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January 05, 2009

Asteroid Invasion, the first Solvengineer game!

"Why so serious?" (how many Jokers did you see on Halloween?)


Well, I can't say I really liked "The Dark Knight" too much, mainly because Christian Bale's role seemed somehow diminished and the plot was really convoluted. Seems lately Hollywood is making up in its lack of a good movie plot by throwing a bunch of mediocre plots together. I felt the same way about Spiderman 3.

 But I digress...


When people think of scientific coding, they see it as a serious business purported by ubernerds that delve in a separate world, speaking a wholly different language. I mean, how many people use partial differential equations on a daily basis?

The average gamer must already know, however, that realistic modeling of physical processes makes a first person shooter, for instance, that much more fun. Think of the gravity gun in Halo 2. Sending those crates and barrels flying around and interacting with the environment would not be possible without some good scientific coding to model motion and impacts and Newtonian physics in general.

 Or what about Phun, a program that gives you sandbox where you can build whatever things you want, and have these objects interact with each-other realistically? That project started out as a graduate degree dissertation, IIRC.

 So, in essence, many games make use of realistic physics modeling to improve game-play.My modest contribution to this genre is Asteroid Invasion, a Java game where you, the player, protect the Earth from a swarm of asteroids. Your arsenal includes thrusters, space defense stations and nuclear warheads.The game was coded with Processing, which IMO is the best thing since sliced bread, at least for developing graphically rich web based apps.


I modeled the core principles of Newtonian physics such as inertia, gravity and impacts. However, to make the game playable, I fudged the constants. Also, I only modeled completely plastic impacts. You will see what I mean when two asteroids collide.

You will notice that unlike other programs listed here, I didn't offer the source code. In this case,I'm a selfish bastard and I want to retain ownership of this code :)

So, go ahead, give Asteroid Invasion a try. I hope you have fun! And if you manage to finish the game, let me know. I haven't...

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