Coronavirus: How to implement bacterial or virus growth in your video game

Coronavirus: How to implement bacterial or virus growth in your video game

There are different types of online games.  There are games of chance. You use your Jackpot Capital bonus, you play the online games, and you may or may not actually get the big jackpot.  There are rules to the game, and a software developer has to make sure that the game follows those rules.

But unless the website is run by a bunch of crooks, there should be, theoretically, as much randomness in the game as one would expect by playing similar games in real life.

A second category of games is simulation games.  The game is expected to simulate real life.

Easy mathematics example – Free Fall and Air Resistance

If you drop a feather and a rock from the top of the Empire State Building, due to air resistance, the rock should drop first, and the feather will float around in the air and drop at a much slower rate.  But since video games have the power to change the environment, a cheat code can tell the program to create a vacuum environment. Then when you drop a feather and a rock off the top of the Empire State Building, the rock and the will drop at the same time.

But in both cases, the regular environment, and the vacuumed environment, the rock and feather and both acting the way that one expects them to act in the real world.  In both scenarios, the rock and the feather are following the same laws of physics and mathematics.

All objects (regardless of their mass) free fall with the same acceleration of 9.8 m/s/s.  It is called the Acceleration of Gravity.

If you want to understand the math behind this theory, you can read about it on this website “the Physics Classroom”, the article “Newton’s Laws – Lesson 3 – Newton’s Second Law of Motion”

This is standard high school physics.  It is easy to see. It is easy to understand.  But what about when things are not as easy to see and they are not as easy to understand.  How do we implement those things in a video game?

Hard mathematics example – Chaos Theory in the area of Biology

Welcome to the world of chaos theory.

What is Chaos Theory?

Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics focusing on the study of Chaos.  States of dynamical systems whose apparently random states of disorder and irregularities are often governed by deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to initial conditions.

In simpler terms, systems that on the surface look completely chaotic, when looked into at a deeper level, can actually be defined mathematically.

Chaotic behavior exists in many natural systems, including fluid flow, heartbeat irregularities, weather, and climate.  It also occurs spontaneously in some systems with artificial components, such as the stock market and road traffic. But in all of these “things”, the behavior can be studied through the analysis of a chaotic mathematical model.

Can Chaos Theory be used to simulate bacterial or virus growth

The short answer is “Yes and no”.  Don’t you just hate when somebody answers a question like that?

Here is the long answer.

“There is an ongoing debate on whether physical laws do exist in biology. Both theorists and biologists are proposing that physical or chemical laws cannot be directly brought into biology, but a novel theory for organisms is needed (Soto et al., 2016). Although I do agree that theories for biology require rethinking, I cannot but help to quote several important discoveries in physics that are also present in biology (Jeong et al., 2000; Wilsenach et al., 2017). In particular, scale invariance leading to fractal structure and power laws are nowadays ubiquitously observed from biological data (Piras and Selvarajoo, 2015; Simeoni et al., 2015). Non-linear approaches, such as chaos theory, fall into an important research domain that can be explored to investigate complex self-organizing behavior of biofilm. Chen-Charpentier and Stanescu (2011) have used stochastic modeling together with a chaos method to predict biofilm growth on medical implants. However, the difficulty facing the neat predictability of the models is the general lack of obtaining reliable parameter values. As such, we see very limited contributions from chaos theory to-date.”

To put it in simpler terms, you can predict the growth rate of bacteria and viruses through mathematics.  You can predict how it will grow through mathematics. And now the kicker, the “and no” part … in a “perfect world”.

Mother Nature, God, whatever else you want to call it … “unknown variables” … it always going to throw a wrench into your nicely written mathematical equation.

You want to write an algorithm to simulate the spread of the Coronavirus in your game.  In mathematical theory, the Coronavirus should spread through California in the same way that it has spread in other countries in the rest of the world.

But here is the theoretical wrench, some politician in California decides instead of spending money on a TV ad prior to Super Tuesday, decides to spend money on a 100,000 boxes of disposable gloves with a message on them saying “Vote for Candidate Y, the candidate that helps with real-life solutions” along with simple instructions for people, when commuting in public, put on a pair of gloves, and when they get to their destination, throw them out.

Did all 100,000 people take that advice and use the gloves?  Did none of the people take that advice and use the gloves? Or did 50% take that advice and use the gloves?  All of a sudden, you have an unknown variable put into the equation that can never be defined mathematically.

So that brings us back to our original answer, although theoretically, we can probably predict how this virus will spread in California, it can take just one person doing the unexpected and the end result will be something completely different.


When talking theory, chaos theory is a fascinating branch of mathematics … studying things that on the surface appear to be completely random but under the surface … realizing that there is mathematics.

But in reality, what makes something truly chaotic is the unknown variables … somebody (or something) doing something that was not taken into account in the original mathematical equation.  Or even something, as in our example above with the politician and the disposable gloves, a variable that is completely dependent on free choice and the personal decision to do or not do a given action.