# Physics and Video Games

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I'll be analyzing video games, trying to apply real-world physics to them, and seeing how accurate or inaccurate they are.

Note: May not always be video games

## Entries in this blog

Hi! So, I'm a Physics-C student, I'll just be going by OcktoByte. I like working with computers, and playing games. Eventually, I'd like to go to college for Computer Science. I'm taking Physics because I enjoyed AP-Physics last year, and the other options didn't really appeal to me. I hope that I'll be able to learn and become more comfortable with more difficult physics, and I'm excited to see how what we learn can be applied. So far, I feel most anxious about the difficulty of the c

## PaVG #4: Portal

Today I want to talk about Portal's Long Fall Boots. In the game, these boots are a way around the concept of "fall damage". This is necessary due to the amount of falling done in the game, allowing you to reach terminal velocity when falling through two portals and launching yourself across a room. Realistically, the force of gravity would accelerating you to terminal velocity, and would crush your body. The Long Fall Boots completely negate this, allowing you to fall from impossible heights, d

## The Death Star

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 th

## PaVG #1: Super Mario Sunshine

Ever since I heard about this blogging assignment, this was the first idea to come to mind. I used to play the game Super Mario Sunshine frequently in my childhood. The game stars Mario in a tropical setting, using a water-fueled jetpack to hover over large gaps for a few seconds. Using this jetpack, he can hover over characters and spray water on them to clean them off. Sounds harmless enough, but I wanted to see just how powerful this water pack could be. Many have assumed that Mario weig

## PaVG #2: Minecraft

Minecraft is one of the most well-known video games of this age. While not as popular as it once was, the game still updates and provides new content to players. The developers provide frequent "Snapshot" updates, and while not official releases, allow players to test new features before they are fully launched. Others have discussed before how much weight your player character can hold. However, the most recent snapshots of the game have added a new item called a Shulker Box. These items h

## PaVG #5: Tetris

Tetris is a game about falling blocks. They fall at a constant velocity, or at a much faster rate. Realistically, gravity would cause the blocks to accelerate. Two options exist for Tetris to realistically exist, assuming the board is set up vertically. One, the game is set in space, and each block has a constant force acting towards the ground, or two, a force is acting against gravity such that there is no acceleration on the block. However, each round the blocks fall at a faster velocity, the

## PaVG #7: Luigi's Mansion

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.

## PaVG #6: Pong

Pong is a simple game that most can understand. It behaves similarly to a game of table tennis, and has had numerous iterations over the years. In its simplest form, the ball moves with constant velocity between two paddles until one misses it. In real life, the ball would have to exist on a frictionless surface and face purely elastic collisions with both paddles in order to retain a constant velocity without any forces acting on it. The closest we can come to this is air hockey, and even then

## PaVG #8: Mega Man

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 grav

## PaVG #11: Ground Pound

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. T

## PaVG #14: Overwatch

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 h

## PaVG #16: Zelda and the Song of Storms Paradox

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 di

## PaVG #17: Ping

Most anyone who plays online games can tell you that ping, also known as latency, is one of the main factors to a smooth gameplay experience. Ping is the amount of time it takes for the input from your keyboard, mouse, or controller to reach the server running the game. This is usually measured in milliseconds, and the lower your ping is, the better. Good ping relies on a good connection to the server. This is dependant mainly on your internet connection and distance from the server. You'd get b

## PaVG #23: Invisibility

Usually, when someone asks what superpower you would want, some say invisibility. It may be possible in the future to achieve this, however.  The idea behind cloaking, as many seem to point out in the comments of the video, is fairly simple: bending light around an object such that you are unable to see it. In my opinion, Team Fortress 2 does this very well. The Spy class has an invisibility watch that allows him to cloak himself for brief amounts of time. However, if the spy come

## Holograms

This post will delve less into video games and more into science fiction. Holograms are often shown in sci-fi movies and tv to show futuristic technology. Holograms are usually depicted as images created purely by light. Currently, we have digital projectors, able to display a color image on a flat surface. However, most holograms in pop culture have a 3d image. This would be difficult to accomplish realistically, since in order to create a 3 dimensional image, the light would need something to

## PaVG #3: The Legend of Zelda

Welcome back! Today's just gonna be a simple discussion as to why the Mirror Shield from the Legend of Zelda games is inaccurate as to the way light works in real life. This is the Mirror Shield as shown in the game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This shield has appeared in several other incarnations in the series, but most share one feature. They reflect light in order to solve puzzles. Now, although it has a highly polygonal model, you can clearly see that the "mirror" surface

## Graphics Cards

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

## PaVG #9: TF2 and the Physics of the Rocket Jump

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

## PaVG #10: Double Jump

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 aroun

## PaVG #12: Super Mario Sunshine and Waves

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

## PaVG #13: Legend of Zelda and Magnetic Force

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 wh

## PaVG #15: Super Mario Galaxy

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 re

## RGB Lighting

One day, I was bored at my computer and decided to take a closer look at my mouse. This mouse has RGB lighting, meaning it can change between whatever color you could think of. However, the way these colors are produced has an interesting relation to physics. This mouse contains three separate LEDs. One controls the amount of red light produced, one for green, and one for blue, as indicated by the term RGB. Together, if each LED outputs light with a certain brightness, they can form other colors

## PaVG #18: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a peaceful farming game in the same vein as Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon. Unlike these games, Stardew Valley runs on its own calendar rather than using a real life equivalent. Time in Stardew Valley is broken up into four seasons, with 28 days each. Each day has 24 hours, but a second in our time is equivalent to about a minute in Stardew Valley time. While this time difference is most likely for gameplay purposes, I'd like to discuss Stardew Valley as if the game took

## PaVG #19: Mega Man

The main bosses of the Mega Man series are known as "Robot Masters". Each one has a theme, and a level to go along with that theme. For example, Gravity Man from Mega Man 3. As his name suggests, this robot is themed after the idea of controlling gravity. However, this should not be physically possible. Gravity is the result of large masses, such as planets and moons. In the game, this robot's level consists of "gravity" fields where you can fall towards the ceiling instead of the floor. If this

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