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CPSC 8170 -- Physically Based Animation

Fall 2018

Boing! (Springy Structures)

Homework Assignment 4

Due: Tuesday Oct. 30


Now that you can simulate particles flying freely through space, it is time to link them together so that you can start building geometry. For this project, you are to follow the work of Haumann and Parent in building springy structures from simple behavioral "actors". Particles, which have mass, are connected to each other by massless springy-links, which in turn can be connected to form triangles. The triangles can be connected along common edges to form polyhedral structures. The common edges that the triangles share can have torsional springs associated with them. The springy-links between particles provide spring forces that tend to keep the particles at a specific rest-distance from each other. The torsional springs between triangles provide spring forces that keep the triangles at a specific rest-angle with respect to each other. Both the link and torsional springs should have some damping associated with them so that vibrations tend to die out over time.

Your assignment is to put together some experiments using these ideas to build springy objects that can "live" in a simulated virtual world. Ideas are jello cubes that can be tossed around, flags that can blow in the wind, slinky toys, butterflys, etc.

Finally, once you have done a nice springy object simulation, you may notice that the motion sometimes doesn't look completely realistic, and it may be hard to keep the simulation stable. Both of these characteristics may be due to the fact that you have been using a simple numerical integration algorithm. I would like you to improve your simulation program by moving to the fourth-order Runga-Kutta integration algorithm, but without changing the geometry or dynamics. Details of this algorithm can be found in the notes, and in the book Numerical Recipes, by Press et al. You should note some real improvement in performance, both in terms of stability and quality of motion.