The science in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar is refreshingly accurate, and now you can use it to explore the space between the stars well before the movie comes out.
Launching today, the team behind Interstellar have crafted a game capitalizing on the physics and space travel featured in the film. You play as the Endurance — the space-warping ship of Interstellar — tasked with completing collection-based missions using finely-tuned physics and gravity simulations. Both the movie and the game relied on the theories and input from Kip Thorne, a noted theoretical physicist. As such, you can use the gravity of planets and stars to slingshot yourself across and between solar systems, looking both for fuel and resources.
The game is fairly robust. Though the controls were a bit wonky for me on the browser version (I tested an early version of the game), it’s fun to mess around with the planet customization tools and gravity-assisted maneuvers. Once enough players are navigating the Interstellar game, it promises the ability to share your customized solar system with friends and to make your own missions. It’s bit like Osmos crossed with Angry Birds Space.
Navigating a black hole is something that not even light can do, but you are challenged to try in this tie-in. The graphics quality and the difficulty make this by far the best part of the game (shown in the top image). Other nice touches of physics include seeing the gravity wells that each massive body creates in the game’s grid, and the insistence on two forms of fuel, both chemical and solar.
But what I was really left with after playing were questions. If not just for the oddities of how time changes for you when you travel near light speed, why does the game keep track of your mission time as “Mission” and “Earth” time? What is the bubble surrounding the Endurance as it travels between solar systems? A warp-bubble? I suspect that Interstellar will have some of the same suspensions of reality to make efficient space travel feasible, but because the film is so heavily crafted around real science, I must know the answers!
You can play the Interstellar game right now in your browser or as an app on Google Play today, with an iOS app dropping later next week.