Units of Measurement

Posted by James on April 21, 2010 under Tasty Planet | 11 Comments to Read

Tasty Planet is a game of scale. The player eats everything from the tiniest things to the biggest things in the universe. In Tasty Planet 1 the current size and goal size of the goo are displayed in the HUD. The game picks the most appropriate unit of measurement to use from the following list (some are never used because the goo never gets to the appropriate size):

  • Picometers (pm)
  • Nanometers (nm)
  • Micrometers (um)
  • Millimeters (mm)
  • Centimeters (cm)
  • Meters (m)
  • Kilometers (km)
  • Megameters (Mm)
  • Gigameters (Gm)
  • Astronomical Unit (au)
  • Kilo Astronomical Unit (kau)
  • Parsec (pc)
  • Kiloparsec (kpc)
  • Megaparsec (Mpc)
  • Gigaparsec (Gpc)
  • Teraparsec (Tpc)
  • Pentaparsec (Ppc)
  • Exaparsec (Epc)

As you can see, the smaller units are all metric system, while the larger units are commonly used units in Astronomy (no lightyears because they are so close to the size of parsecs).

My main concern with these units is that a large portion of players (those from the United States) are more familiar with inches and feet than with centimeters and meters. That said, I think that I’m going to use the same units in Tasty Planet 2, but I’m planning on displaying the full name of the unit, instead of just the abbreviation. That way, even if some Americans might not know what a “km” is, I think they are more likely to have an idea what a “kilometer” is. Similarly, no one knows what a “pc” is, but they will probably at least recognize “parsec” from episodes of Star Trek.

Here is an image of a ruler tool that I added to the level editor, it lets me measure the size of objects so that I can easily set them to a realistic size. As you can see the mushroom is about 7.77 centimeters in diameter (about 3 inches).

  • Iramatak said,

    Just a quick note, quite a few players will have played the katamari games, and that uses the metric system.

    Also, I was clueless scale-wise when it got to parsecs.

    Keep up the awesomeness!

  • Strawberry said,

    Wow! We will start really small! I wonder what we can eat at that size…
    Also, I have a question. Will the grey goo be able to absorb liquids? Like if there was ink on a table and the grey goo started absorbing it and getting bigger.

  • James said,

    I’m actually not sure how many of those units we’re going to use. That’s just the table of units that I put in the game. For example, scientists estimate that the entire universe is 8.8×10^26 meters, or 28 gigaparsecs. So we’re probably not going to go into using units bigger than gigaparsecs. I’m not sure how small we’re going to go. The focus will definitely be on things that are of a scale that humans are better able to imagine (millimeters to kilometers), with less levels that take place in the two extremes.

    We don’t have any consumable liquids yet. We can represent liquids using the standard object system that we use, but we’re not going to have any kind of special liquid objects that behave like real fluids.

  • Wendi said,

    Nice, nice, and quite fascinating. Though, I wonder if a term will be devised for things even smaller than picometers, or something bigger than exparsec? There is an infinate level of space to anything if one thinks about it hard enough.

    I.E: Take a look at a strand of hair. Pretty thin, but if we were to take an atom and expand it to our size, get someone to stand on the nucleus…the distance between the electrons and the center would be miles apart! Just as the universe, everything is actually stakced on top of everything else really, in the terms of space and it’s size, yet, because if our size, it seems they would be far apart.

    Philosophy can do weird, yet amazig things to one’s mind!

  • Iramatak said,

    Actually, there are several things smaller than picometers. Some of the tiniest are the yoctometer, which is 10^-24 meters, and is 1 billion times smaller than a proton, and a planck, which is the only unit of measrement smaller than that. It is 100 billion times smaller than a yoctometer, or about 10^-35 meters. The radius of a black hole is thought to be 1 planck. Strings in the string theory are also approx. 1 planck.

    Science lesson over.

  • Iramatak said,

    diameter, not radius of a black hole. Sorry.

  • James said,

    Of course you can always make up your own units of measurement if you want something smaller… Turns out that the Jamesometer (abreviated “jam”) is 10^-36, or about 16 times smaller than a planck length.

    There’s an article about non standard unit prefixes on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-SI_unit_prefixes
    My favourite one is the prefix “tiny”, abbreviated “ti”. So if you had a tinymeter the abbreviation would be “tim”.

  • David said,

    how many astronimical units in a kilo astronimical unit

  • James said,

    @David: One thousand

  • lennonluiz said,

    maybe the unimeter(universe) on the last section should be 1000 yottameters, resumed approximate size of the universe(approx. 930. kilometers, or 930 yottameters).
    supermeter should be before megameter(so kilometer?)
    ultrameter should be after megameter, before gigameter also.
    suprameter is in a macroverse. the substitution of zettameter maybe.
    macrometer(why i said that?) may be the substitution of yottameter.
    yottameter: 1000 zettameters
    zettameter: 1000 exameters
    exameter: 1000 petameters(or 110 light years, approx 30 parsecs)
    petameter: 1000 terameters(approx 6500 astronomical units)
    terameter: 1000 gigameters.
    lesson and idea swarm ended.

  • Nonething said,

    I have some questions.
    1st-What will be in picometers?
    2nd-What will be in pentaparasecs?
    3rd-What will be in Exaparascecs?

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