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Member Since 01 Jan 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 12:51 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Matrix Handedness Confusion

14 August 2016 - 03:31 PM

Does handedness only matter once there is a viewer?


Yes - this is right. Your maths (and physics etc) code is (should be!) exactly the same irrespective of whether the viewing system is right or left handed.

In Topic: Rotational spring stiffness?

06 June 2016 - 04:51 PM

Take a look at your last spring composed of 3 vertices. There are two end vertices, and one in the middle. If we lay the vertices all out on a line there is no bend. Then create another spring between the first and last vertex (so it passes through the middle one). This new spring is sometimes called the "bend spring", or something like that. Whenever the 3-vertex chain bends this new spring will push the bend to straighten out.


Yes... except that for small bending angles, the displacement of the end particles (up/down in the OP's diagram) will be mostly orthogonal to the direction along which the spring acts (left-right). So I'd expect the proposed new spring would be effective at preventing substantial bends, but not very effective for keeping a plane flat when it is supposed to not bend very much at all.


If you want to represent very stiff planes, then it might be better to consider adding a spring between the centre particle and the mid-point between the end particles. You will then need to consider how to map the force applied to the mid point to the particles themselves (trivial if all the links have the same rest length, and the particles have the same mass) - you need to make it so that momentum is preserved. If you do this then for small angles, the spring force will be approximately proportional to the bending angle, which is probably what is desired. 


Alternatively, it might be even better and just as quick to do the job properly: labelling the particles 1-2-3, take the cross-product between the directions 1-2 and 2-3. This is proportional to the torque vector you want to apply, and the pairs of linear forces will be given by the cross-product between this and each of the deltas 1-2, and 2-3 (divided by the squared delta magnitudes) - since torque = delta x force. You apply a force f1 to particle 1, and apply -f1 to particle 2. Similarly apply f3 to particle 3 and -f3 to particle 2. This preserves momentum. You don't need any trig functions for this, and if you can precalculate the delta lengths, then you might not need any square roots either.

In Topic: Simulating Human with Rigid Body Joints

25 April 2016 - 04:23 AM

You can do a lot of balancing by just considering the ankles or, more generally, rotating the floor contact plane relative to the character. For side-side balance, the equivalent of "ankle balance" in the fwd/back direction is pushing down with one foot - and you can generalise this into having a target plane for the feet that. This works when the feet are at awkward angles too, and can be extended to handle the feet being on uneven terrain.


However, you can do a lot more than just balancing with the ankles/feet. If you imagine standing facing out over a cliff top, feet so near the edge you can't step, and somebody gives you a shove from behind, you use your whole body to balance/try to recover - leaning forwards at the hip and "windmilling" your arms. It's worth thinking about what these actions are actually doing, how they induce forces on your feet which are the only ones that can affect your COM - its position and velocity. Ankles/feet are good for COM position control. Upper body motion is good for COM velocity control.


There are two types of forces on the feet that are relevant - normal and tangential (the latter coming from friction). It's easy to imagine (or even do!) an experiment where there's no tangential/frictional force - e.g. standing on ice. The other extreme, where you have a single contact point (i.e. you can make use of the friction forces, but the centre of pressure is always fixed) is harder to experience - would it be possible to stand on the tip of a spike, where you have no option to balance with just "ankle control"? See the "Balance Controller (new)" video here for the answer! http://royfeatherstone.org/skippy/

In Topic: Simulating Human with Rigid Body Joints

23 April 2016 - 03:14 PM

1. Physics simulation:
Imagine a human standing on only one leg. That's a system of 20 bodies and the foot body and ankle joint has to carry all the weight.
Mass ratio here is 1:50, worst case for game physics libs. Bullet can't even simulate a stack of a few equal mass bodies without jitter (the last time i've checked),
and also it may miss the necessary features for powered joints. So it's not the best choice for a demanding simulation like this and you'll have to add a lot of work,
probably ending up doing your own constraint solver.
I have experience with Bullet, Havok and ODE, but when i tried Newton i was blown away by the difference in stability, accuracy and robustness it offers.
It's by far the best library for this kind of simulation - sadly only few people know about this.

If you want accurate, stable control of a mechanism with lots of joints and large mass ratios, the important thing is to be using an appropriate solver. Bullet does have a Featherstone solver, though I don't know how good it is for actively driving articulations. PhysX has an articulation solver, and I know from first hand experience that it can be used to drive articulations accurately, without excessive numbers of iterations/small timesteps.

* Cheat and use external forces to stabilize the system :)
(I assume Natural Motion does this, but that's just an assumption)

Your assumption is wrong :) Of course, we can use external "cheat" forces to add stability, but that's not the fundamental method (and it all works without this). I can't discuss the methods by which we calculate the joint torques, but the character is controlled by joint torques.

For example, there's some nice demo here:


You want to know masses and moments of inertia for the different body parts, and don't want to go to the messy trouble of chopping up a cadaver yourself? OK - take a look here: http://www.smf.org/docs/articles/hic/USAARL_88-5.pdf

In Topic: Airfoil simulation

24 March 2016 - 09:38 AM


Does this makes sense?


You need to be careful that you handle the varying air flow speed and angle of attack over the wing. For example, if the plane is rolling, then this doesn't change the angle of attack much at the root, but it does (increasingly) towards the tip. This is what makes the plane stop rolling almost as soon as you centralise the ailerons. It sounds like you're in danger of losing this (which would affect every other characteristic too) - or did I misunderstand?!