Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

MisterBzr
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Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

by MisterBzr » Sun Oct 06, 2019 14:07

I'm a science teacher and currently studying to obtain my master degree.
One of assignments is to make a gamified physics model.
I have around 40 hours to spend on making the model.

I would love to make a gamified model within a MT world.
The level of physics is secondary school level, so basic mechanics, electricity, optics.
The goal of the model is that students learn what happens when one of the parameters is changed (p.a. what happens with a falling object when there is (no) air resistance).
Another goal is that the model is challenging to play with.

One of my ideas is to launch a ball with a specific speed and mass and try to shoot it into a net or onto a landing platform. Another idea is to refract light with lenses in such a way that something gets lit.

I would love to gather some more ideas.

What would challenge you to do dive into a science model in MT?

Hans
 

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Krock
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Re: Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

by Krock » Sun Oct 06, 2019 14:38

Welcome to the Minetest forums!

Physics simulations are possible in Minetest, but only as long

1) the mapblocks in the shooting line are loaded -> else the ball will be suck, and continue movement after loading it again
2) the water physics are implemented manually -> objects (lua entities) do not know about fluid physics
3) the player does not move in water -> the engine calculation is not really based on real physics

Overall this would entirely be possible, but the active mapblock range needs to be increased - to 6 or even 8 depending on the distance of the experiment.
Also collision calculations aren't that accurate. Objects could get stuck inside nodes unless the shooting line is calculated using Raycast (example), to find out the exact position.
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Sokomine
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Re: Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

by Sokomine » Sun Oct 06, 2019 15:41

As Krock already pointed out, realistic physics is nothing where MT has much to offer. Even such basic things as "if you sit in a cart, looking ahead, not moving your head, then your view angle will follow that of the cart" didn't exist for a long time. Beeing able to move around inside a moving vehicle is something that will probably be impossible for the comming years. Falling nodes only notice that they ought to fall once a node in their vicinity is changed, and floating stone isn't unheared of. There's a bit more gathered for fun in the "why Minetest will never be realistic" thread.

MisterBzr wrote:One of my ideas is to launch a ball with a specific speed and mass and try to shoot it into a net or onto a landing platform. Another idea is to refract light with lenses in such a way that something gets lit.

Maybe the snow cannon in my moresnow mod can give you an idea of how that might look like in MT. There's no way to steer the canon (apart from selecting a program and starting it), but it can at least show how such a throwing cannon might look like.

One general problem (apart from the too basic physics simulation) might be that nodes can sit only at discrete points. Mechanics (gears, levers, things that are round, ..) and optics (angles) are difficult to do that way. We don't have any serious mods in that area.

At least electricity doesn't care much (on the level relevant here) weather the wire is round or square. Mods such as mesecons and technic don't follow physics/electronics - but they may hold solutions necessary for modelling electric circuits (wasn't there a mod doing that? I remember seeing at least one that added electronic components in 3d).

That light reflection idea might also work fine - as long as the optical elements are models (= can be rotated any degree), perhaps placed as nodes (discrete coordinates) to make it easier. I do remember a game (sadly not its name) where directing such a laser through the world and letting it interact with game elements (reflections, melting/destroying nodes, ..), eventually reaching the target spot, was the main game element. And it was a lot of fun to play - regardless of physics.

Maybe if you slow down the beam and let it be an entity on its own, moving about...a bit like snake (and hope there's no lag!)? Because realistic things at normal speed may happen too fast. A slow-motion mode may help the studens.

No matter what you decide on, you'll probably have to do your own implementation of the physics part you want to teach.
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MisterBzr
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Re: Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

by MisterBzr » Sun Oct 06, 2019 17:35

Thanks for the welcome and detailed answers.

I will give it some thought. A (correct) working model is a important feature of the assignment, so that's the bottleneck for now.

Hans
 

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Yvanhoe
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Re: Ideas for using MT for gamified scientical modelling

by Yvanhoe » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:11

Hi! I am trying to use minetest in an educational setting too. Like the others, I'd be careful about doing any physics simulation in MT, that's probably not the best platform for it. However, here are a few things I think can be taught:

- digital electronics, with mesecons (viewtopic.php?t=628)
- volumes and water levels, using the waterworks mod. (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=22830)
- 3D coordinate systems, using one of the various GPS mods.
- by presenting it cautiously, or by forking it to be more realistic, one could use the technic mod to teach about the basics of energy and electricity. It implements things like solar panels or fuel-powered generators but abstracts many things away by using "energy units" instead of regular, SI units that you probably want to teach. viewtopic.php?t=2538
- self organizing systems, haven't played with it yet, but I would like to demonstrate how local rules can give rise to shapes such as trees or plants. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=17608
- there are several chemistry mods but they seem all abandoned, I would like to help if someone plans to resume an effort there.
 


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