A Slower Speed of Light02

By MIT Game Lab

Student Category


2013 Best Student Game Winner


Skills and Ideas Taught:  Players intuitively experience relativistic characterisitcs of Doppler effect, Searchlight effect, Lorentz transformation, Runtime effect, Relativistic momentum and Time dilation.

Goal or Challenge:  Players find and collect 100 orbs scattered throughout the game level. Every orb incrementally reduces the speed of light, amplifying the visual and momentum effects of Special Relativity.

Primary Audience:  High school seniors and up.

Assessment Approach:  The game does not attempt to measure player learning, although the public tweeting of a player’s speed and time can be used to track one’s increasing mastery over the relativistic behavior of the game.

Description:  A Slower Speed of Light is a brief first-person game to engage players in the concepts of Special Relativity at home or in the classroom. Players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of Special Relativity, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay.

Game Engine:  Unity

Operating System:  Windows, MacOS, Linux

Platform:  Personal computer

Special Hardware:  None