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Subject: collisions -- head on vs. stationary object rss

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Christian Shelton
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If I recall correctly, in all versions of CW, hitting a brick wall (with infinity DP) at speed x did a certain amount of damage. By contrast, running into an identical car head-on at speed x (where the opposite car was moving at you also as speed x) did a lot more damage: the same as running into a brick wall at speed 2x.

Was this ever fixed in any rule set?

In particular, the physics of the collision (experimental and theoretical) states that in both cases (head-on collision and running into immobile object) exert the same force on the car (over roughly the same period of time): the force necessary to bring the car to a stop. Therefore, the damage should be (roughly) the same, not twice as much (or more) in the second (head-on) case.

I recall that there were collision tables (with weight modifiers, but those can be ignored if all vehicles were roughly the same) that told about damage. There was a (somewhat) separate system that told what the new speed (and direction) should be. It seems that if you just calculate the second one first (ie first figure out the new velocities), then the damage is easier to assign.

Any hopes that the new version will fix this?
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I'm not sure how wrong it actually is, but I'm no physicist. Isn't there a lot more kinetic energy when colliding with something that is moving towards you versus something that's not? Like, if I run 10 mph into a stationary brick wall, I expect to get less pain then if I run into a brick wall that is also moving at me at 10 mph. Is that wrong thinking? Sure there is the question of energy it takes to stop, but there is also a lot of energy to expend to deform and damage my physical structure.
 
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Christian Shelton
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Indeed, this is a common misconception. Mythbusters even tackled it (although the physics is pretty clear -- they wanted to confirm it on real cars). There is a discussion of this on the physics forum at http://www.sciforums.com/%2520%253c/Collision-physics-explan... and you can see the mythbuster's video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8E5dUnLmh4
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Christian Shelton
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TheChin! wrote:
Like, if I run 10 mph into a stationary brick wall, I expect to get less pain then if I run into a brick wall that is also moving at me at 10 mph.


You are correct about this. The brick wall (probably) has much more mass than you do. So, if you are both moving at 10mph and hit each other (assuming that you are both "rolling freely"), then the result is that you'll end up moving backward and the wall will continue forward (albeit at a reduced speed). This will exert more force (and hence more damage as you must absorb it somehow) on you than running into a stationary wall, because your velocity has been changed more.

However, if you run into another person who is moving at you also at 10mph, then you'll both come to a "stop" (we are assuming neither takes any action to avoid the collision and both have the same mass and other characteristics). The force of this impact would be the same as if you hit another person who was stationary, but was braced so that he or she couldn't be moved.

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OK, I'm convinced, what would be a good house rule to use in the meantime? Possibly the two cars in the head-on take damage using the speed of the opposite car?

This could actually bring ramplates back to earth somewhat.
 
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Christian Shelton
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TheChin! wrote:
OK, I'm convinced, what would be a good house rule to use in the meantime? Possibly the two cars in the head-on take damage using the speed of the opposite car?

This could actually bring ramplates back to earth somewhat.


Well, the simplest is to say that hitting an immobile obstacle is the same as a head-on collision against a vehicle of the same weight moving at you at the same speed.

This perhaps makes all collisions too deadly.

Another option is to compute the new velocity of all vehicles and then take damage according to the change in velocity.

So, if you are in a 30mph head-on collision against the same weight and speed car, you both go to zero so you both have a change of 30mph and take damage as if running into a wall at 30mph.

If you are going 60mph and hit a car (of the same weight) going 40 mph in the opposite direction, then (roughly) you both end up going 10mph in your original direction (I'm not sure if this is the CW ruling, but it is roughly correct from a conservation of momentum point-of-view). So, you changed speed by 50mph (from 60 to 10) and take damage as if hitting a solid wall at 50 and he changed speeds by 30mph (from -20 to 10) and takes damage as if hitting a solid wall at 30mph.

If you are going 40 mph and hit a huge truck going 20mph (in the opposite direction), then you have to figure out your new speed, but I'm guessing it's something like 10 mph in the opposite direction. So, you take damage as if hitting a brick wall at 50mph and the truck takes damage as if hitting a brick wall at 10mph.

Of course, side swipes and t-bone collisions could be done similarly.

I'm wondering if this was ever done officially before? I'm guessing not.
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I have to say, I like your original simple idea better. It wouldn't change any of the other collision computations and just makes hitting immobile objects much more dangerous, or at least indestructible objects.

The other option might make collisions even more complicated than they are now, though possibly more realistic.

I would say that they haven't officially visited this issue, and the new version will have a "streamlined" system for collisions, i.e. further abstracted.
 
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TheChin! wrote:
I have to say, I like your original simple idea better. It wouldn't change any of the other collision computations and just makes hitting immobile objects much more dangerous, or at least indestructible objects.

To be certain it is simpler. Your comment about bringing ramplates back into line with other weapons made me look for a solution that would lower head-on collisions (instead of raising wall collisions).

Perhaps just using the first suggestion with a changed ram-damage table would be fine.

TheChin! wrote:

The other option might make collisions even more complicated than they are now, though possibly more realistic.

I would say that they haven't officially visited this issue, and the new version will have a "streamlined" system for collisions, i.e. further abstracted.

I'm sure the new version will be simpler to adjudicate. That doesn't mean it can't at least get this right

It seems to me that you have to have some method for figuring out the new speeds. Then, just look at how much your speed changed and consult a table. That is, instead of having damage tied to a speed, have damage tied to the amount of deceleration (or acceleration) as a result.

The trick is in how to assign new speeds, but that could be pretty reasonably simple (especially if we assume all vehicles weigh the same amount). For example:

Head-On: Subtract speeds. Divide by 2. Both cars moving in direction of faster car.
T-Bone: Car w/ front collision: new speed = half old speed. Car with side collision: ???
Rear-End: Add speeds. Divide by 2. Both cars moving at the new speed.
Side-swipe: Both cars conform. Speeds reduced by 1/4 (???)

The T-bone is tricky as the car that was hit on the side is probably spinning. But there will be some rule for figuring out new facing and speed. The real difficulty is that you need to subtract velocities (vectors) and not speeds in this case. But, I'm sure a simple approximation is doable once the rules for how to resolve the facing and new speed are finished.
 
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Which is why it's good to be big if you play on the line in football... The brick wall always wins.
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cshelton wrote:

To be certain it is simpler. Your comment about bringing ramplates back into line with other weapons made me look for a solution that would lower head-on collisions (instead of raising wall collisions).

Perhaps just using the first suggestion with a changed ram-damage table would be fine.


It is a tough balance issue. Real world collisions are pretty catastrophic and the game seems to simulate that well... if the cars were real life cars. They are heavily armored after all. It seems like armored vehicles go against the recent trend to build collapsible vehicles that absorb the energy of a collision and therefore reducing damage to occupants. Armored vehicles would actually take the old steel frame car issue of liquefying occupants and amplify it.

In game terms that means less car damage, more people damage. How does the Ram Plate work in this updated physics? It's just a more hardened plate of armor that is built into the frame of the vehicle, sort of becoming a pseudo mass multiplier for the purposes of effect on the target vehicle, but also absorbing less of the damage on the ramming vehicle, leaving more for the occupants to either be protected from or to absorb themselves.

If we use the "speed change" model to determine damage to vehicles (as is done for occupants now in regard to concussions) I guess the real function of the ram plate should be to modify the speed change variable (SCV) as it applies to vehicle damage (decreasing for rammer, increasing for rammee). We also can modify the SCV for occupant damage by making ram plates increasing the SCV for concussion effects on BOTH vehicles. Makes RAM plates a bit more realistic (in the layman reality I have created in my own brain) and a little more dangerous for the ram car driver, making safety seats more mandatory.

Obviously I am expanding on your second option, which is a dramatic House Rule shift, but might be a good starting point for considering collisions in CW6e. Of course, if we were just modding 2.5 in anticipation of the "streamlined" version not meeting our needs, then this is a good discussion for the rewriting of the collisions section for Car Wars 2.6 Open Source Ed.
 
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cshelton wrote:

If you are going 60mph and hit a car (of the same weight) going 40 mph in the opposite direction, then (roughly) you both end up going 10mph in your original direction (I'm not sure if this is the CW ruling, but it is roughly correct from a conservation of momentum point-of-view).


Just for clarification sake, current 2.5 says that, in your example, the rammer would be going 20 MPH (faster minus slower) and the target would be going 0 MPH. The target would "conform" to the rammer's follow through movement but for speed purposes the car would be set at 0 MPH..
 
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TheChin! wrote:
cshelton wrote:

If you are going 60mph and hit a car (of the same weight) going 40 mph in the opposite direction, then (roughly) you both end up going 10mph in your original direction (I'm not sure if this is the CW ruling, but it is roughly correct from a conservation of momentum point-of-view).


Just for clarification sake, current 2.5 says that, in your example, the rammer would be going 20 MPH (faster minus slower) and the target would be going 0 MPH. The target would "conform" to the rammer's follow through movement but for speed purposes the car would be set at 0 MPH..

Weird. I remembered that you just subtract the two speeds. I hadn't remembered that the slower vehicle is now stopped. This means that it will be hit again? If they were blocks on ice (a pseudo-frictionless surface), then they should both be going 10mph, but of course with real cars, it is less clear what would happen, but I'd expect the final speed to be less (not more).
 
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TheChin! wrote:

It is a tough balance issue. Real world collisions are pretty catastrophic and the game seems to simulate that well... if the cars were real life cars. They are heavily armored after all. It seems like armored vehicles go against the recent trend to build collapsible vehicles that absorb the energy of a collision and therefore reducing damage to occupants. Armored vehicles would actually take the old steel frame car issue of liquefying occupants and amplify it.

In game terms that means less car damage, more people damage. How does the Ram Plate work in this updated physics? It's just a more hardened plate of armor that is built into the frame of the vehicle, sort of becoming a pseudo mass multiplier for the purposes of effect on the target vehicle, but also absorbing less of the damage on the ramming vehicle, leaving more for the occupants to either be protected from or to absorb themselves.

If we use the "speed change" model to determine damage to vehicles (as is done for occupants now in regard to concussions) I guess the real function of the ram plate should be to modify the speed change variable (SCV) as it applies to vehicle damage (decreasing for rammer, increasing for rammee). We also can modify the SCV for occupant damage by making ram plates increasing the SCV for concussion effects on BOTH vehicles. Makes RAM plates a bit more realistic (in the layman reality I have created in my own brain) and a little more dangerous for the ram car driver, making safety seats more mandatory.

Obviously I am expanding on your second option, which is a dramatic House Rule shift, but might be a good starting point for considering collisions in CW6e. Of course, if we were just modding 2.5 in anticipation of the "streamlined" version not meeting our needs, then this is a good discussion for the rewriting of the collisions section for Car Wars 2.6 Open Source Ed.


What to do about ramplates is tough. I think your analysis of exterior versus interior of the car is good. For game purposes, I would just let the ramplate give a bonus to the damage to the other car (probably something multiplicative -- adding dice doesn't make sense, because then a 5mph ram becomes destructive).

Unless it comes with its own shock system, it does seem that the effects on the car with the ramplate wouldn't be changed much (and maybe made worse, at least for the driver!).

But, something simple is probably needed, so just multiplying the SCV by 1.5 or something is probably suitable.
 
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cshelton wrote:
Weird. I remembered that you just subtract the two speeds. I hadn't remembered that the slower vehicle is now stopped. This means that it will be hit again?


No, it will not be hit again. The vehicle going 0 mph conforms to the movement of the moving car (basically pivots as the faster car pushes on through.)
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kjamma4 wrote:

No, it will not be hit again. The vehicle going 0 mph conforms to the movement of the moving car (basically pivots as the faster car pushes on through.)


Ah... well at least the preserves momentum! I misinterpreted conforms. Thanks.
 
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Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.
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AMartin56 wrote:
Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.


if it's too far from a sim, it ceases to be fun for a large part of the extant and potential fan-bases.
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aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.


if it's too far from a sim, it ceases to be fun for a large part of the extant and potential fan-bases.


Fair enough...but it started as a game rather than a sim and did pretty well. The collision rules as we know them today were introduced in an issue of ADQ well after the game's popularity was well established.
 
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kjamma4 wrote:
cshelton wrote:
Weird. I remembered that you just subtract the two speeds. I hadn't remembered that the slower vehicle is now stopped. This means that it will be hit again?


No, it will not be hit again. The vehicle going 0 mph conforms to the movement of the moving car (basically pivots as the faster car pushes on through.)


It does create some "referee-able" moments though. like let's say you haven't fully "conformed" yet and are still in contact after the last phase of the turn. If both cars accelerate, do you just subtract the slower speed again, without a collision, to find the actual speed? I don't remember if the rules addressed this specifically, but this is what I would probably rule. Then continue conforming, with the slower vehicle limited in what maneuvers (such as pivot in reverse) it could make until clear of the ramming vehicle.
 
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The solution to this is easy if you are good with simple math and enjoy physics. The real problem is that not everybody is good with this stuff so to make the game simple you either take the math out and ignore the physics or you get creative with lots of tables and charts (and maybe even a nomograph!).

The accurate approach is to examine the kinetic energy in each vehicle and then the amount of "crumple" (amount of energy absorbed by impact) noting that a ram plate has two main functions - to increase the mass of the vehicle and to make it more rigid so that it imparts more of the vehicles energy to the target. Ignoring ram plates makes the math simpler.

It gets very complicated in automobiles because modern chassis are designed to absurd impact to protect the occupants. I forget the exact numbers (I have not been a part of this world for 15 years so numbers and references might have changed) but here in the USA there is a document called the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) that governs the safe design of all vehicles sold/operated in the USA. I think it is section 13 of the FAR that covers this and a statement in section 506 that states that seat belts and auto design have to provide enough protection such that a passenger can survive a 30 mph head-on collision and be subject to no more than 5 g's. So, the seat belt has to be able to stretch a little bit while the car is crumpling to absorb the energy from the crash at 30mph.

Good times!
 
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Yikes, this veered in a different direction.

My initial point wasn't that CW needed to have more simulation (I think I'd argue the reverse), but rather that with no additional work it could be more realistic (at least in one respect).

In particular, the rules for a crash must:

1. Determine the heading and speed of each vehicle
2. Determine the damage to each vehicle

If we do them in this order, then some amount of information about the change in speed (approximated, of course -- vector arithmetic isn't fun for most gamers) can be used in the second. I don't think that energy calculations need to be included, the current tables seem like a nice trade-off. The current division of collisions into head-on, rear-end, t-bone, and sideswipe also seem fine (although there might be something even simpler) And, determining the new heading and speed should of course be something simple that gives verisimilitude to the game, but doesn't have to be physically exact. Just large, over-all effects should be roughly correct.

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AMartin56 wrote:
aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.


if it's too far from a sim, it ceases to be fun for a large part of the extant and potential fan-bases.


Fair enough...but it started as a game rather than a sim and did pretty well. The collision rules as we know them today were introduced in an issue of ADQ well after the game's popularity was well established.


It was a sim from the first edition I saw - Pocket was very much a sim. The movement mechanics are good enough to teach people parallel parking and (in Truck Stop) trailer backing.

It was a limited sim, but always very simulationist. At least, until late in the post compendium era.
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aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.


if it's too far from a sim, it ceases to be fun for a large part of the extant and potential fan-bases.


Fair enough...but it started as a game rather than a sim and did pretty well. The collision rules as we know them today were introduced in an issue of ADQ well after the game's popularity was well established.


It was a sim from the first edition I saw - Pocket was very much a sim. The movement mechanics are good enough to teach people parallel parking and (in Truck Stop) trailer backing.

It was a limited sim, but always very simulationist. At least, until late in the post compendium era.


We'll just have to agree to disagree. I seem to remember early editions resolving collisions with mechanics along the lines of 'drop your car counter from above the table and leave it where it lands unless it needs to be flipped over'. And I think it was a better GAME back then before all the physics were added because of it. And don't get me started on the speed of a person on foot...can't they for all practical purposes maintain about a 25 mph speed for pretty much forever? Hardly simish.

Car Wars needs to be a game that doesn't need a referee IMO an that means rules that people won't constantly argue about. Assign damage...place the vehicles somewhere and then get back to the shooting. It WAS that game at one point and did pretty well before all the bloat set in. It could be that game again without destroying the bloated version...it will still exist for those that wish to play it.
 
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AMartin56 wrote:
aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
aramis wrote:
AMartin56 wrote:
Interesting discussion but it kind of drives home my personal belief that the new version of Car Wars should move away from being a sim and focus on being fun again. I'd rather have action movie physics that are fun than have to calculate orbital mechanics each time two objects collide. But to each his own...neither approach is 'wrong'...I just personally hope they take a brutal scalpel to the design and trim a lot of the bloat.


if it's too far from a sim, it ceases to be fun for a large part of the extant and potential fan-bases.


Fair enough...but it started as a game rather than a sim and did pretty well. The collision rules as we know them today were introduced in an issue of ADQ well after the game's popularity was well established.


It was a sim from the first edition I saw - Pocket was very much a sim. The movement mechanics are good enough to teach people parallel parking and (in Truck Stop) trailer backing.

It was a limited sim, but always very simulationist. At least, until late in the post compendium era.


We'll just have to agree to disagree. I seem to remember early editions resolving collisions with mechanics along the lines of 'drop your car counter from above the table and leave it where it lands unless it needs to be flipped over'. And I think it was a better GAME back then before all the physics were added because of it. And don't get me started on the speed of a person on foot...can't they for all practical purposes maintain about a 25 mph speed for pretty much forever? Hardly simish.

Car Wars needs to be a game that doesn't need a referee IMO an that means rules that people won't constantly argue about. Assign damage...place the vehicles somewhere and then get back to the shooting. It WAS that game at one point and did pretty well before all the bloat set in. It could be that game again without destroying the bloated version...it will still exist for those that wish to play it.


One: I won't "agree to disagree" - I think you're just dead freaking wrong. Not ever going to validate your incorrect assertions by elevating them to "valid but different opinion" - they're simply dead wrong.

two: Why you're so VERY wrong.

1. Steve Jackson wrote in one of the designers' notes articles that he worked out the movement system based upon a weekend of attempting various maneuvers in an empty parking lot. He tried to get the movement rules as close as he could to realism. Textbook simulationism.

2. that level of detail was ALWAYS present in the game. Later printings didn't increase the detail level - they only increased the number of options. Excepting when, in Dueltrack and Compendium, they switched to figured top speeds.

3. That the pedestrian rules are bad doesn't make them any less simulationist - just bad simulation.

4. every game by SJG has taken a simulationist bent.

5. Every edition I've ever seen, including my copy of pocket box, has recommended a referee.

 
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aramis wrote:


4. every game by SJG has taken a simulationist bent.



Yeah...Munchkin...great sim (of geek culture?). And I'm sure Frag is an awesome close quarters battle sim. See how absolutes don't always work?
 
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