Computer games based on physics engines

  • Thread starter Borek
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  • #1
Borek
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This is quite a serious question, I was asked to write few words about a similar game (not officially published yet) and I started to wonder what were the earlier programs of this type.

This is partly engineering and partly physics problem. Many computer games use some kind of physics engines (like Havok), but that's not what I am looking for. I am thinking about computer games that are solely based just on physics - for example, my understanding is that Kerbal Space Program is actually "just" an interface to the underlying physics simulation (approximated, still quite accurate). Bridge Builder is another example of what I am thinking about (but I think I remember some similar much earlier simulation using FEM and running under DOS).

I have a felling this kind of games was impossible on slower computers, but todays number crunchers can easily deal with dynamics of quite complex structures and systems, which makes this kind of games possible. However, I would like some examples to be sure my intuition is right (or wrong).
 

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  • #2
A.T.
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Many computer games use some kind of physics engines (like Havok), but that's not what I am looking for. I am thinking about computer games that are solely based just on physics
I guess you mean where the simulation is the key part of the gameplay?

for example, my understanding is that Kerbal Space Program is actually "just" an interface to the underlying physics simulation
So is any realistic flight simulator.

Bridge Builder is another example of what I am thinking about
A similar game would be: World of Goo.

Some other suggestions:
- Bad Piggies
- Various Incredible Machine clones (like Amazing Alex)
- Fluidity
- Line Rider
 
  • #3
Borek
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I guess you mean where the simulation is the key part of the gameplay?
Yes.

So is any realistic flight simulator.
Good point, the same can be said about some good racing simulators. I think I initially ignored them as early games of these kinds were based on a different concept (that is, no physics, just some idealized geometry).

Some other suggestions:
Thanks, actually I thought about World of Goo and The Incredible Machine in the meantime. Now that I think about it even Angry Birds qualify.
 
  • #4
A.T.
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Now that I think about it even Angry Birds qualify.
Yes, but its spin-off Bad Piggies even more so.
 
  • #5
anorlunda
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Wasn't one of the very first computer game ever a version of Asteroids? It was physics based.

I'm thinking Spacewar, written by MIT students Martin Graetz, Steve Russell, and Wayne Wiitanen's on a DEC PDP-1 computer in 1961.
 
  • #7
Khashishi
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Hard to say, because the semantics are fuzzy. Tennis for two was a simulation of sorts. Where do you draw the line?
 
  • #8
Khashishi
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Lunar lander could be considered an early physics game. And the whole artillery game genre.
 
  • #10
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Pong was the first video game, correct? Simplest physics game I can think of, and that's all it was... reflection and deflection.
 
  • #11
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Then again, I remember it having some random "strange bounces", like deviation from classical probability, perhaps a hint things aren't as clear cut predictable as they appear... I was quite young when I first played it, maybe 5 or 6 years old. :biggrin:
 
  • #12
Borek
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To clarify (not to say that the answers so far were wrong, no, actually they were quite helpful, it is just that I wasn't precise asking): I am looking for examples of games that have physics engine requiring quite heavy numeric processing - that is, games that were not possible on slower computers.
 
  • #13
A.T.
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I am looking for examples of games that have physics engine requiring quite heavy numeric processing - that is, games that were not possible on slower computers.
That would be mainly those with fluid dynamics, although most are just toys, not real games with a goal. But some even run on mobile devices.

 
  • #14
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Algodoo rocks! I can't wait to get good at it! Obviously anything 3D of this nature is out of the question... without a supercomputer.
 

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