The first video game in which breast physics were a notable feature was the fighting game Fatal Fury 2 (1992), which featured the fighter Mai Shiranui, who had noticeably jiggly breasts. Pronounced breast physics have since remained a staple feature of many fighting games, perhaps in part because these games contain fewer character models than other games and can therefore afford to animate their characters in more detail. The Dead or Alive series (1996–), in particular, has become identified with the "outlandish" physics of both its fighting moves and its female characters' breasts.
On occasion, this aspect of fighting games has caused particular attention, such as when the 2015 game Street Fighter V had the fighter Chun-Li's breasts move like large water balloons when she was chosen as the second player's character in the selection screen. Although this behavior was noticed by media even before the game's release, it remained present in the released version of the game. The game's publisher Capcom attributed it to a bug and later removed it by a patch.
In reaction to the prevalence of big, bouncy breasts in video games, games writer Jenn Frank initiated a "boob jam" in 2013. The purpose of the initiative was to create games that deal "with an aspect of female breasts other than the fact that they're sexy and fun to look at".
Breast physics is an application of soft-body dynamics, the field of computer graphics that focuses on physical simulations of the motion and properties of deformable objects. In a game with 3D graphics, character models are composed of a skeleton of "bones" connected with joints and covered by a "skin" of textured polygons. These virtual bones do not necessarily correspond to the bones in real humans, but are required to make anything move – for example, breasts, which do not in reality contain bones. To make breasts or other body parts move, video game animators make the bones' joints move according to the physical rules of the game's engine.
To effect breast movement in most 3D games, the breast's bones are equipped with "springs" that make the breasts bounce when the rest of the skeleton moves. The setup and strength of these springs determines the strength of the breast bounce. Alternatively, the motion of the breasts may be governed by custom-written software, but this is more time-consuming and therefore rarer than using springs, which are a built-in feature in many game engines.
Unnatural breast physics
Many video games feature breast movements that appear unnatural or exaggerated, particularly to female observers. This may result from limitations of the "springs" system, which is better suited to animating rigid bodies rather than soft objects like breasts. In some games, however, exaggerated breast physics are intentional. This may be caused by increasing the bounce effect in order to make it noticeable even when a character is standing still and talking, which may result in wildly exaggerated bounces when she actually moves.
Ultimately, however, according to game developer Tim Dawson, if a video game features unnatural breast movements, "it's because somebody wanted them to look that way". Not only breasts, but also other body parts such as male muscles are often intentionally exaggerated or unrealistically portrayed in video games.
Breast physics in individual games
Games noted for exaggerated breast physics
Games noted by video game publications for their exaggerated breast physics include the following:
- Fatal Fury 2, fighting game (1992)
- Mortal Kombat, fighting game series (1992–)
- The King of Fighters, fighting game series (1994–)
- Soulcalibur, fighting game series (1995–)
- Dead or Alive, fighting game series (1996–). The bouncing was reduced in Dead or Alive 6, which uses a "natural" body physics engine.
- Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, sports game (1999)
- Conker's Bad Fur Day, platformer (2001), in which breasts are used as springboards
- Resident Evil, action game (2002/2015)
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, sports game (2003)
- Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, action game (2009), where the breasts' wobble can be separately controlled by the player
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, role-playing game (2009)
- Skullgirls, fighting game (2012)
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, action game (2015)
Games otherwise noted for their breast physics
- Fortnite Battle Royale (2017) used breast physics in a character model released in September 2018. The developer Epic Games later removed it as an "embarrassing and unintended" mistake.
- Conan Exiles (2017) allows players to customize a female character's breast size or a male character's penis size. The size affects how much either piece of anatomy jiggles.
- Hernandez, Patricia (24 February 2015). "How Video Game Breasts Are Made (And Why They Can Go Wrong)". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Hernandez, Patricia (16 February 2016). "Street Fighter V's Ridiculous Breast Physics Are Still In The Game". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (29 March 2016). "Capcom patches out Chun-Li's ridiculous boob physics". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- "The Boob Jam". theboobjam.com. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "'Boob Jam' explores unsexy side of breasts". Fox News. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Knight, Rich (6 February 2012). "The 10 Most Ridiculous Uses of Jiggle Physics in Games". Complex. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (18 June 2018). "Dead or Alive 6 tones down female character sexualisation". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- Gray, Kate (21 January 2015). "Let me get something off my chest about boob physics in video games". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
- Kohler, Chris (31 July 2013). "With Final Fantasy XIII's breast jiggle physics, Square Enix has lost the plot". WIRED UK. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Hansen, Steven (15 October 2015). "Metal Gear Solid V infinity boobs: More proof women are hard to animate". Destructoid. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Chalk, Andy (September 27, 2018). "Fortnite's boob physics are an 'embarrassing and unintended' mistake, will be fixed". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Livingstone, Christopher (January 31, 2017). "Conan Exiles has an 'endowment' slider and genital physics". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Donnelly, Joe (January 25, 2018). "Conan Exiles director explains dong slider implementation". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 27, 2018.