Developer: Ivan Stepanov, based in Stuttgart, Germany
Platform: PC, Windows
Nuclear War Simulator is a realistic interactive simulation and visualization of nuclear conflicts with a focus on humanitarian impact. It was made to help you answer the question: what will a war between Russia and United States or India and Pakistan look like and what are the consequences for the world, your country and your family? It uses codes from the Cold War to model weapons effects like blast, heat and fallout and a population density grid to estimate the impact on the population. It is technically not a game as there is no objective and game elements implemented yet. Instead, it is an interactive educational sandbox where you have the freedom to set up and replay any conflict scenario you want.
I grew up in the city of Semipalatinsk, close to one of the Soviet nuclear weapons test sites. Everybody in my family, including me, have experienced nuclear weapons testing and it is a big part of the city’s culture. Motivated by the lack of a simulation on large-scale nuclear conflicts and not being able to mod available games, I decided to build one myself. At first, I wanted to have a rather simple calculation of humanitarian impact, but later I decided to make it the focus of the simulation and introduced a high-resolution population density grid, inspired by Alex Wellerstein’s NUKEMAP. The original intention was to make a game but later I decided to release it as an educational tool first and maybe add game elements later.
My day-job is simulation engineer working on self-driving cars. I am developing this simulation in my free time because this topic needs much more attention than it gets right now. I hope that this simulation will be used by people to experience what will happen in a nuclear war and I hope that visualizations will support the creation of educational content on this topic.
- Setup large conflict scenarios with hundreds of units and thousands of warheads. You can replay the scenarios, considering effects like first strike, second strike, and estimate the humanitarian impact.
- Models from the Cold War are used to calculate the physical effects of nuclear explosions on military targets and on the population using a high-resolution population density grid.
- Design warheads, missiles, bombs, silos, bombers, mobile carriers and position them on the map to recreate past, present, or future arsenals.
- Create attack plans aiming at military targets or population.
- Scenarios can be saved and you can easily download scenarios created by other people.
- Modify and share scenarios, unit blueprints, icon textures, etc.
- Simple production cost model: how many weapons can a country build if it wants to?
- Use this simulation in education about nuclear weapons in a visual and interactive way.
“Want To Know How A Nuclear War Might Go? There’s Now A Frighteningly Detailed ‘Game’ For That”
– Kelsey D. Atherton, Forbes
“This Simulator Shows the Devastating Consequences of Global Nuclear War”
– Matthew Gault, Vice
“N is for Nuclear War Simulator”
– Tim Stone, Rock Paper Shotgun, The Flare Path
“Watch the world burn in a new computer program that will simulate the fallout from global nuclear war designed by a German engineer”
– Michael Thomsen, Daily Mail