Publication details

Application of Physics Engines in Virtual Worlds

Mark Norman, Tim Taylor

Dynamic virtual worlds potentially can provide a much richer and more enjoyable experience than static ones. To realise such worlds, three approaches are commonly used. The first of these, and still widely applied, involves importing traditional animations from a modelling system such as 3D Studio Max. This approach is therefore limited to predefined animation scripts or combinations/blends thereof. The second approach involves the integration of some specific-purpose simulation code, such as car dynamics, and is thus generally limited to one (class of) application(s). The third approach involves the use of general-purpose physics engines, which promise to enable a range of compelling dynamic virtual worlds and to considerably speed up development. By far the largest market today for real-time simulation is computer games, revenues exceeding those of the movie industry. Traditionally, the simulation is produced by game developers in-house for specific titles. However, "off-the-shelf" middleware physics engines are now available for use in games and related domains. In this paper, we report on our experiences of using middleware physics engines to create a virtual world as an interactive experience, and an advanced scenario where artificial life techniques generate controllers for physically modelled characters.

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Norman, M., & Taylor, T. (2002). Application of Physics Engines in Virtual Worlds. In R. F. Erbacher, P. C. Chen, M. Gröhn, J. C. Roberts, & C. M. Wittenbrink (Eds.), Visualization and Data Analysis 2002 (pp. 91–98). Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers.


  author = {Norman, Mark and Taylor, Tim},
  title = {Application of Physics Engines in Virtual Worlds},
  booktitle = {Visualization and Data Analysis 2002},
  year = {2002},
  editor = {Erbacher, Robert F. and Chen, Philip C. and Gr\"{o}hn, Matti and Roberts, Jonathan C. and Wittenbrink, Craig M.},
  volume = {4665},
  series = {Proceedings of SPIE},
  pages = {91-98},
  publisher = {Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers},
  isbn = {0819444057},
  category = {conference},
  keywords = {physics}
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