Physics in Computer Games

Originally posted,

Physics has been a hot topic in the game’s industry for the last couple of years. I personally think that both collision and physics will be a very important development in audience immersion, bringing games closer to a virtual environment than in previous generations. This subject has definitely encouraged a very wide range of opposing views - however, it’s the question of the usefulness of physics in a game that I want to talk about for a few words. Without question, making a game include physical components breaks a firm tradition of the game industry where the level designer had complete control of the gaming environment at all times. Physics essentially introduces a certain amount of chaos into the system that has to be taken into account during the game and level design. While it is more than possible to include physical puzzles or requirements into a game, the argument that these same events could be scripted (in some complex fashion) is correct. It is my opinion that physics is not a technology that will provide game designers with new gaming tools, but rather it’s a way to help create the suspension of disbelief necessary to lull an audience into the narrative the game is trying to express. Just like textures on graphic output as opposed to flat shading does not actually provide a new game mechanic, it does help increase the level of immersion during play.