Ok, this is far more fun, and indeed far sicker fun, than should really be allowed. RealMatter is a new project using Ogre which simulates fracturing soft bodies rather quickly and in a very disturbing manner. The paper covering the technique will be at Siggraph 2007, but you can play with it now, or watch the streaming video on their site.
See that zombie on the right hand side? Well, when the demo began, he was in one piece. Using the mouse it was disturbingly easy to slice through flesh (with less than a surgeons precision, I have to say), pull at limbs until bits, ahem, ‘popped right off’, and generally be very disrespectful to the restless dead. The fracture points are not predefined, you can slice & dice any way you like. There’s another demo of more zombies getting ripped to shreds while bouncing merrily through a sort of kids-puzzle-toy-meets-meat-grinder. Desperately funny to watch 😀Check out the forum thread.
It’s very impressive that this runs at interactive frame rates (about 40fps on my machine) given the completely flexible nature of it. I can see glimpses of what Lucasarts are trying to achieve with their new physics systems (for the next Indy game and others) that they say can simulate fracturing of any object realistically.