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Preparing for physics

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Hey guys. I have just finished specifications for a new game I want to write, but this time I want to include physics and ragdoll, although just as eyecandy. The game, a 3D sideway scroller really has no need for physics, but for certain things, like the player dying, I want a dramatic ragdoll effect. Or when a thing explodes I would like to see parts flying and bouncing on the floor, things that look good but have no real impact on the game. But since I have never done anything related to physics I am a bit unsure how to implement this, and I would therefore like to wait with that specific implementation. I also want to keep the complexity at a reasonable level. So my question is this, what do I need to keep in mind while writing the game to make is easier to implement physics in the end? Consider this a physics learning project.

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I dont think there is much to it, apart from the obvious. It is best to keep a separation between collision detection and the physics itself.

doing effects triggered by collisions are usually done via callbacks / message systems.

The collision systems are usually split into two.

- Broad phase (where the objects bound by simple volumes, are spacially 'sorted'). Using a bounding volume hierarchy, it builds a list of object pairs that can potentially collide.

- Narrow phase. This is responsible for detecting exact collisions between the pairs of objects to test.

- The collision objects are usually simple. Boxes, spheres, and terrains (list of edges in 2D).

plus some extra candy, like queries (ray intersection queries, objects inside an volume, ...).

For a simple effect system, I'd keep it simple and ignore the broad phase collision (and do a 'test against everything'). Your ragdoll / particles will collide against the terrain only, so there is no need for it).

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