Saturday, December 5, 2009

Interactive games for the love of science [WAY TOO MUCH NERDING OUT]

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[Procrastination from final exams studying]

Learning about science should be more "fun" in the "playful" sense. Call me neotenous, but I was daydreaming about creating a game to learn quantum mechanical concepts during class today.

Some possibilities arise:

(1) Puzzle game -

perhaps the most obvious, but this eventually degenerates into a press- button- to- pick- the- right- choice scheme. A good starting point though.

(2) Real-time strategy -

In the conventional market, this usually involves building home bases with personnel units and resources while taking over additional territories and attacking enemies.

So maybe something like... generating wavefunctions that are of certain energies in order to "fill-up" quantum wells... Or making the enemies fall into forbidden optical transitions of the hydrogen atom and die... A sample final objective might be solving the hydrogen atom, and along the way one needs to conquer sub-goals. Like perturbing the enemies' wavefunctions while defending one's own.

Or somehow factor in the probability distribution functions... say Precious Particle X is distributed in such a way at well location A, etc... resource allocation.

(3) Role-playing game (RPG) -

Here we get into the Bizarro category because I can't think of a way to make this format convincing. A possible idea is to have a large and complicated potential well, and the player has to navigate and wield their weapons of various approximation methods of calculating wavefunctions in the meantime... (yeah I know...) with many possible eigenstates (i.e. game endings) that collapse into only a single observable state upon each measurement (::headdesk::)

(4) MMORPG (...) -

Similar to RPG, except now many players can suffer along the overflowing nerdism.

This analogy could also be applied to device physics. I mean, transistors, moving charges, structures that seriously look like skyscrapers under the microscope... I see SimTransis-tower. (Insert major eye-roll and groan for bad pun.)

One could imagine that the whole research process is as such, except in real-space with real stakes. So... these ideas are fail-safe ways to fool around with concepts and experiments. Except for anything unverified in real-life. That's where cutting-edge research comes in.

[/Procrastination from final exams studying]

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