My son likes to ask me a lot of science questions. I often have an answer for the first few questions, but as the interrogation intensifies, I usually have to offer up either “I don’t know”, “we should look that up”, or both. He likes mathematically precise answers without a lot of ‘sometimes’es and ‘in this case’es. That’s probably a kid thing.
Recently he has been asking a lot of questions about metals and states of matter and the periodic table of elements. It’s good then that a lot of those questions can be answered with numbers, or by pointing at a chemical symbol. I try to answer the questions that I can, but we can always check the table or ask google. That usually spawns dozens more questions. It’s sort of a quiz show hydra, but I’m just glad they wonder about the nature of the world they live in and don’t just find it boring. I’ve always been confounded by people who say science is boring.
The game I am working on has a sciency element to it. It is more fanciful than accurate, which seems the best way to create a fun playable game. I have fake elements, with fake properties, but their interactions border on something that might be called realistic. I’m finding it a tough line to walk. On one hand, I would like it if the game was even slightly educational. Swap out my fake elements for some real ones, and maybe someone would learn something about chemistry. On the other, much more important, hand, I would like the game to be fun and not bogged down in trying to be physically accurate.
It might never happen, but I am already bracing for the responses. I keep trying to address an invisible critic that would hold me to some degree of scientific accuracy, and I haven’t even got my games controls fully implemented. It’s probably something that I shouldn’t really worry about, but it’s a difficult feeling to shake. Maybe I have become so used to trying to answer questions with definitive answers, that I just expect that is what the rest of the world would want too.