perspective". However, Duke3D's interactions had me playing, playing, playing, searching for the next deadpan line, or little "extra".

    Also, this was the time when I became disillusioned with PC Gamer. I recall Duke3D edging Quake out in the ratings by about a percentage point or two. Heck, an issue or two later, Duke3D beat Quake in the "Best games of all time" list. Then, a year later, once the PC Gamer staff saw which game was completely dominating the online world, they scrambled to look "all knowing" by handing Quake the Best Game of the Year award. It'd be one thing if they alluded to some lasting value, but really it was your typical "press release" copy-paste. Fucking PC Gamer. I wipe my ass with that magazine now. Anyway...

    One other thing. Is it just me, or does Capcom really have a finger on the pulse of the "heart" of physics? Every single game of theirs - well, since about the third Mega Man at least - has this perfect "feel" to it, that even makes games from genres I normally don't give a crap about (3D platformers) addictive and fun. I'm thinking of Maximo: Army of Zin here.

    Anyway, I know that sounds like a lame attempt to make sure I avoid the -1, Offtopic mod, but it's the first thing that popped into my mind when seeing this. Midway's another company - for the most part, excluding the budget line, their games handle very, very nicely. Compare Blitz to Madden - and yes, I am quite aware that one of them is arcade football and the other attempts to be a simulation. Crank the Madden settings until the players are fast and whatever, bottom line is that Blitz feels nicer. Hitz beats the EA and SegaSports hockey titles hands down, largely for the same reason (even though the last version of Hitz had the worst "player editor" I've ever seen - major flaw in my book).

    For a counterpoint, try comparing Bible Adventures or any of the Color Dreams games to, oh, geez, any of the major platformers. Compare a shooter from the Action 52 cartridge to Gun*Nac. Move up to SNES, compare The Combantants with Final Fight, or Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing with Mario Kart, or the second Ken Griffey game to the first. Which games "suck" by popular consensus? (PROTIP: The first games mentioned). What's a major uniting difference? The physics, the handling, the speed of play and the "oomph" behind a home-run / tight turn / nick-of-time-bullet-dodge / enemy stomp. In the first games, these are always an afterthought. I imagine the coders just kinda throwing darts at a wall, figuring "okay, player jumps, lands - now make sure all the platforms can be reached from the player's height (last step strictly optional - Active Enterprises, I'm looking at you)". In the case of the second games listed, I could easily see whole months being spent on nothing more than making incremental number-changes, in the 0.000000004 range of things. And that's why (IMO) the second games have always not only sold better, but been a better experience than the other, som
    • or the second Ken Griffey game to the first.

      Just out of curiousity, which one did you like better and why?
    • I played Quake and Duke3D when they came out too. I played both in single player, and got bored with Quake quicker. Oh, and Duke3D could run at 800x600 on my P166, while Quake could only manage about 320x240.

      A few years later, we were still playing the Team Fortress mod for Quake, and a few others. Duke3D had faded into memory.

      Now, I still have a copy of Quake installed. The same game I ran back in DOS runs happily on my Mac (on an OS that didn't even exist when the game was released) and the server r

      • by nugneant (553683)
        I consider a game that I still play a decade after its release to be more deserving of Game of the Year than one I haven't played for more than five years.

        Agreed. It'd be one thing if it had been years since the reviews. But all of this happened within the span of about a year or so, probably less. And to declare one game a better game Of All Time - then give the other, longer-lived game Game of the Year - reeks of bullshit to me.

        Duke3D was, IMO, killed by the delay of the 1.5 update. In 1.4, there wer
    • I liked Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing much better than Mario Kart. Of course, neither came even close to F-Zero.
    • "As a 13 year old, I figure I represented the "market" a lot more accurately than I do in my wiser (and more bitter / broke) years."

      For a while I was a memeber of a Halflife clan, one which is still very active and supports multiple servers. Not one member was under 20, most were middle aged professionals with families. Don't kid yourself about 'target audience'.

  • by mblase (200735) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:18AM (#15275356)
    I confess I've never played the game much myself, but I do remember with a smile comments on the impressive physics engine Bungie developed for their "Myth" series of games.

    One early player posted on a discussion forum that he wanted to incinerate a dwarf with the biggest explosion he could make just by surrounding it with grenades, and the resulting explosion dropped the dwarf's weapon back down out of the stratosphere several long seconds later. He did the math and calculated that the weapon was blasted straight up a couple of miles before coming back down.

    Granted, that's not very realistic, but he was very impressed that the physics engine was willing and able to track a piece of debris for that long.

    Physics engines are an essential component of any 3D game, and the more consistent they are with the real world the more believable the game is. You can throw everything else out the development window, I think, as long as objects bounce correctly under 9.8 meters per second per second of gravitational acceleration.
    • A Dwarf blasts... quite a game technique in multiplayer

      I remember the vids of of a ghoul (the slumping clever weilding guys) getting blown to smitherens, and then 20 seconds later after their clever richocetted around the map long enough, killing a zombie like character who was guarding the ball in a game, thereby allowing a single unit from the opposing side to claim it, winning the game.

      Amazing physics, apparently a lot of their physics work went into Halo also, which is where the warthog videos came from
    • One early player posted on a discussion forum that he wanted to incinerate a dwarf with the biggest explosion he could make just by surrounding it with grenades, and the resulting explosion dropped the dwarf's weapon back down out of the stratosphere several long seconds later. He did the math and calculated that the weapon was blasted straight up a couple of miles before coming back down.

      Been there, done that. At the 1997 Softimage user conference, we showed our physics engine, Falling Bodies [animats.com]. This wa

    • For those not familiar with Myth: The Fallen Lords, they were a series of tactical "wargames"... sort of like the RTS games, but with a fixed budget to buy units when you started the game. The idea was generally to be the last person alive. The engine was remarkably sophisticated for the time, including things like animals grazing, and birds flying about.

      Dwarves were sort of the artillery unit for the 'good guys'. They tossed Molotov cockails, which could be annoyingly imprecise and prone to misfiring... b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:22AM (#15275375)
    http://anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2751 [anandtech.com]

    Not much more needs to be said -- they tested and analysed it.
  • Come the end of 2007, every bleeding-edge gamer is going to be on a dual-core or quad-core system (if not an Apple or Alienware 2x4 machine), so I think that making games multi-thread aware has to be a major concern here. I mean, physics engines should aim to use as many threads as possible, because soon CPUs will out number GPUs, so that's where some physics processing should be targetted.
    • The problem is, multithreading is no shiny new hammer. Many problems in game logic just aren't suitable for multithreading.
    • I already have a dual core system, sorry it's already being used up, nothing left over for multi-thread gaming.

      The things is now that I can, I find myself wildly multitasking. I'll be playing a game, talking on skype with others in the game, have defender and anti virus doing it's thing, maybe watching a movie on my second monitor.

      There is a great deal of work being done to get multi-core systems to behave like different things( Cell-proc), but when it comes down to it I'd rather have 4 specialized cpu

      • Yes, but that's less of an option, because it's a lot cheaper to make 2-4 of the exact same thing. We'll have dual-core 2.something Conroes for $300 in two months, with a 3.0GHz one around like $700. By end of Q1 2007, 80% of desktops sold by Intel will be multi-proc. So it's coming.
  • Wake me up when... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ecorona (953223) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @01:18AM (#15275520)
    Wake me up when a game world isn't a static 3D environment. Wake me up when I can walk up to any tree, pick off a branch, chop the tree down, squish some ants living on the tree, and can rip a moist leaf on the tree like a sheet of paper. Wake me up when I can knock down a building, wall, and can permanently remove bricks from a house. I want to be able to drive a car through a wall, have grass that actually grows, and can cause wildfires (just like in real life). I want to be able to take some sand from the beach with a bucket and pour it all over the nearest NPC and see all the little grains of sand stick to his shirt. Wake me up when it's time because I can't wait to play. Imagine MMORPGs where you can actually DIG A SECRET TUNNEL underground to invade your enemie's territory. Imagine being able to dig holes to hide in and cover them up with leaves. Well, you get the idea. Possibilities are endless. Seriously, how long do you guys think it'll take for some crude implementation of what I listed above comes to fruition?
    • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @01:30AM (#15275551) Homepage
      Why not.. go outside?
      • by nugneant (553683) <c45kyew02@snea k e m ail.com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @02:47AM (#15275748) Homepage Journal
        Because acting weird in public is a crime punishable by secret prisons, 72 hour observations, and in general a whole bunch of idiots who lost the ability to feel taking things far, far too seriously.



        So, some counter-questions, in a manner that you'll relate to:

        Instead of arguing, why don't you... read a book?

        Instead of insulting people who care about things, why don't you... clean your room?

        Instead of replying to this post, why don't you... eat your veggies?

        Instead of sharing your views with people, why don't you... brush your teeth?

        Instead of realizing that your fucking non-sequiter of an argument is -1 Flamebait, why don't you... say your prayers?



        --
        My MOMMY thinks I'm +1 Insightful
    • by Musc (10581)
      So you want a completely detailed model of the world, down to bricks and individual grains of sand?
      You want it all be simulated with physics so that you can interact with everything in a plausible way?

      Well, I can tell you that any one of these things currently is a struggle to get to work at all,
      even assuming you are willing to wait hours per frame. You want a pile of thousands of bricks
      falling into a pile, with correct collision detection? This is an area of active research.

      http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~djames/ [cmu.edu]
    • by ardor (673957) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @02:04AM (#15275631)
      Never, really.

      Not because its not feasible (it is, although not in the near future), but it just doesn't pay off. Pay attention to the bump mapping effects. Normal mapping was introduced - BIG impact (lighting really looks quite different, and the bumpmaps add a lot to the scene). But parallax mapping and the like? Their advantages are not as obvious, sometimes you actually have to look for it (watch the Unreal3 video, they really had to emphasize the use of virtual displacement mapping, which is just another parallax/relief mapping derivative). The point is, the cost/benefit ratio becomes unacceptable after a certain limit. Choose the techniques that have a big impact, like: the aforementioned bump mapping, cheap non-physics-based refraction (like HL2 uses), some good skies, GOOD character animation. You would be surprised just how far you can get with this. In fact, sometimes you do want cheaper visual quality, for example when you want to draw lots of entities, because better visual quality means more expensive pixel shaders, which in turn hit the fillrate limit quickly. So, if you want a space shooter with 5000 ships, you should stick to simple bumpmapping (which really makes a difference in space sims, since the hard light in space outlines surface structures quite well) and leave out the fancy parallax mapping stuff out. These kinds of stuff will become easier once batching & instancing becomes easier.

      For physics, the same applies. Previously, the game world wasn't all that interactive, now I can throw around stuff. Great! Has a huge impact, changes a lot. But now, as physics advance, the advances become less relevant. At some point, it just doesn't matter if I can collide 15000 boxes in realtime.
      • by NeMon'ess (160583) *
        Yeah the grandparent is asking for unreasonable possibilities. I am though looking forward to games where many objects can break apart. One game a year or two ago already had destructible walls. The next step is for objects to break into smaller pieces when required to. Meaning castle walls should have their physics calculated most of the time as a solid mass. No point doing the physics for 1000 pieces of stone all the time if a wall section isn't under attack. But when a cannonball is about to hit it
      • But parallax mapping and the like? Their advantages are not as obvious, sometimes you actually have to look for it

        Actually, when I first played F.E.A.R., that was the very first thing that struck me: Wow, craters in the walls!

        Yeah it was slightly buggy, but imho it added a lot to the experience.
    • by zokrath (593920)
      It depends on the amount of abstraction that you are willing to accept. Game physics are currently focused on accuracy rather than results, which is why ragdolls go haywire and objects get stuck into corners and bounce out of the world at relativistic speeds.

      A bucket of sand is a bucket of sand, so if you get a bucket from the beach, it does not matter exactly which grains of sand wind up in the bucket, or on the NPC. Thus, you 'scoop', and wind up with x cubic centimeters of sand in your bucket. You dum
    • Wake me up when a game world isn't a static 3D environment. Wake me up when I can walk up to any tree, pick off a branch, chop the tree down, squish some ants living on the tree, and can rip a moist leaf on the tree like a sheet of paper. Wake me up when I can knock down a building, wall, and can permanently remove bricks from a house. I want to be able to drive a car through a wall, have grass that actually grows, and can cause wildfires (just like in real life). I want to be able to take some sand from t

    • <<
      Seriously, how long do you guys think it'll take for some crude implementation of what I listed above comes to fruition?
      >>

      I heard those features are planned to be incorporated into Duke Nukem Forever. Does that answer your question ?

    • Some time ago, I expressed a similar wish, but I'd really settle for something much simpler: digging holes and climbing trees (and stuff). I find this real neat thing that I can't carry with me right now - I'll hide it under a rock or in a tree so that nobody finds it before I get back for it. How about that?
  • by Umbral Blot (737704) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @02:30AM (#15275695) Homepage
    In my opinion the ultimate physics engine was, and is, that of Carmageddon [wikipedia.org].
  • How much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TopSpin (753) * on Saturday May 06, 2006 @02:35AM (#15275715) Journal
    As much as you can give. Physics provides depth and quality. Show the way and demonstrate this; be a legend.

    Or not.

    Your call.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @03:19AM (#15275812) Homepage
    Ageia has made a breakthrough. Not in the technology, but in the business model.

    The real problem with game physics engines is that nobody is making much money. One by one, the physics engine companies have gone out of business or merged. Havok is the last one standing, and they're smaller than they were at peak. Game middleware just isn't very profitable. Havok charged about $60,000 per game title a few years ago, and you can multiply that by the number of games they're in and figure out their revenue. The numbers just aren't that big. Their user base expects lots of support and handholding, too, so the margins aren't all that great. It's not just Havok. Middleware vendors generally are at a poor point in the food chain.

    But look at Ageia. They sell to end users. That has growth potential. This is Ageia's real breakthrough. We'll have to see where this goes.

    • End users are not going to be interested in a card with a fan consuming a slot in their machines. This thing must appear on graphics cards or motherboards because it sure as hell won't sell otherwise. A few hardcore gamers might be interested in it but it will never capture the imagination or the critical mass as a card. And few games are going to demand a hardware accelerated physics engine when few people actually have one.
  • by ShakaUVM (157947)
    Wait, Half Life 2 is finally out?

    All I've played so far is some demo for the Havok engine.
  • It's my understanding that though they're both physics systems, their roles are completely different. Havok is integrated into an engine, and does all of its work on the CPU(s). That means the Havok-driven physics can actually drive game-play. You can toss a grenade over there, use proper physics to govern bounce, ricochet, and collision, and create an explosion that damages all nearby enemies, players, and interactive elements.

    PhysX is on a card, which means there's not really a fast way to send accelera

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