The Last Of Us 2’s Rope Physics Would Take As Much Energy To Create As An Entire Indie Game – Human Fall Flat Dev

No one I know played through The Last of Us Part 2 without mentioning the rope physics. They weren’t a particularly major part of the game, and were only used a handful of times to solve simple puzzles, but the way ropes and cables flowed through Ellie’s hands as she flung them over pipes and shimmied up – it was borderline hypnotic, and one of the most natural recreations of how ropes work we had ever seen in video games. As it turns out, getting something like that working is no small feat.

We spoke to Tomas Sakalauskas, creator of Human Fall Flat and CEO of No Brakes Games, not long ago, and one tidbit stood out to us. In our full interview he revealed that rope and sail physics had to be simplified in the final version of the game in order to make it run better on consoles. With this in mind, we couldn’t resist going back and asking one more question about the rope physics we saw in The Last of Us Part 2, safe in the knowledge that this is a man that knows a lot about physics in a game like this. This is what he told us:

Knowing the limitations of usual physics engines, I am always impressed by things like ropes in The Last Of Us 2, or thin wall watering can in Half Life Alyx. For Human Fall Flat I had to stay within the limits of existing engine in order to keep the scope of the project manageable by solo dev. Implementing ropes, wires and chains in existing engine exposed several challenges – large weight ratios would make simulation unstable, sequences of many joints would introduce big errors in the constraint solver, ropes would fall through level geometry, performance was severely impacted by ropes not going to sleep.

The Last Of Us 2 seems to use custom physics engine – instead of looking for workarounds for the problems mentioned, they could be solving the ropes using position based dynamics, or direct solver. Custom engine is not a minor feature even for triple-A and for small studio it could take as much or more energy than creating the game itself. On the other hand, when done right, it can create really rewarding gameplay experiences like BeamNG, Spintires or Teardown.

It’s wonderful to see Tomas being so obviously complimentary of other games that use physics to great effect, but even more interesting to imagine how much more complicated simple physics interactions like this can be. Even though most players will probably only spend 15 minutes of their playthrough in The Last of Us Part 2 playing with the rope, it’s clear that the team has to put a lot of thought into its execution.

For more tidbits and facts from Tomas Sakalauskas make sure to read our full interview here, and for more on The Last of Us Part 2, Human Fall Flat, and more, keep reading TheGamer.

Next: Human Fall Flat Interview With Tomas Sakalauskas, CEO Of No Brakes Games

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TheGamer Guides Editor.
Am I supposed to write this in the third-person? Do you know how awkward it is talking about yourself like you’re someone else? No one would ever believe someone else has this many nice things to say about me.

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