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FIFA Physics



FIFA 15 has recently been released, and it claims to have pretty good physics. For that, they can thank last year's edition, FIFA 14.

Now, I (and another user on this site, whose name I will refrain from mentioning - you know who you are, Dan) have played a good amount of FIFA 14. For some reason or another, though, we haven't really delved into the physics of its engine, the "next-generation" EA Sports Ignite Engine. Whether or not the recent engine is a marketing ploy is irrelevant in this discussion (though it probably is) - here, we're just going to talk about how, according to gaming and scientific blogs alike, FIFA 14 got their physics right.

My AP-C pals and I are doing dynamics right now, and for those of you who have taken a look at the retarding/drag forces stuff, you'll probably feel a little nauseated when I mention...well, drag forces. Don't worry, don't worry, I'm not going to pull any derivatives out on you or anything like that. But I will mention drag coefficients, because they're vital in FIFA 14's gameplay mechanics. Before this game, balls kicked would travel in a strangely floaty type of way, like they were balloons. They would basically travel in near-perfect parabolas, with no wind or air resistance affecting its path of motion in the slightest. Basically, the ball accelerated at a set rate regardless of its initial velocity.

So according to EA (voted the worst company in America until Time Warner Cable overshadowed it), some "intense research and auditing" of game mechanics came into play. And guess what? They got the drag forces wrong! Yeah, the drag coefficient of a spherical soccer ball was miscalculated in the engine. Or maybe it was just a typo. Either way, how it slipped testing for over a decade is pretty impressive, especially considering one of these games gets made every year.

When a soccer player (or footballer, depending on your location) kicks the ball, it often dips and swerves in various directions. Due to this faulty coefficient, though, the ball would swerve inaccurately. By miscalculating the force of air resistance on a swerving ball, the Magnus force (Newton's 3rd Law) was also miscalculated. I say Newton's 3rd Law because the Magnus force, the force of air on the ball, is equal to the force of the ball on the air.

Anyway, here's hoping that game physics improve with each new edition of FIFA. And maybe we can stop stuff like this from happening.



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