Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Viscous Fun in this Fluid Dynamics Physics Game

Friday, November 17th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 158 votes, average: 3.70 out of 5)

Ichor is an experimental physics game by Soylent Software. The developer’s concise description of the game does an excellent job, so I’ll just paste that:

Ichor is an action game based in fluid dynamics. Each player floats around the screen, trying to engulf his opponent with his own color.

Fluid Exchange

The beauty of Ichor is the simplicity of its structure. It immediately becomes obvious that if you touch the other color, you lose, and the goal is to cause opponents to touch your color. Basic movement keys represent the totality of the player input (mouse for single player, keyboard for two-player duels). It’s a very straightforward setup.

The actual experience of playing Ichor is much more complex, though. There are numerous strategies for “attacking” enemies. You need to be keenly aware of the fluid’s behavior. Aligning yourself upstream from an opponent and moving with a current will be much more effective than blindly bum rushing the nearest target. I found that, over time, my awareness of the fluid’s state became more complete and useful in making second-to-second decisions.

Objects to Think With

Ichor is fairly quirky, even for an indie game. I was curious about the intent of the developers, and after some research I found myself on the blog of the (sole?) developer, Namaste Reid. He makes an interesting observation about the lack of many distinct objects in the game:

In Ichor, you fight without bullets or guns. You are just there, in the fluid. Everything is subject to change at a moments notice. Compare this to games where you have units, terrain, weapons, textures, etc. These are all easily classifyable objects. I think that I can go further than Ichor, in countering object oriented gameplay, although I’m not sure it can be done with fluid dynamics alone. If it is possible, it will need to be a game where nothing isn’t fluid. I’ve been trying for a while, and have yet been unable to come up with a game design that is more purely fluid than the duel mode in Ichor.

Ichor Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Ichor Game Screenshots)

Free, and Source Available!

Ichor’s single player game is actually rather difficult; the average game only lasts a few minutes. Still, there’s something about the game that insists you try just one more time. It’s definitely more of a high-minded experience than something like a hurt-the-ragdoll title, but if you approach it with the right mindset it can be a fun way to kill a few minutes.

Download Ichor Game (777 KB)
(be warned–the developer recommends a 3Ghz machine or faster)

The source code for Ichor and Soylent other titles are available from the Soylent Software website.

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26 Responses to 'Viscous Fun in this Fluid Dynamics Physics Game'

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  1. Beakless said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Not bad, not bad. Not really as time wasting as i thought

  2. Nick said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    My computer can’t run it at a fluid pace. In fact, it’s completely unplayable, maybe 5 FPS.

  3. Aqua General said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Only around 20fps for me. The resolution is pretty low also.

  4. Dosou said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    Mine plays about 5 FPS. :[

    It’s unfortunate that games like UT2004 run smooth but games like this run slowly.

    Ah, well.

    (PS: Loved the music in the vid. :])

  5. Matthew said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    I added a note about the system requirements (3Ghz+).

    Anyone beat 545 for a score yet? All kinds of crazy shit starts appearing after awhile.

    The music is “Frank and Bill – MA0x4”, btw.

  6. Dosou said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Damn, I can never find your music Matt. :P

    This game looks great and I’m really dissapointed that I can’t play it. :[[

  7. Danny Martinez said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 7:14 pm


  8. Relys said,

    on November 17th, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Ummmm my computer is uber **** and it ran fine! Very intouitve game… My only complant is the reselution was bugged up when in the menu!

  9. DoneZ said,

    on November 18th, 2006 at 12:26 am

    It’s like liquid Quix I swear!
    You draw a little puddle around the enemies to destroy them. Kinda like Quix.

  10. finurlig said,

    on November 18th, 2006 at 8:36 am

    There has been a similar game around for a while. It’s called Liquid War and is available for Linux, WIndows and OS X (?). It’s quite fun and supports up tp four players. Had great fun with it some a couple of years back.

    Good thing about liquid war is that it ran on a ~1GHz machine with around 512-1GB RAM.

    Official home page:

  11. Jon Ace said,

    on November 18th, 2006 at 8:43 am

    Reminds me of Liquid War.

  12. DekenFrost said,

    on November 18th, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Seems like a nice game .. but i hope they fix the requirements.

    Can´t be that this game wont run “fluid” on my machine but Plasma pong does. It just doesnt make much sense

  13. Great_Pretender said,

    on November 18th, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    It runs okay on my piece of carp if I set the resolution down to 640×480. Which was rather hard because the menu system is really confusing and slow.

  14. Smash-Crunch said,

    on November 19th, 2006 at 1:00 am

    This game is extremely hard without an fps of at least 20. You can’t react to the fluid fast enough with anything lower.

  15. Wunderbear said,

    on November 19th, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Liquid War rocks. Like this, but faster. And with cheery midi music that sounds like the theme to captain pugwash.

  16. busidoremikle said,

    on November 20th, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Most genius game I ever played

  17. Namaste said,

    on November 21st, 2006 at 4:44 am

    Hi guys, Namaste here. I’m glad you found our game interesting. Just wanted to clarify that I am *NOT* the sole creator of this game. Luke Palmer is the co-creator.

    I’m sorry about the framerate issues you guys are having, and am working to correct them. Fluid Dynamics simulation is very computationally expensive. Plasma Pong features a much better simulation which is heavily optimized (and also runs at a lower grid resolution by the way), so don’t expect comparable framerates. We felt that a high simulation resolution (not screen resolution) significantly contributed to the beaty and dynamics of the gameplay, so favored that over high framerates.

    We will have a new version out soon that features GPU accelerated fluid dynamics (sorry, you’ll have to have a GeForce 6800 or better to play, but will get 10-15x performance increase), original music, and hopefully at least one new gameplay mode. If you haven’t yet, I recommend trying out the Duel mode with a friend and your favorite music. If you have a joystick, plug it in and see if it works, it is my preferred control method for this game.

  18. busidoremikle said,

    on November 21st, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah, I have 865 points!!! :)
    This game needs its own homepage, where players can share their records.

  19. Matty33344 said,

    on November 21st, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    it kinda sucks

  20. Dosou said,

    on November 21st, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Can’t wait for the GPU accelerated version.

    I will be able to play it then. :]

  21. Freeskivt said,

    on November 23rd, 2006 at 9:03 am

    best game ever if your computer can run it beautiful and addictive at the same time a masterpiece

  22. Dylan said,

    on November 23rd, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    crashed my computer…

  23. busidoremikle said,

    on November 25th, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    1290 points! Can anyboy beat that? :)

  24. MAX said,

    on December 14th, 2006 at 11:03 am

    1065 – addicted.

  25. Kurrus said,

    on December 29th, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    OMG 1291 points!!! ROFL!!!
    This game ROCKS!

  26. Ikkonoishi said,

    on January 23rd, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Game might be more playable if I could actually tell what color I am half the time. It really sucks when both you and the computer change to the same color or you change to a color that doesn’t show up against the black.

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