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How Repulsive…

Posted in: Bond Breaker, Lesson Time! | September 18, 2014 | No Comments


Bond Breaker is based on real physical chemistry, which means by playing around with it, you’re actually doing science experiments.  Last week, we looked at the Van der Waals forces, which pulls molecules together.  This week, we’re going to go a little more basic.

Like Charges Repel

Whoa, we’re going very basic, eh?  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘likes repel’ ever since we were in diapers.  Two protons, both having positive charges, will push away from one another due to the electric force.  The game includes this force, with each proton pushing on all the others:

 

"I just want personal space"

“I just want personal space”

 

As you can see, they all try to get as far away from one another as possible.  The calculations in the game are modeled completely after Coulomb’s Law, which tells us that the force between two charges is proportional to the inverse square of the distance between them.  To put that in terms that anyone who hasn’t taken a course about Electromagnetism can understand: if you double the distance between the charges, the force will drop to just one quarter of what it was.  It gets small fast.  And this is why, in Bond Breaker, you can only get so close to another proton… and no closer.

 

"Whoa, whoa, whoa: don't touch me."

“Whoa, whoa, whoa: don’t touch me.”

 

The connection between the force and distance can reveal itself in even more advanced ways, too.  Take, for instance, this level:

 

Think you can beat this level? Give it a try: http://bit.ly/1r2SGSD (It's the 'Bonus' Level)

Think you can beat this level? Give it a try: http://bit.ly/1r2SGSD (It’s the ‘Bonus’ Level)

 

It’s a new bonus level that I made just for this blog post, simply click the image above to play it in your browser.  Once you give it a try: what does this level (or should I say, experiment) have to teach us about Coulomb’s Law?  I’ll leave that to you, the player, to figure out.

And that’s one of my favorite things about making a game that stays true to the science: Each level is actually an experiment, which makes players scientists.

 

-Andy



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