The one-stop wiki for research into exploded body parts.
In most first-person shooter games, if you attack with great force, enemies will fall into pieces.
This is a "realistic" effect, but in all known cases, once the enemy is killed by the player, its "lifelike" model disappears, and is immediately substituted by a bunch of fragments that fall to the ground. These fragments are different models, designed to look dead. Glossed over with special effects, this approximates the process of exploding a body, but is in fact just a replacement – in video games, there is no continuity between life and death.
This became less true with the rising adoption of simulated ragdoll physics, forerun by Trespasser in 1997. There, ragdoll physics prompted the developer to abandon modelling sensu stricto gibs, in favour of a mechanic wherein a killed dinosaur would naturally collapse to the ground. Such a depiction of death was less brutal, similarly realistic, and closely resembling how many parents explain death to children – "the dinosaurs are sleeping". The gibs era can be considered over with the introduction of a synthesis, [, the game which allowed players to chop off any part of an enemy's body, thus reestablishing the link between life and death we know from physical existence.
The phenomenon of gibs is important because they were the first in-game objects to receive their own mechanics of unscripted interaction. Within the rudimentary, pre-ragdoll physics simulation, players could shoot or kick to place the gibs into any arrangement, or even weaponise them against opponents. This had no use with regards to the narrative, story or objective – it was just for amusement, but the fact of contributing time to create a breakthrough mechanic just for these purposeless acts has opened a long tradition in first-person shooters. They are also the only objects which were intended to be seen from all sides.
Established in 2016, this wiki is happily open to all contributors. Gibs Wiki's aim is to create a comprehensive database of all gibs, starting with the earliest and most primitive ones. However obscure, earlier games will be treated by admin with priority.
The recommended research method is an archeological one. Read About the Gibs Wiki Method for full guidelines. Instead of archeogaming, which means playing games with an archeological mindset, I propose archeomodding, which concentrates on scavenging for models directly within game archives, using modding tools to navigate the plethora of obscure file formats and fan-created software – without in-game insight into what we're dealing with. Attempts to catalogue items will remain quite close to real excavations, in which we can only deal with decayed material remnants of a culture without ever having access to its reality. This method also welcomes mistakes like believing that ancient Greek sculptures were white, instead of vividly painted as we know now, leading to a misconstrued but nonetheless fortuitous phenomena like the style of neoclassicism.
The centrepiece of Gibs Wiki, the database table, is located at 3D Gibs in 3D games.
If you have any quick tips on gibs, but don't want to fill in the database, please submit them at Tips on gibs
This wiki started as a spreadsheet, available at WITH 3D GIBS 1980-2000 – A CROWDSOURCED DATABASE.
Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.