NewtonPlayGround

Introduction

The NewtonPlayGround is a tool to show off the features of the Newton Game Dynamics Engine, a physics engine for real-time applications without having to actually write any code yourself. It let’s you create fully physics backed-up worlds where all objects interact with each other and also let’s the user interact with these objects. It also allows for saving those scenes to XML so that they can be given away to other users of the PlayGround or be used in your own projects. Included are over 40 prebuilt scenes that let you jumpstart into the physics world of the Newton Game Dynamics Engine without first having to create your own stuff.

Download

Installer Win32 Installer for NewtonPlayGround 1.53

Note : If you want to link to the NewtonPlayGround, please don’t directly link to the file above, but to this page instead. This will ensure that people always get the latest version. And also please inform me if you link to the NewtonPlayGround from a page with bigger exposure, as I have only a certain amount of free traffic per month.

System requirements

The system requirements depend heavily on the complexity of the scenes you want to create. But usually a modern PC with 1.5 Ghz, 256 MBytes of memory and a graphics card that supports OpenGL (at least with 64 MBytes VRAM) should be enough. The application was only tested under Windows XP but also should at least work on Windows 2000 too. Other requirements : Please bear in mind that this tool is aimed at people that at least know the basics of how physics work (stuff like inertia is something you should at least know what it means) and that you also should be aware of the features/limitations of the Newton Game Dynamics Engine.

Features

Objects

Create all types of dynamic objects. Simple objects like boxes, spheres and cylinders (and many more), which also can later on be connected together (connected compounds) into more complex objects. Even more complex objects can be created in an external 3D modelling application and can be loaded into the NewtonPlayGround as either convex hulls (which is a collision hull „wrapped“ around the object like thin foil) or a compound collision (which is made up of several convex hulls, so that multiple-mesh objects have a more detailed collision shape). In addition there are also ragdolls (a humanoid model whose parts bend like a real corpse) and vehicles, which are imported from 3D models and which can also be driven around. You can even attach trailers and other stuff to those vehicles for even complexer vehicle configurations. Convex hulls and compound collisions can be imported from either DirectX .X files (preferred, newer fileformat with better lighting and so on) or 3D Studio .3DS files. Almost all 3D modelling applications can at least export their objects to one of these formats.

New in 1.53 : Skinned ragdolls (using Milkshape 3D files) for even more realistic humanoid or even animal models that bent over like in reality. And you can now make most objects magnetic, so that they attract (or distract) other objects in the scene, which makes for nice dynamic effects.

Materials

One of Newton’s outstanding features is it’s unique material interface. Unlike other engines it allows you to set a material’s parameter on a material pair base. So you can have one material have a different friction setting when it interacts with material A to when it interacts with material B. To expose that functionality,
NewtonPlayGround incorporates a materialmanager which let’s you create different materials and set up their values for interaction with other materials in the scene.

Joints

To restrict the movement of (a) body(s), the NewtonPlayGround offers 9 different types of joints, most of which are based upon Newton’s custom joint interface that allows you to create every joint you need (and therefore doesn’t restrict you to a given set of joints like most other physics engines do). So you can choose between a selection of joints ranging from simple sliders to gear and even pulley joints. And moreover most of those joints can also be motorized to create automatically moving/acting machinery.

New in 1.51 : Slider and hinge joints can now be equipped with configurable dampers, so you can now even build complex suspensions, may it be vehicles or other stuff.

Springs

Another way to restrict movement of a body is to add one or more springs to a body. NewtonPlayGround let’s you add unlimited (which means they can be stretched to infinity, as long as enough force is applied) springs and allows you to change their tightness and damping.

New in 1.53 : You can now attach springs to all kind of objects that can be spawned, including vehicles and (skinned) ragdolls. For ragdolls you can even attach them freely to the different bones.

Interaction

There are several ways of interacting with the dynamic objects in your scene and/or the whole scene itself. You can pick and drag the bodies around in the default camera mode, fly around freely and pick and drag bodies in free flight mode or even create a character controller that let’s you move around your scene like in a real ego-shooter with collisions, sliding on slopes and so on. The character controller even allows you to pick up objects and carry them around like the gravity gun known from Half-Life 2. But that’s not all : vehicles can be driven like in a real game so you can drive your more or less complex vehicle configurations around your physics world, and it’s even possible to follow the movement of any of your objects. You always wanted to know how a rock that get’s thrown from a catapult „feels“? No problem, just follow that rock and zoom in to be live in there.

XML Ex- and Import

The scenes you create inside of the NewtonPlayGround can be exported to the (human-readable) XML (eXtensible markup language) file format. This not only enables you to pass the scenes to other users of the NewtonPlayGround for them to see what you’ve made, but you can also import them into your own applications and/or games. This makes the NewtonPlayGround (to a certain extend) also useable as an editor for external applications.

Now put it all together…

So with all those features it’s up to you, the user, what to create. The possibilities are almost endless and even complex machinery can be created within the NewtonPlayGround.

…and pass it to others

And when you’re finished and have created something you think is worth showing up, just upload it to the internet and tell other users of what you’ve done. They just need to download your exported scene (unless you’re using custom models, then you need to include them too) and can then see what you did on their own computers.

Screenshots

This is the eyecandy to shorten your time while downloading the NewtonPlayGround. Click on any of the below images to get a bigger view (in a new window). All shots were taken from samples included with the NewtonPlayGround.