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Non-Harmful Destruction

Hello, I’m Stijn Van Coillie, Lecturer at Digital Arts and Leisure and indie developer of God As A Cucumber. At present, I’m acquiring my grasp’s diploma in Sport Know-how at Breda College of Utilized Science. This text is a abstract of my analysis and the way it can apply to the sport business, along with a hyperlink to the repository (GitHub) of the prototype developed in Unity.


To create destruction in real-time functions, online game engines rely closely on the Voronoi fracturing method. This methodology not solely creates further information, its stage of element will depend on the variety of subdivisions, and it’s principally executed as a pre-process. Making a non-destructive methodology would take away the pre-fracturing course of and profit the event course of. The proposed approach can be to render out the destructed elements with a voxel method and render the mesh itself with a conventional shader method.

To attain this, we create a Signed Distance Subject (SDF) of the asset, saved as a 3D texture, the place every pixel offers us the closest distance to the closest floor. The advantages of this are that it is extremely simple and quick to carry out a Boolean operation on them. The rendering of the mesh itself might be achieved within the conventional approach with one modification, we pattern from the 3D texture and discard the fragments the place there’s destruction. We’re then left with holes contained in the asset, just like the old-school strategies that had been used on video games equivalent to Worms or Tanks. To finalize our methodology, we have to visualize the within. For this, we use Raymarching, a volumetric rendering approach. The place the signed distance perform of a pattern is from our SDF.


We have to generate a Signed Distance Subject from our mesh. Since we’re utilizing Unity, we will use the built-in SDF Bake Device or write our personal methodology. For our goal producing the SDF might be achieved offline, within the editor. Nevertheless, it’s attainable to generate them at runtime or compile time to save lots of time or enhance manufacturing time.

On this instance, we visualized the SDF of our mesh contained in the scene.



We are able to now apply harm to our SDF by creating an extra SDF that shops our destruction data. For our instance, we’re utilizing a mathematical signed distance perform of a sphere to use destruction. Nevertheless, this could possibly be any signed distance perform and even an SDF in that matter.

Now that we have now each our SDFs, we will simply apply Boolean operations to them. On this case, we use the subtraction operation, the place we subtract our harm from our SDF mesh.

Right here we see a visualization of the results of our subtraction operation.



We create a customized shader, in our case the built-in render pipeline however this could additionally work for URP or HDRP, and begin by discovering out if our fragment is within the broken a part of our asset. To find out this, we pattern from our destruction SDF and if our worth is smaller or equal to zero, we will assume the fragment is situated within the destroyed space. In case it’s not, we calculate the fragment out within the conventional shader method.

On this instance, we discarded the broken elements and solely rendered out the asset.


If the fragment is situated within the destroyed space of our asset, we have to visualize the within. For this, we use Raymarching, a volumetric rendering approach. We use our SDF to calculate our signed distance and use this to calculate our place and regular. After which we will mainly render out that fragment nevertheless we wish. On this instance, we used triplanar mapping.

All of this resulted in a non-destructive destruction methodology.



This methodology might be utilized in many various conditions. On this explicit case, we used it for a cinematic shot in Unity. Due to the flexibleness of the destruction methodology, we didn’t have to fret about refracturing the mannequin each time we adjusted the beam’s path.

Or within the case of our simulation instance, we will simply add further objects that deform the asset.

This non-destructive destruction methodology could possibly be used for quite a few different functions, as an example, in-game sculpting instruments, VR experiences, artwork installations, …


It’s price mentioning that utilizing this destruction methodology interprets into extra accessibility with out forcing a brand new workflow. This might primarily take away the pre-fracturing course of of making a destructible object and on the similar time give it the next stage of element, which might profit the event course of tremendously. This might additionally imply that small-budget video games, which usually can not afford to create completely different variations of destructible property, get the identical alternative to make use of destruction with out growing the price range.

Be at liberty to contact me in case you’ve any questions, remarks, or recommendations. You possibly can contact me by way of Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.

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