Physics

Preparing for Use

In order to enable physics on the scene, please use the Enable Physics checkbox in the Physics panel under the scene tab in Blender.

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Static Physics Type

Can be used to limit the movement of other objects, for example to detect collisions with a landscape, walls and so on. In the physics settings of such an object the Static value (set by default) should be selected for the Physics Type option.

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One or multiple physics materials can be assigned to a mesh. Under the Material tab the Special: Collision panel must be activated.

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The Ghost option excludes the material from physical interactions but still notifies the application about the contact with it. An example - detecting that the character is located on a vertical ladder.

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The Collision ID field is intended for detecting collisions with specific materials and can be left empty. An example of Collision ID usage is detecting the landscape surface a character is located on - grass, sand, wooden coating and so on.

The Margin field allows to customize the width of the zone where mesh reacts on collisions. This option improves physical collisions simulation stability.

Also, there are material physics settings in this panel. The following settings are supported: Friction, Elasticity.

The Collision Group field corresponds to the physics group which the material belongs to. The Collision Mask field defines all physics groups with which this material will interact.

Dynamic Physics Type

Intended for rigid body movement simulation.

_images/physics_dynamic.png

The Object Physics checkbox must be enabled under the object’s Physics panel. The Collision ID field is intended for detecting collisions with a specific object (for example, for detecting proximity of a FPS character to different items) and can be left empty.

In the physics settings of such an object the Rigid Body (with rotations) or Dynamic (without rotations) values can be selected for the Physics Type option. In the Collision Bounds settings the collider type can be selected - the supported types are: Box, Capsule, Sphere, Cylinder, Cone. Also, the following physics parameters can be set: Mass, Damping - for Translation and Rotation.

The Collision Group field corresponds to the physics group which the object belongs to.

The Collision Mask field defines all physics groups with which this object will interact.

_images/physics_panel_dynamic.png

Friction and Elasticity are supported for the material of such an object. When multiple materials are used on a single mesh, the physics parameters are taken from the first of them.

For the camera object the Physics Type = Dynamic parameter must be used, and the Object Physics checkbox must be enabled.

Constraints

Physical constraints are used for limiting the objects’ degrees of freedom.

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Adding a physical constraint (Rigid Body Joint) to the object can be performed on the Object Constraints panel. The supported types (Pivot Type) are: Ball, Hinge, Cone Twist, Generic 6 DoF. A physical constraint can be added to one of the two interacting objects, while the other object acts as a Target. Both objects can have a static and/or dynamic physics type. In constraints (except Ball) the translation and rotation limits can be set up.

_images/physics_constraints_panel.png

Wheeled Vehicles

The model of a vehicle must consist of 6 separate objects - a chassis, 4 wheels and a steering wheel. The chassis’ mesh center should correspond to the mass center. The centers of the wheels’ and the steering wheel’s meshes should be located on the rotation axes. The steering wheel should be oriented in the local space of coordinates - X - the rotation axis, Y - to the right and Z - upwards. The object can have any names.

_images/physics_vehicle_wheeled.png

For all 6 objects: select the Part, specify the same id in the Vehicle Name field, select the right object type - Chassis, Steering Wheel, Back Right Wheel and so on. The Suspension Rest Length setting is also available for the wheels.

It is necessary to specify a realistic mass for the chassis (because the default value is only 1 kg). To do this go to the physics settings, choose the Rigid Body value for the Physics Type option and specify the required value (for example, 1000 kg) in the Mass field.

Chassis Settings

Force Max
Maximum driving force of the vehicle.
Brake Max
Maximum braking coefficient.
Suspension Compression
Damping coefficient for suspension stretching.
Suspension Stiffness
Suspension stiffness coefficient.
Suspension Damping
Suspension damping coefficient.
Wheel Friction
Friction constant between the wheels and the surface. It should be around 0.8 for realistic vehicles. But it can be increased significantly to achieve a better control (1000 and more).
Roll Influence
Decreases the wheels’ torque decreasing the probability of the vehicle overturning (0 - no torque, 1 - real physics behavior).
Max Suspension Travel Cm
Maximum suspension travel in centimeters.

For the Steering Wheel it is necessary to specify the maximum steering angle (Steering Max) and the ratio between the turn of the steering wheel and the turn of the wheels (Steering Ratio). The maximum steering angle value is specified in revolutions. A single revolution equals to 360 degrees. Therefore, if Steering Max is equal to one and Steering Ratio is equal to 10, the maximum turn of the steering wheel will be 360 degrees and the maximum turn of the front wheels will be 36 degrees.

On this stage you can export and load the scene into the engine. We recommend to create a road surface with a physics material. To choose the controlled object press the Q key in the Viewer and select the chassis. Use the W, A, S, D keys as controls.

We can additionally tweak the Damping of Translation and Rotation. This will influence the speed and inertia of the vehicle.

The friction and elasticity of the road surface material do not influence the vehicle’s behavior.

Floating Objects

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In order for the object to float on the water surface (an object with the Water material), it is necessary to enable the Floater panel. There are two types of floating objects: Main Body - the floating object itself and Bob - an auxiliary bob-object onto which the buoyancy will be acting. A floating object can have an unlimited number of Bob objects. This can be both meshes or Empty objects.

All objects that are part of the same floating object must have the same name in the Floater Name field.

Floating Object Settings

Floating Factor
Buoyancy coefficient.
Water Linear Damping
Linear velocity damping when the object is on the water surface (or under water). When the object is not in water, the physics settings are used.
Water Rotation Damping
Rotation damping when the object is on the water surface (or under water). When the object is not in water, the physics settings are used.

Floating Vehicles aka Watercrafts

_images/physics_boat.png

Watercrafts use some parameters from the Vehicle settings and all the settings which are similar to Floater setting. It is necessary to set the Part type Hull on the main object. Similar to a floating object a watercraft requires auxiliary Bob objects.

Watercraft Settings

Force Max
Maximum driving force of the vehicle.
Brake Max
Maximum braking coefficient.
Floating Factor
Buoyancy coefficient.
Water Linear Damping
Linear velocity damping when the object is on the water surface (or under water). When the object is not in water, the physics settings are used.
Water Rotation Damping
Rotation damping when the object is on the water surface (or under water). When the object is not in water, the physics settings are used.

Characters

_images/physics_character_object_example.png

This feature can be activated by clicking the Character check-box in the title of the eponymous tab on the Physics panel.

From the engine standpoint, the character itself is a proper physical object that can collide with other physical objects or be influenced by physical forces such as gravity and buoyant force.

Character object can be easily controlled using several API methods with a character keyword in their names. All such methods reside in the physics API module.

Character Settings

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All the settings listed here become available after activating the Character tab.

Walk Speed

This parameter sets the speed of a character walking (measured in meters per second). The lowest possible value of this parameter is zero, while the highest is 10.

Its default value is 4.

Run Speed

This is the speed of the character running (measured in meters per second). Its value can vary from zero to 20.

This parameter is set to 8 by default.

Step Height

This is the maximum height of an obstacle that character can overstep (in meters). The value of this parameter can vary from zero to 1.

Default value of this parameter is 0.250.

Jump Strength

This parameter sets the strength of the character jumping. Its minimum value is zero, while its maximum value is 50.

Set to 5 by default.

Waterline

This parameter sets up the waterline for the character object. The waterline is measured from the center of the physical shape of the object (not the object’s mesh). If an object is submerged into the water below this line, it will float. Its value can vary from -2 to 2.

It is set to zero by default.

Basic Character

Blend4Web engine has an option to quickly set up a user-controlled first-person character. Such character will only have very basic functionality, but can be set up without any programming.

To set up a basic character, follow these steps:

  1. Select an object you intend to use as a character.
  2. Enable physics for the selected object and set physics type to Dynamic or Rigid Body.
  3. Enable Character option for the object.
  4. Create a new Camera or select an existing one and set its type to Eye.

Now a basic character with an attached camera will be present in your scene.

The character can be controlled in mostly the same way as a regular Eye type camera:

  • WASD keys move the character.
  • Camera angles are controlled by arrow keys or moving the mouse while holding its left button.
  • Pressing the C key toggles fly mode (enabled by default).

Note

Only one basic character can be present in the scene. If a scene has multiple characters, the engine will use the first of them as the basic character and ignore the others.

Use in Applications

The physics system is implemented in the uranium.js module and loaded separately from the engine’s main code. The uranium.js module itself is a modification of the Bullet physics engine, which is ported to work in browsers. In order to activate the physics system, it is enough to put the uranium.js and uranium.js.mem files in the same directory as the source code of the application.

Another way is to explicitly specify the loading path of the uranium.js module by using the following API method:

m_config.set("physics_uranium_path", ".../uranium.js");

Note

When applications are developed within the SDK, the path to the physics engine is detected automatically.

If your application does not use physics, we recommend you to turn off the Enable Physics flag in the Physics panel under the scene tab in Blender. It is also possible to forcibly disable loading of the uranium.js module by calling the following method before initialization of the engine:

m_config.set("physics_enabled", false);