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About OcktoByte

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  1. Time travel is a common theme throughout games. Due to the laws of physics, however, time travel is only possible in a few theoretical situations. Time travel backwards through time seems even less likely from a physics standpoint. However, these limitations make for interesting gameplay mechanics. For example, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, time travel is a major theme throughout the game. As the name implies, you play music through a flute-like instrument called an Ocarina to play different songs with special effects, including time travel. During the game, after you've traveled into the future, you meet a man in a windmill playing a song. He's angry that, years ago, a boy with an ocarina came to the windmill and played that song, making the windmill spin out of control. This is the Song of Storms. Travelling back in time, you can return to the windmill as a child. You meet the man, who has neither met you, nor knows the song. If you play the Song of Storms now, the windmill goes out of control, leading to the events that occurred in the future. This creates a paradox. The man who taught you a song in the future learns that song from a younger version of you. Paradoxes like these only complicate the idea of time travel for physicists trying to determine if it would be physically possible or worthwhile to travel through time.
  2. Super Mario Galaxy's hub world is known as the Comet Observatory. In its center is what a character describes as a "ball of flame" called the Beacon which powers the whole observatory. This beacon starts off small, but as the player collects Grand Stars, the beacon grows in size and changes color. This beacon changes color from burgundy, to orange, to yellow, green, greenish-blue, blue, and turquoise. I'm sure from this description your immediate thought is "star". However, if this beacon was really a star, the heat it would be releasing would be catastrophic for anyone nearby. Stars' gravitational pulls are powerful enough to control the movement of planets, let alone the effects it should have on Mario and the Observatory. Mario should be lucky he hasn't melted yet. Most 3d Mario games have been about collecting stars, but this is nowhere near the same thing.
  3. Overwatch is a recent first person shooter by Blizzard. The game has become very popular due to its roster of 23 heroes and counting. However, some of the characters can be a bit unrealistic. For example, the character Lúcio wields a gun that fires sound at his enemies. He also has an ability that can push away any hero, including the 7'3" 550 lbs tank known as Roadhog. This gun has enough force to push Roadhog into the air. I'll be calculating the absolute minimum amount of force this ability has. Converting Roadhog's 550 lbs to kg, we get about 249.476 kg. To find the net force it would take for Roadhog to overcome the force of gravity, I'll use F=ma to find the force with the acceleration due to gravity being 9.8 m/s2. Using this equation, the gun would have a force of at least 2444.8648 newtons. This kind of power is insane for such a small weapon, especially considering this is done purely through sound, and surely this technology would be deadly for both the user and the target.
  4. The Magnet Gloves from The Legend of Zelda series only appear in two of the series' games. This item works by either attracting your character to, or repelling the character away from, certain objects stuck into the ground. The interesting thing about this is that the item can "switch polarity" by the press of a button. Theoretically, this could be possible using electromagnets. If the current were able to switch directions, then the magnet should switch its polarities. Although, don't ask me why a game set in a magical medieval style is using electromagnets.
  5. Thinking back on it, Super Mario Sunshine is one of the only games I can think of that does waves accurately. Let me explain. There are ropes throughout the game connecting platforms that allow Mario to walk across them. Mario can jump off of these ropes in order to gain some height, but what I noticed was that the rope after Mario jumped acted somewhat realistically. The rope created a wave. The wave started with an amplitude of about how much the rope was displaced while Mario was standing on it due to his weight, and after Mario jumped, the rope slowly stabilized at its original position. This is one of the few instances I can think of where they got such a small detail right in an otherwise physics-breaking game.
  6. The Ground Pound is a common mechanic in some video games, usually used as an attack that involves your character slamming into the ground. Usually, this attack is visibly more powerful than a character's usual fall would be. Most games don't count landing on the ground as any sort of attack, but a ground pound will definitely do some damage. The problem with this is that in order to "create" more force to slam into the ground with, you must either increase your mass or acceleration downwards. This seems completely unlikely as no character is ever handed a bowling ball at the peak of their jump to increase their mass, and I'm sure nobody's using a jetpack upside down to increase downward acceleration.
  7. Like Rocket Jumping, the Double Jump has become a staple feature for some platforming games. In order to perform this gravity defying action, a character would have to have the ability to, at any time, instantly create a force exactly equal to their current downward force due to gravity acting at their feet. Any greater, and they'd be floating upwards. Any less, and they'd be falling slowly. Creating this force acts as a normal force, like the force the earth enacts upon us as we just walk around. Theoretically, if someone were able to do this, they may be able to push enough to "jump" in the air again. Just remember, what goes up must come down.
  8. Rocket Jumping has become a common occurrence in first person shooters. The idea is that detonating an explosive at your feet will allow your character to move much faster in exchange for damaging yourself. In Team Fortress 2, a cartoony class-based first person shooter by Valve, about 4 of the 9 classes have some way of "explosive" jumping, but today I'll be talking about the Rocket Launcher-wielding Soldier. One of the main characteristics of this class involves movement through the air using rocket jumping. The problem is the damage. I'm sure you realize that any sort of explosion could be fatal to a normal human being. However, in Team Fortress 2, a weapon exists that acts the same as a Rocket Launcher, but does no damage. This weapon is called the Rocket Jumper, for obvious reasons. Realistically, if an explosive had the force to knock you into the air, the force alone would be enough to kill you. Not to mention the other classes' forms of jumping, such as grenade launchers, flare guns, rocket-shooting sentry turrets, and defying gravity by jumping in the air up to 5 times.
  9. What about the evolution of Cosmog to Cosmoem, a change of mass from 0.1 kg to 999.9 kg?
  10. A few days ago, I was speaking to a friend about the effect that building a real-life Death Star would have on the earth. Sure, we don't exactly have the engineering or astronomical knowledge to make that a reality, but it's interesting to think about the effects of such a massive change. If we assume that the Death Star has properties nearly identical to our own moon in terms of mass and radius, we would definitely expect a change in tides due to its gravitational pull on the earth. Also, if the Death Star were orbiting our earth as our moon does, we would either have twice as many eclipses due to the two "moons", or the two would end up crashing into each other. These are things to consider when working on such a massive scale. The bigger a change you make, the more it affects the smaller details. Also, the government told us no. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/secure-resources-and-funding-and-begin-construction-death-star-2016
  11. Are you a Pinball Wizard?
  12. While this topic isn't directly associated with video games, graphics cards do have some physics related to them. A gpu (graphics processing unit) is a component of a computer that, as you may guess, is what allows images to be displayed. A gpu can be integrated into the cpu (central processing unit), or as part of a graphics card, something that can be added into a desktop computer if the motherboard supports it. One company that designs gpus, NVIDIA, names most of their gpu microarchitectures after prominent scientists, mathematicians, and innovators. These include Tesla, Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell, and most recently, Pascal. All of these people had incredible impacts on the world of science and mathematics, providing theories and ideas we still use today.
  13. Most of us can understand that video games are not meant to be realistic. Some games, however, ignore certain aspects of physics. For example, the classic Mega Man franchise is about a future society that has widely accepted robots and artificial intelligence. The game is all about running, jumping, and shooting at robots to destroy them. However, two of these elements contradict each other in terms of physics. These two are jumping and shooting. In the game, Mega Man is clearly affected by gravity, as when he jumps, he reaches a peak and stops for a moment. However, most projectiles you can fire (aside from a few that simulate gravity) travel in the direction you fire with a constant speed and height. Logically, throwing a sawblade upright should end poorly (both in terms of safety, and replicating this attack).
  14. Happy halloween! I decided to look at a spooky game today. In Luigi's Mansion, Luigi carries a vaccuum to capture ghosts. However, he can also use it to suck up gold bars. A gold bar weighs about 12.4 kilograms. If the vaccuum lifted the gold bars straight upward, the vaccuum would have to exert a force of suction greater than 121.644 newtons.
  15. I agree that some liberties have to be taken when designing a game to make the game more fun, but it is interesting to see how video game physics relate to those of the real world.