Too much Phun

May 18, 2008 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Science 677 views

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Choppy SeasIt might not be possible to have too much fun, but it’s definitely possible to have to much Phun. Phun is a “2D physics sandbox”. What that means is that it allows you to draw shapes (circles, squares, or arbitrary freehand shapes) and then lets you bang them together using simulated physics laws. Check out the video at the link above for a demonstration.

Phun is exactly the kind of computer “game” that my brain adores. I used to play hours and hours of The Incredible Machine, which is a very similar concept. For me, at least, Phun is seriously addictive. It’s like crack for Newtonian physics lovers.

The windows version has been out for a while, but they just released the Mac version about week ago, and I’ve been like a kitten in a tub full of catnip ever since.

Oh, and it also lets you play with particles that mimic liquid water. Here are two of the more interesting creations I’ve made. The first video had to be sped up a lot because my computer couldn’t render all those water particles very fast. For the second video, I added some sound effects. It’d be cool if Phun did sounds by itself.

The above video is also available on YouTube, Yahoo, Metacafe, Google, Revver, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Crackle, Stupid Videos, Sclipo and Viddler.

The above video is also available on YouTube, Metacafe, Google, Revver, DailyMotion,, Crackle, Stupid Videos, Sclipo and Viddler.

And, of course, there are thousands more videos like this on you know what site.

  • This reminds me of two things in particular: the little wave tank my grandfather had when I was small — it was filled with a Tydebol-blue liquid that was slightly more viscous than water, like your Phun creations; and an article I read in a recent issue of Wired about applying laws of physics to filmmaking special effects/CGI:
    “Stam calls the creation of a believable crashing wave, in all its multidimensional complexity, ‘the holy grail of computer animation.'” [article]

    Cool. And phun.

  • Heh. I didn’t even realize that I had created one of those too-viscous, too-blue boat things, but you’re absolutely right.

    That article has considerably lowered my hopes for future versions of Phun doing water correctly. The waves in the animation I did are really just the water particles moving from left to right, not up and down like a proper transverse wave in water. That’s the main reason it doesn’t look right, I think.

    I also tried to create a golf club that could impart backspin upon striking a golf ball, but was almost completely unsuccessful.

  • Uncle Neil

    My anti-spam word is phunky. Funky. Phun

    woop woop ehhh?