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can games bring back advanced physics systems (NOT pertaining to graphics)

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Physics is like that one class in high school that you struggle at and watch the day go by, who knows where the “physics” is on developers priorities list, naughty dog multiple game of the year awards do you hear anyone talk about Nathan Drake’s “physics”? Physics contribute but gaming is trying to get back to its glory days.
.... the 2000s WERE gaming's glory days. and the physics had a LOT to do with why that was the case. Also, Naughty dog's games (since 2007) have never been loved for their gameplay but for their story and judging by how badly TLOU2 was recieved that's not going too well for them. Scripted, predictable games should not be where the industry is heading
also for the jaguar CPU thing, i get that but we're 2 years into the newer gen and developers still haven't focused on physics yet. also even then, these jaguar cpus were still more powerful than their 7th gen predecessors (if only slightly) so they could still handle the complex physics calculations that 7th gen did, yet they completely axed all of that for more scripted stuff with no player agency. Replayable games are games with fun, realistic and immersive physics. you can't call TLOU, gears or Uncharted very "replayable" because at the end of the day they're still scripted boring games with hardly any physics interactions or fun gameplay possibilities
 

bender

What time is it?
Scripted, predictable games should not be where the industry is heading

Don't worry, we also get a ton of paint-by-the numbers open world , survival craft'em-ups, and rogue lite games.

 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
also, EVEN IF you're not into the whole "destructible environments and physics that make the game not feel like a video game and feel actually immersive" type of thing you can atleast admit that stuff like soldier of fortune's incredibly realistic gore and EAX don't do anything to modify gameplay and are quality of life features that every first person shooter would heavily benefit from. It'd be far more realistic (and far cooler frankly) to have an enemy's body limbs actually react to getting shot rather than the entire body just taking damage when you shoot somewhere (with the exception of the head because it's a gameplay mechanic)
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Physics and A.I. have essentially been put to the side as most of you guys say you want advanced physics and A.I. until the physics don't do what you want or the A.I. outsmarts you and with the attention span of the average gamer, games with more advanced physics and a.i. get the "trash" or "unbalanced" label and then people move on.
I've never really encountered a situation in a game like GTA4 or Far Cry 2 where the physics were so fucking jank they ended up breaking the game. maybe it's a thing in the early 2000s, but by the late 2000s physics engines were perfected to the point where jank was kept to a minimum and realism was kept to the absolute maximum (which is why people cite those games for amazing physics in video games)
And frankly, stupid video game logic stuff like a wooden door surviving rocket blasts makes for more interesting gameplay. Elden Ring would have been a significantly worse game if enemies could break through every object they get stuck on. It is a core part of the gameplay experience for a Souls game and removing it would not make the game better.
it is a core part of the gameplay experience for a SOULS GAME. not every video game ever made is a souls game, and not every video game ever made benefits from not having good physics interactions. Would Half Life 2 be as praised as it was is the physics were as static as modern games? how about BOTW? Left 4 Dead? Portal? Or even red faction like we've mentioned here. The fact it's gone to the point where people mention it a lot purely because of how well made its physics are is proof that physics CAN easily elevate games. If GTA5's physics were nonexistent do you honestly think people would even be mentioning or talking about the game over 10 years later? (to be fair, they are because there hasn't been a new entry in the franchise for the past decade, but the point stands)
 
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Robb

Gold Member
I’ve wanted more and improved physics interaction in games ever since Half-Life 2. But it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

I guess it’s too much work implementing and testing for most devs.
 

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
.... the 2000s WERE gaming's glory days. and the physics had a LOT to do with why that was the case. Also, Naughty dog's games (since 2007) have never been loved for their gameplay but for their story and judging by how badly TLOU2 was recieved that's not going too well for them. Scripted, predictable games should not be where the industry is heading
also for the jaguar CPU thing, i get that but we're 2 years into the newer gen and developers still haven't focused on physics yet. also even then, these jaguar cpus were still more powerful than their 7th gen predecessors (if only slightly) so they could still handle the complex physics calculations that 7th gen did, yet they completely axed all of that for more scripted stuff with no player agency. Replayable games are games with fun, realistic and immersive physics. you can't call TLOU, gears or Uncharted very "replayable" because at the end of the day they're still scripted boring games with hardly any physics interactions or fun gameplay possibilities

You absolutely don't need physics engines to be a replayable game. What makes a game replayable is a focus on strong gameplay that rewards player choice and/or skill with having little in the way from stopping the player. Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry, Mario.

Games like TLOU2 and other narrative focused games have their place, but the gameplay is often very shallow, easily exploitable, and constantly stopped to push cutscenes and "slow" moments where you slowly walk in a linear fashion or watch cutscene after cutscene with no way to skip large portions of it, or at least done in a way that isn't tiring.
 

Zuzu

Member
It was interesting seeing in the Duke Nukem Forever 2001 leak how good the glass physics are in windows when you shot them and broke the glass. You don’t see that in games these days.
 

CamHostage

Member

Holy hell, now THAT is a UE tech demo for me!

I open-tabbed this in a different window and it started playing before I clicked over, and even without seeing it, I was like, "Whaa, who's shooting me from over there?!"

You can envision the acoustic environment without seeing that Lyra level in action. Not that this is revolutionary (MS Project Acoustics is part of the Xbox Series sound engine and I believe is used in the Gears 5 remaster; the plugin is also in Unity, plus works in both UE4.2x as well as UE5 so it's not something exclusive to this new engine,) but it's a great showcase of physical sound.


Cool demo and also nice breakdown afterwards, if you're into tech. (I like how you can assign "acoustic material" to surfaces in the game, which is why this is so echo'ey, because the level is full of glass and tile.) I totally missed this, thanks for the share!
 
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Doczu

Member
Shitty last gen CPUs didn't help, but i don't believe devs couldn't at least have some HL2 level physica if they wanted. Shit was working ok on a Pentium 4. That would be servicable.
But yeah, too much work for little to no gratification
 

protonion

Member
What I want is the next MGS2 tanker lounge.
So much detail packed in a single room.

But this could only happen in small scope focused game.

Example, a brawler game taking place indoors only (like the movie Raid). Where every single item has realistic physics and reacts to the gameplay. Bodies going through glass, furniture being dropped down, breaking items... stuff like that.
 

CS Lurker

Member
It seems it isn't a selling point for most people. So why waste time if they can just make better visuals (unfortunately IMO)
 
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Shmunter

Member
Thanks to the horrible imbalance of last gen cpu vs GPU. This gen fixes that imbalance but because of the cross gen nonsense we’re still anchored to it all and devs have almost forgotten about that side of fidelity it seems.

Just check out the latest Motorstorm DF vid in how cool physics were in the ps3 era
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
You absolutely don't need physics engines to be a replayable game. What makes a game replayable is a focus on strong gameplay that rewards player choice and/or skill with having little in the way from stopping the player. Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry, Mario.

Games like TLOU2 and other narrative focused games have their place, but the gameplay is often very shallow, easily exploitable, and constantly stopped to push cutscenes and "slow" moments where you slowly walk in a linear fashion or watch cutscene after cutscene with no way to skip large portions of it, or at least done in a way that isn't tiring.
you're absolutely right, i worded that poorly, what i mean to say is that the most replayable games out there tend to have very interesting and dynamic physics that keep players replaying the game
 

kikkis

Gold Member
With increasing focus on online and the fact that networked physics suck, I don't think we see hardly any improvements in gameplay integrated physics. Also I think some of you oversell the cpu improvements, four times more powerful than crap isnt a ton of single threaded performance for physics.
 

FeldMonster

Member
Personally, I don't find improved physics fun or interesting. I don't care about interacting or destroying the environment. What is the point? Unless there is a benefit, such as finding a resource in a crate, why should I care? Otherwise, it is as pointless as a story in a Tetris game, it serves no purpose and wastes resources.

Give me lifelike AI in my FPS games so that I don't need to play with terrible human beings online. I wish we could get bots like in the original Perfect Dark in every game.
 

Shmunter

Member
Personally, I don't find improved physics fun or interesting. I don't care about interacting or destroying the environment. What is the point? Unless there is a benefit, such as finding a resource in a crate, why should I care? Otherwise, it is as pointless as a story in a Tetris game, it serves no purpose and wastes resources.

Give me lifelike AI in my FPS games so that I don't need to play with terrible human beings online. I wish we could get bots like in the original Perfect Dark in every game.
What do your mean? Don’t you find objects in the game reacting as you’d expect more immersive? It’s on the same tangent as believable AI.
 

jufonuk

not tag worthy
I love BoTW for this. It’s not 100% but the way you can cause chaos by lighting something on fire and it will spread. Cause explosive to explode and enemies to react. It’s awesome.

I must Physics such as the gravity gun on half life 2.

What happened to being able to destroy the environment (in game, not real life.)

I guess with scripted almost on rails set pieces there is no need.
 

REDRZA MWS

Member
Battlefield Bad Company still has the best audio in a first person shooter game. Playing it on my surround sound sure was a fun gameplay experience.




It’s like developers stopped caring about the little details in games that make them realistic and instead only focus on big Hollywood style soundtracks.
This was the peak of map and literally everything destructible when made the BF series stand out from its competition. Sadly, just like with Socon 4, they chased and followed CoD. (Which btw one version later vanguard is hates across the board). Here’s hoping MS Can breath new like into the series.
 

AlphaDump

Member
I've always thought any fps game that can capture elements from FEAR 1, SoF 1/2, and Red Faction would be an instant hit. Sucks to see that those are still examples to highlight almost 20 years later.
 
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Urban

Member
Why the hell is it that since the PS4 and Xbox One launched, games have completely gone down the fucking gutter when it comes to physics? Destructible environments were a thing in 2001, with red faction which allowed you to blow up whatever the fuck you wanted and it looked cool as hell. Far Cry 2 had dunia, which was an extremely advanced engine in all areas- graphics, physics, gameplay, etc. Crysis (not counting how mindblowing the game was visually when it came out) had fully destructible environments, not to the same extent of red faction, but still to a greater extent than whatever the fuck most modern games have. GTA4 had the most realistic ragdoll engine ever made, Versions of windows before vista had EAX which is the most realistic 3d audio sound engine to date, warping sound, adding reverb and echo depending on the terrain and areas you were in. Soldier of Fortune 2 has the most realistic gore system in a game, with extremely detailed, realistic dismemberment that put literally every other COD killing simulator to shame. All of these are games from the fucking 2000s. In the year of our lord 2022, why is it that despite having way more powerful hardware than what we had in 2001, is it that no games have destructible environments, well made physics engines, and good 3d audio??? (PS5 3d audio frankly doesn't compare to how realistic EAX got)
It's like we go 15 quadrillion steps forward in graphics but take a massive step back in literally everything else. What the fuck??? I want my advanced, revolutionary immersive physics back! Stop scripting everything and making a cutscene for the tiniest shit!!


u never heard of this one? buy it and have fun.
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
There's no one reason for this (and no it's not the hardware primarily either - not in the literal sense people think anyway). But if we had to summarize primary reasons - these would be the most likely top 3:

Online proliferation. There's no mature/feasible solutions for doing large scale interactive physics online, at cost (no, Crackdown wasn't it either). Possibly this may never happen until cloud-costs come crashing down, or some massive company just swallows the costs long enough to make it happen.
Also I should point out - people tend to focus on destruction which is like... 90% cosmetic anyway(and actually relatively easy to do, even online). The hard stuff is proper physical interactivity, which is already pretty bad in single-player games (yes, even in HL2) but when you put it online becomes another order of magnitude harder to do, and a lot more expensive to operate (and thus a question of how to extract those costs from your users - the answer is usually, you don't).

Which brings us to the second point - physics compute costs, unlike most other processing in games, scale exponentially, not linearly with amount of 'stuff'. Eg. doubling processing might give you 2x the pixels on screen - but only 10% more physical entities to work with. Combined with the fact that 'non-cosmetic' physics doesn't really lend itself to different 'LODs' for variety of specs you run on, you are mostly stuck with lowest-common denominator to base your interactivity on - and the whole thing is pretty stuck/on a very slow progression curve.

Finally - there's the problem that increase in graphics fidelity greatly outpaces what is possible to dynamically simulate, and introducing low-fidelity simulation breaks immersion far worse than keeping things mostly static. Combined with the fact high-fidelity graphics often brings more static elements in early stages (eg. Nanite) and people mostly just looking at pretty pictures over anything else - justifications of investing in the space are few and far in between.

This list is by far not exhaustive - tons more that could be said, but the point is the forces at work are systemic, meaning market at large isn't likely to change anytime soon, outside of occasional title here and there that tries different things at the expense of all other expectations.
 
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NewYork214

Member
Talking about destructible environments. If memory serves me right, mercenaries allowed you to take down every single building. Really good that series makes a come back
 

The artful mincer

Gold Member
The ps4 and xbox one main advancements were in the gpu and memory over ps3 and 360. Physics are mainly controlled by the cpu which we all know were compromised last gen. I remember seeing some graph showing the ps3 cell was as capable or better than both ps4 and ones cpu

No excuse this gen however hopefully we see some crazy physics
 

tygertrip

Member
Why the hell is it that since the PS4 and Xbox One launched, games have completely gone down the fucking gutter when it comes to physics? Destructible environments were a thing in 2001, with red faction which allowed you to blow up whatever the fuck you wanted and it looked cool as hell. Far Cry 2 had dunia, which was an extremely advanced engine in all areas- graphics, physics, gameplay, etc. Crysis (not counting how mindblowing the game was visually when it came out) had fully destructible environments, not to the same extent of red faction, but still to a greater extent than whatever the fuck most modern games have. GTA4 had the most realistic ragdoll engine ever made, Versions of windows before vista had EAX which is the most realistic 3d audio sound engine to date, warping sound, adding reverb and echo depending on the terrain and areas you were in. Soldier of Fortune 2 has the most realistic gore system in a game, with extremely detailed, realistic dismemberment that put literally every other COD killing simulator to shame. All of these are games from the fucking 2000s. In the year of our lord 2022, why is it that despite having way more powerful hardware than what we had in 2001, is it that no games have destructible environments, well made physics engines, and good 3d audio??? (PS5 3d audio frankly doesn't compare to how realistic EAX got)
It's like we go 15 quadrillion steps forward in graphics but take a massive step back in literally everything else. What the fuck??? I want my advanced, revolutionary immersive physics back! Stop scripting everything and making a cutscene for the tiniest shit!!
I agree with you in general, but I was a 3D audio snob back in the EAX and A3D days, and you are misremembering EAX. EAX wasn't 3D, it was more about reverbs and occlusions. You are probably thinking about it being used concurrently with something like Directsound3d or CMSS. Neither if which came close to the 3D positioning if Aureal's A3D. The PS5's 3D audio is the first non-VR use of 3D audio I have heard, since Creative bought and buried A3D, to match the quality of A3D. EAX was nice, but A3D it wasn't. You are right on about everything else, though.
 
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Arcadialane

Member
physics feels like it has been of the most neglected aspects of game development

The way bodies react to being hit by fists/melle weapons/bullets/vehicles feel like they havent really improved for 20 years
 
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Miles708

Member
Unless there is a specific gameplay element that needs it, accurate physics is essentially a needless headache both graphically and procedurally. Basically just costly eye candy.

The question is, where are the innovative game concepts using physics in an interesting manner.
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Bunny Spank GIF

Yes where is all the advanced jiggle physics
thats a very cute hamster

you're joking here but it does raise a good point, games don't use softbody physics a lot these days which kind of sucks seeing games like BeamNG proved what is possible with those types of physics

Imagine kirby with jiggle physics, that would be funny
 
There's no one reason for this (and no it's not the hardware primarily either - not in the literal sense people think anyway). But if we had to summarize primary reasons - these would be the most likely top 3:

Online proliferation. There's no mature/feasible solutions for doing large scale interactive physics online, at cost (no, Crackdown wasn't it either). Possibly this may never happen until cloud-costs come crashing down, or some massive company just swallows the costs long enough to make it happen.
Also I should point out - people tend to focus on destruction which is like... 90% cosmetic anyway(and actually relatively easy to do, even online). The hard stuff is proper physical interactivity, which is already pretty bad in single-player games (yes, even in HL2) but when you put it online becomes another order of magnitude harder to do, and a lot more expensive to operate (and thus a question of how to extract those costs from your users - the answer is usually, you don't).

Which brings us to the second point - physics compute costs, unlike most other processing in games, scale exponentially, not linearly with amount of 'stuff'. Eg. doubling processing might give you 2x the pixels on screen - but only 10% more physical entities to work with. Combined with the fact that 'non-cosmetic' physics doesn't really lend itself to different 'LODs' for variety of specs you run on, you are mostly stuck with lowest-common denominator to base your interactivity on - and the whole thing is pretty stuck/on a very slow progression curve.

Finally - there's the problem that increase in graphics fidelity greatly outpaces what is possible to dynamically simulate, and introducing low-fidelity simulation breaks immersion far worse than keeping things mostly static. Combined with the fact high-fidelity graphics often brings more static elements in early stages (eg. Nanite) and people mostly just looking at pretty pictures over anything else - justifications of investing in the space are few and far in between.

This list is by far not exhaustive - tons more that could be said, but the point is the forces at work are systemic, meaning market at large isn't likely to change anytime soon, outside of occasional title here and there that tries different things at the expense of all other expectations.
You’re mostly there but not quite on some of your points.

Most of the above can be and have been modulated in the past to provide layers of physics and interactivity that add value to the gameplay experience sufficiently and don’t cost the earth in terms of frame time.

The major reasons why we haven’t seen significant advancements in these areas over the last decade in line with advances in processing power are as follows:

1. Advancements in graphics have moved at pace with consumer expectations. To achieve ever increasing advancements in fidelity have required lots of trade offs which have meant GFX techniques orientated towards static methods instead of dynamic methods to keep the FPS up. E.g. static global illumination, static scene shadowing etc all put hard constraints on the ability to allow changes to environment meshes, props or other objects in the world. This basically kills the option of say environmental destruction, because you can’t re-bake at real-time.

It becomes a commercial decision too; either try to get your IP noticed by making it more shiny to please the fans at E3/Gamescom or add more interactivity & dynamism, risking inflating your production budget/time (more bugs due to more edge cases to play test and balance), delays as well as failing to really hit the bang for buck needed to get the title noticed and drive sales.

2. The proliferation of commodity game engines (Unreal, Unity). This is a big one. Dev times & budgets have increased from one generation to the next, increasing scope of customer expectations where they want more, bigger, shinnier and with more spectacle. In order to reduce execution risk as well as time to market, studios move over to market leading game tech with comprehensive feature sets, great tools and a large community of support (not to mention a well established talent pool who can hit the ground running).

Problem is this becomes a blessing and a curse. Suddenly studios are locked into said feature sets and it makes it much harder to innovate around adding further interactivity or dynamisms beyond what they constraints of the engine framework supports. Studios can always go off the beaten path and customise it, but it’s a huge risks as it can inhibit or add unnecessary complexity to the consumption of follow-on access to much needed support, bug fixes, upgrades and new features. So in order to mitigate risk, most studios will work with what the engines provide and rely on the engine provider to (hopefully) respond to requests for new functionality through their own product roadmap, which has its own independent set of priorities.

3. Finally there’s the pure economic cost of trying to implement more dynamism in big budget games. This has always been costly in terms of time to design, implement, create art for, refine, play test & balance, & it’s a problem set that incrementally increases the time it takes to do those things for each new piece of functionality layered in (for heavily coupled dynamic systems, you create scope for emergent behaviours and thus the permutations of edges cases increase non-linearly). This work is ever more costly when fidelity increases, as suddenly the same methods for e.g. destruction that may have worked before, may require even more cost in terms of simulation granularity/fidelity to not break the immersion of the overall visuals of the game-in-motion (e.g. more particles, more detailed models, more detailed effects, more granular physics simulations). This has a compounding effect on the total cost per frame whereby increasing graphics fidelity means you “have to” increase physics and dynamism fidelity, which say 8x increases the overall cost increment vis-a-vis say the previous gen (rough illustration).

On the flip side, the good news is with systems like granite and lumen in Unreal Engine 5, advances in compute have started to re-orient systems back towards dynamic models for GFX (lumen especially). Granite is streaming based, of which whilst it doesn’t support dynamic mesh modification yet, theoretically it’s possible (with the right framework for managing mesh modification writebacks to disk, streaming block re-organisation and stream cache invalidation/synchronisation).

The major push for this is largely around mitigating the cost of iteration during production for high fidelity content creation (over the past two gens, the increased use of static baking and static content have lead to heavy increases in iteration times, as the turnaround of getting a new asset from DCC tool into the game required longer and longer off-line baking cycles, and where every change required a re-submission of the asset through this pipeline, dramatically expanding dev times).

Hopefully this opens the door to much more dynamisms & interactivity moving forward, where the constraints in supporting more dynamic worlds at bleeding edge levels of graphics fidelity start to get rolled away. Thus opening the door to engine providers being able to invest more in supporting more advanced physics (e.g. Unreal Engine 5’s new “Chaos Physics” system) and more dynamic and interactive systems to further differentiate their own offerings, whilst at the same time allowing game devs to benefit hugely from these economies of scale and incorporate them more into their games, minimising cost and effort to achieve.

Further investment by the engine providers in tools and technologies to better assist in balancing these dynamic and interactive systems efficiently (cutting production costs) could also lead to a much wider explosion of inclusion of more dynamism in games, as developers can cut playtest and balancing cycles and allow themselves to plan and design more gameplay systems to incorporate.

Anyway that’s my 2 cents
 

kether

Neo Member
physics feels like it has been of the most neglected aspects of game development

The way bodies react to being hit by fists/melle weapons/bullets/vehicles feel like they havent really improved for 20 years
One of my most memorable video game moments was seeing the first footage of Killzone 2. Seeing the way bodies moved as they were hit with bullets was incredible, and the memory sticks with me today.
 
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