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Physics engines are software that allow computers to create physics phenomena that we experience in the real world (gravity, fluid dynamics, etc.) and apply them to 3D objects in games and other 3D renderings, which affects how those objects interact in the digital world. Game developers and video effects artists use physics engines to create lifelike computer-generated environments for video games, movies, and television. Some architects may use physics engines to create realistic 3D renderings for concept designs. Even if a 3D environment doesn’t require real-life physics, a physics engine will allow the designer to customise physics to fit their needs.
Without something like a physics engine telling many different 3D objects how to interact, programming an environment would be extremely time-consuming. Some environments may have hundreds of objects that all interact with each other in various ways. For example, an object in a bowl on a table is interacting with the bowl, the other objects in the bowl, the table, and the ground the table sits on. As a game developer or video effects artist, a physics engine will be part of the suite of tools used to create 3D environments. In many cases, physics engines are included in game engines, 3D modeling suites, and 3D rendering tools. However, it may be offered as a standalone or as a plug-in to another software.
To qualify as a physics engine, a software must:
Matali Physics is an advanced, modern, multi-platform, high-performance 3d physics environment intended for games, VR, AR, physics-based simulations and robotics. Matali Physics consists of the advanced 3d physics engine Matali Physics Core and other physics-driven modules that all together provide comprehensive simulation of physical phenomena and physics-based modeling of both real and imaginary objects.
Physics engine software, often included with game engine software, grants game developers and visual effects artists a tool kit for simulating and tweaking the laws of physics in 2D and 3D creations. This software eases the workload for designing interactive visual assets. With physics engine software, developers and artists apply real-world physical properties, such as gravity and momentum, to their 2D and 3D objects rather than designing them from scratch.This is a major advantage when crafting scenarios with multiple interactive objects. Physics engine software empowers creative game design by accurately simulating real-world physical systems, which frees developers to focus their efforts on mechanics and level design as opposed to mimicking physics from scratch. Visual effects artists rely on physics engines to ease the animation workload by automating representations of physical phenomena.
Without physics engine software, game design is bogged down by the prospect of either building an in-house solution, or using individual animations to represent physics. The former is a monumental task that would prove difficult for even a large, well funded studio. The latter is tedious and time consuming, especially in games with hundreds if not thousands of interactive elements. Physics engine software eases development workloads by offering pre-configured physical properties and systems for developers to work with.
Physics engine software runs 3D simulations to test real-world designs. Designers use physics engine software to help ensure that their initial build plans are optimal before bringing those builds to the real world. These simulations save time and money when designing new machines and other tech. Build flaws can be discovered before expending the resources to create prototypes in the real world.
Key Benefits of Physics Engine Software
Streamlined interactive design — Video game and visual effects design scenarios involve hundreds of interactive elements. Physics engine software lets users implement simulations of physical systems for 3D objects and environments without crafting each scenario from scratch.
Creative freedom — The tools and systems provided by physics engines give users the freedom to focus on creating their vision. By applying physical properties to objects and tweaking values, users create interactive and visually stunning scenarios without extra design work.
Realistic end product — Physics engine software give games and visual effects a level of realism that enhances immersion. The systems provided by physics engines minimize the possibility of human error when representing real-world scenarios.
Game developers — Game developers use physics engine software to make their interactive worlds come to life. Video game scenarios often involve many interactive virtual objects, and physics engine software alleviates the development workload required to apply physical properties to those objects.
Visual effects artists — Visual effects artists use physics engine software to add realism to their renders. Physics engine software makes it easier to apply physical properties to rendered visuals by eliminating the need to animate those properties from scratch.
Engineers and designers — Engineers and designers use physics engine software to simulate the physical properties of their designs before they build them in the real world. Physics engine software saves time and money by pinpointing flaws before prototypes are built in the real world.
Simulations of physical systems — Physics engine software grants users access to a variety of tools for simulating physical systems in a 2D or 3D space, including gravity, fluid dynamics, and momentum. Developers and visual effects artists using a physics engine platform can apply real-world physical properties to their virtual objects.
Collision detection — Developers and visual effects artists can use physics engines to implement collision detection for realistic and satisfying interactivity.
Value tweaking — Beyond mimicking real-world physics, physics engines allow users to tweak the values of physical properties. Developers and designers can craft scenarios that would be impossible in the real world. They do this by bending the laws of physics in their creations.