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Asteroids: Gravitation

Hybrid vigor
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The classic game Asteroids is fine. You shoot asteroids, blowing them up. Plus you have a nifty shield in case things get hairy.

I propose a similar game could involve gravitationally active bodies. Everything is in motion. You would have the same kicky little ship, of course. You can shoot your gun but it will avail you little against the big ones. These have to be taken care of with kinetic energy: ramming with shields up. The only way to get enough velocity is by using gravitational slingshotting. Slingshot around suns, planets and big asteroids, deploy shields and whale into the asteroids.

Asteroids will be affected by gravity too. Some will break up on impact. Some might be divertable. Some will break and be divertable. You might whack one into the next, breaking them up that way.

As opposed to endless waves of similar asteroids this would be level based - like Angry Birds or the like.

bungston, Mar 01 2015

Spheres of Chaos http://www.spheresofchaos.com/
When I had it you could turn the image persistence off, which made it less psychedelic than the screenshots shown. Perhaps you still can. [Loris, Mar 01 2015]


       What if it's no moon…it's a space station ?
8th of 7, Mar 01 2015

       /space station/ That would be a great level.   

       Another would be a flight through the debris field from an exploded neutron star. The asteroids could be colored according to gravitational pull. Here you might use your guns. You would have to account for gravity as you shuck and jive. Your bullets might get pulled off course too.
bungston, Mar 01 2015

       I had a game some time ago, and far, far away, called Spheres of Chaos.   

       Basically it was asteroids with more enemies.   

       There were black holes, which sucked you in, and could be sling-shotted etc. And it had ram shields you could bunt them into your mates with, if you were playing simultaneously. The real problem occurred when there were more than one of them around, because they would start to interact, and slingshot other other stuff around unpredictably.
Turns out the author updated it recently, and you can play the demo or buy it for a fiver. Link.

       So that has most of what you want, I think.   

       I wrote a lander game with inverse-square gravity, and ... well, I had to take some liberties. It turns out that the inverse-square law makes this sort of thing kind of tricky. You'd be able to fly around quite happily at a certain distance, but get just a tiny bit closer and you pass the point at which your thrust can resist. Fine for asteroids; not so fine for a game about landing on stuff.
I opted to make gravity weaker for the thing you'd be landing on, which solved this problem - but the real issue was that you can rapidly get overwhelmed with too much stuff when gravity forces change. I just locked all the planetoids into place for my game... but for asteroids? I think you'd need to zoom in and out, or make it 3D or something.

       The other lesson my early experiments with gravitation taught me very convincingly is that if you have more than two bodies, you need almost all the mass to be in one body (or two bodies in stable orbit). If you don't, everything will collapse together or bugger off to infinity in short order. While this may seem obvious, the point is that this is not compatible with the small fixed viewing window of asteroids. You could have one gravity source (or a binary system) with asteroids orbiting that. But not asteroids with significant gravity affecting each other as well. I guess you could cheat and have the asteroids affect the player but not each other, but that would be kind of disappointing.
Loris, Mar 01 2015

       For the purposes of the game you'd probably want to have it so gravity effects have a horizon of sorts, perhaps by increasing the indices of the equation terms.   

       Sounds fun, but possibly so complex as to be unplayable.   

       By the way, most of these games have unlimited fuel. Gravity slingshots are most important when fuel is limited (and top speed is not). Otherwise just hold the throttle down and produce the same effect but in a little more time. If you're going for a physics-realistic game, you need newtonian physics (or even relativistic, but maybe that's a bit much).
Custardguts, Mar 01 2015

       /throttle down/ On the Apple II version of Asteroids you could do that: flying a straight line faster and faster. The ship would start to blink between large sections of space. If no asteroid got in your way you could achieve a place where you had 2 ships instead of one, because you were moving so fast your ship would blink between 1/2 screen each render, and so you would have 2 flickering ships. I think, though, you could not allow an asteroid to pass between these ships.   

       /collapse together/ I wonder if in real life electrical forces oppose gravity over short distances. Having just done battle with a beanbag chair full of styrofoam pellets, I am full of respect for the ability of charge to make items move unpredictably.   

       Maybe elastic collisions would help with the collapse together problem?
bungston, Mar 02 2015

       // I wonder if in real life electrical forces oppose gravity over short distances. //   


       <hurls copy of A Brief History Of Time at [bungston]'s head>
8th of 7, Mar 02 2015

       "Dont you know that the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1?"
RayfordSteele, Mar 03 2015


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