MIT’s Game Labs have come up with a game that explores the visual differences that a person will perceive if they were moving at the speed of light.
Instead of tasking players of A Slower Speed of Light, which is available for free for Windows or Mac, to attempt to navigate a character at the speed of light they have opted to use the “custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code” to slow the speed of light down to the player’s walking speed. The speed of light is slowed for the player each time that they collect one of the orbs that litter the playing area.
The effects seen in the game, as described by MIT Game Labs, include “…the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light).”
MIT’s game represents a surprising way that a gaming environment can be used to teach the visual effects that special relatively puts forth simply and easily. A Slower Speed of Light‘s creators are also hopeful that other game developers will pick up and develop games based on the engine that they have created.