Implementing realistic helicopter physics in 3D game environments
Perkins, Keith M.
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The U.S. Army contracted the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School to create a first person action game, America's Army, in support of Army strategic communication. The Army Game Project Team licensed Epic Game's Unreal game engine to produce this game. As the project progressed, the Army, realized that the game had the potential to cover a much larger scope than originally planned. Several of these "add-on" applications would call for the addition of realistic third person helicopter physics. Unfortunately this capability was not included in the award winning game engine nor the initial design of the game. These limitations are addressed by utilizing Unrealscript to design a physics system that interfaces with the Unreal Engine to smoothly interpolate between physics states within the bounds of helicopter capabilities, with the appearance of realism. The resultant helicopter physics system was incorporated into a game-like interface and compared to a similar system produced with a commercial graphics system. Overall, 53% of the test subjects thought the helicopter physics were Very Realistic or Totally Realistic, and 72% found them to be better than those of the system produced on the commercial graphics system. In a follow-up study, 86% of the participants found the helicopter physics to be equal to or better than the physics of a high quality commercial 3D helicopter game (57% better).
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