User:Forest/Final Report

Displaying simulation data: Final report



This summer I worked on displaying rigidbody simulation data in the viewport. I worked on displaying all the types of data mentioned in the proposal, except for the cloth springs. I couldn’t work on this as I ran out of time.

Completed work

Velocity, acceleration, and forces

Velocity, acceleration and forces acting on active rigid bodies are displayed in the form of color coded vectors. The types of forces displayed and their color coding is as follows:

  1. Forces due to effectors (pink)
  2. Normal forces (pink)
  3. Frictional forces (yellow)
  4. Gravitational forces (pink)
  5. The resultant of all the above (cyan)

Each of these can be toggled separately in the forces panel, along with an option to display their magnitude as text.

The normal and frictional forces displayed are the average force applied during the timestep, (which is the average of the forces applied in all the substeps).

Right now, the maximum number of forces that can be stored of each type of force, is 3.

Normal, frictional and net forces on a cube


The frame of the collision shapes lights up if an object collided with something within the past timestep. For primitive collision shapes that have faces, which are the box, cone and cylinder, if a face participates in a collision, the face will light up as well.

Rigidbody states

Indicating a rigidbody’s state can be toggled in the display options panel. If enabled, the rigidbody will be displayed in one of 3 colors:
Active: Light grey
Passive : Dark grey
Kinematic: Blue tint

Non primitive collision shapes

The convex hull and mesh type collision shapes are drawn as wireframes around the rigidbody, similar to other primitive shapes.

Compound child shapes are scaled according to their parent shapes. I added this scale factor to the code so that the primitive compound child shapes that are drawn are scaled accordingly


After I started working on the constraints I realised that the ideas I had mentioned in my proposal were underdeveloped. The behaviour of the constraints proved to be far less straightforward than I thought.

After a lot of testing their behaviour and discussion with my mentor Sebastian Parborg, we came up with the following ways to visualise constraints:
1. Slider: Central rod along the constrained axis to which the 2 objects are connected by perpendicular connecting rods. These rods can slide up and down the central rod. The linear limits are shown as blue walls on both sides of the objects. The walls fade in and out as objects move closer/ farther from them. The panel has an option to toggle fading of walls.

2. Hinge: Objects are connected to a central rod like the slider, but the connecting rods are allowed only to rotate about the central rod. Limits of rotation are shown as disks that limit the rods’ rotation.

3. Piston: This is a combination of the above two. The connecting rods are allowed to slide along the central rod, as well as rotate about it.

4. Fixed: This is simply a line connecting the 2 objects

Limitations/ Known issues


  • Some edge cases for face collisions are not detected, possibly because the code does not pass collision points that lie exactly on an edge of the face.
  • The code iterates over the persistent manifold to find contact points after each substep. A better way to do it might be to use collision callbacks

Convex hull and trimesh shapes:

  • There seems to be a memory leak, possibly because I need to take into account the 2 copies of data while freeing the memory allocated for the mesh.


  • I wasn’t able to create visualisation options for the generic and motor constraints. The motor uses a generic 6dof constraint internally. The generic constraint behaviour is complicated and difficult to represent by a simple mechanical model.
  • Constraints currently do not work with kinematic objects.


A big thank you to Sebastian Parborg, for refining my ideas, and for amazing guidance throughout the project; and to Sebastián Barschkis for pointing me in the right direction and helping with version control and other doubts. I’m incredibly grateful for getting to work on this. Thank you so much!