# The third dimension in a 2d world

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I was thinking about emulating the effects of the fourth dimension on our universe. My idea is to use the third dimension in a 2d universe. That way, the player will be able to see the extra dimension. What I want to do is to put a mesh, which will represent the 2d world. The texture of that mesh will be the 2d world. That way, I can twist the mesh to get the desired effects. For example, I can make a gravity along the z axis, and make hills/valleys in the mesh, so objects will be pulled to/pushed from there. I can make a tall and narrow hill, so the shortest way to get from one side of the hill to the other will no longer be the direct path. And, lets not forget, I can bend the mesh and make shortcuts - holes in the mesh to get from one side of it to another. So, what do you think of my idea?

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I think this is brilliant. My love of 4D constructs in games and sci-fi has been well-documented, and your idea seems like an ingenious and intelligible use of many of the same principles.

I especially like the perpendicular gravity idea. A single vertical line could be the "bottom" of the "hole", and moving away from it would be very difficult, although the 2D characters would have no way to explain why. Splendid.

I'd like to see a world wrapped around a cylinder or cone, such that the same point would always be directly overhead, and you could kind of see past it to the rest of the world, which would appear to the 2D inhabitants as the inside of a circle.

Bending and folding the 2D "film" of the world to make teleportation points would be extremely neat. If you could have an in-game item that does that, and use it like the teleporter in Flashback (You throw the receiver, and then can "beam" to its location) I'd be very pleased with that.

I'm not sure which direction you're taking this, but the ability to "swing" around a solid 2D object, like a door or wall, would be great. Watching my 2D guy hop out of the frame and vault a barrier in 3D would be terrifically cool.

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A long time ago, I had an idea for an Asteroids style game where the ship would still be moving in two dimensions, but the space was actually a sphere (which is natural considering that in Asteroids the ship just circles to the other side when it leaves the screen, this way it would just move on a sphere).

The bubble of space would do things like shrink so that it became harder to avoid debris (or your own lasers) or it might merge with another bubble of space and then get bigger and add all the stuff on the other bubble.

Naturally, it never got made because I can't program even a basic asteroids even now.

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If this was executed well, it'd have the potential to change gaming - actually, all of entertainment - quite a bit. That's a big IF, though. I can see that being either just a novelty (which is cool) if it's not used very much or an immense frustration and complication for the player.

Still, that's a reallu great idea!

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I really like this idea. It just might get me to make my 3d RTS into a 2D RTS with spacetime geometry. This could be REALLY cool!

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Id love to see it in action, its a very fun interesting idea ;
but aside from an intelctual treat i dont see its value for gaming.

maybe as an educational tool... (for what? modern physics? differential geometry?).

if you see a this turning into a game can you please explain the gameplay?

xycos: I think its an understatment to say that "potential to change all of entertainment" was an overstatement... [smile]

Iftah

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I see this as just a novelty, at this point, much like Viewtiful Joe or that game set on a comic book page was a novelty.

But what a great gimmick it would be!

We've all played 2D games with bizarre limitations, like the three-tier system in Prince of Persia or the no-backing-up rule in Super Mario Bros. I think players will readily accept the bizarre space-twisting elements of this game. Being able to actually see the twists in space would make it very intuitive and easy, since you can think of it as a 3D game, but the 2D controls would make it quite neat.

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For inspiration you may wish to read this classic tale of the interdimensional adventures of a two-dimensional being: Flatland

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Be warned: Flatland is a tough read. I can see my copy from here. It's not so big, but I've never gotten through it. Funny bits, slow bits, it reads a little like Vanity Fair or Don Quixote. Never actually painful to read, but exhausting.

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I thought it was not too difficult a read. I rather liked it, and the Comprehension difficulties experienced by some beings were quite entertaining, If you like that sort of thing.

How would you represent a space like that in memory? and How would you interact with it, programming-wise?

The best I can come up with is storing it as a network of points, each having three or four neighbors, depending on whether you want a traingle or a square grid, and composing the rest of your geometry from there, putting modifiers on the locations of areas of points. Your position could be two values: one for which triangle you were in, and one for your coordinates within that triangle.

You would have a problem with collision detecting with itself, and stitching the resulting edges together, but that wouldn't be too difficult, I think.

You would also have to have cases that cause vertices to belong to five or four triangles, to allow for non-flat curvature, and you'd need a way to automatically do that.

Should I take this to the Programming Forum?

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