The Physics Revolution That Never Happened


"Cast your mind back to 2003. Remember seeing those amazing E3 videos of Half-Life 2 with a Combine gunship shooting a car the player was hiding behind?

You know, where the doors would swing and the whole car would lurch on its suspension under the impact.

It was at that time that the buzz was officially started for the so-called physics revolution.

Yet here we are 6 years later, with fancy schmancy new hardware (360/PS3) and what is there to show for 6 years of tech exponentially improving in game physics?

For the most part, just a few more boxes that can fall off shelves. Yay."

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gaminoz3279d ago (Edited 3279d ago )

Physics in a game really contributes to immersion...nothing worse than shooting 3D objects that act like painted pictures.

I get really excited with destructibility and when things act realistically when hit, falling down, catching fire or whatever.

It's like realistic lighting too...all these elements add to the atmosphere of exploring more 'real' environments.

REALgamer3279d ago

I love it when physics is used to make the game environments more like a real world and less like cardboard movie sets.

New stuff like Euphoria and DMM should help with this (providing the hardware they're on is up to the task, Force Unleashed felt very conservative in its use of DMM in particular). So glad we're over the initial age ragdoll physics where every enemy you shot went flying backwards flopping around like your bullets dissolved their bones or something (still remember if you died in Spiderman 2 it would bounce around like your arms and legs were dislocated).

I'm interested to find a copy of 'Trespasser' to see the physics in it. It may have been massively flawed but a first is a first after all. Can't always win the first time around.

mal_tez923279d ago

Half Life 2 did very well, but games like Crysis are suberb.

The best physics I have ever seen is when you shoot a gas canister in Killzone 2. Gas shoots out of the bullethole sending the canister flying around the room in a very realistic way.

socomnick3279d ago

I'm very saddened that physics have taken a backseat to graphics. Games like killzone 2 look pretty but have crappy physics, cod4 plays and looks really good but has 0 physics not even ragdolls it has death animations. The most impressive console game this gen is hands down Red Faction guerilla the destruction system in that game is completely physics based, metal bends from weight , concrete caves in everything reacts how you would expect it to.

FamilyGuy3279d ago

I don't think there is anything wrong with the physics is recent games. They don't seem to be trailing to me.

Ravage273279d ago (Edited 3279d ago )

heh that's exactly what i thought. My jaw literally dropped when i 1st saw it.

Over time, I actually mastered the art of manipulating the canisters. It never fails to bring a smile to my face everytime i see a canister fly towards an enemy and explode in his face :)

imo,RE5 is the classic example of a game with horrible physics that really destroys immersion.

crillyconlig3279d ago

killzone has some fantastic physics, like if you set a genade off the particles blow about in the wind, drop ships engines suck in particles/grande smoke and eject it, wind affects the direct of your grenades, death animations reacting with the environments and the gas canister explosions are pure joy

pixelsword3279d ago

Killzone has some of the best physics out today; he would know that if he actually played the game.

ape0073279d ago

engine is really something amazing,it's just a blast seeing body falling,slammed,bailing out of car in gta4,act different each time,look amazing,euphoria has really stepped up the physics in gaming creating some amazing\unique game moments

take a look again if you forgot or sold the game,enjoy :)

socomnick3279d ago

You guys just described graphical effects not physics. Killzone 2 feature for the most part static enviroments that did not react at all to gunfire or explosions you might have 1 or 2 beams in a level that broke apart but that was it. The Death animations were not physics powered they just reacted to gunfire. The grenades are a good indicator of how good the physics were, you throw a grenade and it travels the same distance and did not react tot he surface it hit. I'm sorry guys but kz 2 had horrible physics as do most games this gen, its sad but it did. Hell even battlefield bad company has bad physics that entire destruction is smoke and mirrors nothing is physics based that destruction is all scripted , segments of the buildings are scripted to blow up.

rockleex3278d ago (Edited 3278d ago )


Your Killzone 2 grenade comment proves your ignorance. Anyone who has played Killzone 2 knows how realistic your grenade reacts to the environment when it is thrown. Don't even get me started on the other physics aspects of Killzone 2. Hell, there are tons of GIFs and videos that display its physics. Its right there for everyone to see.

Killzone 2's physics are miles ahead of Halo 3 or COD. Stop assuming its the same as other FPS simply because you have not played it.

You're just making an even bigger fool of yourself with every BS comment you spit out.

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Immortal Kaim3279d ago

Great article. I think we have reached a point where strictly graphical improvements will become less and less apparent, but physics are still trailing behind.

Perhaps next gen we will see a huge leap in physics calculations?

JL3279d ago

I agree with that to an extent. There are a few games here and there that show off some great physics. However, you're right that seemingly everything has taken a backseat to graphics these days. And I'm not sure how much of a leap graphics can take anymore, at least anytime soon. Sure it can get better, but any huge increase just won't happen anytime soon. Instead, they do need to take this time to start improving on other elements like physics, and start concentrating and making games be centered around gameplay as well.

DarkArcani3279d ago

Is an example of a good physics based game in this gen.

Godem3279d ago

Can't really read the article as the internet is too slow to load on my phone.... but, I really like that Nvidia added PhysX into their drivers etc to make the PC market a bit happier.

Pandamobile3279d ago

PhysX is pretty cool to play around with. In Mirror's Edge for example, you get nice, realistic cloth physics, a lot of glass particles when windows shatter and some other realistic elements like rubber and debris in the wind. I think it was a pretty cool step in the right direction.

I also enjoy the PhysX mod for UT3 where maps are modded to add things like hail (probably one of the coolest things I've seen in a video game - to use the Shock Rifle only to have the thousands of hail pellets cyclone around the shock beam.

I imagine computing power will have advanced enough in the next 8 or so years so that we can have semi-realistic fluid dynamics.

REALgamer3279d ago

Nvidia owns PhysX so it currently is only available on their cards. It won't be able to reach mass-market until it is available for ATi cards as well, so developers aren't going to take it seriously until the vast majority of players have it available.

I'm hoping Havok will bridge the gap, as the article said they're coding their new engines in OpenCL which all current graphics cards can use (even the next Apple OSX: Snow Leopard supports it!).

PhysX needs to go OpenCL too or it will always be just a 'bonus feature' like in Mirror's Edge and UT3 for only Nvidia owners.

My PC has ATi cards that have OpenCL so I'm waiting on Havok to hurry up with their stuff so we can all benefit.

XboxOZ3603279d ago

Some great physics were in BLACk on the 1st-gen xbox just before the release of the 360.

ANyone that has played will understand the huge amount on environmental interaction and damage and the physics around that from the game.

Plus it was a great game to play.

REALgamer3279d ago

I think it came out right around the launch of the 360, so I missed it.

I may be mistaken, but I thought I heard last year there was a sequel in production. WOuld be great with total destruction in it.

gaminoz3279d ago

@ Realgamer

That sequel was hinted at but has since been canned I believe. A shame...

Syronicus3279d ago

BLACK has got to be one of my all time favorite games of last gen and even as it sits, it is currently better than some of these current gen games. It is not only a decent looking game but it is fun as heck to just blow crap up and see how your environment reacts to your devastation. Shooting a guy on a bridge only to see him tumble over side and grab on the ledge then slowly let go and fall to their death is incredible. The game is just amazing.

andron6663279d ago

Can't remember where I read it, but I don't think it's canned. Or so I hope...

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