Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads



A Brilliant Physics Game: Ski Stunt Simulator

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
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Ski Stunt Simulator may very well be my all-time favorite physics game. As with most physics games, the premise is simple: You control a 2D skier performing various tricks on the slopes. Where Ski Stunt Simulator stands apart from other physics is the fidelity of that control. This isn’t a simple ragdoll game–far from it. In fact, Ski Stunt Simulator is the result of collaboration between a programmer at Relic Entertainment and a researcher at the University of British Columbia, and the robust simulation definitely demonstrates an academic level of engineering.

The game’s authors describe Ski Stunt Simulator as:

This project implements a realistic planar simulation of the physics involved in performing acrobatic ski stunts. The pose of the skier can be interactively controlled with the mouse. Thus performing any given stunt requires the right combination of both physics and skill, as in real life. A large variety of stunts can be performed, including anything ranging from a triple back flip to a triple front flip. The resulting simulator can be viewed as a game, a teaching tool for kinesiology, or as a preliminary sports prototyping tool.

I prefer to view the resulting simulator as a game. And a damn fun one, too, even if it is a little frustrating at first. Control of your skier is mapped to the X and Y axis of the mouse. Move the mouse up, and your skier straightens out. Move it down and he’ll crouch. Move it left and right and he’ll lean forward and backward. In combination these two axes result in a wide range of motion. Holding the mouse in the bottom-right position will result in a classic skier’s tuck, for instance.

Each limb and component of your character has proper inertia. To “jump” you simply start with the mouse towards the bottom of the screen and then quickly slide it up. To “flip” you start in the lower-left and do an arc of sorts; the upwards motion results in air time and then you move the mouse to the bottom-right to tuck into a rotation. You simply extend your skier’s body to slow the rotation and time the landing, approximately as you would in real life.

It sounds complicated, at first, but after a few hours of play it becomes strangely second nature. The game features an excellent monkey-see, monkey-do tutorial to teach you the basics. It doesn’t take long before you’ll be landing crazy triple flips. Click the Flash video below for a demonstration of one of the stages:


The game features 14 levels. The skills and tricks required to pass each level vary. One level will require you perform a backflip on a certain jump, another will require clearing a stack of crates, and another will be to simply make it to the bottom of the hill–dead or alive.

Thankfully, crashing in Ski Stunt Simulator is hilarious fun. It mitigates the harsh learning curve of the game. Even if you can’t nail that double backflip you need to pass the level you can still chuckle as your skier breaks each and every bone in his body. As the sometimes-irritating voice over would say, “Good thing it’s just a simulation!”.

The game has an unfinished feel in some areas. Some aspects of the game are much more complete than others. There is an excellent custom course designer as one of the levels, but unfortunately there’s no way to save your creation to share with others. You can, however, save recordings of levels and give them to your friends. When the game was first released there was a small archive of interesting runs.

Ski Stunt Simulator Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Ski Stunt Simulator Game Screenshots)

A dedicated–read, addicted–player will burn through the content in a day or two. The game has some tunable settings to extend its life. You can change the simulation speed, modify the strength of your ski bindings, or change to a Santa character (who handles much differently from the default skier). When you pass all of the levels and end up looking for something to do try playing through with the loosest ski bindings. You have to be extremely accurate with the angles of your landings!

The game’s file data is mostly plain-text. The terrain data is a series of points and the game’s level logic is coded with TCL. It is possible to extend the game if you’re willing to create your own tools. I created a number of new levels in my desperation to extend the game’s enjoyment. One of the creators, Michiel van de Panne, has graciously agreed to an interview. I’ll ask for permission to distribute my modifications when I send over the questions.

The standalone was originally sold through a company called Motion Playground. The company has since dissolved, though, and now Michiel has the game available for free on his website. Download the installer for Ski Stunt Simulator and enter the following to unlock:

User: freekey
Key: 5D5B-9D2A-50CA-ED67-FDEE-7827-B7F9-690F

If you didn’t play Ski Stunt Simulator when it was first released you owe it to yourself to give the game a few hours of your time. The controls will bend your mind into a pretzel at first, but eventually it just clicks and you really are that graceful skier carving the slopes…until your inevitable and gratuitously painful demise. But that’s what makes it so fun.

Look for my interview with Michiel about the development of Ski Stunt Simulator sometime in the next few weeks!

Download Ski Stunt Simulator game here (6.20 MB).

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40 Responses to 'A Brilliant Physics Game: Ski Stunt Simulator'

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  1. REML said,

    on January 24th, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Downloading now and will be playing shortly.

    I have been fascinated with these type of games since I saw the Game Jam that used 2d physics. StuntHampsters is still something I return to for cheap thrills on rainy days.

    Gamasutra’s GSW blog led me here. I’ll be back.

    Thanks!

  2. Etheo said,

    on January 24th, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    I just tried this game… it always locks up for some reason

  3. Matthew said,

    on January 24th, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Etheo:

    How frequently does it lock up? If you restart a stage more than X times (somewhere around 30?) sometimes the mouse input freezes. You can usually hit ESC when this happens and just restart the stage, but if it doesn’t you may need to kill the task with the task manager.

  4. Troy said,

    on January 25th, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Check out some of the cool physics games at Teagames.com

    http://www.teagames.com/games/bmxbackflips2/play.php

  5. some dude said,

    on February 12th, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    most of the time when i play it seems the game freezes on my for no reason. by the way other than the freezing the gmae is nice

  6. santa said,

    on February 12th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    in the screenshots it shows santa can u be him in the game?

  7. Jonno said,

    on February 21st, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Is there a newer version than v1.1. I found on some sights that there was a 2.2 but couldn’t find anything. I also have the problem of the game locking up. By the way if you want to be santa go to setup on the main menu.

  8. jim bob said,

    on February 22nd, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    the best online game ever.

  9. Matthew said,

    on February 24th, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    The game will lock up if you reset one stage more than a certain number of times. The easiest way to avoid it, unfortunately, is to get in the habit of restarting the level by going to the level select and back every 10-20 runs. When it does lock up if you hit ESC *very* quickly you can avoid it. Otherwise, kill the skistunt.tmp0 process in the task manager to kill the app.


  10. on March 8th, 2006 at 3:50 am

    [...] I’ll start with Ski Stunt Extreme, It’s basicly a modded version of a game that I knew nothing of until I found this. Ski Stunt (Click here for info) is a funky physics sim based sking (SHOCK!) they are a few different difficulties to work through and is well worth a play to get used to before jumping to the extreme version which is the same but with an extreme difficulty. I have managed all but the “Road” level. the links I have given explain better than I can without C&Ping. also don’t for get to put in ht efree user pass that is supplied on both pages. [...]

  11. Erx said,

    on March 10th, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    Can ou make this for the Apple Computer? It always reboots on my XP. Or can ou make an SWF?

  12. choopie911 said,

    on March 12th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    NEEDS a mac version, seriously! Someone get on it!

  13. DANIEL said,

    on March 23rd, 2006 at 12:58 am

    the first time i played this game i thought “wow”and i have been playing ever since. Download it it is worth a try. oh ya, and i love this physics site, good idea to build it.

  14. jose said,

    on March 23rd, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    i love this game and goats

  15. DEREK said,

    on March 23rd, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    can you put ski stunt on your i pod?

  16. Dave said,

    on March 30th, 2006 at 12:53 am

    Caiman a leading freeware gaming website would love to host this game for all to play, is this game freeware or abandonware ? I would love to know more info of the status of Ski Stunt Simulator as I am a reviewer of Caiman Free Games http://www.caiman.us

    Regards Dave

  17. ur mom said,

    on May 1st, 2006 at 11:08 am

    dude this game is liuke the best thing ever ive played it for hours on end

  18. gabe said,

    on July 11th, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    i love this game

  19. Demetrius said,

    on August 14th, 2006 at 4:54 am

    woah this is great!


  20. on August 22nd, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    Mac version? Is there a Mac version yet?

    How about now?

  21. McTuble said,

    on September 12th, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks to Mathew I’ve been working on a map editor so far. For right now it’s just to show you what it will look like. It can be found at http://www.seantublewicz.com/ssme.zip When you select a segment the slider on the bottom will set the detail level. Also the toggle control points right now loads a previously saved map saved using the save map file. I’m not going to get into the specifics on how to get your map into ski stunt but the export map button will export the files needed for ski stunt. It will export a gnd.pts which is the height map and a go file which is used for configuration of start position which I took out but will add very shortly. email me at (me at seantublewicz dot com)

  22. Mr_Poot1 said,

    on October 5th, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    WHEN THE GAME LOCKS UP IT IS BECAUSE YOU PRESS THE SPACEBAR TO MANY TIMES, INSTEAD OF 2 TIMES YOU ACIDENTALLY PRESS IT 3 TIMES, THIS CAUSES IT TO LOCK UP. AND DONT LIGHTLY TAP THE SPACE BAR.

  23. Kurrus said,

    on October 17th, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Shucks, this game looks great but after 1 exact minute playing it says Access Violation and finishes.

    Please fix this

  24. RAID debug stoopit said,

    on October 23rd, 2006 at 3:50 am

    How come 3 seconds or so after his skis break off RAID debug pops up and shuts the game down? If anybody knows how to fix this problem PLAESE POST IT!!! RAID debug is ruining my fun “(

  25. iam said,

    on November 2nd, 2006 at 11:20 am

    McTuble this looks great. thanks for your work. hope u´ll get this finished soon.

  26. marcello said,

    on November 4th, 2006 at 4:15 am

    Looks funny!
    The problem is that it’s like one of the worst applications humanity have ever wrote, it crashes or freezes constantly, and no, i’m not pressing space or restarting levels too many times.

    Marcello

  27. tehghost said,

    on November 7th, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    yeah, it always says “RAID DEBUG ACCESS VIOLATION” for me…help.

  28. Comeback Zac said,

    on November 7th, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Hey, I’m an old school ski stunt simulator fan from way back when it was just the kicker jump and the wall.. I don’t know if anyone else ever hit that game up but you defitly should.. Heres the url for ya.
    http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~van/sssjava/javademo.html
    but I was wondering how to run this on mac. Hit me back sukka.
    Thanks, Comeback Zac

  29. Cool kid said,

    on December 13th, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    This game was awsome me and my friends played it for hours

  30. Rik said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 11:28 am

    The extra levels on the extreme game are brilliant! i can;t stop playing. Just one problem though, why can’t you save replays on this version??? Hmmmm.

  31. Laban said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    This needs a mac version so bad it hurts. I guess while it isn’t on mac I’ll get some work done.

  32. popkap said,

    on March 1st, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Is there any vista support for this game. I cant play and im gonna dye if i cant play.

  33. popkap said,

    on March 1st, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    I install it and it says nstallation log for: Ski Stunt Simulator
    Install date: 1-Mar-2007 9:57:17p
    Install type: New
    Install location: C:\Program Files\skiStunt\skiStunt
    Installer version: 8.2
    Product version: 1.1

    Failed to install: C:\Program Files\skiStunt\skiStunt\skiStunt\bin\skiStunt.exe
    Failed to install: C:\Program Files\skiStunt\skiStunt\skiStunt\bin\tcl83.dll
    Failed to install: C:\Program Files\skiStunt\skiStunt\skiStunt\bin\tk83.dll
    Failed to install: C:\Program Files\skiStunt\skiStunt\skiStunt\bin\glut32.dll
    every time i can install it over and over butt the same shit happen need help

  34. iam said,

    on March 10th, 2007 at 5:53 am

    check the funmotion forum, there is a threat which shows you how to create maps.
    IT WORKS GREAT!

  35. skistuntisawesome said,

    on March 26th, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    yeah, the same problem happens to me popkap. I really want it to work, anyone know how to fix this?

  36. McTuble said,

    on April 9th, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    go to http://www.fun-motion.com/physics-games/ski-stunt-simulator-extreme/ where I posted info on my map editor. It’s down at the bottom. Plus I released my own version of skistunt only with two maps but it comes with the editor all set up and ready to go.

  37. MrPokeylope said,

    on April 16th, 2007 at 9:40 am

    The game is quite fun. The behaviour of the skier isn’t realistic at all though.

  38. McTuble said,

    on April 16th, 2007 at 10:48 am

    I agree that in certain cases the behavior might not be completely realistic but to go so far as to say that it’s not realistic at all might be a bit much. I think it does a darn good job and looks pretty realistic. Perhaps you can explain what you mean.

  39. McTuble said,

    on July 1st, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Check out my new site…. http://www.skistuntworld.com

  40. Danny said,

    on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I downloaded this but my AVG says it has a virus

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