How much realism in the Infinity Universe?

Something I think the community needs to talk about is how realistic Infinity:Battlescape and its MMO successor are going to be. I know that they are video games and the dev have artistic license, but it would be nice to know what to expect in the accuracy department. Now, there are two categories of realism: Scientific Realism and Technological Realism. These are examples of the two categories:

Scientific Realism:
How much a game respects the laws of physics. For example,

Technological Realism:
The amount of phlebontium/handwavium the universe contains, and how internally consistent it is. Examples include,

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For me, at minimum, celestial bodies should be subject to realistic physics. Planets should orbit, stations should orbit, etc. I don’t think anybody has come up with a good way of subjecting ships to orbital mechanics without becoming Orbiter or plain boring. Also, the size and distance of said celestial bodies should be relatively realistic.

As for small realistic details, it would be amazing if they implemented a realistic visualization of warp, depending on the warp model they choose to use (Alcubierre?).

Generally, I would like for Infinity to be on realistic side of the spectrum; further than what we have seen from recent space games. In fact, one of the reasons I am in love with the project is its already realistic visuals, and development which (seemingly) inches towards realism.

The short answer: Infinity will be completely realistic, except when being unrealistic will result in more fun (I find well optimized games more fun than slideshows, generally speaking).

You mean like Venus?

I quite like KSP.

In the old days, at least, the plan was for Infinity to include orbital mechanics for ships (in other words, to not turn off gravity as soon as you’re above the atmosphere for no good reason)… and for ships to have so much acceleration and delta-v available that orbital mechanics became entirely unimportant, except possibly when in a damaged ship near stars or giant planets.

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I love KSP! However, orbital mechanics is a major gameplay factor in KSP. What I should have said was that by subjecting the player to realistic orbital mechanics, the game is put into a whole 'nother catagory. It becomes less about exploration, combat, trading, conquering, whatever, and more about burn vectors, escape angles and delta-v.

This is probably the best option, but I can see problems arising from very massive bodies. I’m not sure if I’m overestimating the power of gravity here, but it would seem like the amounts of acceleration and delta-v would have to be kind of ridiculous. I have a hard time imagining combat when your control thrusters are compensating for tens of thousands of m/s dV.

[quote=“gutza1, post:1, topic:554”]
Does the game have newtonian physics and orbital mechanics, or is “Star Wars physics” and point-and-thrust gameplay (excluding torch ships) king?[/quote]

As far as I know, ships in Infinity can be thought of as torch ships, since, while they ARE subject to Newtonian physics (as far as I can recall, orbital mechanics is possible in the engine, and the planets in Infinity are intended to orbit and rotate as they do in real-life) they are capable of extremely high accelerations and are not constrained by fuel, allowing them to maintain these accelerations indefinitely.

As far as I know, black holes aren’t set to appear in the MMO (Battlescape doesn’t count because it’s set in a single system).

The generation of realistic galaxies is one of the primary reasons the engine is being developed, and the game being set in a realistic Milky Way is one of the intended selling points. No doubt that the engine could be used to create a Spore-like environment, but the engine is built around being able to create realistically sized objects at realistic distances from each other.

Like the ones that exist in real life? Yes. Tatooine, Hoth and Dagobah? Certainly possible with the engine, and maybe too ubiquitous, and thus expected, to avoid (the coconut effect may be too strong, since reality is unrealistic), but no, you’re going to be seeing a realistic, or at least believable, variation in planets and their surfaces.

Only in planetary rings, where they would be expected. The engine can generate actual asteroid belts, but they’re unlikely to be in Infinity because, according to Mr. Brebion, even at blatantly unrealistic densities (I think the figure he gave was somewhere around a million times our own asteroid belt’s), they would be too sparse to be interesting.

Minovsky physics are confirmed. Internal consistency is a major concern for the devs.

The devs try to avoid it entirely. It’s either based on real-world science or extrapolations thereof, or we’re simply told how it behaves and what it does, and it’s left at that.

As much as can be while still allowing the gameplay that the devs desire. That which isn’t will fall under Minovsky physics.


i think planets and moons will be on rails. elliptic orbits or all circles. its not so important for game-play.

i hope that ships would be affected by gravity always. in that case some simplicity would be appropriate. for example on earth orbit practically important only sun, earth and moon. that means that if you want to play kerbal just for fun, you can do it.

IIRC, black holes had importance in the backstory, particularly as high-end (antimatter) fuel, so they may be in the MMO. On the other hand, they are not in the current version of the I-Novae Engine (and are unnecessary for I:B), and are a technical challenge, particularly the bit about bending light in a good way without compromising performances.
Then again I may be wrong, or things may change.

About asteroid thickets, anyone knows what would be the asteroid density of a protostar disk? And what kinds of asteroids would be found there? I had heard that we could get Star Wars-like asteroid fields there…

One saying on the old forum was Gameplay > Realism. For example, Space Fighters are pretty unrealistic, so are WVR combat, ship turrets, boat-like ship layout and probably even crewed ships in the first place. And while I would love a realistic take on space combat, that would be grossly inadequate for a space shooter like Infinity. (it would probably be best as a Grand Strategy game)
On the other hand, Newtonian flight mechanics aren’t a detriment to gameplay (if to conventions). In fact, it makes for a better gameplay once you get used to it. So it is kept in the game.

But the devs also know that Realism is not Believability, hence the goal of having coherent, consistent Minovsky Physics when known reality isn’t up to the task.

I do hope we’ll avoid falling for the Coconut Effect, though.
In the 2010 video, many people criticized the “too thin” atmosphere, while it was actually realistic (funnily, I felt it was too thick, personally), and fortunately the devs seems to know what they are doing in that regard.

The only biome
noun, Ecology
a complex biotic community characterized by distinctive plant and animal species and maintained under the climatic conditions of the region, especially such a community that has developed to climax. (

The only confirmed planet with a biome is Earth. Frozen earth; There was a tropical Earth but I don’t recall the term so I can’t find it.

The official answer, in that situation, is that it runs on hype.

…just like the stock market

Well, this is embarrassing. It even has “bio” in the word itself…

Wait, does it mean that all of the terrestrial planets and moons in KSP actually have life?

No, it means the dictionary in question is outdated.

Use defines language, not the other way around.

The online dictionary is out dated? That is were you get all the near stars called a sun not just ours. The name of our satellite is The Moon. People lacking in science started calling all satellites moons.
Words mean what we want them to mean they have no intrinsic meaning. Don’t read not so old books. This works in the favor of corrupt politicians.

The infinity universe has 12 realism.


… What?

Ok, 3 things:

  1. The use of “moon” as a word describing a sub-planetary satellite of a planet dates back to the 1600s. From Volume 1 of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (1665), describing the then current work of Giovanni Cassini:

So, I guess “people lacking in science” can account the founding members of the Royal Society of London amongst their members, if not the man the Cassini space probe is named after.

  1. Calling other stars “suns” is something of a proud tradition in the history of astronomy. Keep in mind that the Sun was the only giant ball of blinding white daylight we knew of. The stars were thought to have a separate nature all of their own. Early natural philosophers-cum-heretics almost universally suggested that stars were suns, not that the Sun was a star.

It is common in astronomy for “proper” names of a model object to be used as a generic class. Usually the name of the original object is capitalized, while the title of the class is not:

The Sun vs suns
The Moon vs moons
The Galaxy (the standard name of the Milky Way in old astronomy texts) vs galaxies
Pluto vs plutinos (named so as to mean either “little Plutos”, or “Pluto’s partners”, depending on who you ask)
Jupiter vs hot-Jupiters, super-Jupiters
Earth vs super-Earths, “other Earths”, etc.

It is not just the media using these terms. In fact, most of them originated from scientists working in the field, if not in the published scientific literature.

  1. Seriously, I have no idea what you’re trying to argue.

Which is why some SF authors/enthusiasts tend to use “Terra”, “Luna” and “Sol” for the Earth, Moon and Sun in SF contexts.
While the definition of a moon is straightforward, I guess we could call an earth a world whose surface is inhabited (or simply an Earth-sized terrestrial planet), and a sun could be a star with something interesting (a settlement, a station, the plucky heroes’ ship marooned on a nearby asteroid) in its system.

Funnily enough, those accused of heresy were because they claimed it was based on theological arguments (e.g. that it was written in the Book). Which is kind of why it was called “heresy” in the first place, instead of, say, “blaspheme” or what not.
I guess this little piece of history is too surreal to be widely remembered. Which is a shame, because how boring would be History without those surreal, improbable bits? About as much as the average school History class, I fear.
(Seriously, 20 million deaths for a sandwich?)

Are there other terms for Pluto-like frozen worlds? It just doesn’t quite sounds good for SF purposes.

If we have super-Earth, shouldn’t we also have sub-Earths for worlds like Mars? And what for Ceres-sized worlds?

I think he is trying to argue against the fact that “biome” doesn’t reference living beings anymore and can be used for lifeless worlds due to people using it this way.
Though I’m not sure what the argument itself is supposed to be.

That said, it is true that misuse of a word isn’t enough to change its meaning, even when relatively widespread (contrary to overwhelmingly widespread). Given that the great Russian Roulette of knowledge itself makes no reference to any other than the original meaning about it, despite being by nature close to popular (if possibly unbalanced) consensus instead of only academic definitions, I would argue that it is definitely a case of misuse and not a general shift in language.
Also, it has “bio” making more than half of it.
I suspect KSP began using this term because of the influence of Minecraft. I could say that they shouldn’t have let something that obvious slip, if I hadn’t also let it slip before reading this thread. And it can be argued that TvTropes is only referencing living worlds, as in “forest planet”, “toundra planet”, “desert planet (with nasty, nasty lifeforms)”…

But then, what should we use for a general term usable for lifeless worlds as well? “Geome”?

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Dwarf planet, comet, big ball of ice, …

I believe those are known as “Mars-sized”.

Dwarf planet, asteroid, big ball of rock.

Keep in mind that Ceres-sized objects don’t become planets until they clear their orbital neighbourhood, and no Ceres-sized object has ever been observed in an otherwise empty orbital neighbourhood.

So… by that definition, all human language is either Mandarin or misused Mandarin?

Sorry I wasn’t clearer, I meant a Pluto-like or a Ceres-like world independently of their status of planet or dwarf planet. An Earth-sized world in a thicker asteroid belt would be a dwarf planet; with enough stuff around, even a super-Earth could.
For a Ceres-like object (big enough to be round, small enough to have any significant atmosphere),
I suppose we could go with Selene or sub-Selene, referencing Luna?

For Pluto, it is too big to be a comet (the way Ceres is too big to be an asteroid), as it is big enough to be round. Iceball (or Rockball for Ceres) doesn’t sound, well, formal enough. I can see starship crew calling them like that, but not official documentation.
Hadean (for Hades)? Ice dwarfs (opposed to Ice Giants)?

That’s personal taste, but I don’t really like the X-sized as it doesn’t differentiate enough. For example between Mars and a hypothetical Mars-sized Kuiper object.

Are there other categories? What about a frozen super-Earth? They should keep a gaseous H2 atmosphere, so it wouldn’t be the same as iceballs, would it?

Would tidally-locked worlds be a special category? Apparently, they could have running water under a sheet of ice in the night side thanks to thermal flux from the day side, but that would make for pretty special worlds. Or would they simply be Earths?

(why Mandarin?)
The language evolves here when there is a new general consensus around the meaning of the word. In some cases, it can even retain both meanings, or at least for a time. For many of the major languages, now there are even institutions whose jobs are to keep track of it, of what makes sense and publish the official changes in the language as it evolves.
Here, most people, including the official institutions AFAICT, still use the word “biome” in its “old” meaning - a description of a geographic region based on the lifeforms populating it. And for the few people who use it differently, it may very well be from a mistake.
So the case for a misuse instead of an evolution is pretty strong here.

Plutinos are defined by their orbital resonance with Neptune, so yeah, there are other names. Ice Dwarf is one that’s commonly tossed around, though it currently holds little standing in the literature (due to the fact that everything we’ve found to date that could qualify as an ice dwarf is a Kuiper Belt Object, so they get stuck with the KBO label).

As of right now, the number of planets that have been confirmed as having a mass less than the mass of Earth (and, since our current methods of detection so far only really reliably give us mass estimates, except in exceptional circumstances, exoplanet classification is entirely based on mass) is approximately zero. The standard name in the literature won’t really be hashed out until we actually have a number of worlds to talk about. Given that the current nomenclature for rocky planets is “Earth-like; Super-Earth; Mega-Earth”, and the repeated use of “Mini-Earth” to describe the one or two sub-Earth mass candidates discovered so far, my money is on sub-Earth-mass planets being called “Mini-Earths” rather than “Mars-like” or “Mercury-like”. Until we can start classifying planets by atmospheric conditions, this is what we’re stuck with.

The prefix “geo-” refers specifically to Earth, so no. Not Geome. I’m not a planetary scientist, so I have no idea what the generalized term should be.

Again, in the current scientific classification scheme, we’re limited to talking about masses, but those of us who have engaged in generalized arm-chair planetary classification tend to use things like “silicate dwarfs” for rocky planets and “ice dwarfs” for solid icy bodies. “Ice giants” refer to Neptune-like planets, and “gas giants” are hydrogen dominated gaseous worlds.

If you want to get really hardcore into the sci-fi speculation aspect, you can always check out Orion’s Arm’s Non-Luminary World Classification Scheme.

Kirk called them satellites. It’s sad when such a prestigious institution like the Royal Society get’s it wrong. Just look at calling map coordinates degrees East and West. Rely messed up someone who should have known better.

Lets just call all stars suns all satellites moons and all planets earths. Change the girl spelling of jo to joe and just call everyone Joe. Hum my dictionary has that same misprint.

[quote=“Kichae, post:15, topic:554”]
“people lacking in science” can account the founding members of the Royal Society of London
[/quote] yep, who is the idiot who called them moons in the first place?

Make that a dumb tradition!

That one makes sense. Like back-up singers. I can now refer to our system as The Sun and the The Sunettes.

With no flair for names.

I would like to go to Earth.
“Witch one?”
The one around The Sun.
“Witch one?”
The one with Jupiter and those plutinos!
"Arg your not being helpful!!!
This explains the whole problem with “Lost in Space” TV show.
Did you know the people doing science hired someone to come up with the term. Scientifics did science. They might have called it Philosophy.

Give things there own names. Scientist aren’t much better then calling things space stuff. Hire someone!