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Emergence in computer game development

DavidRosen's picture
The ideas behind emergence are very important for computer game design, because we try and simulate real phenomena based on simpler rules, so in a sense we are trying to reverse-engineer emergent patterns. For example, in my current project I am trying to simulate (in real time) fairly complicated physical objects such as bodies, ropes, weapons, or cloth. My current solution is to deconstruct the object into its component points and constraints, and then apply Isaac Newton's laws of motion. While this is a much simpler approach than that used in most games, it is yielding very promising results, and may turn out to actually be faster and more flexible than other more popular approaches to physics simulation. Here is a short animation of a character falling using my new physics engine. It looks a bit weird because I have not implemented internal friction or strong joint constraints yet, but otherwise looks surprisingly convincing considering the simplicity of the ruleset.