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Games Science

MIT Slows Down Speed of Light In New Game 113

New submitter schirra writes "Researchers at MIT Game Lab have created a free video game that accurately simulates the effects of Einstein's relativity. 'A Slower Speed of Light' challenges players to collect objects strewn throughout a level to artificially lower the speed of light. As light speed slows to walking pace, it makes visible the unusual effects one encounters when traveling close to the speed of light, such as the Doppler effect, searchlight effect and Lorentz transformation. The effects are, in a word, trippy. The team plans to release an open-source Unity3D toolkit called OpenRelativity to allow others to include the same relativistic effects in other games." They also plan to release the source code sometime next year (despite reports that it is open source already).
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MIT Slows Down Speed of Light In New Game

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  • Gameplay footage (Score:5, Informative)

    by FlynnMP3 ( 33498 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @01:59PM (#41909693)
  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:00PM (#41909717)

    There is no such thing as "synchronous" when you're talking about relativistic effects.

    Getting around that would be a very interesting problem to try to solve in multiplayer. At first blush, it seems impossible: player 1 won't be experiencing the same moment of time as player 2 at any given time. However, whenever two players interact in any way, whatever caused the interaction has to have happened for both players and that includes even just seeing them. If you can keep a log of what player 2 did in the past, you can figure out what instant of player 2's timeline player one should be seeing (of you could just simulate the actual flight of the photons, but that seems computationally impossible). And you can do the same for player 2's screen drawing player 1.

    As long as, just like in the real world, no one can travel faster than light you'll always have all the information you need. If you allow FTL though, everything breaks, you can set up situations where you simply won't have the information about player 2 that you need to draw player 1's screen, which is awesome because it maps directly to breaking causality in the real world.

  • red/blue shift (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:44PM (#41910229)

    That whole red shift/blue shift thing always confuses me too

    Here is red/blue shift (to my understanding) in a nutshell:
    First, remember that the frequency of light determines what color it will be. In the visible light spectrum, red is at one end and has the lowest frequency of visible light. Blue light has a higher frequency and is found towards the opposite end of the visible spectrum. Also, remember that the speed is a constant. When you see something, you see the light bouncing off of it. If an object is coming towards you, the light does not go 'the speed of light' + the object's velocity. The speed of light remains a constant. So instead, that extra energy shifts the light to a higher frequency. This is blue shift. When an object is moving away from you, the light bouncing off of an object does not go 'the speed of light' minus that object's velocity. The speed of light remains constant. Instead that energy is taken from its frequency. This is red shift.

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