4D grass? Seeing inside trees?! These are a couple of the features of Miegakure that its creator Marc Ten Bosch explains in his latest blog post. Features that I’m sure I still don’t fully understand despite writing about this game for a number of years now. Every time I think I’ve understood Miegakure and its 4D puzzles I realize that I probably don’t.
That’s not dirt being flung at Bosch and his game in any way. On the contrary, as he demonstrates in that new blog post, he’s actually become proficient at explaining the concepts that drive the game he’s making. Take for example how he describes the ability for players to see inside birch trees in Miegakure: “This is just like how for a 2D being a house only needs four walls but us 3D beings can see inside the house by just looking at it from the third dimension.”
While you may be able to wrap your head around that, you might find that you need to take a walk around the block or sip furiously at hot tea to fully grasp his writing about spherinders, “which are one way to generalize the concept of a cylinder to four dimensions,” Bosch writes. This is the main feature he explains in his blog post, particularly the idea of spherinder columns, and how they will appear as either spheres, ellipsoids, or cylinder as they are sliced by the 3D plane as you move through 4D space. (It’s a concept that is also explained with images in this imgur gallery that Bosch draws from.)
Bosch has also made a video that you can watch below that demonstrates how spherinders appear in their different forms inside the game.
You’ll also notice in that video that we’re told 3D spheres can appear as concentric 2D circles in the ground. I didn’t get it either until I read Bosch’s explanation on how this is possible: “In a 3D game the ground is 2D, and so in a 4D game the ground is 3D. That means that if you are standing on the ground there are six possible directions you may go: forward/backward, left/right, and ana/kata. However, in the game, because you are only seeing a 3D slice of the 4D world, you only see a 2D slice of the 3D ground at any given time (only two pairs of directions out of three).”
Making any sense? I wouldn’t worry too much if it doesn’t. Playing the game itself should hopefully make these ideas much clearer but, oh yes, Miegakure still isn’t out yet. Maybe next year? Until then, you can read our interview with Bosch about the mathematical beauty of his game—it may help with your understanding of it a little.