You've been logged out of GDC Vault since the maximum users allowed for this account has been reached. To access Members Only content on GDC Vault, please log out of GDC Vault from the computer which last accessed this account.

Click here to find out about GDC Vault Membership options for more users.

Session Name: Physics for Programmers
Speaker(s): Erin Catto, Erwin Coumans, Squirrel Eiserloh, Glenn Fiedler, Takahiro Harada, Jim Van Verth
Company Name(s): Blizzard Entertainment, Sony SCEA US R&D, TrueThought, Sony Santa Monica, Havok, Insomniac Games
Track / Format: Programming
Overview: As the complexity of games has increased, so has the knowledge needed to create them. Creating the latest code for graphics, animation, physical simulation, even some extent artificial intelligence, requires greater knowledge of the necessary engineering and mathematical underpinnings than ever before. And of the fields described above, one that has grown increasingly important is physical simulation, as shown by the latest games such as Little Big Planet and Crayon Physics. Creating such a simulation may appear to be a daunting task, but it is possible with the right background.

This one-day tutorial continues the 10-year tradition of the Math for Programmers and Physics for Programmers tutorials by bringing together some of the best presenters in gaming physics. Over the course of a day they will get programmers up to speed in the latest techniques and deepen their knowledge in the topic of physical simulation.

These presenters will provide a toolbox of techniques for programmers interested in creating physics engines, with references and links for those looking for more information. The focus of the course is to study various pieces of the simulation pipeline and show how problems along the way can be solved and optimized using standard 3D mathematical concepts and engineering know-how. Topics include collision detection, constraint systems and solvers, cloth simulation, networking for physics programmers, and parallelizing the physics engine. Sample code libraries and examples are provided.

GDC 2010

Erin Catto

Blizzard Entertainment

Erwin Coumans


Squirrel Eiserloh


Glenn Fiedler

Sony Santa Monica

Takahiro Harada


Jim Van Verth

Insomniac Games

free content