NASA, Grand Theft Auto and the Dev Secrets of the Universe

Posted on October 1 2012, 10:34am | Author: R* S | Filed Under: Games

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (known more colloquially as NASA) doesn't make traditional video games - they're far too busy trying to debug the universe itself. However, that hasn't stopped them from looking to games as a resource tool from time to time - and now as a possible explanation for our very existence.
As it turns out, there's an entire school of thought that says the real world just might be a simulation, and if so, it might work with rules very similar to the ones that govern the universe of Grand Theft Auto - something not entirely foreign to Liberty City radio listeners...
In a recent interview with Vice, NASA scientist Rich Terrile discusses the prospect, based on the rapidly accelerating ability of computers to simulate massively complex environments and systems:

"Right now the fastest NASA supercomputers are cranking away at about double the speed of the human brain," says Rich. If you make a simple calculation using Moore’s Law (computer processing power doubles around every two years), you’ll find that these supercomputers, inside of a decade, will have the ability to compute an entire human lifetime of 80 years—including every thought ever conceived during that lifetime—in the span of a month."

Rich goes on to liken the universe's design architecture to that of Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City:

"The natural world behaves exactly the same way as the environment of Grand Theft Auto IV. In the game, you can explore Liberty City seamlessly in phenomenal detail. I made a calculation of how big that city is, and it turns out it’s a million times larger than my PlayStation 3. You see exactly what you need to see of Liberty City when you need to see it, abbreviating the entire game universe into the console. The universe behaves in the exact same way. In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they’re being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we’re living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it."

Of course this raises the question, is there another universe like ours out there somewhere, running on better hardware?

Read the full story here:

  • jonhyosbourneon November 17 2014, 4:24pmReplyFlag
    GTA is a saga with a unique style, essence
    • PaceBoyon October 9 2012, 11:49amReplyFlag
      Quoi qu'il en soit, Grand Theft Auto V sera le jeu le plus populaire dans le monde des jeux vidéo, il dépasse même Saints Row The Third qui est vraiment tombé bas haha :) Ce n'est plus à la mode ce jeu est Grand Theft Auto V a toujours été à la mode même GTA 1 , 2, 3, 4 . ROCKSTAR GAMES PUISSANCE
      (Excusez-moi si vous comprenez pas mes phrases parce que je utilise un traducteur, je suis belge. ^ ^
      • PaceBoyon October 9 2012, 11:51amReplyFlag
        @PaceBoy Anyway, Grand Theft Auto V be the most popular game in the world of video games, it even exceeds Saints Row The Third is really fell down haha :) It is no longer fashionable this game is Grand Theft Auto V has always been the same way GTA 1, 2, 3, 4. ROCKSTAR GAMES POWER
        (Excuse me if you do not understand my words because I use a translator, I'm Belgian. ^ ^

        Excuse me for the first post, I write in french, sorry.
    • Street7890on October 9 2012, 12:35amReplyFlag
      If GTA is a real world simulation, then we are all physchopathic killers.
    • killlinyou78on October 8 2012, 2:36pmReplyFlag
      Im pretty sure Niko Bellic runs NASA
      • RandomMuggeron October 8 2012, 10:56amReplyFlag
        Man. Just got back from my little trip to mars in another universe along side my other planetary adventure and fwhoar mate. What a spectacle. Feels weird to be back in my skin. The universe says hello.
        • paynefulkilleron October 7 2012, 6:51pmReplyFlag
          Rockstar Games is gaming industry's reckoning - Bane XD
          • Stormbreaker771on October 7 2012, 4:04pmReplyFlag
            Watch any show on how the universe works and then see how significant you feel after it...i feel like that right now
            • AVIinfinityon October 7 2012, 1:41pmReplyFlag
              Guys please, watch this :- "FAN MADE GTA NEED OFR PAYNE TRAILER"
              • KillinFrenzyon October 7 2012, 12:52pmReplyFlag
                So, Rockstar Games, when comes the Grand Theft Auto Vice City 10th Anniversary?
                • GTAVSupportWWon October 6 2012, 5:22pmReplyFlag
                  Rockstar i sent you my mouthoff! :)

                  • R* Yon October 7 2012, 1:52pmReplyFlag
                    @GTAVSupportWW Thanks, we'll answer all emails in the order they come in
                  • froopleon October 15 2012, 11:14pmReplyFlag
                    @ when i sent you my mouthoff your response didnt make sense... its like you didnt even try to read any of it. i said stuff aboutusing characters from your other games as dlcs for new ones and what you sent back kind of went like "we hope you like those games you mentioned, goodbye" it wasnt exactly like that but thats pretty much what you said...
                  • Smoking9mmon October 17 2012, 12:53pmReplyFlag
                    @froople I think there's a subtle hint in there somewhere
                • Rod266on October 6 2012, 3:03pmReplyFlag
                  When I saw Grand Theft Auto and NASA in the same title I s**t my pants...
                  • BILLYPAon October 6 2012, 2:30pmReplyFlag
                    • Kaplowitzon October 5 2012, 9:57pmReplyFlag
                      “Space,” like “time,” is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship, which exists only within the universe. The universe is not in space any more than it is in time. To be “in a position” means to have a certain relationship to the boundary of some container. E.g., you are in New York: there is a point of the earth’s surface on which you stand—that’s your spatial position: your relation to this point. All it means to say “There is space between two objects” is that they occupy different positions. In this case, you are focusing on two relationships—the relationship of one entity to its container and of another to its container—simultaneously.

                      The universe, therefore, cannot be anywhere. Can the universe be in Boston? Can it be in the Milky Way? Places are in the universe, not the other way around.

                      Is the universe then unlimited in size? No. Everything which exists is finite, including the universe. What then, you ask, is outside the universe, if it is finite? This question is invalid. The phrase “outside the universe” has no referent. The universe is everything. “Outside the universe” stands for “that which is where everything isn’t.” There is no such place. There isn’t even nothing “out there”; there is no “out there.”

                      -LEONARD PEIKOFF
                      • JesusFR33Kon October 5 2012, 10:59pmReplyFlag
                        @Kaplowitz was ol lenny smoking one when he came up with
                      • Kaplowitzon October 6 2012, 7:01pmReplyFlag
                        @JesusFR33K He didn't come up with it. He discovered it.

                        You are so funny. NASA even funnier.
                      • IngoriousBasterdon December 29 2012, 7:19pmReplyFlag
                        @Kaplowitz But what if time at one moment is in one universe and if you are standing at that point you do something and it creates another universe. Which would mean there are billions of universes for every millisecond that passes. Where then, are the other universes in question if there is no "out there"? You have to think about space instead of the universe. If the universe is in space then what is outside this universe? Therefore there must be something in that "space" between the decillions of universes in that space. Which also brings the question of how big is this universe when we run out of the space? Does a universe exist in every space between a space?

                        - some random post I found on the Internet
                    • scareface1970on October 5 2012, 8:40amReplyFlag
                      Sorry if this is OffTopic but i did Inot know where to putt this. I found a great GTAIV Cartoon Picture a time ago and i thought lets share this with you all.

                      • Fluxsakeon October 4 2012, 9:57pmReplyFlag
                        If you want to know some of the conditions of this game, read the 'Law of One' (

                        Life is T R I P P Y
                        • Glockstargames21on October 4 2012, 7:51pmReplyFlag
                          But to get on topic, " There are known knowns and there are known unknowns and there are also unknown unknowns" Thing we don't know that we don't know.
                          - Donald Rumsfeld
                          -Samuel L Jackson
                          • Glockstargames21on October 4 2012, 7:39pmReplyFlag
                            I wonder if the makers are playing gta v right now? lucky ---s
                          • Sexuallyinactiveon October 4 2012, 7:36pmReplyFlag
                            Sorry R* I forgot what my last comment said. Pretty sure I didn't demand anything. Are we not allowed to ask GTA questions on this topic? Surely you can understand why I'm asking and becoming impatient considering "a few weeks or so" is determined by most people to have been and gone.

                            But sorry for breaking the rules because I can't remember what I typed.
                            • R* Aon October 4 2012, 7:43pmReplyFlag
                              @Sexuallyinactive Don't expect us to be answering any new questions about GTAV here (or any other article right now). Please just be patient for more on that game. Also, per Rule #5 right above the Comment Box - if you have something you want to ask us directly, the proper place to do it is via not in Comments. Thank you.
                            • Sexuallyinactiveon October 4 2012, 7:57pmReplyFlag
                              @ Oh okay. Thanks for letting me know mate but I should let you know I've sent plenty of E-mails to mouthouff that remain unanswered which is why I asked whatever I did in here. Don't worry about it though, I'm just going to wait. I have patience like a stalker you see. A few weeks or so is nothing.
                            • Kouregexon October 6 2012, 4:36pmReplyFlag
                              @ "Please just be patient"
                              You know, it's hard to be patient for a Game like GTA.
                              Also, we have already been patient for 11 Months.
                              Why did you even release the Trailer 11 Months ago when you're not even willing to talk about it?
                              I think we would all like an explanation to that in your next A&A.
                          • Henry_110on October 4 2012, 5:01pmReplyFlag
                            GTA 6: Space
                            • MadMan920on October 4 2012, 5:59pmReplyFlag
                              @Henry_110 I'm beginning to think GTA V will also have space missions, you know with all the time they are taking. I just though of something funny. I wonder what GTA's version of earth would look like, would there just be a couple islands spread out in a vast ocean?
                          • lwdpat65on October 4 2012, 4:57pmReplyFlag
                            Tomorrow gta v news it cannot be longer than this it must come im praying!
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