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Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 | 1 comment

Audio Implementation Greats #7: Physics Audio [Part 2]

In Part One we took a look at some of the fundamentals involved with orchestrating the sounds of destruction. We continue with another physics system design presented at last years Austin Game Developers Conference and then take a brief look towards where these techniques may be headed.



In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed we were working with two physics middleware packages: Havok Physics, and Pixelux’s Digital Molecular Matter (DMM). In addition to the simulation data that each provided, we also needed to manage the relationship between both. While Havok has become a popular choice for runtime physics simulations, the use of DMM spoke to the core of materials and provided each object physical properties enabling – in addition to collision’s – physically modeled dynamic fractures and bending. In some ways tackling the sound for both systems was a monumental undertaking, but there was enough overlap to make the process more pleasure than pain.

Before Jumping into the fray, I just wanted to take a moment to echo a couple of things that were touched on in the companion this article; specifically, that collaboration and iteration are the cornerstones of a quality production when it comes to systems design. Collaboration, because the stakeholders involved usually include people across all disciplines; from programmers to sound designers, modelers to texture artists, build engineer’s to game designers. Iteration, because the initial vision is always a approximation at best and until things get moving, it’s difficult to know what the eventual shape things will take.

While simultaneously reigning in and letting loose the flow of creativity ebbing and flowing across the development team, there is nothing more important than the support of your colleges. Leveraging the specialties of different people helps to bring new idea’s to situations in need of a solution. Your greatest asset as a team member is to recognize and respect the uniqueness of your co-workers and stay open to the constantly shifting requirements of the game. Good listening and better communication will improve the productivity of meetings, and reinforce the fundamental desire of everyone – to craft the best player experience possible.

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Posted by on Apr 1, 2010 | 1 comment

Audio Implementation Greats #6: Physics Audio [Part 1]

In part one of a two part series on physic sounds in games we’ll look at some of the fundamental considerations when designing a system to play back different types of physics sounds. With the help of Kate Nelson from Volition, we’ll dig deeper into the way Red Faction Guerrilla handed the needs of their GeoMod 2.0 destruction system and peek behind the curtain of their development process.



Physics, the simple pleasure of “matter and its motion through spacetime”.

In games we’ve reached the point where the granularity of our physics simulations are inching closer and closer towards a virtual model of reality. As we move away from the key-frame animated models of objects breaking, and the content swap of yesteryear, towards full scale visual destruction throughout our virtual worlds, we continue to increase the dynamic ability of objects to break, bend, and collide in relation to our experiences of the physical world around us.

“It is just inherently fun break things, and the bigger the thing is the more fun it is to break. It can be a stress relief or just give a feeling of power and control. We worked extremely hard to create a virtual sand box for the player to create and destroy as they see fit, we just hope it gives them the same pure joy they had as a small child kicking over a tower of blocks. “ Eric Arnold, Senior Developer at Volition (CBS news)

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