One Tears of the Kingdom player has pulled out all the stops with their lava-crossing machine.
William Armstrong’s solution to crossing a Tears of the Kingdom lava river was to drop a Zonai-powered cart into the river, then attach a bridge made of several pieces of tile. He then activated the cart which dragged the cart over, giving him his bridge.
Armstrong is a games developer, having worked on Bioshock 2, Firewatch and more, so he has something of an advantage. But what’s interesting is seeing him dissect his solution, which he posted on Twitter.
The game programming flex of all time. pic.twitter.com/id2K5uE5mz
— William Armstrong (@WillWArmstrong) May 21, 2023
As Armstrong rightly points out, it say a lot about Tears of the Kingdom that his solution worked. It shows how much work Nintendo put into getting the physics right and that the bridge didn’t just twang off into the ether. Armstrong remarks:
“Doing a dynamic rope bridge under constant tension interacting with a independent moving physics actor and the player and having it work and not glitch out is impressive. No physics engine I ever worked with could do this easily.”
According to the Washington Post, Tears of the Kingdom was basically complete, but was delayed by a year to add extra polish. It’s not been confirmed but it’s rumoured that at least part of that delay was to get the physics right. If that was the case it was a smart investment.
One of the biggest joys of playing Tears of the Kingdom is seeing things behave as they should. Sure, your creation might or might not work but if your machine does fail, it never seems unfair. And when an experienced developer describes a game’s physics as “the game programming flex of all time“, you know you’ve got things right.