Ragdoll Physics – The New Clipart?

4th February 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

When ragdoll physics were introduced into FPS games, I, like most people, was impressed. However, as time has gone one I have become disillusioned. Surely the force needed to throw bodies around like that would probably rip them apart? Anyway, it seems to me that rag dolls are the new clipart.


Those readers old enough may remember when Microsoft Word was popular amongst poster makers. The idea would be to create some A4 flyer or poster to announce some event. Well, everybody was using clipart, normally stickmen or something similar. Everybody thought how cool it was to mix text with images. Of course looking back I cringe when I see my attempts at “art”. I honestly believe we will look back on ragdolls physics with the same feeling.

How can we enjoy watching representations of living people being flung around like this?


  1. Luke L

    I believe it is just a natural progression of the realism becoming more apparent in each successive game. I remember the first time I shot a guard in Far Cry, just to watch him fall realistically against some pipes. As long as you don’t view it as sadistic abuse then it’s fine in my eyes.

  2. I believe it is just a natural progression of the realism becoming more apparent in each successive game.

    You’re right but I was trying to get across the point that in many ways it has become the focus of attention rather than being part of the overall experience.

  3. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    I agree with what you mean, though there’s still some work left to improve the physics. Or rather this is more ingame since a lot of things can be affected unrealistically.

    One example to the above are cylinder objects such as canisters or barrels that keep rolling around slowly until they hit an object when moved… same with SMALLER objects…

    Though with physics, and watching that video, some inspirational ideas for short movies that can be made for fun, though taking advantage of the physics.

    I wish physics were used a lot more interestly and realistically. I haven’t really seen one yet but a large boat slowly sinking on one end with EVERYTHING slowly moving on the ship realistically, such as furniture etc. Makes things more immersive and adds tension IMO seeing things react well.

    But overall, physics are really just part of the graphics department of gaming at the moment and I’m more worried about gameplay. Hopefully they will be used for gameplay purposes more than graphical reasons.

  4. ShadowScythe13

    Try the game “Penumbra”

    It is a Horror game that requires you to use traps to kill the things following you, and the traps are all based around a simply amazing physics engine.

    I am about half-way through the first episode, and have not gotten a full nights sleep since I started. it ROCKS

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