Created By: tryourbreast on October 4, 2012 Last Edited By: tryourbreast on October 8, 2012

Acceleration Equals Velocity

You move immediately, instead of accelerating, when you do inputs.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Video Game Physics, Acceptable Breaks from Reality.


In Video Game world, it often seems that the player is not exerting force onto the world, but are directly modifying the velocity of the thing s/he has control. There is no such thing as momentum. Or inertia.

In lots of Platformers or other games where you controls a object, the character move, stop, turn, and jump exactly according to your input, without any delay in the actual speed. In (less realistic) driving games, the vehicle turns exactly according to the direction you pressed, while in reality you need time to steer the wheels or handle to make the turn, so actually you need to steer in advance.

Of course, this is not bad. Before physics engine becomes commonplace, lots of games weren't able to actually carry out acceleration, so it become simplified as this trope. And even at now where you have lots of physic engines at hand, you may also want to simplify things by removing the acceleration, so that players can have better control.

It's technically averted in a lot of games, though in a manner that most wouldn't notice. The rate of acceleration is high and the speed cap is low, so you're moving at the maximum speed very shortly after pushing the button.

Super Trope of Instant 180 Degree Turn. Contrast Frictionless Ice, where you can only accelerate/decelerate on it, in a rather painful way. See also Jump Physics. Related to Space Friction.

Only aversions should be listed - this is a very common Video Game trope. But for games like flight and driving simulators where proper demonstration of inertia is needed, since it's necessary to avert this trope, straight examples should be listed instead.

Examples

Action Game
  • Averted in Mirror's Edge, where maintaining the running momentum is one of the main challenges of the game.

Platform Game

Strategy Game
  • The Wing Commander series of games alternated between slightly averting this trope (ships had a delay to speed up, slow down, or change direction, leading to a combat manevuer where a ship "slid" sideways while engaging an enemy off-axis) and playing it straight, depending on the game engine used. In Wing Commander: Prophecy, there was a button you had to press to avert the trope temporarily.

Tabletop Game
  • In Warhammer 40K, bolters, the emblematic weapons of the Space Marines, actually fire miniature self-propelled explosives, so they accelerate once fired out of the gun. However, most video game adaptations treat them as regular, non-accelerating projectiles.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • October 4, 2012
    Koveras
    • Averted in Mirrors Edge, where maintaining the running momentum is one of the main challenges of the game.
  • October 4, 2012
    billybobfred
    Technically averted in a lot of games, though in a manner that most wouldn't notice. The rate of acceleration is high and the speed cap is low, so you're moving at the maximum speed very shortly after pushing the button.

    Platform Game
  • October 4, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Opinions don't belong on examples (just many assumed they did).
  • October 4, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Sure, it can be rewritten to avoid invoking any opinions.
  • October 4, 2012
    billybobfred
    ... Actually, I may have been thinking of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 there. I don't remember, because I didn't play either of them. Just that one or possibly both of them would stop Sonic in mid-air if you let go of the controls, and this was deemed bad by the playerbase.
  • October 4, 2012
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: Bolters, the emblematic weapons of the Space Marines, actually fire miniature self-propelled explosives, so they accelerate once fired out of the gun. However, most video game adaptations treat them as regular, non-accelerating projectiles.
  • October 5, 2012
    AFP
    The Wing Commander series of games alternated between slightly averting this trope (ships had a delay to speed up, slow down, or change direction, leading to a combat manevuer where a ship "slid" sideways while engaging an enemy off-axis) and playing it straight, depending on the game engine used. In Wing Commander: Prophecy, there was a button you had to press to avert the trope temporarily.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    For video games before physics engines became commonplace, this may be People Sit On Chairs. (Like a Space Invaders Doesnt Have 3 D Graphics trope.) Only driving games and flight simulators and a few others where acceleration was mandatory would have it. It's definitely Omnipresent Trope territory, at any rate.
  • October 6, 2012
    tryourbreast
    But then, physics engine have become commonplace long ago already. Unless it's those very old games.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    ^I think mid-playstation 1 era and before would generally count as chairs territory for this. Or at least notable examples and aversions only (like sonic.) Also for platformers and certain other genres, this would effectively work out to an index of almost every game ever made.
  • October 6, 2012
    tryourbreast
    I think the current example listing requirements is fine. Aversions should not be invoking chairs. Then, for this trope listing in the work page, it doesn't cause much problem about chairs.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    Oh, I didnt see the aversions only disclaimer. Never mind my posts.

    Say, maybe Instant Video Game Velocity? It's a little more clear and has some alliteration.
  • October 6, 2012
    TheHandle
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    ^ ... honestly, that's only going to make sense to someone who writes high school science textbooks for a living. (No offense)
  • October 7, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^ or someone who learned "Physics" instead of "Science!" (No offense). ;P

    But yeah, too long and we didn't even settled on whether something so omnipresent is needed in the first place.
  • October 7, 2012
    billybobfred
    No Trope Is Too Common. People Sit On Chairs is an allegation that something is simply Not A Trope.
  • October 7, 2012
    TrollBrutal
    Related to Space Friction.
  • October 8, 2012
    DracMonster
    @billybobfred I'm aware of the difference, but my point was for old games it has no meaning in the same way that old games not having 3d graphics (or a platformer not having a steering wheel control) has no meaning.

    But if this is aversions and exceptions only its moot anyway - that's tropable. Having said that, there are some genres like driving or flight simulators where having proper inertia is mandatory -- for those, this trope would be the exception, not the rule (if any of those games do have instant movement, I cant think of any.)
  • October 8, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Okay, I've added that.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=muztzivx3dyacxan5z1rryes