Why Aren’t Real-World Physics Equations Used In Video Games?

Video game physics are a tricky thing, but why aren’t the realistic? How exactly do they work? Falcon takes a quick dive into the science behind it all.
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38 thoughts on “Why Aren’t Real-World Physics Equations Used In Video Games?”

  1. the quality of the game with realistic physics would really depend.on the stpry and the world.
    its neither good or bad
    it really depends on the lead artist and their vision for said game.

  2. the reason the physics are so simple in video games is because it requires a lot of processing power, a lot of complex calculations done in real life. as computers get more and more powerful we should eventually get to a point where we can do dynamic destruction in video games in real time, blowing up terrain in a completely procedural fashion, bringing down towers in a realistic way etc. i personally can't wait for that

  3. Not all video games would benefit from having perfect 'real-world' physics; however, I think it is inarguable that all video games stand to benefit from increased fidelity in the simulation that they are selling. They don't need 'realistic' physics, they just need physics that are more accurate to the world they portray.

    For instance, why can't you blow up (or even go inside, for that matter) most of the buildings in Just Cause 3, even though you have more ordnance available than a demolition company? The answer is because of technical limitations on the development end that hold the game back from being a faithful representation of the type of world it attempts to portray.

  4. Simulation physics are more fun for people who are more hardcore into a genre of game and/or particularly good at said genre. I prefer arcade style for racing and sports games, but those games, but gamers who are big fans of those games may prefer a more simulation style. Arcade physics tend to be alittle kinder to us noobs, so Ill go with that.

  5. Man, this guy doesn't know anything about physics or computer graphics. Yeah, no shit using atomic scale physics for macroscopic physics computations is stupid. Any 10 year old kid can tell you that.

  6. I thought the video discussion was going to by why classical mechanics physics isn't simulated properly (though it was touched on in the end). Most cellphones can now simulate classical physics regarding motion, inertia, and other large-body (large = regular sized objects, not molecular) physics. One of the reasons many games do not employ realistic physics is because our interpretation of how things "behave" in the real world is subjectively flawed. So, ironically, if video games did simulate actual behavioural motion of objects people would believe that they are in fact poor simulations because of our subjective feel of how objects should behave. Object behaviour is thus manipulated to be attuned to our subjective assumptions of how they should behave rather than the measurable classical physics laws that would govern them.

    With that being said, I'm off to play some Kerbal Space Program

  7. No game that I can think of has accurately represented damage, whether from bullet, sword, or blunt force trauma. Basic reason, is because it wouldn't be fun. Breaking a leg from minor fall damage and slowly hobbling for the rest of that spawn is lame. And getting shot once. ONCE. Would cause bleedout to start, and you would slowly lose vision, speed, accuracy, and function of whatever part of your body got shot. Instead of dramatically falling over dead from a few shots to the chest, you would collapse to the ground, gasping for air for a few minutes while hearing your heartbeat roaring in your ears, as your vision slowly fades out, due to either blood loss or suffocation (whichever comes first), at the very end of your life you shake and convulse and struggle until you fade out completely… If games were actually realistic, maybe kids would actually start getting traumatized by seeing real death over and over and over.

  8. Nice video. Thx. And as for your final question: I agree, for "fun games" and "alternate realities" no realistic simulation is needed… only if you really like to simulate something as close aspossible then you should take as much as possible physics in e.g. if you like to have a game to colonize the solar system with todays technology…so to say a NASA/ Space X game where gamers help to testseveral stratgies and the outcome can be taken to reality.

  9. i don't want to have to model things on the particle level. I just want gravity to be realistic and forces to work. shove a thing with mass M with force F and make it accelerate to A.

  10. Real physics to a point is used, it just depends on the depth you're asking for. The whole point is to get something the is close to an something that you would see in real life without the unrealistic required amount of processing power needed to accurately simulate them.

    This doesn't mean we don't use physics equations at all, it just means we only use those that can be simplified into something that is fast enough an affordable hardware setup can run whilst keeping it as real as possible to the casual user.

    Also as already mentioned, a lot of physics equations do not require you to work on the atomic level, you can simulate physics such as torque, acceleration, gravity etc using existing models and equations without killing any modern day device as these equations do not require you to compute the state of every single atom within an object, also the comparison of a computer generated simulations to plastic toys is off base and overly simplifying the capabilities of computer graphics.

    Additional what people find fun is not based upon how accurate a physics simulation is, yes a 1:1 realistic game would be a bit dull but this is more down to the imagination and capabilities of the designer and user than the underlying capabilities of the system or engine. Game designers that are capable of generating fun scenarios and game play mechanics regardless of the realism level of the game are far more useful than someone who can only work with unrealistic or arcady-style games (This doesn't mean they're not also fun but versatility is far more of a trait than someone who is unable to adapt and expects to be paid).

  11. And not only are most things hollow, but most details that you would expect to exist (like the other side of a polygon that you never see the back of) just aren't put in because it takes up space and processing power that would only hamper normal gameplay. And things that are really far away are usually swapped out for a 2D sprite version of the real 3D models. The more you learn about game design, the more you realize how much of a magic trick most of it is, where you give the player just enough for their imagination to fill in the gaps, and god help you if you include so much that it drops the FPS because people will riot.

  12. I remember reading something about Farcry 2 restricting their fire physics because if it was realistic it would have turned the entire map into a flaming hell hole after the first explosion

  13. Have you ever visited any kind of physics class? Almost Nobody would use molecular-based calculations for moving Objects… why would you even consider that? And Newton is used alot in video games and RL…

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