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FIFA 12: Impact Engine

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As already detailed in a recent post, the collision system for FIFA12 has been rewritten from the ground up. It’s called the impact engine, it’s almost certainly the biggest change being made this year and we were lucky enough to see it running recently. The impact engine is designed to change the way player models interact with each other on the pitch, from the slightest knock through to a full speed clattering, it’s all going to be different.

[DISCLAIMER] The videos that we saw were from both the Test Bed environment and live FIFA 12 gameplay. Whilst what we saw was incredibly impressive, these videos are chosen with the express intent of demonstrating the new FIFA 12 features as simply as possible. FIFASoccerBlog will not be providing a definitive opinion on these new features until we get our hands on the game, we’re simply going to relay what we saw and what we were told.

More than one collision point = more organic collisions – Previously when players came together, one point of contact was taken into consideration and a premade animation was played based on that single contact, which left times where the outcome of a tackle looked nothing like it should have done based on the context of the collision. In FIFA12 players can now make contact with each other at more than one point giving much more fluid and natural collisions.

Momentum preservation – Players carry momentum into their tackles, meaning that the speed at which you hit someone will change the way you collide. Go in lightly and you’re less likely to upset them, steam into them and you’re going to do some damage. Players can carry on through minor collisions. It’s an isolated example but we did see a particularly meaty collision that caused a front flip and yes, it was fucking hilarious.

Less premade animations – No longer will the CPU be picking the best effort from a list of premade animations. Now animations can be worked out, in real time, taking many points into consideration. The result? More fluid animations that bear much more relation to the action that triggered them. Coupled with….

More intelligent animation resolution – …..and multiple points of contact, tackling and player contact should feel a lot more fluid and a lot less cagey. To quote Aaron McHardy, “the variety is almost endless”. We saw a head on collision result in one player get sent flying on to his back whereas one from the side caught the player enough to rotate him.

Real world physics – Player can take knocks but keep the ball, bounce off challenges and generally make contact with other players, which they will react to, but that won’t neccesarily force them to go down or to lose the ball.

No masking – Animations are no longer used to “mask” the contact made between players. Everything is calculated  considering the factors above.

The new engine not only looks very impressive but opens the door for True Injuries. A huge step away from the seemingly random injury model that’s currently in place, True Injuries means that the on pitch action can have a real impact (excuse the pun) on how players injure themselves. Players can injure themselves by landing awkwardly, streching muscles or twisting limbs. This should have a huge effect on CM, with players being able to re-injure previous problem points and even pick up career niggles such as persistent knee problems.

After the first view of the impact engine, my thoughts went somehow to the euphoria engine used in GTA4 and Red Dead Redemption, but it looked less clumsy and more concise. I can only hope it plays that way.

 

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