The physics behind Angry Birds Space

With the recent release of Angry Birds Space, developer Rovio has taken the game in a new direction by reimagining the physics, making gravity subservient rather than overpowering. If you’ve ever been curious about just how their model of gravity stacks up to the real one, Wired writer Rhett Alain has done the calculations for you:

This looks like the gravity on Earth, except that it’s different. Here, the gravitational constant is 30 N/kg instead of 9.8. Also, this force changes directions and always points toward the center of the asteroid. I guess the local-Earth gravity does this too, but the Earth appears to be locally flat. Oh, also this force is true as long as the speed of the bird is less than 30 m/s. If the speed is 30 m/s, the force can only make the bird change directions (only perpendicular part works).

The rest of the article is full of similar dissections of graphs and experiments. One man’s casual game is another man’s casual compulsion.