Use of Physics in Playing Games

A game is an ingenious idea and a set of technical aspects that come together manage to shape a work of art capable of providing entertainment to a particular audience. If it is true, the games are evolving because the technology grows, making the development in the video games industry to experience a continued advancement in all the technical aspects. Often, the main limiting factor for developers is not determined by a low budget or a weak or mediocre development environment but is because technology prevents programmers from experiencing a high level of detail in the graphics and programming aspects. For example, to create a three-dimensional car, consideration should be given to the use of a certain number of polygons to design the physical structure of a vehicle. The idea is that the more polygons constitute the figure, in this case, a car, the more real it will be (compared to a real car). Unfortunately, the more polygons are involved, the more technological resources will be needed, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of calculations that must be contemplated so that the structure of the car is preserved in each game frame, and it should not be forgotten to observe one of the most essential elements in a virtual universe and the one that the most calculations consider when it comes to the interaction between the different objects that constitute the world of a video game, physics.

Physics has been instrumental in the development of video games over time. Games use physics to achieve realistic simulations and create spectacular special effects, delivering as believable a sensation as possible to the viewer/player. From this arises the need to generate video games capable of simulating reality, from billiard games, flight simulators, among several; all are part of a modeling process using the fundamental principles of dynamics. (And all so that the vile player is satisfied!).

At first, video games were simply a good idea capable of entertaining their users through simple themes that did not require a plot, but today this has changed, the market is leaning more towards good stories, incredible graphics, touching music, special effects and behavior similar to that of real life. Developers have understood this and are trying to create an emotional, visual, and physically real environment. To generate realism in line with players ‘ expectations, developers must employ knowledge and techniques from other fields such as physics. (This is why you must support free initiatives by donating! Let them do the engines, and you use them!).

I have to explain how physics works, but since it’s an introduction, I’ll just tell some brushstrokes of the subject, how convenient!

Imagine a virtual vehicle that runs along the road, at this very moment a module of the video game charged with developing the events of physics, is continually evaluating the position, speed, and acceleration of that vehicle. At that very moment, the module constantly reviews the distance between the car and the obstacles along the way (signposts, trees, whatever you think). Every collision, turning, or skid of the car is calculated precisely by that module, and when the calculations are valid, the results will be similar to reality.

The calculations made by the physics module are based on the theory of momentum, something already studied and established in the real world. For example, in the instant in which a force in function of speed, as in a collision between a vehicle and another object, you should consider first of all the acceleration, then the speed and the position of the objects involved on the basis of the previous values of the acceleration, so that the entire calculation is based on the history prior. This process is done very quickly and hundreds of times for every moment of the scene, causing the simulation of the crash from its beginning to its completion. The results of the physical module will be shown thanks to the graphics module so that the player will be able to contemplate a collision between objects in all their detail.

I previously expressed that the implementation of physics in video games is possible because the laws of mechanics, kinematics, Kinetics, force, etc. Have studies and bases that can be expressed mathematically by equations. (Mr. reader, if you are afraid of physics then continue reading, it scares me,, but I am indifferent, join me in this challenge).

Equations exist to explain all kinds of phenomena except the human being (for the moment).

Anyone who went to school must have studied newton’s laws, right? Something relatively easy to understand when they only teach you the equations and the exact moment when you have to apply them. In those moments, surely one day before giving a test related to the subject, you were dedicated to playing all holy day several video games where objects fall, collide and move continuously, but of course, one only plays angrily because of the charge of consciousness that brings leaving everything at the last minute. The day after that, you take a test and you get the shocking and frustrating note 39.4, with which you will evidently have expressed something like “VA, Newton, you were having trouble sleeping during the fall of the Damned Apple,” I must admit that in school I always failed physics, and I regret having revealed myself against most scientists. Without them, one of my favorite hobbies wouldn’t be possible, and maybe a lot of things would be different.

What I wanted to point out with my experience, I mean, with the previous paragraph, is that the application of the laws of physics expressed in mathematical equations, make possible what we call today works of art in both cinema and video games. And thanks to scientists, we are free to manipulate these laws and implement them in our universes based on our imagination.

For example, Newton’s second law and its derivatives are sufficient to describe the complete linear motion of each element that forms an object of a video game.


It should be noted that the equations are not solved analytically (expressions without a specific value), they must manifest in numbers, so methods capable of abstracting numerical information using iterative methods are required. That is, to calculate a new speed (for example) we must base ourselves on the value of an earlier speed. Any calculation should be based on the history of the movement. What do I mean by all the above? that 50% of the engine development of a game is given by the application of the laws of physics, the other percentage corresponds to the effectiveness of the programming algorithms. The efficiency of the algorithms will ensure that the games show fluidity in all the objects in the scenarios.

In short, if the developer manages to master the physics section in a video game, it will automatically make the results credible, efficient, and even fun.

If you don’t see it, you won’t understand it, but if you see it and you don’t understand it, then you have to play until you know it.

There are several practical examples such as flight simulators, cloth movement through the Wind, Fire, the already flawed billiard games (momentum changes due to the impacts between the balls, the taco, the edges of the table and friction with it), projectiles launch. The fall of objects by gravity, etc. it should be noted that without a physics module that is poor and does not perform the calculations necessary to resemble the physical properties of the universe, the gaming experience would be false and perhaps frustrating-what?