Evolution of Physics in Video Games

Video games are getting more real all the time. Latest releases are beginning to look more like movies than the games we used to know. In particular, in action games where the characters are running or walking they don’t move like stick figures but actually make realistic moves as if their actions are choreographed.

One field that has improved this experience is the evolution of physics. In his New Technology paper, Evolution of Physics in Video Games, Bjarni Þór Árnason of Reykjavík University explains the emerging field of applying physics in games.

From the abstract: Graphics and sound have evolved dramatically in video games over the last decade and are at a point where it is getting increasingly hard to improve upon. Physics have been a part of video games since their birth, but have until recently not played a key role. Developers have therefore turned to realistic physics simulations in order to further increase the realism in their games and subsequently the importance and uses of physics in video games has boomed in the last few years. Some games have even incorporated the use of physics into the gameplay with an interesting new dimension of puzzles to solve. However, improved realism comes with the burden of increased computational complexity that needs to find itself a new place away from the main CPU in order to continue the evolution of realism.