MIT Game Lab has released the source code for an engine it hopes will inspire developers to create educational games exploring special relativity.
The OpenRelativity toolset was used to create A Slower Speed of Light which MIT News reports was based around the question, “what would it be like if relativity was part of your everyday life?".
Special relativity is a complex topic that lends itself to visual representation, and the tools allow developers to simulate the visual effects of traveling at near-light speeds.
“Education can be assisted through the use of games and other interactive media, especially for topics that frequently are hard to understand and visualise," said MIT Game Lab’s Rik Eberhardt.
Educational gaming is a growing field and as more developers take an interest in using the medium as a teaching tool they need tools that support their efforts.
"The MIT Game Lab is built around this idea that play is extremely powerful, and one thing games are good at is giving people an intuitive grasp of complex scientific ideas," said MIT Game lab creative director Philip Tan.
The effects of near-light speed travel is recreated by effectively slowing everything down to about walking speeds, allowing the events to be experienced at a scale closer to normal reality.
The source code for the OpenRelativity engine and toolset is available on Github and runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux.