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The future of Hardware Accelerated Physics.

Discussion in 'Games' started by DarkMatter, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. DarkMatter New Member

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    Hi, guys. First of all I want to make clear that despite what the title might suggest, this thread is not intended for discussing the success that any hardware based physics implementation could have.

    It's just intended as a place to show what is your idea of what high level physics could bring on to the table in the near future. An off-topic "discussion" that derived into PhysX in the graphics section has made me think that many people might not have a clear idea of what hardware accelerated physics could mean for the gaming panorama. I have many ideas and I'm hoping to see much more from you guys, so let's write them here and make a good compilation.

    You can describe features or new ways that you think physics could be used on, or you can just use one known/catalogued feature to describe a gameplay situation you would love to see in a game. I do have to ask for something though: try to describe it as better as you can. Something like "destructible environments" alone, for example, doesn't really describe anything, because it might not mean the same to everybody. Aditionally, you can describe more than one situation for the same feature, so don't fear to describe the one you like. Maybe the best way of describing what you think is by writing some specific gameplay examples or scenes or whatever you think it would be amazing to see in a game. You'll have plenty examples in my post.

    So let's get started. Obviously, because I am the first one, I will take the easiest ideas. :p

    Fully destructible environments.

    How to best describe it, if not by saying it has to be as close to reality as posible? First of all, for what we are looking for here, Crysis has not destructible environments, we are looking for more. Let's start by thinking of a mix of Crysis, Warmonger, Red Faction and Worms. Basically you can destroy everything, walls, the ceiling, the floor, furniture...
    Everything would be made by elemental subobjects/particles, but not as they are today, where a chair is made by 5 pieces for example. The walls would be made of actual bricks, concrete from small pieces and dust (maybe in some years :)),wood structures from splinters and when you shoot at them in one place it breaks in that place, while the rest remains "intact". A rocket to a wall makes a hole by displacing the proper bricks and nothing else, but it does affect the structutural equilibrium of the building. In fact, columns and beams actually sustain the building as they would do in real life and you can take down a building by destroying them.

    A clear example of how this could make gameplay better: remember COD fights in the cities with tanks destroying buildings? But the destruction of the buildings is triggered and after the building is down you can take cover in the remaining walls, because you know they are invulnerable. Not only that, on a second run you already know which one is safe, so replay value for that specific and great feeling of being vulnerable is lost (war is that after all). Now imagine everything can be destroyed, that you can get killed by falling debris even if the shot was made to the floor above you, etc. And you have to move a lot inside the buildings, if you wan't to be safer, but it's easier now, because you can go through any of the newly created holes! Doesn't that make the battle much more intense and fun?

    Live fog/smoke

    Since FEAR (and after many film scenes featuring fog/smoke) I've always loved the idea of fighting in asphyxiating corridors full of fog or smoke where the only way of finding the enemy is because of the displaced fog. The battles in the middle of dust in FEAR are memorable, but they were sometimes very difficult because you couldn't find the enemies (it usually meant a pause in the fight, you had to roll back). That was because the cloud was "static", moving objects didn't affect it. In real life when there's a lot of fog the only way of "feeling" someone's presence is because of the fog he displaces. It would be amazing in a game. Aditionally the blow of the guns displace the fog too, opening a door or shooting a window and letting wind enter would disipate it, etc.

    Best use for cloth simulations I can think of

    I can't remember the film and I don't really know if it was only in one film. But one of my favourites firefights in a film happens in the middle of sheets or blankets hung on stalls, and protagonists could only know were the other was because of the movement of those. Another scene comes to my mind, in this case the fight took place in an industrial sized laundry, with thousands of dresses and jackets hanging around. I would love to see similar fights in a game.

    How to use fluids?

    The fluids simulations on PhysX fluids demo are simply amazing, look fantastically and really act like real liquids. Although everybody would love any fluids in games to be simply like that, it does require a lot of computing and probably wouldn't be worth the effort for the most part. I have some specific places where I would love to see it though.

    a) I would love to play a simple puzzle game where you had to transport water from point A to B, with the help of various and crazy objects, much like those crazy "butterfly effect dominoes" made by japanese. The idea is you have some objects, a water source and a destiny, and plenty of free 3D space plaged by fixed structures you would have to use in chain with the objects at you disposal in order to carry the water to its destiny. But there's no only one way to do it. Posibilities are infinite. Those old enough to know about Lemmings, probably know exactly what I mean. :D
    The score system would be based on the amount of water that reaches to the goal and the time it takes. Making it fast could make some water to bounce out of its way, for example. Also instead of being a standalone puzzle game, this could be very well be implemented in RTS games as a way to collect resources or something.

    b) Blood. Good looking blood is always welcomed in games, but for the most part you don't need it to be a fluid in games, you can fake it. UT3 engine does have some kind of metaparticles made blood, but IIRC it does not act like fluids once it reaches the floor. Why does it have to do so? Well for the most part, for nothing, it would be a waste of resources probably, but I have one specific "scene" that I would love to see in games and where fluent blood would be required. Again I can't remember the films, although I know are many this time. The setting is the next one:

    Two guys in a wooden building, each in one adjacent floor and they shoot at each other through the floor/ceiling. They can't really see each other, although they can sometimes envision each other in the space between the planks of wood that make the floor and they are making many holes. Despite this they mostly have to rely on the sound to know of each other. In the end the one in the upper floor stops shooting and although in the first place the guy below does not know what to think, he soon knows the other is dead. Why? Blood is leaking through the various holes... :cool:

    c) Rain or fire extingishers in the buildings. One scene I would love to play is fighting several invisible enemies in an office building where the only way to see the enemies is by the drops hitting in them. Aha, Hollow Man.

    Physics on characters?

    Let's forget about the obvious (cloths, hair) and let's try finding something really cool: dismemberment.

    Not the old style dismemberment, where the character is made from various pieces. No. Better think of characters made of metaparticles filling a container with the shape of the character in question and very strong inter-particle dependence (glued together). They would never change their relative position and follow the movement of the bones, but when a sufficient force is applied (they get shot) the links get broken and that part is thrown away reveling the different looking ones below. Cool?

    Another posibility based on the same idea, is to create fantastic creatures like enemies made of sand or nanobots/nanoparticles that would loose the part you shoot but additionally that part would gradually disintegrate as it falls to the ground. The creature's "skin" itself could be partially disintegrated by wind, etc.

    Another posibility, though based on the same idea and on the destructible environments, is that in a building with many glass, you could shoot at the glass and the falling particles could cut them down into pieces. Or not. It would depend on how the pieces fall. Amazing or not?

    Those are the ones I remember right now. Probably I don't have many more and I think I have covered pretty much all posibilities, but different uses for the same things are also posible and I'm willing to hear what you guys have to say. Let the ideas start rolling!

    P.D. Sorry for writing the New-New Testament. :laugh:
  2. niko084

    niko084

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    All possible yes, but a LOT of programming a new engine to do it all.

    I hope I'm still into gaming when we can do it all.
  3. JC316

    JC316 Knows what makes you tick

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    You know what I would like to see? The ability to use anything in the environment and I mean ANYTHING. I hate games that put you in the dark and your enemies have night vision, but you can't get it from them when they are dead... WHY?!? Same way with the end level of Half Life 2, you only have the fecking super grav gun, but everyone else has weapons yet I can't pick one up!!!
  4. DarkMatter New Member

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    Hmm IMO it's more a performance concern than programming. Most of the features I mentioned are already present in design programs such as 3DMax o Maya. Another ones have already been implemented in games but not with physics. Dismemberment, for exmple. And many others are present in PhysX demos.

    Destructible environments don't require too much programming, it's just a bunch of objects following physics laws.

    But again the limiting factor is the computing power. However, considering GPUs have 20X the power of CPUs right now, and that will only get bigger in the future, and that Crysis physics are run on the CPU, IMHO the future is bright and not so much into future, as long as they decide to do it.
  5. niko084

    niko084

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    I wouldn't say GPU's have 20x the power of CPU's... A gpu is just built to do very specific things with very specific instruction sets, while a cpu has a much more broad spectrum to cover.

    What we would need for things like that is it all put into a single engine, and then LOADS of video ram, just massive massive amounts! 4gb 512 bit bus anyone??
  6. DarkMatter New Member

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    Physics are part of those specific instructions so...

    That single engine would be the physics engine and you don't need aditional programming, that's what so good about physics. Dismemberment would be reduced to a particle (bullet) hitting a bunch of particles (flesh). Destructible environments the same. Exerything is particle interactions. An absurdly high amount of simple instructions, but nothing complex.

    4gb 512bit? What about the next generation? G400, R900...
  7. niko084

    niko084

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    Haven't looked into them at all yet.
  8. DarkMatter New Member

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    No one has. :laugh:

    But considering G300 will apparently have 512 bit and 2GB...
    TBH ram is cheap, it's just that if it does not offer a benefit why include more? On the other hand if you are going to use it there would be no problem. And if in two years from now extra 2GB or GGDR5/6 costing an extra of $50 is what would enable something close to the kind of physics I am talking about, I would happily pay.
  9. KieranD

    KieranD

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    ram equals more heat and power usage but im all for having loads of it if it means we can get higher res and AA and AF and even physics, ram needs o be fast tho and i think only gddr 5 is good in high quantities

    some game benfit from higher ram speeds and some just more ram furthermore ram and speed can improve any game

    they will eventually include a separate core or summit just for physics


    im all for interactivity but not if can brake one thing or do one thing and then not do something simple, for example smash a large wooden door to bits and then i hit a tree and nothing happens

    scripts are the easiest way to set something, you go to a certain point and this set of instructions is trigged so it makes interactivity harder because things only happen at certain points, random events are a start but they sometimes dont seem realistic
  10. niko084

    niko084

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    Who's to say they couldn't design a card that turns off ram when its not needed, like erm look no 3d application detected, 256mb of ram. Game loads, poof look 8gb.

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