The article you mentioned seems to be intended to use physical simulations to help in generating articulated movement animations. Ragdoll physics, for instance, is a form of physical simulation that can be used to animate a dead body (just like a rag doll falling!), but due to computing resource limitations (specially in mobile devices) those effects are sometimes pre-calculated with physics engines and recorded as animation clips for later use during gameplay. I didn't understand if you want something like that, but you can check these very good physic engines: Box2D (2D) and Bullet Physics (more useful for 3D games). Here you can find a nice ragdoll example with Box2D: http://www.jangaroo.net/files/examples/flash/box2d/
You didn't explain in details what your needs are, except by mentioning that you want your character to be influenced by the environment. That might means a lot of different things, but I am really imagining that you want the make the movement of your character harder by effect of opposed wind or easier by effect of a sliding surface (ice), for instance.
By the way, you could update your question and make it a little clearer (or more direct to the point), so it will be easier for you to get more answers and help from other people.
Considering that I understood correctly what you want, the common approach for achieving changes in character movement is programming the environmental effects yourself. That is relatively easy to do, consume significantly less resources than using physics engines, and allow you to have more control of the effects of environmental events (which are normally related to the game mechanics). If your character is controled by simple vector math, the environment effects can be introduced as changes in the charecter current velocity vector. I suggest you to study the different "steering beahviours" and try to combine them to achieve what you want. The following references might help you with that:
EDIT: In case what you want is indeed related to affecting articulated parts of a character, you can add local colliders at each part and calculate the "environmental effects" yourself at each part using force vectors, and them compose the forces in a similar fashion to what I've suggested at this post: How to calculate new velocities between resting objects (AABB) after accelerations?