I tried to search something about bird-like animal flight simulation but it looks like everything is spammed with flappy bird 2D questions.

I want to have in my 3D game bird-like animals with realistic flight, for example we have a scene where player attacked by predator birds and he must attack them with gun. When I say bird-like, I mean that animal has wings.

As I understand I need to apply force to bird object to compensate gravity force, but if I do this strictly, it looks very unnatural. So could someone provide good description or maybe links to good articles about such simulation for 3D game?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Having a fully fledged physics-simulation for every bird is a bit overkill; well made and cleverly blended animations plus an accurate ragdoll should do the trick with less headache. Just play the animation and move your bird along a smooth path. Small movements related to flight physics are then done within the animation. \$\endgroup\$
    – VaTTeRGeR
    Oct 4, 2015 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe applying airplane-like simulation of flight. And animating the wings like birds do? \$\endgroup\$
    – rlam12
    Oct 4, 2015 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question could be improved by explaining what you've tried, why it looked unnatural, and exactly what aspects of a bird's flight you want to simulate (aerodynamics, wing movement, internal forces…). Preferably one of them, to keep the question answerable in less than a textbook. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wanted to do it myself recently and I could only find some really long, detailed but very complicated equations for bird flight in this paper: Forward flight of birds revisited. Part 1: aerodynamics and performance I've also just seen a paper for animal-like flight by machine learning: Aerobatics Control of Flying Creatures via Self-Regulated Learning. If you can find anything related to 3D physics or game programming I would be also interested. \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2019 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


If I were doing a 3D game, I'd not go into physical simulation of birds but rather a simplified kinematic trajectory model of a flying thing.

The trajectory of a bird in flight is simply three accelerations and three orientations.

Once you determine (at runtime) the accelerations of the bird (or the trajectory of the bird), you add corresponding animation sequences (e.g. bird slowing down, bird diving, bird gliding, bird speeding up).


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