Prof. James F. O’Brien

Miscellaneous Stuff


Physics Engine for Deformation and Destruction

I’ve been working with a startup company, Pixelux Entertainment, on developing a simulation engine for modeling fracture, deformation, and destruction in film and video games.  The simulation engine is being sold under the name DMM and it was used in the LucasArts game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and over 40 feature films.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (a.k.a. TFU) was released on several game platforms including the PS3, XBox 360, and Wii.  They all share a common plot  but the game code was adapted to match the capabilities of the individual platforms.  The PS3 and XBox 360 versions include DMM simulations for wooden structures, metal blast doors, stone buildings, and many other things.  At this time TFU is the top selling game ever put out by LucasArts with over 5.7 million copies sold.  According to feedback from players, the destructible environment was one of the game’s best features.

The DMM destruction engine is available as a plugin for Maya for doing film effects.  DMM has also been integrated into both MPC’s and Sony Pictures Imageworks’s production pipelines.  The list of film, commercials, and television shows using DMM is too long to include here and it’s growing rapidly.  The Wikipedia page on DMM has a mostly up to date list.