Thursday, August 03, 2006

Is physics that thing nerds study?

NPR's All Things Considered featured a story (hit link and click listen) today on a new device most hard-core gamers are already familiar with: the PhysX physics engine. It does for in-game physics what graphics cards do for in-game visuals. The goal of PhysX is to make games appear more "real". The question is, do we want things to be more real?

NPR's commentator, Jake Halpern, thinks "real" is not why we play games. He can do with less "real".

I agree.

We play games to escape the harsh realities of the world, gravity and all. Reality, we don't need no stink'n reality. I can't really fly a plane or drive a car at 156 mph but I want to think that I can. Reality tells me I can't. If a toss a grenade in the general direction of a zombie, I really don't want to think about velocity or if the "wind" is blowing towards me. Reality says, bad gust and you're dead! If a physics engine forces me to obey laws of nature I've enjoyed ignoring in the past, I'm not sure I'd want one. I'm ok playing forever in "arcade mode", thank you very much.

and... I also disagree.

Physics chip awesome! Me likey things splode pretty. BOOM! Ha ha ha! SPLat! Whee! Dead things fall funny. More more! Wicked blood spurt dude! Dude, check out the bouncy bouncies! Vavavoom! Hehe, physics is schweet.

Hehe, he said bouncy bouncies.

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