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Game Physics Engine Development: How to Build a Robust Commercial-Grade Physics Engine for your Game [Print Replica] [Kindle Edition]

Ian Millington
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £36.99
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  • Print Replica:
    This Kindle book looks just like the printed book
  • Print ISBN-10: 0123819768
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0123819765
  • Edition: 2
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Book Description

Physics is really important to game programmers who need to know how to add physical realism to their games. They need to take into account the laws of physics when creating a simulation or game engine, particularly in 3D computer graphics, for the purpose of making the effects appear more real to the observer or player.The game engine needs to recognize the physical properties of objects that artists create, and combine them with realistic motion.

The physics ENGINE is a computer program that you work into your game that simulates Newtonian physics and predict effects under different conditions. In video games, the physics engine uses real-time physics to improve realism.

This is the only book in its category to take readers through the process of building a complete game-ready physics engine from scratch. The Cyclone game engine featured in the book was written specifically for this book and has been utilized in iPhone application development and Adobe Flash projects.  There is a good deal of master-class level information available, but almost nothing in any format that teaches the basics in a practical way. The second edition includes NEW and/or revised material on collision detection, 2D physics, casual game physics for Flash games, more references, a glossary, and end-of-chapter exercises. The companion website will include the full source code of the Cyclone physics engine, along with example applications that show the physics system in operation. 

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Product Description


Praise for 1st edition:

"The first game physics book to emphasize building an actual engine...his book fills a gap by demonstrating how you actually build a physics engine." - Dave Eberly, President, Geometric Tools.

"A competent programmer with sufficient mathematical sophistication could build a physics engine just from the text and equations--even without the accompanying source code.  You can't say this about a lot of books!" - Philip J. Schneider, Industrial Light & Magic.

About the Author

Ian Millington is a partner of IPR Ventures, a consulting company developing next-generation AI technologies for entertainment, modeling, and simulation. Previously he founded Mindlathe Ltd, the largest specialist AI middleware company in computer games, working with on a huge range of game genres and technologies. He has a long background in AI, including PhD research in complexity theory and natural computing. He has published academic and professional papers and articles on topics ranging from paleontology to hypertext.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10387 KB
  • Print Length: 552 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press; 2 edition (23 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #757,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really excellent introductory/intermediate book 13 Jun. 2013
By Richard
I got this book recently as a gift (I know I'm a geek) and found it not only to be useful but also (remarkably) quite an interesting read that I read from cover to cover without feeling "bogged down" in it. This book starts from very little assumed knowledge (for example vectors are explained) but quickly builds up to some quite advanced concepts. I have a degree in physics but I think I would classify that as useful rather than essential for this book to be useful to you. A decent background in programming is probably essential but not necessarily C++ (the books language of choice)

Text books can in general be split into two groups, those that are mathematically rigorous to the expense of clarity and those that are actually useful. This book definitely falls into latter category; and is better for it.

I am a java programmer with no experience of C++ however the book (which is C++ focused) remained very useful with the supplied code being supplemental to the text section rather than being essential. However, the code that I did read was clear with expressive variable names and clear logic.

Other reviewers have commented that the collision detection chapter is weak and I have to agree; if that is your main difficulty then this book may not be for you. However collision detection is quite self-contained; separated out from the rest of a physics engine so you can plug in whatever collision detection you like. For me this was fine as in my previous "less than satisfactory" attempts at physics engines the collision detection was the only part that was good and I just slotted in the old collision detection into the new engine.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect - For me 6 Jan. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must admit I am somewhat confused as to the reviews this book has gotten so far. However, this is likely because I am using the book differently to others.

For my purposes this books has been everything I need. I got the book at Christmas and now have a pretty good foundation 2D physics engine for my game engine (this book primarily covers 3D, but coversion to 2D is relatively simple, and the maths is easier. there is even a chapter on what you need to convert!)

Firstly, I am a physics graduate with a number of years (10+?) of hobbyist programming behind me. My language of choice (due to targeting Windows Phone platform) is currently C#. I can programme in others, including C++.

This book walks you through the steps required to start building YOUR OWN physics engine. I did not copy any code in the book. This book is fantastic for highlighting a possible structure for a physics engine (mine is radically different in actual implementation), as well as what you need to implement and watch out for. At every step, the relative merits and drawbacks of methods are discussed (with reference to further texts) with good insight into uses and limitations of the engine at each step.

I therefore cannot comment on the ability of the source code to run, or its programming practices. The comment I will make is that the author in a number of places advises that the code in the book has been arranged for readability rather than performance. Im not sure how that translates to the downloadable code.


This book is fantastic if you:
1. Mathematically literate to A-level. A good conceptual grasp of what calculus is all about helps with understanding the position -> velocity -> acceleration equations.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good intro. Nothing more 30 Jun. 2011
All in all, it was a decent introduction to physics programming. Having done A-level physics & maths barely anything new was introduced so the physics principles were faily straighforward. It was the programming that was quite tricky at times. Being a C# beginner-ish level, converting from C++ was faily easy (when combined with a bit of googling).
I highly recommended you have already programmed a basic 3D engine.
The first half of the book was quite clear and there was no need to look up any source code online. However, the reason for only 2 stars is the second half of the book. Big corners were cut. Concepts were explained without any code to go with it. Where there was code, methods/functions were often added yet not meated out until much later, meaning going through many chapters with just plain reading and coding without being able to test your engine (easily). Bits of code is dotted around and its rarely clear whether you're suppose to include that code, or where in the engine it should be placed. The most tricky part of the book, and the one I was most interested in learning, was collision detection. And this was the part where the most corners were cut. In the end, and really disappointingly, I've ended up having to copy and paste these sections of the source code from online (and re-writing to C#). If you do this you'll often find methods/functions that weren't covered in the book yet were fundamental to the engine.
If you're a good programmer you may get alot more out of this book. A good introduction but if you're interested in collision detection for rigid bodies, I really can't recommend this book.
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