
Pinball Physics 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

I'm working on a simple Pinball game to help me learn and understand some of the 3d physics. I'm struggling, but progressing. What I have now is a ball that can interact with triangles. Adding a radius to the ball wass giving me problems.
This code gives me the correct position of where the ball will hit the plane. And the new velocity is calculated as such. // d is the magnitude of the new velocity // if vel magnitude was 20 but we only moved 15 // then the new magnitude is of length 5 this>vel = ( ( tri>normal * tri>normal.dotProduct( this>vel ) * 2.0 ) + this>vel ).normalize() * d; There is a slight problem in that if the ball is just on the edges of 2 joined triangles then it will pass thru sometimes. Also what I need now is a good tutorial on 'rolling ball physics' (I can't seem to find any good ones). And some ides on how to incorporate friction, gravity, ... Any help would be great. 
orz
Member #565
August 2000

I don't know of any rolling ball physics tutorials, but google might find you something. newball = pv  ( vhat * fabs( ( radius  len ) / sin( this>angleBetween( v ) ) ) ); Quote: This code gives me the correct position of where the ball will hit the plane. And the new velocity is calculated as such. When modified for finding the point of collision, I end up with something like this: float tick_fraction = 1  (lenradius) / (plenlen);//time before collision newball = p + tick_fraction * v;//position at that time Friction... any time there's an impact, you want to get a velocity portion normal to the polygon and a velocity portion inplane (perpendicular to the normal) of the polygon... and the friction applies a force the ball in the opposite direction of the inplane velocity component, proportional to... I'm not precisely sure, probably proportional to the inplane velocity and some kind of surface parameter. Once you add friction though, you'll also need to add spin, because the friction force is applied at the point of contact in a direction not pointing towards the center of the ball, so spin is imparted. And once there's spin, you calculate friction for motion due to spin also... at that point, the inplane velocity is the sum of the regular inplane velocity and the portion due to spin, which, if I were to guess of the top of my head, might be cross product of the normal vector with the axi of spin, multiplied by the magnitude of the spin and the radius. Don't quote me on that, I probably got it wrong. Also, you might want some kind of threshold between static friction and dynamic friction. Gravity seems fairly straightforward, just add it to the velocity vector every tick. Though you might need some kind of weird optimizations for dealing with continuous rolling contact with a surface once gravity is in. Quote: There is a slight problem in that if the ball is just on the edges of 2 joined triangles then it will pass thru sometimes. Um... I don't see any code that deals with triangles really, what I see mostly looks like it deals with infinite planes. Maybe you have code for discarding infiniteplane collisions where the contact point isn't on triangle, and you're not showing that code here? If so, your problem could be that you're not accounting for collision that occur when the edge of the ball touches one of the triangle edges, such that the ball penetrates the infinite plane before it touches the triangle. For that you'd need to have something for colliding a line with a sphere, which doesn't sound too hard (equivalent to a cylinder with a point, after all), and maybe also something to deal with collisions with the corners of the triangle. If that's not your issue, maybe you have rounding problems, dunno. Also, is Triangle::normal normalized? If not, why? If so, why divide by it's length in Triangle::distance? 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

Quote:
Shouldn't the new ball position just be: No, it wouldn't. Look at bottom left of picture: R is radius D0 != ( R  L ) Using trig: sin( angle ) = y / h; or h = y / sin( angle )
Yes, 'isPossible' deals with infinite planes.

orz
Member #565
August 2000

Hm... I stand by my original equations. In your diagram, I'm interpretting the following: The initial formula I gave The formula I added a few minutes after then: Hm... actually, on closer look, I believe that your formula yields the same results as my second formula. I got confused with the trig there. I still think my formula is superior, as it is faster and uses no trig edit: 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

Quote: I still think my formula is superior, as it is faster and uses no trig You would think it, but it's not. Mainly because I'm not worried about P3. The ball needs to be placed at P2. You can't just put the ball at P3 after a collision because there might be another collision inbetween P2 and P3. _move is called recursively until the magnitude of velocity is zero.
Quote: You need to add a second check, to see if the ball hits any of the edges. That's what I'm not sure about. 
orz
Member #565
August 2000

Quote: You would think it, but it's not. Mainly because I'm not worried about P3. The ball needs to be placed at P2. You can't just put the ball at P3 after a collision because there might be another collision inbetween P2 and P3. You still seem to be ignoring my formula for P2 and T, which, as I mentioned, is faster and yields the same results. But that's okay. Some games do put the ball at P3 (or the rough equivalent) for speed or simplicity (or possibly even stability) reasons, but I guess that's not what you want. Quote: _move is called recursively until the magnitude of velocity is zero. Minor stylistic points: what you called "velocity" in your code is what I would call a "delta" or "movement". I would have the functions return the time passed before collision rather than calculate that from the distance moved. Hm... actually... more importantly, the way you have that set up, I think it can pass through one triangle before hitting another, if the triangle it should have hit came later in the list than another triangle further along the path, thus skipping a collision. I think you need to test against all possible triangles, find which one has the lowest time, apply that collision, then repeat. Like this:
My earlier statement that all you needed for gravity was to add the gravity vector to the velocity vector every tick was based upon the assumption that you didn't need more accuracy than the typical game. If you want total accuracy w/ gravity, then you have to resolve you collision equations assuming a parabolic movement path (nasty!). The above code attempts to make a compromise for decent gravity. Quote: That's what I'm not sure about. Which part? I mean, are you unsure you need to add it, or are you unsure on sphereline collision detection, or unsure on sphereline velocity / angle calculations, or thinking there might be a better way, or what? 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

Ok, I really appreciate your help. You gave me something to think about with that shortest time idea. Quote: Minor stylistic points: what you called "velocity" in your code is what I would call a "delta" or "movement" Velocity can also be defined as rate of change of displacement or just as the rate of displacement, depending on how the term displacement is used. I don't want to upset you but I still think you have the wrong formula for P2.
I did realize that my sin function will only work on planes perp to z. I need to work on that. And I'm unsure about the calculations. I don't know how to check for a collision against an edge. 
orz
Member #565
August 2000

Quote: Ok, I really appreciate your help. You gave me something to think about with that shortest time idea. Since you're trying (I think) to correctly handle arbitrary numbers of collisions per ball per tick, what I would call "continuous time physics", I think that, or something like it, is essential. Quote: Velocity [en.wikipedia.org] can also be defined as rate of change of displacement or just as the rate of displacement, depending on how the term displacement is used. The issue I have is that the quantity you refer to as velocity, you then... break down, ablate, in such a manner that it's not really "per unit of time" anymore. Just semantics, but something I shy away from for fear of getting confused. Quote: I don't want to upset you but I still think you have the wrong formula for P2.
You're not likely to upset me. Your formula looked at the penetration distance in the direction of the normal vector, ( radius  len ), and divided by the sin of the angle to convert to absolute distance, and multiplied by the direction vector, and ended up with (12.124, 7.0, 0), magnitude 14. Even with the sign error corrected, the two formula disagreed on the example numbers? Why? Because the example numbers are not internally consistent. I believe you meant them to correspond to an example in which the plane is flat on the XZ plane (ie in form Y = some constant), and the ball is vertically 10 units from the plane. That example yeilds the angle you gave, and the plen you gave, but the len value should be zero in that case, not 2. There is no possible plane & position corresponding to that angle and len and plen and velocity. If the value of len is corrected to 0, then both of our equations yield the same result: (8.66, 5.0, 0) : magnitude 10. Quote: And I'm unsure about the calculations. I don't know how to check for a collision against an edge.
The math isn't pretty, and optimizing it may be quite difficult, but the basics are, I think, easier than the stuff you already have working. It'll take me a bit to come up with some equations/code, I'll edit this post later to add some, or add another post if you've replied.

Zaphos
Member #1,468
August 2001

Quote: And I'm unsure about the calculations. I don't know how to check for a collision against an edge. Let sphere pos = P; edge endpoints = E1 & E2. Then this should work (in pseudocode):
I think it should work, anyway. Rushtyped from memory. I'm late to class!

orz
Member #565
August 2000

Quote: I think it should work, anyway. Rushtyped from memory. I'm late to class! Yeah, it looks about right, but he's looking for a continuous time solution, not a singlepointintime solution. Or at least, his sphereplane solution was using continuous time. Perhaps once he realizes how nasty continuous time solutions can be he'll switch over to a discretetime method or some hybrid. 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

Thanks guys. I'll try that edge detection code. Quote: but he's looking for a continuous time solution, not a singlepointintime solution. continuoustime? discretetime? I don't understand. I am looking for single point in time solution. Quote: Even with the sign error corrected, the two formula disagreed on the example numbers? Why? Because the example numbers are not internally consistent. I believe you meant them to correspond to an example in which the plane is flat on the XZ plane (ie in form Y = some constant), and the ball is vertically 10 units from the plane. That example yeilds the angle you gave, and the plen you gave, but the len value should be zero in that case, not 2. There is no possible plane & position corresponding to that angle and len and plen and velocity. If the value of len is corrected to 0, then both of our equations yield the same result: (8.66, 5.0, 0) : magnitude 10. I messed up on the numbers sorry. After sitting there and coming up with some real numbers you are right. I just didn't see it until I did the math.

orz
Member #565
August 2000

Discrete Time Physics vs Continuous Time Physics In the simplest case of game programming, time is broken into fixedsize slices, movement equations are handled via Eulers method, and collisions are detected in a manner independant of velocities. In short, details smaller than the time slice size just aren't worried about. Precision is inversely proportional to the size of the timeslice (called "delta_t" in this example). //typical discrete time aproximations Vector old_position = position; position += velocity * delta_t; velocity += acceleration * delta_t; Obj *obj = find_collision(); if (obj) { position = old_position; handle_collision(obj); } The function find_collision in the above sample might not even look at the objects velocity, merely position and shape. In some implementations, like the one above, when an object overlaps with another, it is simply moved to its previous position to prevent the overlap. In other implementations, the overlap may be allowed, permiting the bounce mechanics to seperate them on the next tick. Other implementations might use a limited continuous time solution in which the handling of collisions was exact so long as each object collided with no more than one other object per tick, or might search for a nonoverlapping position, either by a binary search along the initial trajectory, by a random search along the new trajectory or old trajectory, or some other thing. In some implementations small fast moving objects accidentally pass through narrow objecst somtimes. Well, there's a lot of variations, most of which improve accuracy in some circumstances, but the key point is that precision of most of the mechanics is limited by a time slice size. edit: The sort of math specific to discrete time stuff is the sort of math that might be covered in a class called "Numerical Methods". Solutions found (aproximated) by discrete time methods would usually not be acceptable in, say, a physics class. In a continuous time simulation, on the other hand, precision (at least of the continuous time portions) is independant of the time slice size, and usually attempts to follow exact solutions rather than aproximations. Collision detection functions always use the velocities, and the resulting formulas can be extremely complicated if anything more than the simplest primitives are involved. Continuous time solutions are generally more complicated and more difficult to optimize. They tend to be slower for complex systems, but can be faster for simple systems. Why did I think you were trying for continuous time physics? Your planesphere collision function works on continuous time at least for singlesphereplanepairs (ie you detected collisions not merely at a single point in time, but at any time within a specified range of time), and used an exact solution independant of time slice size. You didn't like putting the ball at the endpoint of the bounce in case it hit something else within the same time slice (which would have made it dependant upon tick length). Your collision checking loop restarted itself when a collision was found. The system you were looking at seemed fairly simple  only the ball had a velocity, and it was perfectly symmetric, and it only collided with one kind of shape. All things that are pretty much required in continuous time solutions, and, while sometimes used in discrete time simulations, not particularly widespread so far as I know. Anyway, if you aren't looking for continous time solutions, disregard most of the code I've posted; the loop that made sure that collisions were handled in the physically correct order and sphereline collision function were both intended for continuoustime calculations, and needlessly complicated and slow for the average game. Though, even in that code, gravity was aproximated discretely due to the excesive complexity of doing it exactly. 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

I think I understand better. I would rather have discrete. EDIT: Assume 0 at bottom of screen 1. If I drop the ball at 100 when it hits the ground it should come back to 100, but it's going past 100 to approx 105. The next bounce ... The velocity(delta) is increasing
2. I'm having trouble with the edges. Here is that pseudo code turned into code.

orz
Member #565
August 2000

Didn't notice the edit for a while, thought the thread was dead. Comments: edit: hm... for the slow speedup, try this:
to this:
I know I kinda recommended the former as more accurate, but it's concievable it introduced some kind of subtle bias in favor of bouncing up higher or lower than the fall down... need to think about it for a bit. 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

Since I was the last to post, I had to edit then bump. Quote: 1. More code is always helps. I've attached all the code. 2. At the moment tri>elasticity is set to zero The problem lies in that the magnitude of vel when it hit should have the same magnitude of bounce but it is not. 3. changing I'll be gone for a few hours so anything you could help with would be great. EDIT: 
Zaphos
Member #1,468
August 2001

Hmm, the program also fails to detect collision with the circle in the center, if you drop the ball below that circle and let the ball bounce up in to it ... which is weird, any you should probably look in to that. Also, eventually the ball escaped through the arc'ed top corner of the playing field when I left it to just go for a while. It looked like it saw the collision  there was a bit of red marking the spot where the ball flew through. Might want to look in to that. From my observations, most of the detection problems do seem related to the handling of collisionwithpoint issues. You may want to store vertex normals (which would be nice for rendering it pretty later, anyway, right?). Quote: you might put in a check on a corner collision to discard it if the dot product of the balls velocity and the triangles normal vector is positive. I suppose that might work  the hope being that if you discard this collision, you'll find (and react to) the collision with the 'more relevant' edge? Wouldn't look quite as good as reacting with some average vertex normal, I think, though. edit: Quote: The problem lies in that the magnitude of vel when it hit should have the same magnitude of bounce but it is not. The thing is that you're using simple Euler integration for everything, and the way it works out is that the accel due to gravity is either too much or too little depending on when you apply it. So, what I'm saying specifically about your code is, you have this: ball.pos += ( ball.vel * time_remaining ); ball.vel += ( gravity * time_remaining ); That will always bounce to high. This, on the other hand: ball.vel += ( gravity * time_remaining ); ball.pos += ( ball.vel * time_remaining ); That will always bounce too low. ball.vel += .5 * ( gravity * time_remaining ); ball.pos += ( ball.vel * time_remaining ); ball.vel += .5 * ( gravity * time_remaining ); But to be on the save side you might want to weight it more like .6 to .4 ...

orz
Member #565
August 2000

Changing the gravity stuff fixed the bouncing problem. The change is removing the "ball.vel += gravity * delta_t;" that happened per collision and changing the pertick one from "ball.vel += gravity * time_remaining;" to "ball.vel += gravity * 1.0". That causes a decrease in the accuracy of simulation, but it's well worth it to eliminate the higher bounces. They were happening because a subtle issue in when gravity was accounted for. If you want to keep the accuracy while still eliminating the higher bounces, the possibilities that occur to me include For the collisions with the center circle thingy, try these changes: 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

The gravity works now. All I did was change ball.vel += .5 * ( gravity * time_remaining ); ball.pos += ( ball.vel * time_remaining ); ball.vel += .5 * ( gravity * time_remaining ); I left in the ball.vel += gravity * delta_t; because it works better that way. The top of the circle is where two planes come together, so it's the edge problem again. I'll work on the edge problem. Thanks for the help. 
orz
Member #565
August 2000

When I do that on my version, and set the ball to bouncing vertically, it very gradually increases in bounce height, maybe 1% every 5 bounces. Perhaps I changed something else? The edge problem is fixed in my version, with the changes described previously. 
DanielH
Member #934
January 2001

You're right. It does change slightly. Quote: the changes described previously
Which 'previously'? 
orz
Member #565
August 2000

Quote: When I do that on my version, and set the ball to bouncing vertically, it very gradually increases in bounce height, maybe 1% every 5 bounces. Perhaps I changed something else? Strange... now I don't get that anymore. I'm not sure what changed, but it now seems to work perfectly with that, whereas before it would keep bouncing faster with that. Maybe I screwed up or fixed something else and forgot about it. Quote:
Which 'previously'? Sure. The 'previously' was this: Quote:
For the collisions with the center circle thingy, try these changes: if ( plen <= len ) return false; code is this:
And the total code that I'm using atm is attached to this post 
Zaphos
Member #1,468
August 2001

Also worth noting  when you start working with nonelastic walls (or even just partially elastic walls), you'll want to add a line in calculate tick to make sure the ball gets 'pushed out' of walls that it is inside. This: ball.vel += ( tri>normal * tri>normal.dotProduct( ball.vel ) * (1 + tri>elasticity) ); // after this line ball.pos += ( tri>normal * .5 ); // put this line should do the trick. Otherwise the ball will slowly merge whatever it's sliding on. edit: double distToLine = ( ball.pos  P_onE ).getLength(); return ( distToLine < ball.radius ); has no particular reason not to be written as this: double distToLineSq = ( ball.pos  P_onE ).getSquaredLength(); return ( distToLineSq < ball.radius * ball.radius ); (and that would be more consistent with the rest of the code, which was written to avoid sqrt.

