Skip to main content

OpenRelativity: free toolkit from MIT Game Lab lets Unity developers play with time and space

"The world described by Einstein's theory of special relativity is one not explored by many game designers," says Steven Schirra of MIT Game Lab. Which is a pretty strong opener for an email. Not only is it true, but Schirra's pointing us in the direction of OpenRelativity , MIT's solution to this alarming design void. It's a new open-source Unity toolkit, designed to let developers easily integrate spacetime-bending madness into their games.

"Designed for Unity3D, OpenRelativity allows game developers to transform any game in to a relativistic playground," Schirra writes, "accurately simulating the effects of Einstein's special relativity, such as Lorentz contraction, time dilation, Doppler shift and the searchlight effect." Here's a video of all that in action:

To see how it works in-game, you can download last year's A Slower Speed of Light , which was made with the toolset. And then download the toolset itself , to implement relativistic mind-fucks in your own games.

What games would you like to see incorporate light-bending, time-shifting, mind-warping elements of relativity?

Phil has been PC gaming since the '90s, when RPGs had dice rolls and open world adventures were weird and French. Now he's the deputy editor of PC Gamer; commissioning features, filling magazine pages, and knowing where the apostrophe goes in '90s. He plays Scout in TF2, and isn't even ashamed.