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MIT Develops Open Source Game A Slower Speed of Light

Are you a science buff who is curious how the world would look like if you travel at the speed of light? Will it twist everything around you as the light from different objects reach you at a different interval as per the special theory of relativity? How will everything look like if the speed of light is slowed down? This is what an open source game developed by MIT Game Lab tried to do.

The game is called A Slower Speed of Light which is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Players can choose to share their mastery and experience of the game through Twitter. A Slower Speed of Light combines accessible gameplay and a fantasy setting with theoretical and computational physics research to deliver an engaging and pedagogically rich experience.

The Experience
Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light).

The Technology: OpenRelativity
OpenRelativity is a set of tools for simulating the effects of traveling near the speed of light in the Unity3D game engine. The team is currently refining the documentation, usability and features in OpenRelativity, targeted for release as a free, open-source package in 2013, to allow others to produce more simulations and games about traveling near the speed of light.

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Even if the game is (will be) open source it is available only on proprietary platforms such as Mac OS and Windows, there is no GNU/Linux client (Let us know if you manage to run the game using Wine under Linux)

Slideshow Image:
Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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