April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021
April 10, 2021
Instead of learning through games, what if a student could learn physics “the other way around” by learning how to implement physics in games? I continue to meet engineering educators who are still discovering how the entertainment world has treated physical simulations, especially as they have become very realistic-looking. A quick search in YouTube for SIGGRAPH and “fluid simulation,” “soft-body physics,” and related terms yields striking results (eg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQNaaJalQc8). Normally, when thinking of teaching physics, especially mechanics, games have been incredible, as a quick Internet search of “game-based learning” and “physics” will demonstrate. In my approach in a class on “Game Physics,” my non-engineering students tackle engineering mechanics by building applications.
In the proposed paper, I would introduce and motivate game physics for an engineering educator via the more general field of physically-based animation, which is sometimes taught as upper-level electives in computing departments. As part of this work, I plan to summarize some key published research articles that offer surprising applications, eg. Darth Vader in “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” leaving a path of destruction via real-time finite elements for fracture mechanics (https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1279/Real-Time-Deformation-and-Fracture; actually, I think I can see the back of my head) and the octopus Hank getting stretched and contorted in “Finding Dory” using closed-form elasticity equations (https://graphics.pixar.com/library/Kelvinlets/paper.pdf; and yes, I was there, too).
Next, I would explain the flow of topics with some examples of explaining how one thinks of engineering mechanics in a computational sense—how principles of kinematics, conservation laws, and even tensors become algorithms and code. Students work on prototypes, the occasional paper assignment, and a final project, all which I would review. The student population is relatively small compared to typical first-year physics and second-year mechanics, but I still can provide summarized feedback followed by an explanation of continuing and future work. I will also introduce readers to the complete code library in GitHub’s open-source repository.
Schwartz, D. I. (2021, April), Making Games to Teach Physics and Mechanics Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/36308
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