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A physics engine is deterministic when it behaves the same each time it is "replayed" from its original state. Different applications have different requirements for determinism.

  • Action replay as in sports games, e.g. watching a goal scored from various angles.
  • Implementing network play by duplicating the physics engine on all computers involved in the simulation. The simulations drift out of sync if the engine is not deterministic.
  • Even with a more conventional client/server model, it is not uncommon to do some physics on the client to help hide the network latency.

See also Framerate Independence and Canonical Game Loop.

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