David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.

25 Responses to “Videogame simulates "a slower speed of light"”

  1. retrojoe says:

    Here we see a young Dr. Strangelove getting his start within the MIT Game Lab.

  2. thatbob says:

    This will be awesome to experience in Metroid (when the time comes), but now what I really want is a FPS where you can collect mushrooms to grow larger and spit fireballs.

  3. TulsaTV says:

    Now, how about doing the same for the quantum world?

    • David Pescovitz says:

      That’s a great idea! They mentioned this on the project page, but I really like the idea of teaching weird physics concepts through experience/simulations made more fun with gameplay.

    • Thomas Shaddack says:

      Was done, together with the relativistic world, many many years ago – not as a game but as a book of stories; the famous George Gamow’s “Mr. Tompkins” ones.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if these books were the game’s inspiration.

  4. Travis VanDevanter says:

    Hmm…what about when the escape velocity of the planet exceeds the speed of light? The planet collapses to singularity.

    • Paul Renault says:

       Well, if you collect a sufficient number of orbs in the game, the speed of light falls enough so that it’s below the escape velocity.

      With light unable to escape, eventually, you’d accumulate enough photos that their collective mass would cause a the planet to collapse. 

    • hypnosifl says:

      It’s actually a misconception that the formation of black holes is just a matter of the escape velocity exceeding the speed of light–after all, you can still escape a planet’s gravity traveling at less than the escape velocity if you are moving away using powered flight rather than being in freefall, but with a black hole this is not possible. But it is true that as the speed of light decreases, the Schwarzschild radius GM/c^2 would increase, until it exceeded the planet’s radius, at which point the planet would have to collapse…this game presumably isn’t trying to accurately simulate gravity though, since in relativity that requires general relativity, not just special relativity. You could just imagine that the game takes place on a large platform of negligible mass that’s accelerating at 1G through empty (flat) space, and that’s where the apparent gravity is coming from.

  5. You says:

    It would be nice if MIT could make a game that doesn’t crash when you start to play it… :(

  6. benjie says:

    1st impression:  So cool!
    2nd impression: OMG why did MIT decide to build the world’s most most efficient barf-o-tron…?

  7. FrancesTheMute says:

    I wonder if this was inspired by the new physics classic Mr Tompkins in Wonderland:
    http://www.amazon.com/The-New-World-Tompkins-Paperback/dp/0521639921/ref=pd_sim_b_2 (the updated version)
    It imagines various dream worlds where the speed of light is 20km/hr or Plank’s constant is 1.  I read it in high school and it made relativity and quantum mechanics both easier to imagine and terrifyingly interesting.

  8. Boundegar says:

    What color are the creepers in this?

  9. Cowicide says:

    Just a head’s up.  It’s working perfect on my laptop with Mac OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) although they say in system requirements it’s only been tested in Lion (10.7.x).

    • Petzl says:

      It crashed my MacBookPro 10.6.8 (after grabbing 63 spheres, so I had a brief chance at relativistic fun).

      Edit: The screen went black with no cursor. cmd-tab didn’t work for switching programs. I think it was a true crash. I had to hard reboot.

  10. D3 says:

    Works fine for me (windows 7) but man, do I feel sea-sick.

  11. Sean Durkin says:

    Gerd was born for this…good stuff

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