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NHL 14 dev diary brings the pain with Collision Physics (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

One of EA Canada's major areas of focus in NHL 14, as in the last few NHL titles, is its physics engine, and the studio released the game's first developer diary today to discuss its work on that element of the game.

Sean Ramjagsingh, a producer on NHL 14, said the game will offer better targeting for hits. He acknowledged that last year's NHL 13 didn't do the best job of that: The nature of a collision wouldn't always line up with the force of the hit delivered.

NHL 14's improvements come from taking four physics variables into account — size, speed, momentum and body position — and tracking more than 250 collision points on each body to determine the appropriate force on each limb during a collision. The NHL developers are borrowing the technology from the FIFA Soccer series' Player Impact Engine; FIFA is also developed at EA Canada.

Check out the video above for gameplay footage that shows off the changes. NHL 14 is set for release Sept. 10 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Update: EA Canada put out a blog post today with more details about Collision Physics.

The team said it is working on hip checks to make sure that users can't spam them, and that they only connect when players are in the right position. Goalie collisions will result in goalie interference penalties in the appropriate situations; those calls were too infrequent in the past.

Since the engine truly takes speed and momentum into account, you'll see incidental contact that may or may not impede a player's progress. The studio is also promising more hit variety, including shoulder checks and push checks, and smarter penalty logic on illegal hits — calls like checking from behind, boarding and charging.

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