CryEngine 3 / Beam Physics: Soft Body, Hard Metal

The shaders aren't finished yet, don't look at that. JUST LOOK AT THE PHYSICS

In response to our various sightings of Crysis 3, the RPS stronghold is currently flying these flags: blue with green braiding, taupe with a cyan crucifix and burple with vibrant lavender thistle emblems. And we all know what that says about our opinions on Crytek’s next shooter. Even as we debate the openy worlidiness or lack thereof of Prophet’s latest alien-hectoring rampage, it’s worth keeping in mind that Crytek have, by and large, been good for game technology. Crysis 3 brings assorted updates to Cryengine 3, but it’s the Rig of Rods team that are demonstrating some rather tasty soft body (missus) physics that they’ve pulled off in the new version of the engine. The below is unfinished footage of an unnamed vehicular game, and it’s just about the best pretend car-crumpling and wobbly suspension I believe I’ve ever seen.

Beam Physics is this stuff’s collective name, which suggests we won’t see it, per se, in other games, but I’d love it to make it into something open-worldy – a Just Cause or a Far Cry or a GTA.

Presumably more details on this mysterious, oh-so-soft-bodied project will arrive in time here , but for now it’s just another copy of the video.


  1. Gonefornow says:

    When I read “soft body”, “Beam Physics” and “Cryengine 3” I thought there’d be some lazergunz and targetdummies.

  2. BioSnark says:

    Oh, cool. I can’t wait to see my pc embarrassingly hobbled by this :X

  3. Salt says:

    Lovely. I count at least 36 physics in there.
    What’s the conversion rate between graphics and physics these days?

    And gosh yes, Just Cause 3 in CryEngine with extra helpings of physics, also infinite grappling hooks.

    • SiHy_ says:

      I’m fairly sure that 7.4 graphics = 1 physic. The exchange rate may have changed since I last checked though.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Yep, Physics trump graphics. That’s why so many indy games add them. They do not have the budget to produce the 5 or so graphics, so one physics will suffice and the game is just as good!

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        I think they changed physics to a multiplier now, the more graphics you already have the even more awesome extra physics are and vice versa.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Just Cause 3 with–

      Oh. Oh my.

      • iDragon says:

        Considering avalance do all their own engine tech, that’s not happening.

        • roryok says:

          also this would be adding extra realism to a game that lets you parachute up out of a moving car and into a jet fighter

  4. -SD- says:

    Tons of minus points to RPS for not linking to the original…

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Could be worse, they could do a BBC/ITV/Channel 4 and link to the wrong video, image and information completely. The latest was the one where the BBC used an emblem from Halo to represent the UN flag. :P

      • The Random One says:

        ITV are the ones who showed ab ArmA II clip as if it was actual war footage, right? I wonder if they’ll report a zombie outbreak in Eastern Europe.

        • lijenstina says:

          Polish plumbers that steal our jobs got savaged by drunken bears from Mordor. Now the weather.

          I hate the news. Malice or incompetence or both.

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    > And we all know what that says about our opinions on Crytek’s next shooter.

    When asked about his opinion of Dishonored, Alec Meer coyly moved a black fan across his face left to right, closed it with a sharp snap and then tapped his right cheek with it twice.

    • Fuzzball says:

      Before perfectly executing a double turn front-pike. *soft applause*

  6. UmmonTL says:

    The car seems to be made out of particularly wobbly and bendable metal but I guess that was done to better showcase the effects, looks amazing.

    • StranaMente says:

      Iron Jello – patent pending.

    • Lukasz says:

      tweaking it to make it more resistant to damage is probably very easy thing to do.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        1:33 seems to be just that, but that’s boring so it only gets 5 seconds.

    • LTK says:

      I think that when you play a recording of a real collision at half speed, the car looks like it’s made of pudding there as well.

  7. The First Door says:

    Beyond the few visual issues they acknowledge, that was pretty stunning! I’m not sure whether I’m more impressed with the damage or the fact there is proper suspension with actual car parts on the underneath for when you flip over.

    Now, if no one makes a good Destruction Derby style game with this physics engine I will be saddened.

    • LionsPhil says:

      1NSANE remake or bust.

      Although first they have to check that you can get an amusingly drivable banana if you hurl yourself off the side of a cliff.

      • identiti_crisis says:

        The guy who made Rigs of Rods (all by his lonesome initially, some seven years ago now) cites 1NSANE as one of his key influences, in that it was an open off-road driving game with decent physics and deformation. Also, put “Rigs of Rods crashes” into the tubes, mute your audio, and bananas should appear.

        This stuff is insanely heavy going on the CPU (notice they didn’t collide two cars), but GPGPU type stuff would seriously be of benefit, so we’re going to get this in our games eventually, most definitely.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I spent quite a while in RoR (even got the Antonov doing laps around the island with the keyboard and landing again without a single broken rod—wheee), but uuusually when you banana yourself you end up breaking the suspension badly enough that your wheels don’t actually work any more. In particular, it’s prone to one of them managing to swivel 180 so that it tries to pull you backwards as the other drives you forward, leaving you a pathetically wriggling lump.

          Something more game-ish (RoR leans much more simmish) could do with just a tad more leniency, I’d say, to let that twisted metal salad hobble onward—it’s more fun to drive a barely controllable mess than it is to have something that just sits there pathetically twitching.

  8. Brosepholis says:

    This is pretty cool. Although 100FPS with cryengine on a PC implies this approach probably wouldn’t work on current-gen consoles without some optimisation work. Still, it shows how far you can get with a very simple approach to deformation.

  9. reggiep says:

    Brilliant, but I’m not sure how it’s going to play. If every car you crashed in GTA, for example, was totaled realistically, it would make the game less fun. It reminds me of when they made Sonic the Hedgehog have to find air bubbles.

    A game like Burnout, however, would benefit greatly from this tech.

    • StranaMente says:

      I was thinking the same. When does realism interfere with fun?
      In some games these mechanics might be interesting, while in others can be completely frustrating.

  10. Gnoupi says:

    Very nice. Although for now it looks “rubbery”. The car doesn’t feel like being made of metal, but of rubber.
    It’s a good start anyway, and will be great to see future games with that kind of technology.

    For now, it’s a bit like the first “realistic falling” for dead bodies, a few years ago. It was a vast improvement over the fixed animation, but it felt like a rubber ragdoll without constraints.

    • Brosepholis says:

      Clearly their approach has some issues. It looks like they’re using an elastic-plastic model for structural deformation, which gives it that ‘rubbery’ look. In reality, cars have internal structure that deforms in a rigid-plastic fashion, and an outer skin that is more elastic-plastic. Enforcing the rigid plasticity with constraints is hard work (amounts to solving a LCP) and doing it with penalty forces is messy so it looks like they haven’t quite gone down that route.

      Their old version is open source so I’m going to have a really good look at how they’ve done this when I get some time.

      • 12kill4 says:

        I think it has also something to do with the lack of disintegration following collisions… everything just springs back together… but yeah, early WIP…

  11. Dominic White says:

    I remember when people were freaking out about how Cryengine 3 was terrible because it CLEARLY wasn’t as good as the superior PC-only uberengine that was Cryengine 2, because Crysis 2 didn’t have jungles.

    Turns out that Cryengine 3 can do everything that 2 can and far more, and still run better doing it – it’s a shockingly well optimized bit of code.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      True. I do miss the real lighting though. Differed lighting is so much quicker, and does allow for more lighting effects in that regard. But I find it tends to “wash out” a scene, as in reality it’s a heavily post processing related effect.

      You could argue the older engine is better then. In the same way you can argue Super salmpling AA is better (quality) than the Hybrid AA (forfeiting quality for speed).

      • Mistabashi says:

        deferred shading has nothing to do with post-processing, it’s about the rendering pipeline. If a scene looks washed-out it’s not because of that, it’s because of how the shaders and/or the scene are configured (you can make any game look washed-out, just like you can make any image look washed-out).

    • CorruptBadger says:

      the engine was of course better, but crysis 2 suffered from its cross platform release. for example, no dx 11 support, lower quality textures; if only slightly, the cityscape did not feel all that natural due to the fact it was just one big, open, square, corridor, rather than Crysis 1’s massive open islands.

      One of the biggest problems i say with the second game was the obvious dumbing down to make it easier to fit on a game pad as well as easier to play and access.
      In the first game you had
      armour – quicker regen, improved damage threshold, allows energy regen if not being shot.
      strength – increased jump height, can throw objects further and with more force, can beat enemies to death with ease, also makes your aim better.
      speed – allows you to move faster across ground or through water, increased reload speed, can jump further as well as run faster.
      cloak – allows you to become invisible, slightly increases speed,
      they all catered to different styles, could be mixed and match to effect, and gave it a tactical sense.

      Crysis 2 had 2 with more limited functions, much more of the suit is passive and automated
      armour – improved damage threshold, makes you easier to spot to enemies
      cloak – cloaks you slightly worse than the first suit but completely suppress’ noise made and allows assassinations of targets with silents pistols at a high energy cost
      Not to mention the single player perk system which made the game incredibly easy even on the highest difficulty (you could also quite easily acquire even perk on your first playthrough, further diminishing its replay value)

      Enemies in the second game also come fewer and further between, excluding later stages, as well as being much easier to kill.
      The only strong points of the second game were its pacing, sound design and enemy variation.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Oh come on, you are making this up. There is no color called “burple” (I mean, “taupe” was already hard to believe).

    The video looks interesting. I think if they put this in a game, I would spend more time crashing cars than actually playing the game (unless the game is about crashing cars).

  13. GameOverMan says:

    CryEngine 3, Beam Physics, Soft Body: Hard Surface.

  14. Shortwave says:

    This is awesome and totally unexpected, love it.
    I was playing around last night in Cryengine 3 working on vegetation placing, ha. Perdy/fun.
    I can’t wait till’ this comes out and I get to make my own modern version of Monster Truck Madness.
    Bwahaha, boo-yea! Smash! SMASH! Destruction! CHAOS! WEE!

    • adam.jutzi says:

      +1 to this. I forgot about Monster Truck Madness.

      This NEEDS to happen.

  15. Anthile says:

    Yes, here’s a list of all the games that will ever integrate this feature in a meaningful way:

    • Meldreth says:

      Probably, but it doesn’t need to be meaningful to be fun.

  16. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I hope this deformation is used in the new Carmageddon, but you can still drive while the car is totally mashed.

  17. Optimaximal says:

    They call them the most accurate collisions, but a) there was no weighty engine block in the truck and b) I saw some hefty clipping into the wall.

    Seriously, where’s my per-pixel carnage?!

    • Shortwave says:

      It’s an unfinished test to simply display a concept of the finished technology.
      Pal. And it’s already leaps ahead of anything like this in current games.

      Be happy, lol. Progression however slow it may be at times, is always a good thing.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      But I did see that there was a turn signal at one point in the video, which is an unprecedented first for video game realism. Progress on all fronts!

  18. Yehat says:

    Watching car crashes has never been quite so zen.

  19. Neox says:

    I don’t like racing games. But I’ve spent hours upon hours in GTAs since the first one just driving around. An order of magnitude more than I ever played those games “straight”, if you will. And a huge part of the thrill is simply a semblance of realistic physics*, the car damage and the open world environment.

    I’d buy any game with collision physics like that. If they made a Kickstarter for something like Modern City Stunt Hero, using this tech, I’d just give them my wallet.

    *Amazing how little was needed back when and how far we’ve come. GTA IV went into some car physics uncanny valley, hope they tweaked V just right.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      I’m an avid sim racer, and thought GTA IVs driving physics were the best yet. Sure, they had the same “is it silly or is it realistic?” thing that the rest of the game had, but the weight of the cars and the propensity for understeer without proper control input is a perfect representation of the barges people drive around in every day. I think it added another layer to the driving that was missing before, especially when you realise how different each car felt. One of my favourites, the Blista, was a little FWD hatchback, that was clearly inspired (if exaggerated; it could do 200 mph!) by Honda’s early VTEC beasties; it’s a proper rocketship in the game!

      Incidentally, I also mostly enjoy the sandbox nature of the GTA games, and usually ignored the “story” or whatever it was I was supposed to be doing.

  20. Lev Astov says:

    Oh man, this is pretty much exactly what I’ve always wanted in games! Make it so, Crytek!

  21. Turbobutts says:

    Give me a Paris Dakar simulation with the full distance modelled ingame and those physics, and I will never ask for another game again.

  22. Dys Does Dakka says:

    I hope Stainless hasn’t forgotten that the advanced physics were at the core of why the Carmageddons were such splendid games; Reincarnation would be an obvious candidate for a physics engine like this.

    • skyturnedred says:

      My thoughts exactly. So long as they keep the repair button so you don’t have to stop the race after the first crash.

  23. McDan says:

    That’s how I like my physics, complicated and ridiculous just like real life, though when they say it’s the best most realistic damage model ever does that mean their next one won’t be as good? Shame that.

  24. Dana says:

    No one cares. You wont notice it unless its a car crash simulator.

  25. BathroomCitizen says:

    This clearly won’t beat Carmageddon: Reincarnation’s car deformation

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Yet another successful application of soft body physics.

  26. yourgrandma says:

    Nice, too bad it’s still going to play like crysis 2.

  27. Krixodus says:

    Here you can see a side by side comparison of a real crash test and the demonstration:

    link to

  28. dsi1 says:

    To anyone who hasn’t played Rigs of Rods (and is a fan of physics/destruction/simulation in games): do it, now, it is exactly like this video but with less graphical fidelity.

  29. Viper50BMG says:

    So, am I the only one who would love to just mess about with that Ford on the test map they demonstrate on? Just driving, crashing, playing with camera angles, respawning, driving, jumping, crashing, etc? Lovely old time, that.

  30. lijenstina says:

    Not bad but there some iffy parts here and there.
    Like rear stop lights, glass and rims that do not deform on impact.

    The car model was a bit bland.


    • roryok says:


      Not bad but there some iffy parts here and there.
      Like rear stop lights, glass and rims that do not deform on impact.

      The car model was a bit bland.


  31. roryok says:

    Interstate 76 game please