Soft-Mesh, alternative to soft-body physics

Soft-Mesh, alternative to soft-body physics

Soft-Mesh, alternative to soft-body physics 1920 1080 Studio Tatsu

We’ve been busy…

We haven’t posted in a while, mainly because we wanted to create a soft-body solution that could work well on mid-level machines and mobile devices while keeping to the same gameplay mechanics on both. It took four weeks of Research and another four weeks of development and micro optimizing. Typically, we don’t micro-optimize until closer to the end, but in this case, it was crucial due to the amount of data handled in milliseconds. Here’s a preview of our progress below.


Note: This tech is currently not for sale or licensing.

What is Soft-Mesh?

Soft-mesh is a new alternative to soft-body physics in Unity that handles only mesh deformation and collisions. Since it does not require heavy calculations, it is about 80% faster than soft-body physics and can work on mid-level mobile phones with excellent performance. In addition, it works in conjunction with our dynamic colliders. Dynamic Colliders are advanced shape matching convex colliders that mimics almost any shape at runtime, even water-like forms. Unlike static colliders, dynamic colliders can be controlled by a rigidbody.

Soft-Mesh vs Soft-Body physics

Soft-body physics adds a level of destruction in games most gamers are guilty of enjoying. For example, driving a vehicle in a racing game at 200 mph and “accidentally” running into a wall should result in catastrophic damage – not just a few scratches on the bumper or only a broken headlight. Soft-body physics in Unity can achieve catastrophic vehicle damage and deformation but sometimes at high CPU cost.

On the other hand, Soft-Mesh doesn’t require much processing power, mainly because it only deforms the mesh – not process and calculate the springs, mass, velocities, and all of the nodes of the body. Soft-Mesh allows us to add more and larger objects and control how the mesh deforms after a collision. We will still use soft-body physics in our games, but only when soft-mesh can not do the job.

Note: Soft-mesh is not a soft-body replacement; it is an alternative. Soft-body physics or dynamics are much more advanced; it is more CPU intensive and requires heavier calculations.

Tutorial or White Paper?

Soft-Mesh and Dynamic Colliders are both still a work in progress. However, we have made enough progress to fully integrate them with the rest of our Tatsu Toybox framework. Once we have released a game or two on Desktop and mobile and it is a proven success, we may write an in-depth tutorial or whitepaper. No promises.

We do not wish to write a tutorial this early because our process is continuously evolving as we move forward. For example, 12 days ago, the framerate on the same objects in the video above was roughly 30-40 fps. If we had written a whitepaper then, it could have led many developers in the wrong direction, wasting their production cost and efforts. Since we are indie and self-funded, currently without deadlines, we have that luxury to explore, experiment, and even fail a few times in the process. We have discovered over 60 different ways NOT to create soft-body physics.

Performance

We have received many emails and direct messages over the last few days, with most questions curious about performance. The framerate is the top right corner of most of the recently posted videos on Twitter and Reddit. The framerate is there so everyone can see the performance. With that said, it can and will perform much faster than shown in the videos. The screen recorder, post-processing effects, and custom shaders all add overhead to the overall framerate. As for mobile, it can efficiently run 60 fps with 100+ simultaneously deformable objects on most mid-level phones released in the last three years.

Want to see more?

If you want to see more updates about our future content, consider following us on social media. For Developers, we post dev videos on Twitter and Reddit frequently and milestone videos on YouTube. For Gamers, we post game-related updates on Instagram and Facebook.

13 Comments
  • Hi,
    This asset is amazing. Is it available for buying?
    Best regards

    • Currently, It is for internal use only. If there is a high enough demand for it, we may sell it on the Unity Asset Store, after we have released several titles.

  • Shayne O’Neill July 25, 2020 at 3:36 am

    Nice work. Great to see the focus on performance for low end machines. Seems to imply this kind of thing might even work on mobile devices.

    I’d love to see a whitepaper with the math on this. I’ve been contemplating doing some soft body work on the Godot engine (which does have a built in softbody implementation , but I’m not 100% on the performance on mobile) but most of the well known algorithms are pretty expensive computationally even when pushed out into GPU compute (though maybe the Nvidia stuff might shine there on platforms where that makes sense)

    • Yes. It actually runs well on mobile devices. In the beginning, my primary focus was developing mobile games but as time and research progressed my vision became much bigger. I am planning to do a write up on the tech later after I have released a few games and it is a fully battle-tested.

  • Awesome!

    I would like to use it for my on game. Possible?

    • Sorry, this is for internal use only. Our primary focus is on developing games.
      Unfortunately, I do not have the time or resources to support Unity Assets at the moment.

      • This is Amazing, I like it And Want to use it in my games hopefully it out in market soon with low cost {Becuase I am a Student Now And If the cost is low so i can buy If the cost will high then i will buy in future then i newd it alot}

  • Hey!

    Are you using burst compiler or something advanced stuff here?
    Is it particle based or truss base physics?

    THX 🙂

    • Using Burst and Job System. Not using Truss Physics. Truss hasn’t been updated in years and crashes almost instantly in new versions of Unity. Soft-Mesh is all built in-house, all custom all new.

  • HI,

    Did you use VHACD for dynamic collider?

    Thanks!

    • No, Dynamic colliders are made completely in-house. After researching what V-HACD is, the concept is similar.

  • Please please, put it on the Asset Store. It’s awesome!

  • Would love to buy it on asset store, great job!

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