If I set linearDamping on a body, it's velocity will be decreased slowly, until it stops. The documentation says, that the units are 1/time, which is unclear for me.

If the velocity of a body is 10 m/s, and the linearDamping is 0.5, then how can I calculate that when will the velocity be decreased to 1 m/s ?


I worked out a closed formula to calculate the velocity v' after some elapsed time t with a given linearDamping d and original velocity v:

v' = v*exp(-d*t)

To calculate how much time is needed to reach a given velocity v':

t = ln(v' / v) / (-d)

Using the parameters from the question:

t = ln(1 / 10) / (-0.5) = 4.605

The object needs 4,6 seconds to decelerate from 10 m/s to 1 m/s


The original source code to calculate new velocity inside the step function:

v *= b2Clamp(1.0f - h * b->m_linearDamping, 0.0f, 1.0f);
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please correct this answer. You need to use ln instead log in formula. Instead t=log(v' / v) / (-d) ->t = ln(v' / v) / (-d)! \$\endgroup\$
    – MatejC
    Aug 27 '19 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I corrected the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Iter Ator
    Aug 27 '19 at 9:31

I looked at the Box2D source code, where it applies damping:

v *= b2Clamp(1.0f - h * b->m_linearDamping, 0.0f, 1.0f);

So the loss of velocity is certainly not a fixed number of units per second, despite what the manual says.

Your example of 10m/s to 1m/s would also slightly depend on timestep. Let's assume 120Hz simulation step...


v = 10
step = 0
h = 1/120.0
time = 0.0

while v > 1 :
    v *= ( 1 - h * 0.5 )
    step += 1
    time += h
    print( "step %d, time %f, v %f" % ( step, time, v ) )

Then it would take 4.6 seconds to slow down by that much.

step 551, time 4.591667, v 1.001957
step 552, time 4.600000, v 0.997783

I checked with 1/60 timestep as well, and the result is almost the same, btw.

I am not sure if you can determine this time delay in a single expression, though, without stepping through it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your help! In the meantime, I was able to work out a closed formula, which produces a result almost the same as your python script \$\endgroup\$
    – Iter Ator
    Jun 23 '18 at 15:21

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