07 Aug '08 00:35

I have been looking for a good game to use while I teach my some some more math. I found a three dimensional space combat game that is very interesting. The creators of the game are very proud of the physics behind the game and its overall accuracy. However, while looking at the details, I realized space combat will never look anything like what we believe from reading novels or watching space movies. The number one reason is because the power requirements are too enormous.

I did a quick check of the amount of time and power it takes to accelerate a decent spaceship of ~250,000 lbs (w/o fuel) and the answer is phenomenal. One of the biggest problems I see is that a human can not withstand many G-forces. For example, accelerating from 0 m/s for one minute at 4Gs only gets you to about (1/2) x (4 x 9.81 m/s^2) x (60 sec)^2 = 70,600 meters with a final speed of (4 x 9.81 m/s) x (60 sec) = 2354 m/s. One minute at 4G might be a terrible strain on the body, but it is peanuts compared to the vast distances that will be involved.

Using reasonable estimates, you are likely to detect an approaching ship days before it could fire a shot at you. Under these conditions it appears space combat would be decided by the fellow with the longest range weapons assuming he can target them well enough. If this is correct, the whole engagement might be decided by the first shot from extreme distances.

Has anybody been curious about the real possibility of space combat enough to run any numbers as I have? I would appreciate it if some folks could run their own numbers to check mine.

Also, has anyone else found a good 3-D space game I could use for a guide while teaching my son more about math? Thanks.

I did a quick check of the amount of time and power it takes to accelerate a decent spaceship of ~250,000 lbs (w/o fuel) and the answer is phenomenal. One of the biggest problems I see is that a human can not withstand many G-forces. For example, accelerating from 0 m/s for one minute at 4Gs only gets you to about (1/2) x (4 x 9.81 m/s^2) x (60 sec)^2 = 70,600 meters with a final speed of (4 x 9.81 m/s) x (60 sec) = 2354 m/s. One minute at 4G might be a terrible strain on the body, but it is peanuts compared to the vast distances that will be involved.

Using reasonable estimates, you are likely to detect an approaching ship days before it could fire a shot at you. Under these conditions it appears space combat would be decided by the fellow with the longest range weapons assuming he can target them well enough. If this is correct, the whole engagement might be decided by the first shot from extreme distances.

Has anybody been curious about the real possibility of space combat enough to run any numbers as I have? I would appreciate it if some folks could run their own numbers to check mine.

Also, has anyone else found a good 3-D space game I could use for a guide while teaching my son more about math? Thanks.