Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

The thing is, most game engines don't even simulate Newtonian physics very accurately; it would be much too computationally expensive to do so. Gravity only works on certain objects and is usually a constant acceleration applied along the vertical Cartesian axis, objects are composed of at most a couple dozen perfectly rigid parts attached together at defined joints, liquids and particles are simulated in batches using only rough heuristics, and so on. If we were to allow arbitrary changes to fundamental physical constants, the game engine would have to simulate the world from the quantum scale up.

That's a hard damn problem. There are some extraordinarily well-funded research groups that are struggling to model any reasonably large number of interactions at that scale. State of the art supercomputing clusters can currently simulate systems of hundreds of thousands of atoms, not even in real-time, and they're still making some assumptions along the way, which might not hold true if you were to arbitrarily modify any fundamental constants.

You could probably write a physics engine that passably pretends to simulate some (non-arbitrary!) changes in fundamental constants. But it would be hard to guess what matter would even look like for different values of, say, Z0.

Yeah, I completely expect 99% of the changes to just resolve to "this is something we can't possibly simulate"

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact