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University dives into the physics of Assassin's Creed's haystacks

"This acceleration would cause serious injury."

Everybody knows the Assassin's Creed series' haystack leaps are ridiculous. But just how ridiculous are they? The students at University of Leicester's physics department, obviously with some time on their hands, decided to find out.

1

Unlikely.

Throughout the games, players are able to jump from enormous height into improbably small patches of straw found on the ground or in the backs of carts.

Characters will always survive the fall unharmed, whatever the height - an unlikely outcome in real life.

Four students set out to determine the heights and haystack sizes necessary for a more realistic survival rate in a peer-reviewed paper, Falling into Straw (the university previously examined the physics behind Nintendo's space-based platformer Super Mario Galaxy in a similar paper).

"While loose straw does undoubtedly provide cushioning from falls, the amount of straw used to cushion a character's fall is always the same, no matter the height of the jump," the paper explains.

"Common sense dictates that the amount of cushioning, in this case, the height of a pile of straw, should be related to the height of the fall being cushioned. This is due to the increased kinetic energy of the jumper, which needs to be dispersed slowly."

Straw piles would need to at least slow the human body to its maximum deceleration rate - 100g, or 100 times acceleration due to gravity - although even this would still cause "serious injury".

Better yet would be a haystack big enough to slow the human body to "a more comfortable impact deceleration", 25g.

Unsurprisingly, the paper found that the game series' straw piles (1.5m in height) were often too small.

"Even using the most optimistic survivable impact accelerations, incurring severe injuries in the process, the leap off the cathedral in Acre [the tallest jump in AC1] requires a greater amount of cushioning than is depicted," the paper stated.

To survive a leap into a 1.5m haystack you should fall no further than 12-13m, the students concluded. Just don't try this at home.

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