# Introduction

Collision detection between an AABB and a Sphere is a common case in game physics. Thus it is important to master this algorithm in terms of performance. In this article, three methods are introduced to handle this problem.

# Arvo’s Algorithm

## Original Algorithm

Jim Arvo has put up with a simple method to solve this problem in Graphic Gems, you can find the code here.

The pseudocode is like:

OVERLAPSPHEREAABB_ARVO(c, r, min, max)

1. $d \leftarrow 0$
2. for each $i \in { x, y, z }$
3.     if ($c_i < min_i$)
4.         $e \leftarrow c_i - min_i$
5.         $d \leftarrow d + e^2$
6.     else if ($c_i > max_i$)
7.         $e \leftarrow c_i - max_i$
8.         $d \leftarrow d + e^2$
9. if ($d \leq r_2$) return true
10. return false

This method is simple but fast as well theoretically. But we can make it faster in practice.

## Make It Faster

Thomas Larsson presented a faster method in practice: https://doi.org/10.1080/2151237X.2007.10129232

The key is to expand the AABB by r first. If c still locates outside the box, the test failed and returns false directly.

As a result, we save some performance by avoiding calculations ensued.

The pseudocode is like:

OVERLAPSPHEREAABB_QRI(c, r, min, max)

1. $d\leftarrow 0$
2. for each $i\in {x, y, z }$
3.     if $((e \leftarrow c_i - min_i) < 0)$
4.         if $(e < -r)$ return false
5.         $d \leftarrow d + e^2$
6.     else if $((e\leftarrow c_i - max_i) > 0)$
7.         if $(e > r)$ return false
8.         $d \leftarrow d + e^2$
9. if ($d \leq r_2$) return true
10. return false

This is called QRI(quick rejections interwined). Of course we can do it at the very beginning, and this variant is called QRF(quick rejections first).

## Eliminate Conditional Branch

Even most modern computer has implemented branch prediction mechanism, we still consider a condition branch is expensive and should be avoid as much as possible.

Thus QRI can be refactored as:

1. $d\leftarrow 0$
2. for each $i \in { x, y, z }$
3.     $e \leftarrow max(min_i - c_i, 0) + max(c_i - max_i, 0)$
4.     if $(e \leq r)$ return false
5.     $d \leftarrow d + e^2$
6. if $(d \leq r^2)$ return true
7. return false

As we can see, the algorithm can take good advantage of max instruction, which is super fast on most SIMD instruction set.

## Even Faster

So there is an even faster method:

First, we shift the origin to the center of the rectangle. And let a be the vector pointing from the origin to the rectangle-corner in the first quadrant: We flip the circle center E to the first quadrant E'by axis flipping, no matter which quadrant E locates. And let b be the vector from the origin to E': And here is the magic: Let c be the vector pointing from A to E', and set c‘s all negative element to 0:

• $x \geq 0, y \geq 0$: • $x < 0, y > 0$: • $x < 0, y \geq 0$: • $x < 0, y < 0$:

Then we simply compare the length of r and c:

• Intersection if $c < r$

• Tangency if $c = r$

• Separation otherwise

This method can be easily expanded to higher dimensions, and is really fast.

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