Re: Whats the difference between all of the different physics engines?
What I'm looking for is an animation system where only the "bare bones" of the animation are mocapped, but there's some leyway for variance. I often think of basketball games when a character dunks it.
Let's say the mocapped guy who dunked the ball was 6'6". What happens when someone who is 6'9" dunks using the same animation? Sometimes you'll see them dunking with their wrist hitting the rim and not their hand. And the opposite is true, if someone who is 6'2" dunks with the same animation, sometimes you see the ball pass through the bottom of the rim first, because the mocapped guy's arm was longer and higher up. And then to compensate, sometimes they have the player get higher lift, but it still can make the dunk awkward because even Fred Jones, a great 6'2" dunker can't do what a Josh Smith can. Different things happen in midair for them. They're use of their full extention is different. Josh Smith doesn't need to fully extend when coming down from his apex. Fred Jones does, even though he gets great hang time.
If there was some wiggle room for the animation to tweak itself(and perhaps something like an AI existing even within a player controlled player) it could eliminate the inaccuracies caused by the game player's body type not perfectly mimicking a the mocapped players body type.
Shifting to football, nothing is more irritating than seeing the ball come within inches of a player's hands, which should be catchable, but the passes either whizzes by or suctions into a WR or a CB's hands because their hands weren't in the right spot. Give them the same leway and they're arms will tweak to properly catch the ball. Could work further tackling, when players grab someone's shoulders, their hands shouldn't be reaching into their bodies like that dude from Heroes. Give them that same tweakability and they'll grab the correct spots.
And this even further can be expanded with player to player interactions. Like for a jump ball, the body could be a little less than staticly locked into a jumpball, the reciever and defender could bump and alter their flight. Maybe even see some kind of mid-air ball stripping animation, because the defender's arm can reach outside of the predetermined animation and go for the ball. For tackles, when guy like Brandon Jacobs lowers his shoulder to run over a short guy like Jason David, he'll go lower than he would for Nnamdi Asomugha. Again, give the trucking animation some leway.
And to shift quickly back to basketball, this could create some awesome dunked on animations that were dynamically animated.
And remember the old animations for injuries? Injured tricep, he grabs his arm just below the shoulder. A slight in game tweak and he goes lower when he hurts his elbow. Hamstring? He grabs just below the butt cheeks. Quad strain? Just a little lower for him to reach.
I've already heard of something similar being done for catching now that I think of it, but why stop there? It'd probably rely on a physics engine similar to backbreaker, but there'd probably be a limit to how far individual body parts could move from the original place.
Just my two cents, I might be talking out the hole in my neck with stuff that isn't even possible...