To start, I apologize for a fourth consecutive video game physics blog. But I somewhat recently splurged on a new game that I think demonstrates a point I touched on earlier - video game physics are becoming more and more visually impressive.
Destiny is developed by Bungie, a well-loved company that brought the masterful Halo franchise into the gaming world. It's a quite repetitive adventure, and flawed in several ways - but gameplay aside, both fans and detractors agree that the game looks incredible, depicting the solar system (well, parts of it) beautifully.
(The game's dancing physics were actually perfected by Paula Abdul herself.
Not really though)
Destiny uses a physics system developed by the company Havok, who are well-renowned in the world of gaming physics. It relies heavily on physical simulations and collision physics, both of which are prevalent here. Things like a character's hair or cape will actually show realistic signs of movement while running, etc. By blending vibrant artistry with actual soft body simulations, they believe they have the cutting edge technology to bring to life the exciting world of computer-generated foliage.
In all seriousness though, these superficial little details truly show how much gamers care about graphics, and how fluently the game moves. And, I'll be the first to admit, these details do significantly increase the immersion factor while playing. It's one of those games where you just have to stop every once in a while and look around.
My favorite use of this physics system though is without a doubt the Sparrow mechanics - a Sparrow being, of course, an all-terrain space hover bike.
It's unrealistic...for now.
For an added bonus, we note how the thrust of the engine in the back of the bike propels the bike forward, due to Newton's 3rd Law, which not-so-surprisingly, holds up pretty well in space. But also note how the bike seems to instantly lock on to the gradient slope of the terrain it hovers over, a pretty interesting physical phenomenon that permeates the whole game. All of these crazy, futuristic weapons and gadgets seem far off, but we never know if something like this could end up coming into fruition. Check out, for instance, a "fusion rifle".
Could we ever harness the energy to create something like this? I mean, if its name is accurate, I assume it generates energy through the process of fusion - yes, not fission, FUSION - going on INSIDE some kind of fusion chamber in the rifle. In like a split second. (And we don't even know how to do fusion yet, so we better get on it if we want to stand any chance against the aliens.)
To conclude, though, I'll quote the ever-popular video game aphorism: "Graphics aren't everything." And that's certainly accurate. You can create a beautiful game with inspiring physics engines that still manage to disappoint thousands and thousands of gamers - that's what happened here.
This game is now the most popular new game franchise of all time, and its budget was a whopping half billion dollars. Yeah, with a 'b'. However, it gives us gamers a friendly reminder that if the game doesn't play well, all of this money is for naught. Destiny's story doesn't hold up at all, especially looking at Bungie's Halo series, which had beautifully done storylines. This isn't to say Destiny's bad, I personally enjoy this game - but it certainly won't satisfy anyone looking for a storyline that's followable - or even coherent.
So here ends my rambling Destiny physics-discussion-review-hybrid blog post. Hopefully it helped anyone on the fence make a decision to purchase it or not - and if not, tune in for my next post. Which is hopefully about something other than video games.