Physics and Collision Detection Engines for Computer Applications

Physics and Collision Detection Engines for Computer Applications

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Physics engines are used to simulate real physical interactions in a virtual environment. Many 3d based applications have physic engines included. Software such as modeling and animation programs, have physics engines that tell the program how the models react to certain forces to make them seem more realistic. This is used in the movie industry when creating computer generated effects to composite with live footage. They computer generated images need to look and react the same as real objects. Physics engines help determine the Game software include physics engines to create a a richer environment for the gamer to experience. By using physics engines, encounters do not have to follow pre-scripted courses, but can appear to react as they would in the real world. In both industries effects such as fire, smoke, fluid dynamics, and geometry-based sound all benefit from physics engines. Nothing moves by itself. Animating objects using traditional methods is complicated and time-consuming. You have to "tell" the object specifically where to go and what to do. Creating natural motion means that objects will respond to environmental forces spontaneously. For example, if there is nothing to support it, an object should fall to the ground and come to rest. Physics-based simulation is a first step in making objects move the way they do in real-life, but there is more to it than that. The aim of natural behavior technology is to generate the expected behavior of the objects that appear in a 3D application. This includes satisfying the laws of physics (or an interesting deviation from them) and some degree of artificial intelligence and autonomous simulated behavior.

Physics engines are basically code libraries. When a object is created it is giving a set of values for mass, height, weight, initial velocity, center of gravity, ect, ect. Then when a reaction needs to be calculated these values are used along with the correct formula. These formulas are part of the library and are stored along with it. The reason physics engines are hard to create is because it has to write functions to caculate certain reactions and has to have functions for every single reaction that could take place. In more complex environments there could be millions of formulas needed to be able to give correct answers for all the reactions. They used as reference libraries in the coding for the particular application that needs a physics engine and the functions are called on in that code.

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The following is example code that would be used to determine collision in a complicated envirnment. In this case there is a large array of pendulums disrupted by a falling wood block.

This is a simulation for only one set of objects, you can imagine how complex this would get if you had an entire environment to provide reactions for.

Copyright MathEngine PLC 2000

$Name: AUTO_TEMP_MeTKMakeRelease_1_299 $

$Id: ManyPendulums.c,v 1.16 2000/08/31 13:52:45 lyndonh Exp $

This example shows the collision detection, Dynamics Event Manager
and Kea Dynamics working on a complicated environment.

#pragma warning( disable : 4305 )

#include "MePrecision.h"
#include "McdFrame.h"
#include "McdPrimitives.h"
#include "McdDtBridge.h"
#include "Mdt.h"
#include "MeMath.h"

#include "MeViewer.h"

extern struct MeMemoryAPI MeMemoryAPIMalloc;
struct MeMemoryOptions opts;

/* Global declarations */

/* Number of pendulums down one side of grid */
#define NSIDE 20

#define penRadius (MeReal)0.5
#define penHeight (MeReal)2.0
#define penJoint (MeReal)5.0
#define penDensity (MeReal)8.0
#define penSpacing (MeReal)3.0

/* MeReal penRadius = (MeReal)0.5; */
/* MeReal penHeight = (MeReal)2.0; */
/* MeReal penJoint = (MeReal)5.0; */
/* MeReal penDensity = (MeReal)8.0; */
/* MeReal penSpacing = (MeReal)3.0; */

MeReal thingDensity = 1.0;
MeVector3 thingDim = {3.8, 3.8, 3.8};
MeVector3 thingStart = {0.8, 20.0, 0.01};

/* color of pendulums in the corners */
MeVector3 topLeftColor = {1, 0, 0};
MeVector3 topRightColor = {1, 1, 0};
MeVector3 bottomLeftColor = {0, 1, 0};
MeVector3 bottomRightColor = {0, 0, 1};

/* Force applied to the box to drag it around */
MeReal thingForce = 1000;

/* World for the Dynamics Toolkit simulation */
MdtWorldID world;

/* Collision */
McdDtBridge *cdHandler;
McdSpaceID space;

/* Kea solver workspace */
void *KeaMemoryArea;

/* Physics representations */
MdtBodyID thing;

/* Graphical representations */
RGraphic *groundG;
RGraphic *thingG;
RGraphic *penG[NPENDULUMS];
RGraphic *lineG[NPENDULUMS];

/* Collision reps */
McdModelID groundCM;
McdModelID thingCM;
McdGeometryID plane_prim, box_prim, pen_prim[NPENDULUMS];

MeReal gravity[3] = { 0, -10, 0 };

/* Render context */
RRender *rc;

/* Timestep size */
MeReal step = (MeReal)(0.04);

MeReal groundTransform[4][4] =
{1, 0, 0, 0},
{0, 0, -1, 0},
{0, 1, 0, 0},
{0, -1, 0, 1}

MeReal groundRenderTransform[16] =
1, 0, 0, 0,
0, 0, -1, 0,
0, 1, 0, 0,
0, -1.5, 0, 1

/* Functions to add forces to block to drag it around. */
void increaseXForce(void)
MdtBodyAddForce(thing, thingForce, 0, 0);

void decreaseXForce(void)
MdtBodyAddForce(thing, -thingForce, 0, 0);

void increaseZForce(void)
MdtBodyAddForce(thing, 0, 0, thingForce);

void decreaseZForce(void)
MdtBodyAddForce(thing, 0, 0, -thingForce);

void ThingCameraTrack()
MeVector3 pos;
MdtBodyGetPosition(thing, pos);
rc->m_cameraLookAt[0] = pos[0];
rc->m_cameraLookAt[1] = pos[1];
rc->m_cameraLookAt[2] = pos[2];

Tick() is a callback function called from the renderer's main loop
to evolve the world by 'step' seconds
void tick(RRender * rc)
These timer calls are for the OpenGL performance bar.

/* Update collision */

/* Update dynamics */
MdtWorldStep(world, step);



Reset boxes and pendulums to initial positions
void reset(void)
int i,j;

/* Offset to start making pendulums from */
MeReal start = (NSIDE-1) * -penSpacing * (MeReal)0.5;

MdtBodySetPosition(thing, thingStart[0], thingStart[1], thingStart[2]);
MdtBodySetQuaternion(thing, 1, 0, 0, 0);
MdtBodySetLinearVelocity(thing, 0, 0, 0);
MdtBodySetAngularVelocity(thing, 0, 0, 0);

for (i = 0; i < NSIDE; i++)
for(j=0; j < NSIDE; j++)
MdtBodySetPosition(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j], start + i * penSpacing, penHeight, start + j * penSpacing);
MdtBodySetQuaternion(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j], 1, 0, 0, 0);
MdtBodySetLinearVelocity(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j], 0, 0, 0);
MdtBodySetAngularVelocity(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j], 0, 0, 0);

void cleanup(void)
int i;


for (i = 0; i < NPENDULUMS; i++)




Main Routine

int main(int argc, const char **argv)
const RRenderType render = RParseRenderType(&argc, &argv);

#ifndef PS2
static char *help[] =
"Left Mouse Drag - move camera",
" Enter - reset",
" w,a,s,d - drag block around"
static char *help[] =
" Start - reset",
" Directional pad - drag block around"
const int helpNum = sizeof (help) / sizeof (help[0]);

int i, j, k, id;
float color[3];
short material1;
MeReal mass, start;
MeMatrix3 I;
AcmeReal lineStart[3] = { 0.0, penRadius, 0.0};
AcmeReal lineEnd[3] = { 0.0, penJoint - penHeight, 0.0};

MeVector3 tempColorTop, tempColorBottom;
MeReal propI, propJ;
MdtContactParamsID props;

if (render == kRD3D) {
MeInfo(0,"Direct3D not supported for this example.\n");


Initialise dynamics

KeaMemoryArea = malloc(2000000);

world = MdtWorldCreate(NPENDULUMS + 1, NPENDULUMS + 100, KeaMemoryArea, 2000000);

MdtWorldSetGravity(world, gravity[0], gravity[1], gravity[2]);

In this demo, a lot of objects are stationary a lot of the time.
To speed things up we tell Mdt to AutoDisable objects when they
come to rest. Disabled MdtBodies are automatically re-Enabled
when an Enabled body contacts them.
MdtWorldSetDEMMode(world, MdtDEMModePartitionAutoDisable);


thing = MdtBodyCreate(world);

mass = thingDensity * thingDim[0] * thingDim[1] * thingDim[2];

MdtMakeInertiaTensorBox(mass, thingDim[0], thingDim[1], thingDim[2], I);

MdtBodySetMass(thing, mass);
MdtBodySetInertiaTensor(thing, I);

Add a little (angular)velocity damping
MdtBodySetAngularVelocityDamping(thing, 0.03);
MdtBodySetLinearVelocityDamping(thing, 0.02);


mass = PI * penRadius * penRadius * penDensity;
MdtMakeInertiaTensorSphere(mass, penRadius, I);

for (i = 0; i < NPENDULUMS; i++)
pen[i] = MdtBodyCreate(world);

MdtBodySetMass(pen[i], mass);
MdtBodySetInertiaTensor(pen[i], I);

MdtBodySetLinearVelocityDamping(pen[i], (MeReal)(0.2));
MdtBodySetAngularVelocityDamping(pen[i], (MeReal)(0.1));

/* reset pendulums to correct positions.. */

/* offset to start making pendulums from */
start = (NSIDE-1) * -penSpacing * (MeReal)0.5;

/* now make all the joints */
for (i = 0; i < NSIDE; i++)
for(j=0; j < NSIDE; j++)
joint[(i*NSIDE)+j] = MdtBSJointCreate(world, pen[(i*NSIDE)+j], 0);
MdtBSJointSetPosition(joint[(i*NSIDE)+j], start + i * penSpacing, penJoint, start + j * penSpacing);

Collision detection



/* max objects and pairs */
space = McdSpaceAxisSortCreate(McdAllAxes, NPENDULUMS + 2, 150);

cdHandler = McdDtBridgeCreate();

/* max pairs at a time */
McdDtBridgeSetPairListMaxCount(cdHandler, 150);

Set parameters for contacts.
material1 = McdDtBridgeGetDefaultMaterialID();
props = McdDtBridgeGetContactParams(material1, material1);

MdtContactParamsSetType(props, MdtContactTypeFriction2D);
MdtContactParamsSetFriction(props, 2.0);
MdtContactParamsSetRestitution(props, 0.3);

Only use 3 contacts per pair.
id = McdIntersectGetDefaultRequestID();
McdIntersectRequestSetContactMaxCount(id, id, 3);

plane_prim = McdPlaneCreate();
groundCM = McdModelCreate(plane_prim);
McdSpaceInsertModel(space, groundCM);
McdDtBridgeSetBody(cdHandler, groundCM, 0);

McdModelSetTransformPtr(groundCM, groundTransform);


box_prim = McdBoxCreate(thingDim[0],
thingDim[1], thingDim[2]);
thingCM = McdModelCreate(box_prim);
McdDtBridgeSetBody(cdHandler, thingCM, thing);
McdSpaceInsertModel(space, thingCM);

for (i = 0; i < NPENDULUMS; i++)
pen_prim[i] = McdBoxCreate(2 * penRadius,
2 * penRadius, 2 * penRadius);
penCM[i] = McdModelCreate(pen_prim[i]);
McdDtBridgeSetBody(cdHandler, penCM[i], pen[i]);
McdSpaceInsertModel(space, penCM[i]);


Initialise rendering attributes

rc = RNewRenderContext(render, kRQualitySmooth);

rc->m_cameraOffset = 30;



color[0] = 0.0f;
color[1] = 0.75f;
color[2] = 0.1f;

groundG =
RCreateCube(rc, 84.0f, 84.0f, 0.5f, color,
#ifndef PS2
RSetTexture(groundG, "checkerboard");
color[0] = 0.1;
color[1] = 0.1;
color[2] = 0.8;

thingG =
RCreateCube(rc, thingDim[0], thingDim[1], thingDim[2],
color, MdtBodyGetTransformPtr(thing));

#ifndef PS2
RSetTexture(thingG, "wood1");

/* make graphics (pretty colours) */
for (i = 0; i < NSIDE; i++)
for(j=0; j < NSIDE; j++)
propI = (MeReal)i/((MeReal)NSIDE-1);
propJ = (MeReal)j/((MeReal)NSIDE-1);

for(k=0; k<3; k++)
tempColorTop[k] =
(propI * (topRightColor[k] - topLeftColor[k])) + topLeftColor[k];
tempColorBottom[k] =
(propI * (bottomRightColor[k] - bottomLeftColor[k])) + bottomLeftColor[k];
color[k] =
(propJ * (tempColorTop[k] - tempColorBottom[k])) + tempColorBottom[k];

penG[(i*NSIDE)+j] =
RCreateCube(rc, 2*penRadius, 2*penRadius, 2*penRadius,
color, MdtBodyGetTransformPtr(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j]));
lineG[(i*NSIDE)+j] =
RCreateLine(rc, lineStart, lineEnd,
color, MdtBodyGetTransformPtr(pen[(i*NSIDE)+j]));


#ifndef PS2
RUseKey('w', increaseZForce);
RUseKey('s', decreaseZForce);
RUseKey('a', decreaseXForce);
RUseKey('d', increaseXForce);

RUseKey('\r', reset);
RUsePadKey(PADLup, increaseZForce);
RUsePadKey(PADLdown, decreaseZForce);
RUsePadKey(PADLright, decreaseXForce);
RUsePadKey(PADLleft, increaseXForce);
RUsePadKey(PADstart, reset);

/* selects a fixed-width font */

RCreateUserHelp(help, helpNum);
rc->m_title = "ManyPendulums example";

Cleanup after simulation.
#ifndef PS2
Run the Simulation.

RRun() executes the main loop.

Pseudocode: while no exit-request { Handle user input call Tick() to
evolve the simulation and update graphic transforms Draw graphics }

RRun(rc, tick);

return 0;

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