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    Stop baking water for your video game. Use real-time realistic particles simulation instead

    We at ZibraAI can’t help but wonder what the player thinks about when he sees impressively realistic water in a game? Something like, “Okay, not that bad.” What does the game designer who created this scene think about? Well, he’s not thinking. This game dev has just paid all the bills for his psychotherapist’s appointment and is on his way to a three-week retreat. But he is the lucky one — he survived after trying to create a physically correct fluid with weeks of rendering.

    Is it that hard to create quality, realistic-looking water in games that interact in real-time? No, it’s not complicated. It’s very, very damn hard. What is the actual problem? The liquid has no shape. And, therefore, it is unstable. It isn’t easy to guess how the fluid should behave and react to an approaching object. Modeling water as realistic particles is a resource-intensive task. So how do developers solve this issue? They cheat by creating a flat mesh and adding layers of animation to its top. Such scenes in games are baked, therefore water is not an element of game design. Water is treated as another object, most often it is shaded air. To create the illusion of a physically correct fluid, game developers use normal maps, shaders, and VFX sprites. And what do we end up with? Much time expended. Resource intensive. Expensive. Unrealistic.

    Let’s take a look at some examples. In “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus”. The water looks like jelly. The fluid is thick, and it shudders incredibly unrealistically when the character enters it.

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

    What about water in Cyberpunk 2077? The character shoots down the river and the water does not react at all. Then he throws a grenade into the water and … nothing! Let me remind you, this is a game released in 2020. The water can’t interact with the object in any meaningful way.

    Cyberpunk 2077

    We see the same situation in Mafia: Definitive Edition. The character throws a grenade, but the water does not react. We just hear the sound of an explosion and muffled sounds of water splashes.

    Mafia: Definitive Edition

    Even in Watch Dogs, where the water looks great in general, unpleasant incidents are caused by baking the water. In the video below, the character jumps into the water from a great height. And the moment he plunges into the water, he just disappears. The water doesn’t react.

    Watch Dogs

    We can conclude that the interaction of objects with water is still not worthy to this day. There are a lot of approaches to creating water in the games, from baking it in the expensive 3rd party software to simply ignoring the absence of realistic water. But we have a better solution. You already know about Zibra Liquids, don’t you? In case you don’t, you should try this plugin which allows the creation of a realistic fluid that interacts with objects in real-time. Aha, exactly — in real-time! No more baking and fake effects.

    Thanks to Force Interaction, you can move objects inside the scene. With the simple and intuitive interface, the water-object interaction takes no effort for the artist. Everything happens in a few clicks inside the engine.

    Zibra Liquids: adding water simulation to the Unity3D scene

    Many of our users are interested in baking scenes for some tasks. We take your feedback into account, and we will add this opportunity. But our main feature is the ability to work in real-time. Our plugin allows you to create scenes within the engine; there is no need for third-party tools. Less Difficulty — Less Stress.

    Thanks to the ML-based technology of Zibra Liquids, game designers are able to create realistic, water-object interactions that look spectacular. Easy as never before.