Physics in the Metareal World

Having a rock-solid world is critical to making Metareal seem, well, real. It doesn’t have to be like our world, but it has to be solid and consistent. You need to be able to experience, experiment, and extrapolate the behavior of the world. At least for this game.

Earlier blog posts here and here discuss Metareal physics a little bit, in the context of collision management.

Here, I will describe some of the rules of Physics in the Metareal World.

The Rules

• Objects Stay In Place. There is no gravity in the Metareal World. An object resting in space simply stays there.

• Objects Are Composed Of Boxes. Regardless of how they look, in terms of physics all objects are composed of 1 or more boxes.

Physics1

• Objects Can Self-Propel. Some objects can move, simply because they choose to move.

• Objects Can Push. When an object moves into another object, it will either succeed in pushing it, or stop.

• Force and Inertia. An object at rest has some intrinsic inertia. A moving object must be moving with greater force to push that object. This is implemented with a number. A force of 5 can push an inertia of 4 or lower. The rooms are made with walls of very high inertia.

• Objects Have No Momentum. When an object stops propelling itself, or is no longer pushed by another object, it stops.

• Objects Are Frictionless. When an object pushes or blocks another, force is only applied perpendicularly to the abutting faces. Thus, you can only push a cube along one axis at a time.

Physics2

• Size Matters Not. Each object has a certain inertia or pushing-force simply because I say it does.

Flatland and Spaceland

This is not at all how objects in the real world behave. And yet, it is very easy to understand and reason about. Why should this be? The human mind is sometimes effortlessly flexible.

But perhaps one familiar reference point helps. If we place objects on a tabletop, and push them around in two dimensions, this is exactly how they behave. It seems likely that objects in the Metareal World are resting on a four dimensional tabletop, and it is gravity and friction perpendicular to this world which gives rise to its entirely predictable behavior.

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