A Simple Trick for Moving Objects in a Physics Simulation

(Original Image by Valerie Everett)

It is sometime necessary to move an object in a physics simulation to a specific point. On the one hand, it can be difficult to analyse the exact force you have to apply; on the other hand it might not look so good if you animate the object’s position directly.

A compromise that works well in many situations is to use a spring-damper system to move the object.

The trick is simple: we apply two forces—the one is proportional to the displacement; the other is proportional to the velocity. Tweaked correctly, they combine to give realistic movement to the desired point.

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Cellular Automata for Simulation in Games

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A cellular automata system is one of the best demonstrations of emergence. If you do not know what cellular automata (CA) is, then you should go download Conway’s Game of Life immediately:

Conway’s Game of Life

Essentially, CA is a collection of state machines, updated in discrete time intervals. The next state of one of these depends on the current state as well as the states of neighbours. Usually, the state machines correspond to cells in a grid, and the neighbours of a cell are the cells connected to that cell. For a more detailed explanation, see the Wikipedia article.

Even simple update rules can lead to interesting behaviour: patterns that cannot be predicted from the rules except by running them. With suitable rules, CA can simulate many systems:

  • Natural phenomena: weather, fire, plant growth, migration patterns, spread of disease.
  • Socio-economic phenomena: urbanisation, segregation, construction and property development, traffic, spread of news.

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About Me

ht1_smallI am Herman Tulleken.

I have an honors degree in computer engineering, and I have been making games professionally since 2006, working for Luma Arcade, InnovationLab, I-Imagine and ICE and for many others as a freelancer. In 2013 I partnered with friend / colleague Jonathan Bailey to start a new game-tools business Gamelogic. In 2015 we started a community of game developers in Chile, which became GameDev Planet in 2016.

I have written on many game development and related topics (on Gamasutra and others). You can get a full list on my Writing page.

On occasion I also compose the odd piece of music, mostly for piano.

Email: herman.tulleken@gmail.com

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Random Steering – 7 Components for a Toolkit

Random steering is often a useful for simulating interesting steering motion. In this post we look at components that make up a random steering toolkit. These can be combined in various ways to get agents to move in interesting ways.

You might want to have a look at Craig Reynolds’ Steering Behaviour for Autonomous Characters — the wander behaviour is what is essentially covered in this tutorial. The main difference is that we control the angle of movement directly, while Reynolds produce a steering force. This post only look at steering — we assume the forward speed is constant. All references to velocity or acceleration refers to angular velocity and angular acceleration.

Whenever I say “a random number”, I mean a uniformly distributed random floating point value between 0 and 1.

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Force Field Editor v1.0

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Vector fields are used in certain AI and simulation techniques. The tool below allows you to paint a vector field. These files can be saved in XML format, that can easily be loaded into another application.

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60 Ways to make Game Maker projects more maintainable

Game Maker is a great tool; it is especially suited for rapid development and small projects. However, as a project becomes bigger, it becomes more difficult to find things, easier to break it, and generally harder to work on. This is of course true for any production environment, and there are many things you can do to tame the beast of scale. Here are 60 things to make Game Maker projects more maintainable.

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