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Real-Time Fluid Dynamics for Games

Jos Stam

Game Developers Conference
2003

Abstract

In this paper we present a simple and rapid implementation of a fluid dynamics solver for game engines. Our tools can greatly enhance games by providing realistic fluid-like effects such as swirling smoke past a moving character. The potential applications are endless. Our algorithms are based on the physical equations of fluid flow, namely the Navier-Stokes equations. These equations are notoriously hard to solve when strict physical accuracy is of prime importance. Our solvers on the other hand are geared towards visual quality. Our emphasis is on stability and speed, which means that our simulations can be advanced with arbitrary time steps. We also demonstrate that our solvers are easy to code by providing a complete C code implementation in this paper. Our algorithms run in real-time for reasonable grid sizes in both two and three dimensions on standard PC hardware, as demonstrated during the presentation of this paper at the conference. The following links provide access to the supplementary material referenced in this publication, one for the demo, and, one for the solver.

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