July 12, 2008

A Glimpse of Science Behind Spore

SimulationI was surprised to come across a program from the creators of Spore: ParticleMan simulates gravitational attraction between particles in a cloud. It's system was used to study such gravitational dynamics as orbits, nebula formation, star formation and particle streams from sources like pulsars and black holes.
My experience with the ParticleMan was clean. I saw the formation of stars and planets through the process of accretion - dusts and gas "coagulating" to form larger bodies. I also saw clues of binary star formations and interactions. Often, stars dance around tugging each other in circular orbits until some disturbances from planetesimals (or larger bodies) cause one of them to be hurled out of the Solar System at high speed (as is the fate of some unfortunate planetesimals that get in their way). Sometimes, though they merge together forming a bigger blob of mass.
What I can gleam from observing the simulation provided by ParticleMan is that proto-planets seem to battle it out for survival in the early stages of a Solar System's formation. In the chaotic melee, smaller clumps of rocks either get hurled out or get swallowed by bigger, more massive objects. The survivor planets are the ones that now occupy the stable orbits of a Solar System in equilibrium.
After a few minutes of observing, I was impressed with the light-weight program, considering the fact that it was just one of their many prototypes in the early stages of exploring the game's directions.
Stating the lack of science behind the game in my previous post about the Spore Creature Creator might have been premature, as there could be so much more to see in the actual Spore game to be launched in the next few months. I could be blown away when it finally goes out.
If game-makers deal with these kinds of Science, Gaming could be a great ally in teaching a great deal about the actual universe we live in.