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26 November 2012

A Slower Speed of Light

If you have a new-ish computer, like games, and are open to scinece-on-the-edge, then you'll be interested in MIT's new game,  A Slower Speed of Light.

As the player, you walk through a landscape collecting orbs.
"As the 100 orbs are collected, gamers increasingly experience counter-intuitive principles of traveling near the speed of light
  • The Doppler Effect – objects become more blue, red, or rainbow colored in accordance with the light spectrum
  • Length Contraction – objects warp and bend in space
  • The Searchlight Effect – “increased brightness in the direction of travel”
  • Runtime Effect – the ability to see the past through the light that is yet to hit the eyes of those in the future" (link)

The Game's home page describes it this way:
"A Slower Speed of Light 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. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player's own maximum walking speed. 

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). 

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."

Published on Oct 26, 2012 by 

Will it run on your computer?
"A Slower Speed of Light has been tested on computers with the configurations listed below.
 • Intel Core 2 Duo T9900 or Core i7 (2.8GHz clock speed) 
• Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) 
• AMD Radeon HD 6970M/AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4850/Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT 
• 8GB RAM Some users have reported that the game may run on Windows XP and 2GB RAM. 

A known bug will crash the game on computers with some Intel graphics chipsets."