This is a topic that could be explored to a great extent. I am going to start up a dialog that I hope will be interesting for most students. I am sure that some have already an understanding of the topic, but I have some that complain about having to take this course.

 

First of all some of the main topics you can find in a video game that relate to Physics are:

 

Gravity

Projectile motion

Momentum

Light

Sound

 

Let’s review one by one:

 

Gravity:

Without gravity any object would not fall if left without a support. For games that include jumping, running or space traveling the lack of gravity would only apply to certain particular conditions. If an object or person is in or close to a place like earth or any other gravity source, the lack of gravity will render a game unrealistic. Game design software has Physics engines where different gravities can be selected.

 

Projectile motion:

The movement of a projectile in its most simple version will have a horizontal component and a vertical component. The horizontal component will depend on the launching angle,  the initial velocity and on the air resistance. The vertical component will depend mostly on gravity, but also on the launching angle. In reality gravity is always multiple, but in some cases it is safe to only include one gravity source, like when we are on earth or any other planet.

 

Momentum:

The first thing to consider is that in projectile motion the effect of a bullet on a target will mainly depend on its momentum, which depends on its mass and its velocity. In a video game, to render a realistic result this has to be considered.

Another example of momentum in game design relates to collision between objects and/or people. In a football game for example the mass of two colliding players will be determinant, as much as the velocity they have. The product of both, the momentum, with determine the outcome of the collision.

 

Light:

For any situation to be realistic, 3D figures will have parts directly exposed to light and parts in shade. On the other hand figures will cast shadows on other objects. Not to mention the effect of combining different light sources and colors on an object.

 

Sound:

Sound is also very important. Not only to create an atmosphere, a feeling about the game environment, but also from the Physics point of view to make it realistic. Sound travels and comes from different directions. Time lag, intensity and direction are important to have a realistic rendering. All these factors will have Physics to understand and simulate them.

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