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Stranger

Physics,particles...

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My professor has given two choices for a final paper:Build a Particle Engine or build a Physics Engine. First of all I like both.However what I want to ask is what should I know from the 3d point of view for both of them and which is easier,not that it matters but why not. If anyone has build anyone from the above post your opinion and experience.Also what language did you use for making it since I was told from my professor to favor C and OpenGL if I want to, otherwise it is my choice.Thanks.

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Whoa. Cool school projects.

Does your teacher say how comprehensive each project has to be? For example, would your physics engine have to deal with collisions and rotations? Or could it be simply a projectile motion simulator that had a quick and dirty test to see when the object hits the ground? If the latter, then a "projectile physics engine" would probably be easier.

A particle system can be tricky because at a minimum you have to deal with managing memory and performance, e.g., allow for the birth and death of particles over time. And if you want something more complex, deal with the evolution of particles between birth and death (rotation, color change, rotation, etc.). Then there is what to do with the particles. Do they just go shooting in a fixed direction? Or do you really want physics on the particles, say gravity so they form kind of a fountain? (Basically, do you want each particle to act like a projectile?) Beyond that, some particle systems, such as the ones in 3ds max, deal with collisions. So you can kind of get to have a more complex physics system even within a particle system. You also might need to deal with random number generation to get the system to look more interesting.

In my opinion the particle system would provide more interesting results quicker if you just treat the particles like projectiles, with gravity, and have them shoot mostly straight up but slightly off center to form a fountain.

(I''ve been closing homework threads lately, so I just want to comment that Stranger has not asked for the answer to a typical homework problem, and is asking for opinions rather than answers. This type of question is absolutely acceptable!)

Graham Rhodes
Senior Scientist
Applied Research Associates, Inc.

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So you think that I should go with the particle system?I just dont know what to choose.I like the effects but I also like the physics.Which is easier and faster to build in the end?

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Which is easier and faster to build in the end? The answer is "it depends." Depends on how far you go. But, if I had a project to do, I would probably go with the particle system because you''d probably be able to get cooler effects going faster. I''d just look for for particle effect examples on the web, for example at nVidia''s developer site, to see how they are dealing with particle spawn, evolution, and death. Management of the particles needs to be done well or performance will suffer.

Graham Rhodes
Senior Scientist
Applied Research Associates, Inc.

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In the game industry what attracts the employer most?The physics engine or the particle engine?Based on the answer you will give I will make my decision since it all comes down in finding work.Thanks for your interest and your replies.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
probably physics.

interestingly enough, if you look on gamasutra you can find information on a how to implement particle-based physics engine which can do a lot of spiffy things (linkages, inverse kinematics, standard particle effects, etc).

as described it is likely more than you need, but it''s worth a look to see a different approach to physics engines.

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