I finally had some time to myself to sit down and play with the new Physics set-up in Blender 2.70 today. All I can say is Wow! With the new Blender GUI, they put the Physics Tab right in the open. This makes the work-flow very efficient in setting up your scene, and defining your objects to work with the interactions between main object, and the various passive objects in the Physics modifier. Unlike the old days, now, you can focus your time on the art, rather than hunting for the settings, dialling in the parameters, and technical issues. Boom–you are done, and the scene is working in a matter of minutes. Here is my test scene I just made, a small gif animation.
I spent more time rendering this animation out than I did in its creation in Blender 2.70; that’s how awesome Blender is. I should have added sound effects! LOL
Before, when I wanted to do a scene like this, I would have started with a “path” modifier, and spent a ton of time tweaking that so the ball would be placed just right so it looked like it was travelling down the ramps, and falling into the funnel. Now, I just placed the ball at location “A,” make it the active object, and choose all the other objects that would be in contact with the ball as “passive,” and Blender will automatically create the scene and play it out for me before I actually did the final render.
There are some various settings to help out the effect of the ball moving down a ramp, and falling into the funnel. I can choose scale, which Blender tries to mimic the real world. For example, if I used a scale of, say 5 meters, then Blender would simulate all the objects as vary large, and the ball would appear to travel very slowly. But if I scale everything down to just a centimetre, then the ball will behave like a little marble and shoot down the ramp. You can also adjust the gravity to make the ball heavy, and appear to move like a metal ball-bearing, or lighten it up so that it appears to be a bouncy rubber ball.
I should point out that this had very little stress on my CPU, and my video card, when simulating the scene out in edit mode. Of course I have a fairly good machine in which I do my animations on, so it may tax out a weaker PC?