Newtonian Sandbox

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UPDATE 20-03-2017

I made a better definition video about my last GPU experiment. At this state, this point sprite particle systems receive light from Unity 5.5 pipeline and it is now full integrated with forward rendering.


UPDATE 05-05-2014

I’m still working on gravity, adjusting some velocities, masses, distances and timescale to get realistic behaviors. Here you can see how it’s running in real-time in Unity. There is a little frame drop due to video recording but the output is still OK. My graphic card is a Nvidia GTX 590 with 1024 CUDA cores.

Some data from this experience:
Emitted particles have a random mass between 1 and 1.000.000.
The black hole itself has a mass of
Each mouse click releases 150 particles per frame.

The true purpose here was to emit clusters of stars and watch the black hole swallow them. At 3:53, there is a timescale effect preview.

As this experience is fully running on GPU and asking a lot of work from the cores, I was not able to record the video in 1080p without significant frame drops. Sorry for that.


This experience is a part of a game prototype based on GPU physics.
The idea: Birth and Death of Stars.

Three months ago, I started a new personal project directly inspired from Professor Walter Lewin lectures and Andrea Ghez studies on this subject. You’ll be able to select some light elements from the periodic table and drop into empty space. Based on Newton’s law, these elements start attracting each other to form stars (red small ones, blue giants, …). Then, these stars can turn to supernova (you are winning new periodic elements in big and stunning explosions, see my prototype below) and they can also end into white dwarf, neutron star, even black hole, depending the amount of matter used or added during the game… you can loose everything if you don’t consider objects velocities, masses, …

That’s a big project and I only work on it during some nights but, with GPU multithreading in DirectX11 under Unity, the challenge is quite possible.



I was already fascinated by the power of stars when I was a little boy.
With Computer Graphics technology, I can now simulate at home what I always wanted to see and to play with.

As my experiences with Newtonian Physics require heavy exponential operations, I used Perlin noise 3D algorithms through a Compute Shader to be able to get enough particles to make it real. Of course, it is completely real-time and you can handle the different exploding phases of the star and moving around it with your mouse.

I’ll put a more completed and playable version online as soon as I finalize some details. I though about some sliders to control mass, size, core temperature… and a command to ignite the star collapsing phase. But you may want to know you will need a good GPU to run it with more than 1.000.000 particles.


QNewtonian Sandbox

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  • JoergZdarsky - September 17, 2014 reply

    Very nice. I am planing to add a black hole in my space simulator. You effect looks top, although i need a more lightweight effect to keep resources for other things. However it looks great, impressive work, and for me inspiring for my own developments!!

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