Physics Simulations

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Thursday, May 24. 2007 • Category: Programming
After I have been working with ODE in order to get an assembly simulation running, I began to dislike ODE for several reasons. The topmost reason is that ODE does not seem to handle large scales very well (even in the handbook it is noted that best is to scale everything between 0.1 and 10.0 - this was not a real option in my case).

So I was looking at different packages, but even the two big ones Havok and Agiea/Physx do not handle arbitrary triangle meshes very well (at least that is what I understand after reading their documentation) as collision geometry.

Fortunately finally I found Vortex, which is a high-end physics package geared towards simulation. And I have to say that so far I am really impressed with both speed and accuracy! Vortex is able to handle collisions between arbitrary meshes very well and fast. The collision response is quite good, if I tune the parameters (mass, forces, joints), I get almost not penetration between complex triangle objects - this is quite a difficult task.

Plus Vortex offers a lot more parameters to tune than other packages in order to get realistic and stable simulations. So if you are looking for most realistic results with complex shapes, Vortex seems to me the only way to go.


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