Argo Journals Article

Volume 2009

Published on:
May 08, 2009

SEASTARS

Do Penguins Know Physics?

Author(s): Robert Maynard , Elizabeth Carnes , Dr. Chandra Prayaga

Abstract:
Physics is everywhere, even at the South Pole. This game depicts the physical principles of projectile motion and the non-conservative force of drag from the air and wind. Two penguins standing on icebergs in Antarctica, toss fish at each other. The penguins are controlled by two players, or by one player and the computer. The player(s) enter the angle and initial speed of the fish and it is tossed towards the other penguin. However, obstacles stand between them, adding to the difficulty and requiring planning in the game. There are other icebergs, and every time a fish hits an iceberg, a piece is taken out, until the iceberg is ‘cut’ through completely, and the top falls. Wind speeds can be pre-set and constant, or randomized (within constraints) from turn to turn, making the estimation of the exact angle/speed combination based on previous attempts impossible. The game is programmed with Macromedia Flash 8, using ActionScript 2. The units of measure are scaled from Flash’s standard of pixels and frames to meters and seconds, so that the user interacts with the game using familiar SI units.

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