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In Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max, Steve Nelle shows how to create realistic dynamic simulations that have objects recognize, collide and react to coming into contact with each other in 3ds Max animation projects. This course includes a detailed explanation of both rigid and soft body dynamics, reactor's various collection types, using constraints and soft body modifiers, and how to adjust and control a dynamic simulation's accuracy. Four start-to-finish projects are also included in the course, which show practical techniques for breaking objects apart, creating cloth simulations, adding rippling water effects to a scene, and more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Reactor gives you the opportunity to choose between two different physics engines when creating the calculations necessary for a dynamic simulation. Your choices are found in the Utilities section of the Command panel. After opening up the Reactor controls, the option is located right at the top where it reads Choose Solver. You can choose between Havoc 1 and Havoc 3. Both simulation engines were developed by a company named--you guessed it--Havoc. The company Havoc is known worldwide for offering some of the fastest and most robust simulation technology on the market today.
In fact, the Havoc's physics solution can be found in over 200 current videogame titles. As for a general overall comment regarding the differences between the two engines, simply put, the Havoc 1 engine will provide for a little broader range of functionality, while the Havoc 3 solution will usually give you a faster and more accurate result. Within that framework though, know that there are a few limitations as to what engine you can use when calculating certain types of simulations in 3ds Max. Either engine is capable of creating a sim that incorporates only rigid bodies.
Remember in choosing though, that the newer Havoc 3 engine will usually give you a competitive advantage with its precision and quickness. In situations where your simulations involve either cloth rope or soft body objects, you don't really have much of a choice as your sim will have to be run through the Havoc 1 engine. It's just the just the way that things have been configured. Other than that, things are pretty similar between the two engines, with the Havoc 3 engine offering only a single additional setting called simulation that allows you to determine how Reactor computes the sim; Discrete, which checks for collisions, only at the beginning and end of each simulation step--this setting is faster, but less accurate; and Continuous, which checks for collisions constantly throughout each step.
Leaving things set to Continuous, the default selection, will usually do a better job at reducing the chances of inaccurately reading and simulating a collision. So that's about it. You've now got a couple things to consider when choosing the appropriate simulation physics engine for your next project.
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