Now you're thinking with science.
November 7, 2009 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Ever wonder how the physics of Portal's portals worked? Or how Mario could walk on space rocks in Super Mario Galaxy? Games Demystified seeks to answer these pressing questions, with code samples and working demos.

Currently a feature on the game industry blog Gamasutra, Games Demystified has also covered the rail-grinding of Final Fantasy: Dissidia and the physics of the iPhone game Rolando.
posted by hellojed (8 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
this is pretty fantastic.
posted by shmegegge at 2:28 PM on November 7, 2009

Interesting, but I personally like it best when a site conjectures how the physics could work in real life. Here's one on how to get a relatively low-mass black hole inside a hollow sphere to build your own Super Mario Galaxy planetoids. Or, if you're a hipster too cool for Nintendo, an asteroid home from the Little Prince.

Granted, his plan has a big flaw. If you were to stand on the planetoid, the black hole would get drawn towards you, leading to you probably getting crushed and splattered all over the surface before getting sucked in through a dimple on the surface. Thanks to relativity, your family would see your stretched out remains getting drawn in for the rest of time. If you somehow survive, you get to watch the entire universe stand still for the rest of your lifetime (time relative to your vital organs' perspective, of course).

Of course, if anyone wants to try this as a Mefi Project, I'm glad to fill the role of Googling facts about black holes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:51 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

From the Space Rocks link: This means that as an object moves closer to a planet, the gravity between them increases dramatically due to the exponential effect applied by distance.
Gravity force does not increase exponentially as you approach a mass. "Exponentially" seems to have obtained the meaning "faster than linearly" at some point. This is a shame, because exponential and quadratic are really quite different...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:28 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

That's game physics, not real physics. The real physics behind portal technology is...
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2009

hellojed: "Ever wonder how the physics of Portal's portals worked?"

posted by Rhaomi at 4:00 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]

So in layman's terms: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out?

posted by homuncula at 4:45 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

One thing that they talk about in the voiceover commentary for Portal is that physics gets very, very weird around portals, and there are zillions of possible bugs and edge cases that can do evil things to the state of your game.

IIRC, Valve said that they implemented little bubbles around portals with simplified physics; the bubble encompasses both the entrance and the exit. So if you drop something into a portal, before it gets there, it gets handed into a different 'physics space', with lots of shortcuts and special cases, and then when it gets far enough away again, it returns to the normal physics system.

You just can't tell when you're playing. Everything is amazingly smooth. Valve games don't use the shiniest rendering features anymore, and they take FOREVER to release games, but they are incredibly polished once they release. They're kind of a baby Pixar in the care that they take in their world-building; they don't have budgets like Pixar, but they do amazing work within their money and hardware limits.
posted by Malor at 11:24 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

They actually *do* have budgets like Pixar does, relative to their industry. It's just that feature films are, in general, more capital-intensive than AAA games.
posted by Fraxas at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2009

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