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Best Design Method for a Game In Space?

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Hi,

I'm working on a personal game project that, without wasting too much of your time, is this in short:

A space station simulation game built on the Unreal 3 engine (UDK). I want to give it some inherent complexity and environmental features the players can work with. Obviously this is in space and so these environmental features will be very varied.

What I'd like to discuss in this thread is a robust method of implementing these environmental features, or 'volumes'. As an example just to visualize it - If there was a breach in a space station wall I would like to simulate a drop in pressure in the inside area, and an increase in oxygen loss in the immediate area. You'd also want to calculate temperature loss as well, etc. It goes on.

My immediate idea was to implement a grid of volumes that can affect each other, in a fashion I suppose many 2D isometric games perform their core game mechanics and graphics.
My conclusion with this method is that, well, its old. Surely there are better ways to do this?

I will appreciate your opinions and any links to similar resources.

Thanks.

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You could have a bunch of particles with a Navier Stokes solver.

Forces can be applied for certain effects and particles could have different attributes like temperature that could diffuse to nearby particles and objects.

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FVM Or FEM + Navier Stokes

FVM would intuitivly be the obvious choice, but thanks to the wide spread use of FEM, even in aerodynamics, you'll find alot more on that subject.

But I wonder, why would you want to simulate this on such a high level? There is a reason why alot of Universities invest alot of Time and Effort into finding ways to speed up numerical solvers and make them more accurate. Trying to make them "Real-Time" AND accurate in such a complex game will be insane. I hope you know what you're getting yourself into.

By the time you've got your solver fast enough to perform real-time, you will notice that it's so inaccurate that you could have approximated the result far better with a much much simpler function.

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Thanks for your replies. I should note that you are completely correct - I am not after accuracy. Apologies as it appears I have not made my intentions clear. What I am trying to do is setup a framework where these environment features can dynamically interact. I'm not after atmospheric condition simulations down to the n'th decimal place.

For example it has been suggested to me that a 2D heatmap might be a good way of keeping track of environment variables.

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