Computer Games Technology for Simulating Non-Classical Physics

David Nicholas Carr

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    55 Downloads (Pure)


    This thesis examines and applies computer games technologies for portraying special relativistic worlds. In alignment with the serious games movement, these systems are designed and studied from the perspective of providing interesting play dynamics and fruitful learning experiences about relativity. The research presents techniques for creating immersive 3D relativistic environments, and surveys the prior art in computer games that manipulate the rules of physics to produce unique gameplay experiences and worlds both familiar and new. The review identifies that while techniques for the visual representation of relativistic scenarios are well-known, dynamic effects “ such as mass increase and time dilation, that could lead to equally interesting world dynamics and gameplay opportunities “ have not been represented. In addition, limitations in the current implementations of 3D relativistic visualisation that would hinder their useability in game applications are identified. The research will develop both areas toward the goal of realising a virtual Mr Tompkins' game environment. The relativistic visualisation methods are extended with techniques to address current limitations. Concurrently, a prototype serious game' is developed which takes the dynamic relativistic effects as the basis for its gameplay, and represents learning content suitable for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) physics curriculum in Australian schools. The game is evaluated in the context of HSC learning outcomes, and shown to provide learning benefits for key HSC concepts: including comprehension of length contraction, mass dilation, time dilation, and spectral Doppler shift. In addition, implications for the design of game-based learning environments and models for the appropriation of such tools by teachers in classrooms are revealed.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Bossomaier, Terry, Co-Supervisor
    • Antolovich, Michael, Co-Supervisor
    • Lodge, Kenneth, Co-Supervisor
    Award date01 Nov 2012
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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