Swedish research can make Super Mario more realistic

March 6, 2009

Computer games are being developed at an ever more rapid pace, and the technical demands are rising, not least regarding graphics boards.  At Mälardalen University in Sweden, researchers have now found a solution to a problem that often arises when new computer games are constructed, namely how you can efficiently make sure that the animated figures don’t run right through each other.

Researcher Thomas Larsson is presenting a new model that enables complex figures to collide with each other in a credible way - preferably with sound effects, deformations, and other consequences, just as in reality.

In his dissertation he presents faster methods for discovering collisions in interactive simulations with computer graphics. The methods function both with rigid bodies and various types of deformable bodies.  Besides computer games, simulations in robotics, virtual surgery, and visualization are suitable applications for the methods.

“Today regular computers can draw realistic images of complex 3D environments in the blink of an eye. This is thoroughly exploited in modern computer games, for example.  The images are therefore better and better in quality, so people even use terms like photographic realism. These images are generated by a powerful graphics board in the computer, which draws millions of tiny surfaces, usually triangles, in a few milliseconds.”

“But it’s not enough simply to draw the images. To animate or simulate objects that move or fly around on the screen, the objects need to be able to react to collisions. In many cases the collision calculations, just like the image generation itself, have to be done in a few milliseconds, otherwise the interactivity and the experience are ruined.”

All this is self-evident in the real world where objects follow the rules of physics governing movement and collisions.  But in a computer simulation objects go right through each other as if they had never collided, unless special measures are taken.  These measures require methods that use calculations to discover that objects are actually colliding with each other and then take suitable measures. In some cases it is sufficient to have the objects change direction by bouncing off each other. In other cases they may need to be dented (deformed), break into pieces, or even explode.

Future versions of “Super Mario” will require superfast collision calculations in order to stimulate and visualize characters’ movements and interaction with their surroundings in a realistic manner.

Provided by Swedish Research Council

Explore further: How gaming technology could hack crime scene investigations

Related Stories

How gaming technology could hack crime scene investigations

October 17, 2016

Sherlock Holmes could examine a crime scene with nothing but his immense powers of deduction and perhaps a trusty magnifying glass. But real investigators today have much more sophisticated technology at their disposal for ...

Moving toward computing at the speed of thought

October 20, 2016

The first computers cost millions of dollars and were locked inside rooms equipped with special electrical circuits and air conditioning. The only people who could use them had been trained to write programs in that specific ...

Play video games, advance science

October 6, 2016

Computer gaming is now a regular part of life for many people. Beyond just being entertaining, though, it can be a very useful tool in education and in science.

Virtual reality making construction sites safer

October 4, 2016

Bochum-based researchers are aiming to make construction sites safer with interactive virtual reality training courses. The team led by Prof Dr Markus König from the Institute for Computation in Engineering at the Ruhr-Universität ...

Brain training may help keep seniors on the road

October 11, 2016

Older adults who participate in training designed to improve cognitive ability are more likely to continue driving over the next 10 years than those who do not, according to health researchers.

Recommended for you

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.

Dutch unveil giant vacuum to clean outside air

October 25, 2016

Dutch inventors Tuesday unveiled what they called the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner—a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 07, 2009
Wow. This article said nothing whatsoever.
not rated yet Mar 07, 2009
I agree.
not rated yet Mar 07, 2009
It could have expressed the same meaning in a sentence:

"Swedish researcher's dissertation presents faster methods for collision detection".

Not quite "nothing whatsoever".
not rated yet Mar 07, 2009
Pretty close to nothing. Absolutely useless article - as el gramador said, "it could have expressed the same meaning in a [single] sentence".

As written, it is a waste to time to read the article. Some details, heck, even ONE detail might make it worth reading, but as written, this article is useless.

Sheesh, there isn't even a follow-up link or even a title that one can go to for more information!

not rated yet Mar 07, 2009
Details for the win.

not rated yet Mar 12, 2009
Why did they even mention Mario in this? What does this have to do with Mario specifically? Won't pretty much all games use this eventually, or something like it? Piff
not rated yet Mar 18, 2009
is there a better site than physorg with similar content? Too many of the articles seem to stink lately.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.