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Re: Space sim in the works

Jiri Svoboda wrote:

In brief - Aristotelian Physics versus Newtonian Physics versus Einsteinian Physics.

Aristotle had no experience with a friction-free environment - so he
assumed that when you apply a force, the object accellerates and when
you remove the force, it decellerates.   Lots of computer games work
that way.

Newton watched the motion of the planets and realised that in a frictionless
environment, Aristotle was WAY off the mark. So he fixed that - which (I
think) is what you are referring to as 'realistic' Physics.

Einstein patched up the 'close-to-the-speed-of-light' stuff that Newton
got wrong because he couldn't observe the subtle errors that crept into
his calculations at high velocities. This is tough to fix in a computer
game unless you are in control of just one single ship.  As soon as you
can directly control multiple ships, the effect of relativistic time
dilation on the player's own brain becomes impossible to simulate.

So - we're probably talking about Newton here.

The classic Newtonian physics space game is Asteroids.  People find it
hard to drive the space ship accurately - because of the realistic physics.

So should your game simulate Newtonian physics?   Well, yes - but let's
think about this a bit.   If it's hard to fly a spaceship that way,
wouldn't the spaceship designers of the future implement the crafts
controls to mimic Aristotelian physics so the craft flies more like
a jet fighter than an 'Asteroids' game?   Sure they would!

So whilst you might want some Newtonian physics at the level of the
game's physics drivers, you probably DON'T want it to feel that way
to the player.

---------------------------- Steve Baker -------------------------
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