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Is there a computer game using principles of quantum optics or quantum information?

By game I don't mean just a simulation or an interactive course, but something that can be played in an enjoyable way.

By 'principles' I mean actual rules, not just things bearing the same name or vaguely related.

As a reference, let me use Chromatron - it is a puzzle game using principles of geometrical optics and color mixing. (There are some non-physical or unrealistic elements, but most most of them - like mirrors, prisms, beamsplitters and filters - are based on real physics).

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No there isn't, but I've always wanted to write a quantum game. This would one of the most fun things to play. – Ron Maimon Apr 13 '12 at 6:40
@MitchellPorter: That should be an answer--- that's amazing--- somebody actually wrote one! – Ron Maimon Apr 13 '12 at 19:10
I've also found; however, as for the question, I am more interested in things related qubits rather than wave packets. – Piotr Migdal Apr 13 '12 at 20:46
Someone should do this, seriously! I suspect that with good game design (always vital) the rules of quantum optics or info could provide some interesting game play. Like others, I've never heard of such a game, and I have three or four pretty good detectors (aka offspring) out in the field with good sniffers for such goodies. I have one son studying to be a game designer; I'll ask him specifically tonight. – Terry Bollinger Apr 16 '12 at 23:39

No there isn't, but I've always wanted to write one.

When I was an undergrad, I thought about designing quantum computer games. The idea was to make a simulation which would get people used to quantum stuff:

Here were the ideas I had back then (never implemented past undergraduate daydreams):

  • Spin-1/2 flight combat: You fly carrying a spinor, which rotates along with your changes in orientation. You have opponents that also carry a spinor. But you can only shoot an opponent when your two spinors are close to "the same" orientation. All the airplanes start off with the same spinor and the same orientation, so that really, you just have to learn to count the 360 rotations intuitively to know if you can blast your opponent or not.
  • Quantum breakout: you have a wall and a paddle, and a photon source of variable wavelength where you control the wavelength and time of photon emissions. The ball is quantum, everything else is classical. The wall measures the particle at the moment the particle hits a brick, and the disappears (this is a collapse), and reflects the wave, and you have to reflect the wave as best you can with the paddle. The wavelength is short enough to make the motion nearly classical, but if you want to see where the ball is, you need to push your photon button, which will give you the location of the particle in a region less than the size of the paddle, but which will introduce enough dispersion to make hitting the ball more difficult. The idea here is to intuit the wavepacket motion from the limited measurements you can do, plus the disappearing bricks. I wanted to make the probability of hitting the ball very close to 100% if you know the approximate trajectory, but each measurement (by paddle, by brick, or by photon) introducing an uncertainty in the momentum. You don't see the ball without a photon, of course. The bottom of the screen is an absorbing boundary that ends the round.

I had variations on the above, of course, including a density-matrix version of quantum breakout that could be linked continuously to Brownian breakout, where the ball does a Brownian motion with drift. The spin-1/2 shooter can be restricted motion (like 2d), but then the goal of building up spinor rotation intuition is lost.

I also had strategy game ideas, I can't remember any of them, but the one below gives you the flavor:

  • Quantum Go: Opponents each take N successive turns placing black and white dots on a grid with 2N points until the grid is completely full. You then turn the two sets of dots into fermions which can hop to nearest neighbor sites occupied with the same color, and the winner is the one whose total energy is lowest.

I didn't have a good entanglement game, because entanglement is the one aspect of quantum mechanics we demonstrably cannot internalize completely, since it is a more efficient computer. But thinking some, I have this:

  • Entangled double pac-man: You control two pac-men which are entangled. You press two direction keys simultaneously twice, plus an optional "i" button, and the two pac-men will move in the two simultaneous directions in a 50/50 split, with interference in cases where branches come together. In order to be killed, your two pac men will have to be both simultaneously on top of a ghost. A ghost will measure the location of one pac man, revealing the other pac-man location, but the two continue to survive unless the other pac man is measured before you have a chance to split two entangled motions.

Hope this helps.

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+1 Awesome ideas, I like the spin 1/2 game the most. Although I think it would be difficult to keep track of a complex spinor. PS: The sentence "...and the winner is the one whose total energy is lowest" is by far the nerdiest thing I heard in a while. – NikolajK Apr 13 '12 at 10:10
@NickKidman: The lowest-total-energy is not as different from ordinary Go as it might seem. – Ron Maimon Apr 13 '12 at 16:15
+1 For nice ideas. IMHO especially the breakout can be made playable. Actually, I have one in my mind (a puzzle game, sth between The Incredible Machine and Chromatron; asking to see if it is not already done and what are the pitfalls). – Piotr Migdal Apr 13 '12 at 16:26

This gentleman wrote 2 games that involve quantum mechanics, not sure if its exactly what you are looking for.

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There is a hybrid "quantum computer game"

which pursues two different objectives: On the one hand, it is an attempt to popularization of quantum physics, but it is at the same time a research programme for which a numerically hard and expensive optimization problem occurring in quantum control was translated into a human-playable game. This allows to compare machine and human strategies to solve certain optimization problems.

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Yes, it is a nice project. (And, by chance, I met one of the authors.) – Piotr Migdal Aug 28 '14 at 7:28

There is Qcraft, which is a mod of the game minecraft. According to its developers,

It lets players experiment with quantum behaviors inside Minecraft’s world, with new blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency.

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Not very related, but I added a special relativity shaders into my game:

I might add some quantum mechanics in the next-next game project but it is very tentative. The issue is that quantum mechanics is fairly expensive to calculate. I like your breakout idea, though in reality nothing special seem to happen when e.g. photon hits photographic plate - it does just produce superposition of the states of plate for different points of impact...

It'd be great to have some thread with advanced physics game ideas, I may pick some for implementation. But it has to be playable, which sets certain limits. I like the atomic orbitals; they look pretty and are not too expensive to visualize.

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The quantum breakout makes it very difficult to follow the ball, because you never see the ball, only variable regions where you have knowledge the ball is in, and disappearing bricks. There is the issue that cheating quantum breakout is not too hard: it can be played perfectly by jiggling the paddle very fast over the entire lower region, since the particle wave will not penetrate a region where the paddle is jiggling with a very high frequency, as this creates a high-frequeny effective potential barrier. But this can be mitigated by making the particle frequency higher than hands. – Ron Maimon Apr 17 '12 at 18:43

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