Best Physics Engine Software

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:

  • Simulate a variety of physical systems (rigid body dynamics, soft body dynamics, fluid dynamics, etc.)
  • Apply those systems to 3D objects and environments
  • Work in tandem with other software systems to create a cohesive experience
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    PhysX creates effects and scene filled with dynamic destruction, particle based fluids, and life-like animation with accurate physics simulation.

    Box2D is an open source C++ engine for simulating bodies in 2D that has features in collision, physics, system, testbed, and documentation.

    BeamNG aims to bring soft-body physics and soft-body physics model design to the forefront of game physics simulation making available the technology and know-how a wide audience.

    Bullet is a physics engine which stimulates collision detection, soft and rigid body dynamics, soft body support, and more.

    A modular, extendable, and easy-to-use physics engine for javascript

    Havok is a collision detection and physical stimulation technology for interactive software for digital media creators in games and movie industries.

    Matali Physics is an advanced, multi-platform, high-performance 3d physics engine intended for games, virtual reality and physics-based simulations. Matali Physics with add-ons forms physics environment which provides complex physical simulation and physics-based modeling of objects both real and imagined.

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