Chris and Toms Francis and Senior introduce new Web Editor Marsh Davies to the podcast, discussing Hotline Miami, Guild Wars 2, Universe Sandbox, Planetside 2, XCOM and more, including the Steam charts and your questions from Twitter.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds. I have exploded the Sun. I have exploded Venus, Mercury and Mars. I have exploded Saturn, and watched its rings and moons spiral off into interstellar space. I have, perhaps inevitably, exploded Uranus.
OMG Space compresses 10.1 billion kilometres into onto a 1:647 scale visual recreation of our solar system. Wired spotted the work, completed by graphic designer Margot Trudell. The aim is to give everyone a working impression of how stupidly enormous our solar system is. The distances between planets and the size of the planets themselves are to scale. When you eventually find Earth, it's a pinprick. I like to imagine launching a satellite from that blob to, say, Mercury, about five minutes of scrolling away, and getting close enough to get pictures. Then I realise humanity has already done that, and have a sudden urge to high-five science.
If only there were more games that let us play with space in a more interactive way, perhaps something that'd let us throw Jupiter at Saturn just to see what would happen. It turns out there is. It's called Universe Sandbox, and it's on sale on Steam now at 40% off. It lets you do stuff like this:
Judging Universe Sandbox as a game seems a little unfair. There are no bosses, no buffs or power-ups, no levelling-up system, and no objective. It’s simply a physics sandbox that focuses on doing one thing right: gravity.
The premise is simple. You put rocks in space, set various physical properties such as velocity, mass and density, then watch them whizz about while cackling with glee at your power over the universe. If you get it right, their orbit carves a graceful arc across the empty darkness of space.
What’s more fun is getting it wrong. Accidentally making Earth the same size as the Sun and pinging Mercury and Venus out past Uranus, Neptune and the Kuiper belt into the interstellar medium, for example. Or accidently blowing up Jupiter and watching the debris form into a second asteroid belt.