Your Physics Ain't My Physics

One of the interesting side effects that playing Kerbal Space Program has had on my life is how clearly it highlights the lack of realism in other games and media that deal with science and technology. KSP isn’t a perfect simulator by any means, but they do try to get things more or less right most of the time. Other games such as EVE Online are much looser with their simulations of space travel and the mechanics involved, while others such as Mass Effect more or less ignore the details entirely and depend on some very funky explanations for the abilities the characters have.

For most games, I think this is a totally reasonable approach. Mass Effect is not a game where the particulars of orbital physics play a pivotal role but rather a classical heroic saga that happens to be set in a SciFi universe. Bringing along the simulation baggage into that wouldn’t really add anything to the experience, and would probably turn away a lot of players who just want to experience a great story.

I think that SQUAD has done and continues to do a great job with KSP, having made a very enjoyable game, and it’s led me to seek out other books, games, and shows that pay a bit more attention to the realism element.