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Gears in Games

Recently, I’ve taken up 3D printing. In the course of this, I wanted to build some gears, and ended up learning more about the proper construction of these things than you, and for that matter I, would ever want to know. This also made me aware that most games handle them completely incorrectly. In many cases, it’s not easily obvious, but some examples should be obvious:

This was taken from Skyrim, specifically the “Dragonborn” extension pack, and if you look closely, you’ll see that the teeth of the two gears are overlapping. Of course, it could be the result of arcane Dwemer magic, but I think I’ll have to go with “they just didn’t care” as the more likely explanation here.

If you ever wondered how it’s done properly, the industry standard is an involute gear. Very difficult to make proper 3D models of it (which is why I wrote a little tool to do just that). Watch for more examples of incorrect gears in the upcoming Bioshock Infinite review, where all gears are just as useless!

Posted March 29th, 2013, 19:24