MIT Game Lab open sources relativistic game engine
The MIT Game Lab has released a new beta version of its educational game A Slower Speed of Light. The Spring 2013 Beta Release of the game now works on Linux as well as Windows and Mac OS X and the MIT developers have also open sourced the engine and game development tools used in the creation of the game. The OpenRelativity tools have been designed to help game developers create educational experiments that explain and demonstrate special relativity. OpenRelativity is licensed under the MIT License and is based on the Unity3D game engine, simulating the effects of travelling near the speed of light in a game world.
Describing the goal of the game engine and the A Slower Speed of Light game, MIT Game Lab's Rik Eberhardt says in an article for MIT News: "Education can be assisted through the use of games and other interactive media, especially for topics that frequently are hard to understand and visualize." Eberhardt goes on to explain how researchers have observed that it is hard for newcomers to the field of special relativity to grasp a basic understanding of how physics behaves near the speed of light. OpenRelativity was designed to help develop an intuitive understanding of the principles involved through playful experimentation.
OpenRelativity's code is available on GitHub and the project's README gives a short introduction to the concepts of relativity and their application in the engine. Users interested in the game itself can download binaries for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the MIT Game Lab web site. The game needs a relatively recent processor and 3D-capable graphics card to run; 8GB RAM is recommended.