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Physics API's

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Well, I think ive decided to, rather than create my own crappy little in-house physics engine, that ill save myself some time (and a lot of headache) and use a pre-existing one. I know it can be dangerous to ask about API preferences but im hoping that there arent as big of rifts as there are between d3d and openGL-ers. Anyways, the main thing im looking for in a physics API is a sphere (or elipsoid) -triangle (or triangle mesh) test, and of course, speed, but most importantly, id like a flexible liscense, LGPL or something with equal rights (just in case my personal little engine turns into a good game that i wanna make a couple of bucks on (extremely unlikely) but then again future projects i may want to, and not want to learn a new API) so i know about ODE Newton Tokamak their LGPL except for newton which i dont know waht liscense but if im not mistaken is still free for commercial projects so my question to you is, which one in your opinion, is the "best" based on really anything, ease of use (IE i think ODE's system is ass ugly) or pure speed (novodex is supposed to be speedy, but its not free for commercial projects so im not interested) or stablility, or anything thanks a ton -Dan

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If you intend to produce a commercial game, it might be advisable to hire a game industry/intellectual property rights/software industry lawyer to help you evaluate the terms of any license agreement. The idea with this recommendation is that a lawyer can interpret subtle nuances to software license terminology that could cause you legal grief down the road.

That said, I think all of those engines are potentially fine. NovodeX probably has the best chance of being both fast and stable, given that its a commercial product with an active team developing/maintaining/improving it. Well, the others too probably have people working on them, but smaller teams and maybe fewer regular updates. I know that ODE has been used in commercial games, which speaks somewhat to its usefulness. Of course, I absolutely understand if you can't get behind its design decisions. (I felt exactly the same way when we evaluated the Lithtech engine several years ago. We went with NetImmerse, as it was far more intuitive to us.)

The Forum FAQ does list a few more engines, but I don't think you'll find anything better than what you already listed.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Havok?
If you go the commercial engine route then check out Havok.
It has: The largest support team, more mature engine in the market, largest history of proven games (hl2 just to sample one), extremely fast and very stable for video games.
It is been maintained, updated and improved by the largest team in the industry



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Im rather interested in ODE, however, im looking through the docs and havent found anything about a mesh "geom" i know(well i was pretty sure) it can do it, but im not seeing the reference for any kind of "mesh" class. does it not have this?

thanks
-Dan

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Havok?

do you have any idea how much the havok license is? Unless you are seriously planning on shelling out some mula, havok is not really a viable option.

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ODE does now have a Trimesh collider, based on Pierre Terdiman's excellent OPCODE library. However, Trimesh-Trimesh support is shaky at best, and requires you to manually patch the code. If you want Sphere-Trimesh collision, it should be sufficient.

-bodisiw

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For heightmapped terrains, ODE also offers a collider named dTerrain which essentially builds a terrain by using rays at the given point to push an object up. I've used this collider with great success, though some people prefer to use the trimesh for various reasons. This collider is offered in the 'contrib' directory of the ODE repository, and requires some (very slight) manually patching of the source.

The Trimesh collider is well documented in the user manual (see Section 10.7.6). If you familiarize yourself with the other simpler ODE entities first, using a trimesh should become trivial.

Hope this helps some.

-bodisiw

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heheh, well i know why i wasnt seeing it, i was looking at one dated somettime in 2003 :-p, thanks, and i think ill actually go with trimesh, i have to assume that its more "accurate" since a vector pushing up isnt the same as the normal pushing at wahtever angle

thanks
-Dan

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In my opinion Tokamak should be avoided as it is no longer supported as far as I am aware. I personally do not like ODE, no real good reason, other than I just dont like the 'feel' of its API. However the obvious bonus is the open source status, meaning it leaves a lot of room for application specific optimizations.
Newton I find to be easier to use than ODE, is well supported, accurate, and I can definately recommend.
I would also second grhodes suggestion that you take a look at Novodex.
The people at meqon are also quite friendly, but there engine is commercial (and also very good).

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