# Games Intro

In virtual reality or “la realite virtuelle”, characters, objects, and images take on the phantasmagoric force of alchemy’s visionary internal dramas. (Antonin Artaud, French playwright, poet and actor)

# Interactive Virtual Worlds as Games

There are different types of games:

• between people based on real physics: soccer, tennis…
• between people based on virtual physics: computer games: World of Warcraft…
• between people based on non-physics: chess, cards…

All games are based on interaction between players and the elements of the game (balls, cards, guns…).

Computer games are now booming as they offer interesting challenging environments at small costs as compared to playing real games with real guns and real sweat.

Computational mathematics is an efficient tool for constructing interactive virtual worlds, and therefore serves as the engine of computer games.

An area of science can be viewed as virtual physics created by scientists and used by scientists to discovertruths about real physics. Scientist interact with their virtual physics models by giving input and studying the output.

A scientist interacting with a virtual physics model can be viewed as playing a form of game with the scientist giving input to the model in response to output from the model, with the purpose of obtainingmaximal information, a game in which also other scientists participate. Often a tough merciless game…

Science and technology are like computer games booming as computational mathematics allows the construction of affordable virtual physical worlds as an alternative to expensive real experimental labs.

As a student of Simulation Technology you are certainly interested in mathematics/science/technologyas virtual physics, but your interest in playing games may vary.

In any case it is useful to view virtual physics as games, because the input-output aspect of the underlyingmathematical model then has to be made clear.

You will now meet this approach in your studies of the real world, in a sequence of progressively more complex games based on virtual physics, starting with the most simple and arriving at surprisingly complex physics.

To construct virtual physics game you need to specify the physics involved (e.g. Newton’s 2nd Law) and the rules for interaction. This is like constructing a machine with certain control knobs.

The game is played using a computer to run the machine and by using the knobs to control the machine to specific goals.

To construct computer games based on virtual physics you need knowledge/skills in

• mathematics: calculus, linear algebra and geometry,
• physics: Newton’s laws, spring forces,
• programming.

In this chapter you will be directly confronted with these aspects in a progression from the most simple to the more complex, without noticing how “difficult” and understanding how “advanced”, it is in factIn sections entitled Demo + Lab you find material allowing you to

• play a game
• inspect the computer code of the game
• modify the code