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Gaming Tech: How Red Dead Redemption Created their Physics Engine

Gaming Tech How Red Dead Redemption Created their Physics Engine

In May of 2010 the world was introduced to John Marston and his not so friendly posse in Red Dead Redemption. The game was a resounding success when it came out and was praised for it’s fleshed out characters, massive and flowing open world and engaging gameplay. Over the years the Red Dead Redemption series has gained a significant fan community. There is fan art, mods, hacks, entire groups of peoples dedicated to talking about this game. Personally, I like to add a few hacks onto my game to improve my aim during fights. If you’re the same, then veteran cheats has you covered for red dead redemption hacks. It’s interesting to look at how games get such a big following to even have dedicated cheat codes and hacks like on veteran cheats, what made this game so popular in the first place? If you ask me, it’s the physics engines they use, starting with RAGE for the first game and then moving onto Euphoria for the sequel.

What is RAGE?

RAGE also known as the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine is a physics engine used by Rockstar to create some of their biggest action open-world titles including Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V and of course Red Dead Redemption. Before moving to the RAGE engine Rockstar were using a less developed RenderWare engine when creating some of their early products. The issue with RenderWare was scale, Rockstar had big ambitions and the RenderWare engine wasn’t able to support the larger open world games that they really wanted to spend time developing. So when Criterion Games was bought by the production company EA, Rockstar jumped at the opportunity to hire their own team and build their RAGE engine.

What does RAGE do?

The main draw of the RAGE engine compare to older physics engines was its ability to handle complex and sprawling worlds with more developed AI and vastly improved weather generation and effects. This meant that Rockstar could really put the work into creating open worlds that feel thriving, full of life and most importantly felt good to play in as a sandbox. From there forward they continued to develop the engine, increasing its size and scope. They mainly worked on increasing its graphical capabilities to improve the look of their following games but unfortunately you have to move on to a new engine someday.

How is Euphoria different?

Whilst the RAGE engine really set the stage for what a good physics engine could do, as consoles became more technologically capable, it was time for the physics engines to catch up. This is where Euphoria comes in. Rockstar used Euphoria during the production of Red Dead Redemption 2 and it shows. The physics engine worked to improve physics-based reactions between the player and their surroundings meaning that the world felt much more alive and interactable. One good example that the games director of technology Phil Hooker used was about the interaction between a player and their horse. He went on to describe that if a horse was shot and killed whilst the player was riding it, the new engine would allow for more realistic outcomes to that situation. Instead of a canned animation or cutscene playing out, the horse could fall over, the player could fall off and get dragged along by the horse or the player could even get stuck under the body of the dead horse and have to break free. These major additions really help to make the entire game feel like a unique experience for each player and is why I believe that Red Dead Redemption is such an important series of games for so many people. It’s all the extra details added by the physics engine to improve gameplay flow.



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