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michaelkennedy

In Battlefront, the main infantry weapon is a gun that fires lasers. Though it would be amazing, this will most likely never be a reality because of a few properties of light: refraction and scattering. Light can bend, and will in foggy or rainy conditions. Also, it will disperse as it travels, reducing the intensity. Another reason why it is impractical is the energy requirements for a laser beam that can kill. To create a laser beam that is strong enough to kill, 24 Kg of batteries must be used. This is extremely impractical compared to lighter magazines which can hold a large amount of bullets.  Light also has a velocity that is larger than escape velocity, meaning that it will not drop and will just shoot off into space for all eternity. Until light can be harnessed more efficiently or a more compact source of energy can be found, i do not believe that we will be seeing laser rifles anytime in the near future.

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michaelkennedy

Besiege is a game where the object is to build siege engines to take down armies and castles. One extremely effective siege weapon is the catapult, which is loaded with physics. Catapults can be loaded with projectiles that when released are launched at extremely high speeds and over long distances. How a relatively small mechanism can create such large amounts of force and speed is similar in some ways to the crossbow, but different in other ways. With a bow, the string can be drawn back at different distances and can be made with different thicknesses. With a catapult, the exact same amount of potential energy can be transferred to the projectile every time causing much more consistency. This is because of a counterweight, which is placed on the opposite side of the lever as the projectile. This counterweight must weigh much more than the projection itself in order to cause an imbalance, much like a teeter totter. This causes a much higher launch speed because of the mechanical advantage created. Besiege allows you to build catapults, which can fire stones so fast that they can break through castle walls and flatten armies showing the raw power that a knowledge of physics can bring.

michaelkennedy

A game that me and my friends have been playing a lot recently is called Gang Beasts. It is an arena fighting game where the object is to be the last man standing. What makes it entertaining is that the characters that are fighting are rag-dolls, which means that you have little control over their bodies. They move fluidly and are not stiff, which is very entertaining to watch when it a fight to the death between 8 players. In order to get another player out, you have to punch and kick them until they are knocked out. Then you have to grab them, pick them up, and throw them out of bounds. This all seems very simple, but each limb is individually controlled so it is very difficult. With skill however certain things can be done such as swinging someone around your head in order to throw them farther, or grabbing a part of the map in order to save yourself from falling. The game is 100% physics based, but is extremely hard to explain with words. It is so simple that it is fun and difficult, but makes for some hilarious moments. I mean, whats more fun than dragging your friends limp body over a ledge?

 

michaelkennedy

The NBA 2k series is undoubtedly one of if not the most popular sports series around. It is a basketball simulator, where physics governs all aspects of the game. One particular aspect of the game i would like to look at however is the crossover. In basketball, the crossover is a move where the ball is dribbled from one hand to the other very quickly in order to confuse a defender. Sometimes, a crossover is so effective and fast that the defender gets his "ankles broken" or falls over from the move. For example, in our last CYO game Nate Stack got crossed over so hard that he fell over due to the effectiveness of the move. This leaves one question however, which is can someone be tricked so hard by a crossover that their ankles ACTUALLY break? Well, if a large enough force is applies to the ankle bone, it will break. So, theoretically it is possible. In reality, the brain will be able to react to the crossover in time where it will stop applying a force to the side it thought the ball would be on. Crossovers however can cause twisted ankles and are just downright humiliating. Here's a disgusting compilation of the crossover from the master himself:

 

michaelkennedy

The Dark Souls series is known for being extremely difficult. This is because of the complexity of the combat and the strength of the enemies in the game. When fighting an enemy, the only way to dodge its weapon is to perform a tuck and roll. The tuck and roll is the core of all combat in Dark Souls. It gives you a small window of invincibility which can be used to re-position yourself behind an enemy or give you just enough time to drink a crucial health potion. At first glance however a tuck and roll looks painful, but when examined closely it can be seen why a tuck and roll is a genius use of physics and the human body in order to mitigate pain. When jumping from a building, all of the force will be exerted upon your feet and legs when landing which is extremely dangerous. If you tuck and roll however, the force will be dispersed evenly across your body, allowing you to jump from distances that you couldn't before. This move is used by people who do Parkour, or freerunning. 

 

michaelkennedy

The Skate series has taken over skating video games. In Skate, you skate around town doing flips, grinds, and ride ramps doing cool grabs and holds. Behind all of the fancy tricks is a skateboard. Skateboards broken down simply are boards with 4 wheels, with each end bent up slightly. In this blog, i am going to break down the physics of a kick flip, and how it is possible. First, the skateboard gets into the air through an Ollie or bunny hop. Second, the skater will push on opposite sides of the board giving it a rotation around its center axis. If timed correctly, the board will complete one full rotation before landing back on the ground wheel side down. What looks simple is actually a very difficult series of events that must be timed and executed perfectly, or else a wipe out will happen. 

 

michaelkennedy

One mobile game has taken over IHS: Clash Royale. Most people either play it because the like it, or just simply have it on their phone because one of their friends made them download it. Regardless, one of the most controversial aspects of the game is filled with physics that is taken for granted. The X-Bow is a crossbow that fires huge arrows at outrageous speeds. The mystery behind a crossbow is how such a simple mechanism can create such speed and force behind an arrow. The answer is simple: Potential Energy. When the string of the crossbow is pulled and locked back tightly, work was done on the string giving it stored potential energy. This potential energy will be converted into Kinetic energy in the arrow when released, sending it flying. This explains why the arrow flies faster the tighter the bowstring is, or if you pull it back farther. A higher potential energy inevitably means a higher kinetic energy.

michaelkennedy

In arguably the greatest gaming series of all time, The Legend of Zelda, one of the core weapons is based solely off of physics: The boomerang. The boomerang is used to kill enemies, retrieve items and rupees, and best of all can be used infinitely due to the fact that it always comes back to you. The key to a boomerang returning to the thrower is a phenomenon known as gyroscopic procession. This is where one wing is moving through the air slightly faster than the other, creating unbalanced forces.  As the top wing is spinning forward, the lift force on that wing is greater and resulting in differing forces that gradually turn the boomerang. This causes it to loop around in a circle, and return to the thrower.  

 

michaelkennedy

In GTA V, physics is a large factor in almost every part of the game. One example is when driving cars in GTA, you can reach some fairly impressive speeds. If you get into a car and start driving immediately, your character doesn't put on a seat belt which is a recipe for disaster. If you crash while driving at an insane speed, you will fly through the windshield and out of the car. This is because of inertia. As everyone knows, inertia is a property of matter. It is a measure of a resistance to acceleration based off of mass. When driving at fast speeds, the car is pushing you at the speed. When the car suddenly stops, your body wants to keep moving forward due to its inertia. Because of the lack of a restraint, your character flies through the windshield and skids across the road. Should've buckled up.

michaelkennedy

The Battlefield series is widely known for being realistic, intense, and hardcore. Every single aspect of the game is impressively real, even down to how bullets behave when shot. Sniping is one of the most challenging aspects of the game due to the behavior of bullets. When shot, a bullet encounters air resistance and gravity, giving it a downward flight pattern. The air resists its forward motion, giving it a negative acceleration in the x direction, while gravity give the bullet a positive acceleration downward. This is commonly known as "bullet drop", so one must raise the cross hairs above the target depending on how far away it is to account for it. Binoculars can be used to measure the distance, and sights can be adjusted accordingly as well. The implementation of physics into war simulators makes an already realistic and hardcore game that much more intense.

michaelkennedy

The new Indie game "No Mans Sky" boasts a very impressive infinite galaxy full of planets, aliens, starships, and traders. The ships however travel at speeds which we humans have reached before. You may ask however, "How can an infinite universe even be skimmed if ships can only travel at relatively small sustained speeds?" This is a good question, and it can be answered by the fact that humans in  "No Mans Sky" have developed the warp drive. This is a small piece of equipment that when activated allows the ship to travel faster than the speed of light for just a few seconds. This however is enough to travel IMMENSE distances, and because of this the world is able to be explored. The use of the hyperdrive can be seen here, where stars and planets that you are passing blend into swirls and colors due to your insanely high speed.

 

 

michaelkennedy

The "first" video game: Pong. Deceptively simple. Two paddles, and a ball in the middle that bounced back and forth. It is not simple for two reasons: First, whenever the ball strikes the paddle, its y component of speed remains the same but in an opposite direction, and the only way that the x component can change direction is when the ball hits the wall. This means that the world of pong is perfect, where both the paddles and ball are frictionless, and there is no air resistance. Also, when the ball strikes the paddle, it is reflected back at some angle. This reflection of the ball is similar to the reflection of light rays that strike a mirror.

Image result for light striking mirrors at angles

michaelkennedy

The once popular game "Portal" was set in a laboratory where the player used a special gun that shot portals in order to navigate obstacle courses. The gun shot 2 portals, a blue and an orange, that linked together. The player is then able to jump through the first portal and end up where the second one was shot, covering a huge distance. Even complex things such as jumping through the first portal, then firing the second portal immediately afterwards to then fall through the second and back into the first. Though we do not have this technology YET, there are theoretical physics that explain the existence of wormholes. A wormhole is essentially a folding over of the fabric of space-time, so that the same location in space can be reached while traveling almost no distance compared to the original. It is much easier to explain this visually, and this scene from Interstellar does a fantastic job.

 

michaelkennedy

In the popular soccer video game, FIFA, there are many important aspects of physics that are put into the game engine in order to create the most realistic experience possible. One example that has recently been implemented is the field being effected by the weather, which in turn effects the behavior of the ball. For example, when the weather is normal, the ball will roll at a normal speed along the field. However, when the weather is rainy the ball will roll especially fast due to the now lower coefficient of friction between the ball and the surface due to the watery and muddy grass. Another example of physics in FIFA is when you shoot, you can hold the right bumper to put curve on your shot. This curve makes it harder for the goalie to judge the path of the ball, since it is now curved sideways instead of being straight. This curve can be explained by the Magnus Effect, which states that a spinning ball will curve away from its principal flight path. This phenomenon can be seen best in this video where a spinning basketball is dropped from a large height:

 

 

michaelkennedy

In the new game, Mafia III you play as the African American protagonist Lincoln Clay in the racially tense 1968 south. In the prologue you rob a bank with a group of white men you believe to not be racist. After successfully robbing the bank, you and the white men return to a bar to unload the gold bars and celebrate your newfound wealth. The celebration is cut short for you however, because in the middle of a long cut scene one of your white partners pulls a gun from behind you and shoots you in the back of the head. (This is viewed from the third person) You drop to the floor, and they take the money and flee the bar assuming that you are dead. As if by a miracle, you wake up an hour later stunned in bed with a bandage wrapped around your head with one of your friends taking care of you. What happened is that when the bullet was fired from the gun, it hit the curved skull at just the right angle that caused a deflection. This is because the angle between the trajectory of the bullet and the surface of your skull was not close enough to being perpendicular, and therefore the bullet did not penetrate the skull. It only scraped the surface of your skull and flew away, which was enough to cause extreme trauma and knock you old cold, but not enough to kill you. Since most of the force of the bullet was not absorbed by your skull you remained alive. Most of the force remained in the flying bullet which then most likely lodged into the wall. This miracle may seem impossible, but really is completely feasible due to the physics behind it. If my explanation isn't enough, read this article which explains a real world situation where a deflected bullet once again saves the victims life.  http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/30/bullet-bounces-off-of-victims-face-and-kills-robber/

michaelkennedy

In the series Assassins creed, one of the core parts of the game is maneuvering around tight spaces and towns by using parkour. This is where you climb buildings, poles, bridges, and really anything that you can in order to get from point a to point b. One of the most intense methods of parkour in the game is the rope-zipline launcher gun. A gun fire a hook out of the barrel which is attached to a long cord. The hook lodges in a building where the player wants to reach, and the other end is attached to where the player is standing, creating a tight rope. The tension in the rope creates an upward force that almost balances the downward force created by the player after jumping on the rope, and is pulled very tightly from each side, creating a super strong almost metal bar for you to ride on. The angle created by the rope creates an angled acceleration due to gravity that moves the player down the rope. Because of the fast acceleration and the rough surface of the rope, gloves are required or else the players hand would be easily burned through due to the heat from friction. The zipline launcher allows for an easy and fast way to get from point a to point b, and would be a feat of engineering if it were possible to make in real life and was considered safe.

michaelkennedy

In the once popular game, Call of Duty: World at War, there is a popular game mode called zombies. Players are pitted against endless waves of zombies with only one goal: to kill the players no matter what. One of the best parts of this game is the mystery box, a special magical box that gives the player a random weapon when bought. One special gun in the box is the WunderWaffe, a special lightning gun with a low drop rate. The WunderWaffe uses Lightning Cartridges that shoot taser-like projectiles at the zombies. These projectiles create a current that flows through the zombies and kills them instantly. The fun part is that this current flows from zombie to zombie, killing multiple at a time. The strong electric current resembles that of an actual lightning strike, which I assume means that it has about 30,000 Amps per shot. This is MORE than enough to stop a human heart, and is clearly enough to kill the undead for a second time. It also brings them to life and makes the zombies spaz out before they die.

 

michaelkennedy

In the massive open world game, Skyrim, players can choose to either be a mage, archer, or my personal favorite, a knight. The knight wields a sword as his weapon of choice, and this forces players to get in close when fighting enemies. The effectiveness of the sword is often taken for granted however, and most people never think of the ingenious design and physical properties of swords. Medieval swords like the ones you use in Skyrim have long blades that are thick in the middle but taper off into sharp edges on 2 sides. The long blade allows for a much more powerful hit, but is also heavier. Because of the additional weight long-swords are two handed weapons in Skyrim, so they take much longer to swing than one handed weapons. This is the trade off between a short blade and a long blade. Additionally, the sharp edges on each side act as two wedges, that when struck against skin or wood will split the material by exerting an outward force. This can be seen in the diagram below along with an image of a sword.

 

OC0811004_L6WedgeDiagram.jpg512px-Sword_parts-en.svg.png

michaelkennedy

In the popular arcade game, Peggle, the player fires metal balls out of a cannon in an attempt to hit every orange peg in the level that are surrounded by a sea of useless blue pegs. Once a peg is hit, regardless of color. it disappears and the player is given points. It seems simple, but really it is a complex and difficult game given that there is no indicator of where your metal ball will land when fired. Having a basic knowledge of kinematics and the downward acceleration of gravity will help players to estimate where their ball will land to maximize their points earned and also to make cool bank-shots.  Since the acceleration of the metal ball is the same for every shot, playing the game frequently will give you a "feel" for how far the ball will bounce and at what angle it will be deflected off of the other pegs. Some of the most satisfying moments in the game are when you correctly estimate a complex shot that bounces from orange peg to orange peg, and gives you an explosion of points. Peggle: simple on the outside, but loaded with physics on the inside.

michaelkennedy

In the popular video game, "Rocket League" a simple idea is turned into an extremely addictive and teamwork oriented game. Teams of up to 4 players are put into a large arena with goals on 2 sides. Instead of controlling a player, you control a car. A ball about double the size of the cars is what players push into the goals in order to score. You may ask though, "What happens when the ball goes up into the air?". The cars are equipped with small rocket boosters on all sides, with a larger rocket engine on the back bumper. Players can collect fuel around the map called "boost" with can be used to power the large engine in the back. Using the smaller boosters on the sides to make small corrections and maneuvers along with the main engine for the thrust and speed, players can make insane plays involving what are called "aerial" hits. A basic understanding of physics can actually help players to make plays that would otherwise seem impossible. In the video below professional players can be seen making aerial hits by using the thrust and small boosters correctly.

 

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