Short on game physics and animation
Nov 26, 2013
[Anton Erholt]
3 minute read

Some games are really nothing but great combination of physics, animation and astonishing scenery. One example I would like to discuss is a game called flower (note, no capital f) 1. In flower one controls a single petal flying in the wind over an enormous field. As you fly across the field, if you hit other flowers, some of its petals will join you in your flight. In order to complete a level you need to collect a certain number of petals and reach the end (although I don’t think it is specified how many you need).

The game per se has not the intentions of being difficult or puzzly but rather to give the player a joyful experience. The game does not contain any dialogs or any specific interfaces. You simply control the wind (and thereby the petals) with your chosen controller.

In flower, I think the developers (Thatgamecompany) have made a great effort of using flow dynamics and beautiful scenery in order to make the game into what it is. This is a great use of flow physics and I’m really happy to see that games like these makes it onto consoles and do not just stay in the swamp of indie PC games.

Lastly, I’d like to say that there are times when you find out things which give you an advantage in the game due to physics being used in a “clever” way (some might argue glitchy or cheaty). I have currently got two good examples of this. The first one is very well known but still very funny. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can climb almost any mountain when riding a horse (as opposed to when you are not riding). I remember someone making a funny picture out of it:

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My second example is from a 2D platformer called Cave Story 2.

NOTE: Might contain some spoilers

Cave Story is a free action adventure independently developed by Daisuke Amaya (a.k.a. Pixel -> Pixel Studios). Originally released in December 2004 for PC, an upgraded version (Cave Story+) was released on Steam and it was later ported to the Nintendo 3DS by Nicalis. You play a robot called Quote (or Mr. Traveler) which you guide through the world.

Depending on the path you take, you may come across a machine gun. Leveling up said gun will make it more powerful and thus make more damage and a greater recoil. Without prior knowledge, the undersigned happened to find out by mistake that firing the machine gun downwards allowed for continuous hovering/floating. This made certain areas of the game a breeze to play through. Delightful, amusing and totally unexpected.

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