Understanding relativity is hard but playing games is easy. What’s a physicist to do? Why, make a game about walking near the speed of light, of course, silly!
A Slower Speed Of Light is a game/simulation that allows you to exist in what amounts to an environment where you can reduce the speed of light. By picking up colored orbs you slow light down more and more and you approach the speed of light
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.
The game, using the Unity3D engine, recreates the following fun speed-of-light quirks:
Considering I have literally no idea what any of those things mean in real life makes this simulation quite valuable in understanding relativity and high-speed travel. It also makes for a trippy good time while smoking various substances and/or drinking a lot of 4 Loko.
The game is free and open source. Gerd Kortemeyer, a physics educator, and the folks at MIT Gamelab, including programmer Ryan Cheu and designer Ebae Kim, built the simulator to offer a closer look at the weird stuff that happens when you really and truly start thinking about faster than light travel.