Prof. James F. O’Brien

Miscellaneous Stuff


Physics Engine for Deformation and Destruction

I’ve been working with a startup company, Pixelux Entertainment, on developing a real-time simulation engine for modeling fracture, deformation, and destruction in video games.  The simulation engine is being sold under the name DMM and it was used in the LucasArts game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (a.k.a. TFU) was released on several game platforms including the PS3, XBox 360, and Wii.  They all share a common plot (which I think is a better story than several of the movies) but the game code was adapted to match the capabilities of the individual platforms.  The PS3 and XBox 360 versions include DMM simulations for wooden structures, metal blast doors, stone buildings, and many other things.  At this time TFU is the top selling game ever put out by LucasArts with over 5.7 million copies sold.  According to feedback from players, the destructible environment is one of the game’s best features.

The DMM destruction engine is now available as a plugin for Maya for doing film effects.  The movies that is has been used in include Avatar, Sucker Punch, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.