This year has been amazing for me. I never thought that I would be able to do things such as a drag force derivation, or transient analysis of circuits, but I proved myself wrong. Through hard work and a lot of time, I matured through this year into an independent student who has faith in his own intellectual abilities which can all be attributed to the workload of AP Physics C. I learned that it isn't bad to ask questions as long as you have tried your hardest and thought about it until you cannot anymore. I have also learned to attack problems with other people, and combine knowledge in order to come to a solution which is extremely satisfying in the end. I now feel much more prepared for college and the challenges that I will face there. I have learned that it is OK to fail as long as you have put your best effort forward, because it only means you have room for improvement. Physics C has brought me many emotions both happy and sad, and has pushed my thinking to places It has never been before. I will undoubtedly miss Physics C, but will look back on it as a stepping stone in my path towards higher learning and eventually a career.
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Well this is gonna be a hard one. In Kerbal Space Program, Physics is the name of the game. It is the most true to life space exploration simulation that is readily available to the public, but it still insanely fun to play. You control a whole space program, and decide everything that it does. You control the mission plans, creation of spacecraft, and the actual flight and maneuvers. The Physics engine in this game models real life down to the smallest details: drag, propulsion, center of mass, center of lift, this game has everything. What would be harder to write about would be what isn't realistic about this game. One of the aspects I would like to focus on however are orbits. One of the first milestones in the game is getting a spacecraft into a stable orbit around Kerbin. You have to plan your fuel consumption and staging so that you have enough fuel to adjust your orbit into a circle once you reach the correct height. This can be done by scheduled "burns" or extended periods of time where the thrusters are fully firing towards a certain direction to cause a desired orbit path. Once you finally get into orbit however, nothing is more satisfying considering you used the laws of Physics to accomplish it.
In Call of Duty Black Ops 3, you are able to run on walls for a short period of time. Though this is unrealistic, humans are actually able to run vertically up walls for a quite impressive distance. This is due to the force of friction. When you make contact with the wall with your hands and feet, you push them downwards in order to imbalance the forces. If the force of friction is greater than the force of gravity, you will be propelled upward when you run up the wall. This means that the force upwards is greater than the force of gravity downwards, causing a net force upwards accelerating you up the wall. However, you cannot run far up a wall from a stationary position. You must first get a running start in order to build up speed, energy and momentum which can then be used to get even higher.
In Nightfire there is a rocket launcher that fires homing missiles. These missiles follow their target until they hit a surface and explode. How they do this is based off the principle that warm bodies emit infrared light, therefore if a rocket were to follow infrared emissions it would most likely be following a body. Homing missiles are so effective that 90% of all US air force losses can be attributed to them. In order to change directions mid flight, it adjusts the direction of its rear thruster according to the direction the infrared light was received. This is done so quickly that the missile has smooth turns and adjusts its flight path at almost the same time its target does. In Nightfire, this creates a weapon that is pretty much unavoidable unless you disappear into a building or behind a safe wall.
In one of my favorite Gamecube games of all time, James Bond 007: Nightfire, you are able to choose from a multitude of characters to play as and complete missions with. One of these characters is names Oddjob, who is extremely short and wears a trademark black bowler hat. This hat will be the focus of my blog. In the game, you are able to take off your hat and throw it at enemies much like a Frisbee, but this isn't playing a game, it's to slice peoples heads off. The 2 reasons the hat is able to fly are the Bernoulli principle and gyroscopic inertia. In simplest terms, the Bernoulli principle is the idea that air flowing below a wing or in this case Oddjob's hat's brim, has a higher pressure than the air flowing above, causing lift. The hat remains stable and spinning because of gyroscopic inertia, which is the principle that a body that is set spinning has a tendency to keep spinning in its original orientation. Both of these principles combined cause a stable, spinning, flying blade which gives you an edge up on your enemies.
Super Mario Strikers is a cartoon soccer game some will remember playing on their gamecube's or wii's which was extremely satisfying because of the unrealistic goals and crazy plays. However, there is one aspect of the game that is realistic and has physics behind it: The bicycle kick. The bicycle kick is an extremely hard and athletically demanding feat, but if performed correctly can stun your opponent and create insane velocity on a shot. A ball must be lobbed in the air to the person shooting, and the person shooting must have their back to the goal. They then swing their foot over their head towards the goal and make contact with the ball, shooting it towards the net. The reason for the immense power of the bicycle kick can be explained by circular motion. As the person swings their body and legs over their head, their foot if moving in a circle. Once the ball is struck, it moves in a line tangent to the circular path that the foot is on. This is the raeson why the ball must be struck when the foot is at its highest point or close to it. This causes a flight pattern that starts parallel to the goal and eventual dips down and sometimes even over the goalkeeper.
The Nuclear bomb is believe it or not one of the main weapons in Fallout 4, but ironically is also the cause of the game. The Physics behind Nuclear bombs is extremely complicated, but in this blog I will try to explain it as best as I can. The immense energy behind a nuclear explosion can be attributed to nuclear fission, which is the splitting of atoms. In a nukes case, it is most likely Uranium - 235. Two masses of highly pure Uranium 235 are positioned perfectly so that when they collide they start a chain reaction unleashing massive amount of energy in the form of an explosion. The masses collide extremely fast in order to keep the time of fission short, so that the explosion is as powerful as possible. This was the type of nuke dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 which killed so many people and caused destruction never before seen by man. The initial explosion wasn't the only terrible thing to happen however, because after the explosion massive amounts of radiation remained which made the area and its surroundings uninhabitable. Fallout 4 does a great job of recreating a barren wasteland which the player can easily tell has been ravaged by a nuclear bomb.
<--------- Nuclear Fission of Uranium-235
In Roller Coaster Tycoon, your main goal is to build an amusement park with the coolest rides to get the most profit possible. Your main weapon in your arsenal is the rollercoaster of course, which relies on a basic principle of physics to work. The carts are pulled up to the top of a hill by a chain system similar to that of a bike, and are then released at the top and fly down the hill at immense speeds. This is because of the law of conservation of energy. As the carts are pulled higher, their gravitational potential energy (pe=mgh) is rising. As they fly down the hill, the potential energy is converted to kinetic (ke=1/2mv^2). Aside from the physics of it all, rollercoasters are just another great application of physics in the everyday world.
Fallout 4 is a survival open world game. In the game there is a weapon called the "Big Boy". This is a handheld mini nuke launcher. While this is impractical in real life, there is physics behind how the game makes it work. Since no heat or pressure can be applied to the nuke without it blowing up, the launcher uses springs and elastics to store energy and launch the nuke smoothly. This can be seen my the equation of Spring PE= 1/2kx^2, with k being the spring constant and x being the displacement. All of this energy gets converted to kinetic energy in the nuke when it flies. This also obeys projectile motion which can be read in my last blog, where gravity pulls the nuke down and the velocity is retarded by wind. The physics of why the nuke is so powerful is a whole other blog, which I will cover soon.
In World of Tanks, you are the driver of a tank on a large battlefield. Your main weapon is your cannon, which fire shells. The games internal physics engine makes the shells obey the laws of projectile motion, giving them a parabolic flight path. Gravity pulls them down, and air resists their forward motion which is similar to my blog on the physics of sniping in Battlefield. Another aspect of physics in battlefield is the suspension the tank tracks have to prevent damage from falls. The longer a collision takes, the more spread out the force will be so that it is not all at once. Therefore, the suspension allows the tank to remain intact after a high impact collision with the ground.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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/