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Conundrums of building in space (I.E. crashing stuff in Space Engineers)

Justin Gallagher


Today my fellow phys-x students, I will discuss how well the game Space Engineers simulates Newtonian physics. Long story short, it simulates real world physics very closely. First of all, what is Space Engineers? Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works. Players build space ships and space stations of various sizes and utilization (civil and military), pilot ships and perform asteroid mining. Space Engineers utilizes a realistic volumetric-based physics engine: all objects can be assembled, disassembled, damaged and destroyed. We will be looking at the destroy part of it all.

The developers made the game to follow newtons laws, which means that it can represent momentum, the product of the mass and velocity of an object, as well as impulse, the integral of a force with respect to time. If you build a massive star ship, and crash a small fighter into it, the star ship is barely affected by the crash. Depending on the proportion of the masses, the star ship will respond by moving at a very slow pace. If you we to push the fighter slowly against the ship and continue to exert force, the star ship will accelerate. If you were to crash the star ship into the small fighter, well... lets just say you may not want to be in the fighter due to some...obvious reasons. Here is a cool video on the crashing of ships, and how it represents momentum.

All in all, Space Engineers is a very good game, and with the use of multiplayer LAN, it would be fun to use in the classroom. *Cough Cough*. I seem to have developed a symptom with requires me to cough through text. *COUGH COUGH*

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