Learning 3D Physics Engines

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Old 07 July 2014   #1
Learning 3D Physics Engines

My nephew is very interested in learning 3D graphics and physics programming. I enocuraged his interests in programming a few years back and he wants to move on to the next thing, i.e. 3D graphics programming.

I pointed him in the direct of physics engines and he wants to work with PhysX, so I came up with what I thought might be a relatively simple task and told him that if he completed it, I'd get him a gift certificate to a store he likes to shop at.

However, he's become a bit frustrated and doesn't know how to get a handle on the task. What I've asked him to do is create a sphere and give it the physical property of a liquid and give the user the ability to change the density of the liquid. Then allow the user to drop the sphere of liquid on the "ground" and watch it splatter. This seemed easy enough, but perhaps I was wrong.

With all the experience people here have with this type of programming, what is the best place or book to get him in order to get him started with a phsyics engine like PhysX (at this point any one might do, just to get him going)?

Having read through some of the discussions here, Maya seems to come up frequently. But it's not clear whether that's just a way to create graphics or if it has an associated physics engine as well?

And if getting him a copy of Autodesk is a good idea, what is the best book or online tutorial for him to use to get him started with a simple project like the one above?

Thanks in advance!
 
Old 07 July 2014   #2
To get him started, I'd advise downloading the Core PhysX SDK from Nvidia Gameworks together with documentation ie: Guide & API, also note requires VS [Visual Studio] 2008 or higher to run the sample scripts on a WIN system.

Further instruction resources include "learning Physics Modeling with PhysX" book + author's web site, Swiftless tutorials, collection of PhysX scripts written by a graphics programmer, and finally I'd suggest taking a look at the Fluid Demo & modding guide.

Since the Autodesk 3D suite of apps is widely used by pro & hobbyist alike in content creation, I'd recommend evaluating the Maya toolset, either trial or student version by working through some tutorials for beginner/intermediate users from personal experience these site's deliver quality workflows: Digital Tutors, CGItutes+, and/or 3DTotal which in my opinion will provide an introductory "hands on" working knowledge of the packaged feature sets eg: 3D modelling, rendering, animation, VFX sims via third party plug-ins, for example cloth/destruction physics implemented by the Maya DCC Plugin...etc.

Anyway this is certainly a ton of info to get a handle on for anyone starting out, however if self-paced the learning curve shouldn't be too tedious a grind hopefully.

Cheers ;)
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Last edited by sacboi : 07 July 2014 at 10:44 AM.
 
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