How ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ plays by the rules of physics

Video games are back in a big way. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is one of the most anticipated games of this year, sure to appeal to hardcore gamers and casual fans alike. In the trailers and teasers, you can see how Tears of the Kingdom it will feature ways to make flying machines and manipulate time. So it’s a natural question to ask how Zelda’s laws of nature align with real world physics.

In one of the trailers, Link takes flight on a paraglider, dropping from any height and exploring ravines and chasms at speeds that could kill a human in real life. Like his predecessor, breath of the wild, Tears of the Kingdom offers an immersive and somewhat realistic world that still incorporates many magical and superhuman abilities. The game developers say that this bending of the rules that we are familiar with adds to the overall level of fun of the game and the enjoyment of the player.

Charles Pratt, an assistant professor of arts at the NYU Game Center who has used physics when developing games, says the reason the fantasy elements of Zelda they still work because they “follow people’s intuitions about physics” and use their understanding of the rules of real life as a starting point.

“Gravity isn’t exactly gravity, is it?” Pratt says. “Gravity is applied in certain cases, and not in others to make it look like you’re jumping through the air. Because jumping is so much fun.”

wild breath, which came out in 2017, was a huge success. It sold 29.81 million copies and shaped an entire generation of video games, pushing developers to make more open world titles and possibly influencing Pokémon to open up its borders and present a wild area for players to roam and explore. .

Aspects of Link’s world align with the Earth we inhabit and recognize and, like our reality, it follows the basic rules of physics. The first Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The game follows the same natural laws as Tears. The general rules of gravity still exist. Projectile objects fly in a curved trajectory and must be skillfully aimed to hit the target. Items lose durability and break down over time.

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breath of the wild He also played with the elements. Metal objects conduct electricity and attract lightning during a storm. Link suffered damage from entering a cold environment without wearing the proper clothing. And setting enemies on fire deals damage over time to them and opens a chance to set the nearby area on fire.

“If you throw a stone, it falls, and if you throw a piece of wood in the water, it floats, but unlike the real world, it seems like you’ll have access to jet packs and magical items that our world doesn’t have.” says Lasse Astrup, lead designer of the new Apple Arcade game What the car?, which features its own unusual physics, in which players can drive cars that have multiple human legs or propel themselves into the sky like rockets. Astrup, who is no stranger to exploring physics in video games, says he plans to buy the new Zelda game and spend days playing it, and then seeing what kind of creations other players come up with.

Playing weird physics games, either in Zelda games or one of Astrup’s creations—add more fun to titles, Astrup says. “You never have complete control over what happens in the scene or which way something flies when it explodes,” he says. “This allows for an emergent game where players can explore and find their own solutions.”

other ways than Tears of the Kingdom defies our laws of physics include how Link can stand on a rapidly accelerating platform without falling over, when a normal human in our world would have been knocked over by the force of acceleration.

Lindley Winslow, an experimental nuclear and particle physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that, according to the trailer, “it’s still a beautifully coded game. The details are what make it convincing, the movement of the grass, the air coming out of the glider”.

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Adds Winslow: “The power comes from the fact that the physics are right until they’re fantastic. This allows us to immerse ourselves in the world and believe in the fantastic. My favorite are the floating islands.” Magic exists in Tears. Link can use magical powers to stop time, use magnets, or lift extremely heavy objects.

Alex Rose, an indie game developer who is also a physics programmer and professor at the Vienna University of Applied Sciences, noted that there is a lot of precise physics in Tears of the Kingdom, also. Link’s terminal velocity drops after he extends his body and slows further when he releases his parachute.

Tears of the Kingdom introduces a system for inventing wacky machines: platforms lifted into the air by balloons or jetpack-like rockets attached to Link’s shield. In our world, a person riding on a flatbed would coast away when the vehicle they were riding in quickly rounded the corner. But Link, being a video game character, can stay on the platform, even during fast turns, Rose noted. And in the real world, Link wouldn’t be able to hang a rocket from his arm without risking losing a limb.

“In the real world, even the best gymnast would be blown to the ground,” says Rose, “like an old firecracker trick from a certain MTV show.”

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