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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @01:07PM (#41909121)

    Somehow bragging about the open source nature of the project but not making it available on an open source OSes begs the question: WTF?

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the current status of video graphics on open source OSes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:15PM (#41909889)

    It's not possible to accurately simulate special relativity in a multiplayer setting. Just consider the twin paradox: two players are near each other, one accelerates away to a relativistic speed, and then accelerates his way back. The two players are back near each other, but the stationary player must have experienced more local time pass than the traveling player. That cannot be simulated while maintaining the invariant that each player experiences time as if they were their avatar. In other words, the "avatar clock" (I'm trying not to call it the game clock since relativity means there's no single clock) cannot match real time.

    It works fine for a single player game, of course (and you can add any number of NPCs as long as you can speed up their simulation by the appropriate ratio and still have your CPU keep up - there would be a hard limit due to CPU usage here unless the NPCs' state can be computed at a given instant in time instead of requiring simulation step by step).

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982