I'm (physics n00b) developing a small animation (gamification) in a mobile HTML5 app (PhysicsJS, HTML5, Cordova, Ionic, JavaScript).

This animation is derived from Basket of verlet constraints. This basket has to carry a lot more bodies (circles).

I'm experiencing performance problems, even on decent hardware (iOS and Android, the latter is worse). The bodies move like if they were in an aquarium. If I remove the basket, the performance is way better, but not yet satisfactory.

How can this be optimized in a sense that users don't have the feeling of watching a film in slow-motion?

Are there any tweaks to control the engine to do less calculation?

Am I using the appropriate physics engine or are there alternatives with significant better performance?

Remark: on my MacBook in Chrome, there is absolutely no performance problem and all movements are very smooth -> no aquarium.


2 Answers 2


Theres the parameter maxIPF given to the Physics constructor, set that lower for a faster but less precise simulation. But this may be a question more of whole program optimization, do some profiling.


I've found following tweaks to gain performance on mobile devices:

  • removed basket (too many bodies to calculate)
  • don't render on each step (see code below)
  • use world.warp() to scale time increments
  • use a changed gravity factor
  • call world.pause() and world.unpause() whenever appropriate (e.g. when canvas gets invisible due to a dialog covering it)

With following options the tweaks are set:

var options = {
    gravityFactor: 1,
    warp: 1,
    renderSteps: 1
if (ionic.Platform.isWebView()) {
    options = {
        gravityFactor: 2,
        warp: 5,
        renderSteps: 2

Don't render on each step

// render on each step
var stepNo = 0;
world.on('step', function () {
    if (stepNo % options.renderSteps === 0) {

use world.warp() to scale time increments


use a changed gravity factor

var GRAVITY = 0.0004; // standard gravity for PhysicsJS

var acceleration = Physics.behavior('constant-acceleration')
      .setAcceleration({x: 0, y: GRAVITY * options.gravityFactor});


Please don't hesitate, share your experience and provide the solutions which work best for you!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for those tips. I have tried that but I am not seeing any performance improvements. Wondering if you have found anything else that might be helpful? Also using Cordova. Performance degrades as I add more bodies to the world. I am using a PIXI renderer. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2017 at 10:52

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