Quantum game

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Quantum game

Post by A Random Player » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:07 pm

http://testtubegames.com/blog/category/quantumgame/
Is this going along fine? Any screenshots?
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robly18
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Re: Quantum game

Post by robly18 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:02 pm

I was actually wondering about this the other day. What has happened to this?
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Re: Quantum game

Post by testtubegames » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:30 am

Ah, the Quantum Mechanics game. This was one I worked on quite a bit, but at the end of the day, I don't think the idea was 'ripe' yet. Long story short, I look forward to coming back to it later.

Long story long, after making Velocity Raptor, and Agent Higgs, I was trying to figure out what topic to cover next. I've got a list of ideas, and somewhere near the apex of difficulty is a Quantum Mechanics game. I say that since it is just about the most counterintuitive physics topic out there, and because it seems like it'd be incredibly hard to make it into a game. But if you succeeded, whoa, it would be amazing.

So, I figured, hey, no time like the present! I've already done VR and AH, so bring on the Quantum Mechanics game!

And I think in doing that I kinda put the cart in front of the horse, since I started with just a topic. With most of the others I started with a full-fledged game idea. Velocity Raptor was based on an idea for an interactive SR simulation. Agent Higgs I knew right away was a game where the rules were particle physics. And Shocktopus, I knew it was a platformer where the character could charge himself. Those games fell easily into place. (The hard part being *making* them, of course)

But with the quantum game I started with the topic... and I had a hard time combining gameplay, content, and education. There's a few reasons QM is particularly hard to make a game about. For one thing, it's not really easy to depict (you can't go and draw a world of particles that have no definite position on the screen very well). For another, my games have been about removing the math and leaving the kernel of the science to make it accessible. But, it turns out, QM is a bit strange, in that it is *most* confusing if you don't understand the math. Once you 'get' the math, the 'counterintuitive' philosophical stuff becomes a lot easier to grasp. It's no longer a laundry list of weird stuff, but a set of results you can derive from first principles.

But I pushed ahead, and figured out a type of game I'd make. During development of the game, though, it felt like there was a lot of strain between the content and the gameplay. After wandering a lot, I just decided that, hey, maybe I just needed to give QM a rest, and come back to it later. Preferably *after* I'd come up with the perfect game idea, instead of trying to force one. And since I had other ideas that were more free-flowing, there was no reason to keep mucking around. So I moved on to Shocktopus, which was another one of those where the ideas flowed much more easily.

That said, QM has been in my head, and ideas have been percolating. I'm still hopeful I'll come back to it and finish the game. After all... I mean, a Quantum Mechanics game that actually makes the content intuitive? That's the holy grail for me!

So there you go, the story of another back-burner project that I still get excited thinking about. You guys really need to get started on this cloning project...

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robly18
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Re: Quantum game

Post by robly18 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:07 am

Well, you don't need to say every single formula. For instance, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Just say something like "The more you know about a particle's position, the less you know about it's velocity and vice versa"
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Re: Quantum game

Post by exfret » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:29 pm

Maybe you could have a bunch of quantum cats taking up every empty space, and whenever a cat interacts something, it either becomes a cat, or not a cat. For example, when a cat touches a spike, it could either become not a cat, in which you continue the game, or it becomes a cat, in which you lose, because the cat would die. Your goal is to get out of a box because a poisonous gas might be released into the box at any instant. The strategy part of it is to do actions that would give you the most chance of getting out of the box and not getting hit by spikes. You could make it so that there's a slider that increases you control over the cats' velocities, but decreases you knowledge of the "real" cat's position. I don't know if this is the best idea, but maybe other people will be able to improve it, and then it might be a great idea for a game!
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Re: Quantum game

Post by A Random Player » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:49 pm

exfret wrote:Maybe you could have a bunch of quantum cats taking up every empty space, and whenever a cat interacts something, it either becomes a cat, or not a cat. For example, when a cat touches a spike, it could either become not a cat, in which you continue the game, or it becomes a cat, in which you lose, because the cat would die. Your goal is to get out of a box because a poisonous gas might be released into the box at any instant. The strategy part of it is to do actions that would give you the most chance of getting out of the box and not getting hit by spikes. You could make it so that there's a slider that increases you control over the cats' velocities, but decreases you knowledge of the "real" cat's position. I don't know if this is the best idea, but maybe other people will be able to improve it, and then it might be a great idea for a game!
Maybe instead of dying with a not a not a cat hits a spike, you try to maximize the cat probability that gets to the exit (and you win when you get say, 90% chance the cat is out).
Oh, and quantum bullets! (might be too generic... Quantum dogs?)

I had thought about a similar idea earlier, but without the velocity vs. position thing. Some blocks would have a chance of not existing, so if you try to stand on them, a 50% cat would fall through and a 50% cat would be standing on. (trying to split again with the same block wouldn't work, of course.) That doesn't show much about QM besides probability distributions, so I didn't think it would be good.

But I like your idea! Maybe button-traps that would force you to sacrifice 5% of a cat to let the other 95% go through? (well, the door would be only 5% open..) Quantum tunneling if you hit a wall hard enough? Potential wells? But the problem with that is the cat is basically already everywhere, due to uncertainty.
How could the gameplay work? Top-down, or a platformer? Top-down might emphasize potential wells more. (And :Sh is already platformer.)
(Oh, and just to make sure everyone here knows, the H-uncertainty principle is actually σxp ≥ ħ/2, where p is momentum, not velocity.)
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Re: Quantum game

Post by exfret » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:54 am

A Random Player wrote:(and you win when you get say, 90% chance the cat is out).
Of course!!! This adds immensely better gameplay already. I would try to think of more ideas, but sadly, I don't know much quantum mechanics. Maybe with more improvements, this could become an idea worth an awesome game. Oh, and about the platformer thing, there can be more than one platformer game, as long as they both teach different things.
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Re: Quantum game

Post by robly18 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:42 am

I personally disagree with most of the "random" ideas here. Sure, a game about quantum mechanics has to have randomness, but usually randomness doesn't make a good game.

However, I had a thought. There are games that benefit from randomness, but platformers aren't. At all.

Randomness goes well with guessing. Guessing doesn't necessarily mean take random guesses. The goal would be to get the player to make educated guesses. Ever play quantum minigolf? Something like that. (Another game I'll be posting in the science games section!) Basically the player is playing minigolf, but the golf ball is a quantum object, so even though it starts as a point, it quickly degrades into a wave of probabilities. Then the player must click the mouse again when they think that the ball has good odds of being on the goal at that moment. I was thinking we could do something like that.

Like, say, some sort of trying to get Schrödinger's cat to a goal by using platforming skills. However, even though the cat starts in a certain spot, some rules are applied as you proceed through the level:
When you're standing still, the cat starts forming duplicates of itself that occupy the area around itself. When moving, the same happens, except the duplicates form into the same spot. However, they exhibit some differences. For instance, when performing a jump, some versions jump higher and some jump lower. When moving, the cats' velocities are randomized as they go, some versions going faster in one moment and slower in the other, and some going slower in one and faster afterwards.

Basically, Heisenberg's in a nutshell.

Then the goal would be to press, say, space, when in an ending area. If the player was, indeed, in the ending area, they would win. If not, the level would restart. The former showing a picture of the kitten alive, and the latter one of it's ghost or corpse. Aw, dead kitty. I'm sad now.

Anyway, a game like this would need to be forgiving. We can't have the player feel like there was nothing they could've done to avoid death, and seeing how this would work, the player is bound to be everywhere at the same time. So no death spikes or anything. However, quantum tunneling could prove interesting. Maybe if the cat was particularly focused and the player hit a thin wall, 50% of itself would go to the other side? Heck, maybe even have alternate selves press buttons.

This is my opinion though, which seems fitting. A forgivable but not necessarily easy game, about making educated guesses about the position of a parti-- I mean, cat, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle!
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Re: Quantum game

Post by A Random Player » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:34 pm

robly18 wrote:I personally disagree with most of the "random" ideas here. Sure, a game about quantum mechanics has to have randomness, but usually randomness doesn't make a good game.

However, I had a thought. There are games that benefit from randomness, but platformers aren't. At all.
<snip>
This is my opinion though, which seems fitting. A forgivable but not necessarily easy game, about making educated guesses about the position of a parti-- I mean, cat, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle!
My idea actually wasn't a random idea (it has about as much randomness as Shocktopus or Velocity Raptor), but the "90% chance" parts may have been misleading. It would be more like "If you get 90% of the distribution out, you win, regardless if the cat actually got out or not."
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Re: Quantum game

Post by exfret » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:33 am

A Random Player wrote:
robly18 wrote:I personally disagree with most of the "random" ideas here. Sure, a game about quantum mechanics has to have randomness, but usually randomness doesn't make a good game.

However, I had a thought. There are games that benefit from randomness, but platformers aren't. At all.
<snip>
This is my opinion though, which seems fitting. A forgivable but not necessarily easy game, about making educated guesses about the position of a parti-- I mean, cat, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle!
My idea actually wasn't a random idea (it has about as much randomness as Shocktopus or Velocity Raptor), but the "90% chance" parts may have been misleading. It would be more like "If you get 90% of the distribution out, you win, regardless if the cat actually got out or not."
You see robly, I didn't like the "random" ideas either, which is why I though ARP's contribution was such a good idea: it took out the randomness. Your suggestions on how the cat would move seem great to me, but I don't like how you place randomness into the game (it allows people to randomly win). Maybe you could get a bonus for getting the "real" cat to the end, but at the end of the level, it comes down to the percentage chance that your cat got to the end. The bonus could help you out, but I don't want it to be the whole point of the thing, because it makes it a game for people to try over and over hoping to win without thinking or learning anything.

Also, I would still like spikes, because they add a sort of strategy to the game, and I think they're a better place for randomness, plus they would make it so you actually have to think to get to the end, taking away a lot of the try again and again strategy.

Another thing is that I actually wasn't thinking of a platformer, but rather more along the lines of what you get in Velocity Raptor.

Finally, (or not finally) I think a cool idea would be to have the starting levels have lots of light rays, and the light shining through and hitting the cat (or cats) would make them turn into not a cat or a cat, because they are being measured. If a cat is in the light rays, then all not cats would disappear (even the ones outside of the light), because you would have found the real cat. This would make the starting levels much easier, allowing people to advance through the levels without getting stuck early on.

Maybe there could even be something where once a level, the player gets to shoot a photon to make sure certain cats are not cats, and maybe even try to discover the real cat. I like this idea, because if the player shoots too early, then their cats will have lots of time to disperse, but if they shoot too late, then their cats will be too dispersed to get a good, useful shot at them.

Another idea I had was to have a sort of upgrade area where every time you get out of the box, you get to drink one of the scientists' bottles of stuff (hey, they were the ones who left you in the box anyways, albeit for scientific reasons). These bottles could have a random effect lasting a few levels or so, and you might want to just avoid them altogether, because some effects might be bad. Some effects I was thinking of would be stuff like getting to shoot two photons per level, or having the real cat be able to survive one spike per level instead of just zero, or maybe having the cat spread out more with more random velocities and such, which could be one of the bad effects.

This last idea about an upgrade area is just an idea. If you think it wouldn't add much to the game, then I sort of agree with you, but maybe if someone added to this thought, it could be a pretty radical addition to the game. Hmmm... I'm starting to wonder how Andy has made the game so far.
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