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EA SPORTS GETS PHYSICAL

Sept. 22, 2014
Sept. 22, 2014

Table of Contents
Sept. 22, 2014

INBOX
MARCUS MARIOTA
PRO FOOTBALL
GOLF
  • A U.S. Ryder Cup star at 23, he enjoyed a lifestyle as flamboyant as his belt buckles. Six years later and 28 months removed from his last PGA Tour event, he has gone into hiding, wrestling with whether to tee it up again or reap an eight-figure disability settlement

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EA SPORTS GETS PHYSICAL

NHL

This is an article from the Sept. 22, 2014 issue Original Layout

FOR MORE THAN three years particle physicist Michele Petteni worked at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, analyzing data to identify new heavy particles that could indicate the presence of additional spatial dimensions. So of course he followed that gig by taking a job at EA Sports, where he is charged with bringing true-to-life puck physics to NHL 15. Previous iterations of the game had a puck that looked cylindrical but was programmed like a sphere. "Cylinders are nasty," Petteni says. "They flip. They rotate. It's very difficult to predict what a cylinder will do, analytically." In work similar to what he did at the collider, Petteni and his team modeled collisions and theoretical outcomes and analyzed a ton of data to redefine how a puck acts on screen. He walked SI through the results.

View this article in the original magazine

ROTATIONFRICTIONCOLLISIONPRECESSION
ChangeTwo pucks moving at the same speed but rotating in dissimilar ways will have different collisions with the same object.A new friction model allows the game to distinguish between sliding flat and rolling on edge.The way the puck flips once it hits the ice depends on its orientation and angular velocity, which can cause it to either bounce or stick to the ice and slide.A modeled calculation determines how the puck wobbles when spinning through the air.
ResultThe spin changes how the puck comes off players and sticks, so it can do things like squeak past gaps under the goalies' arms based on its orientation.The '15 puck stops more naturally and slows down differently when on edge.The puck can hit the ice and bounce over players' sticks, just as in real life.The game provides authentic flight characteristics.
ILLUSTRATIONGETTY IMAGES (PUCK); TREVOR LAZARUS (PUCK ILLUSTRATION)PHOTOEA SPORTS (GAME)TWO ILLUSTRATIONS