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Old 07-04-2003, 10:07 AM   #1
KaVir
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I was talking to a friend about first-person shooters recently, and their progress from 2D to 3D over the years. I half-jokingly made a comment about the next generation being 4D. He responded along the lines of "Yeah, except that there's no way to represent it", to which I answered "Characters in the game could leave a blurred trail after themselves, representing time, and you could kill someone by shooting their blur - ie, shooting where they used to be".

However it also got me thinking about other possibilities. I know I've discussed in the past the idea of having multiple parallel planes of existence effectively in the same place (in fact I implement a vague simulation of such on the old GW - ie the shadowplane). But that seems to barely scratch the surface of the possibilities available.

I've recently been reading the Amber novels by Roger Zelazny. For those who haven't read them, one of the concepts of the book is that Amber represents the "real world" of sorts (actually there are also the Chaos courts, but I'll keep it simple for the purposes of this post). However Amber also casts infinate "shadows" - other worlds which become more and more different the further away from Amber they are.

My current project includes an extremely world, which (because of it's size) is pseudo-randomly generated. I currently have it working in only two dimensions, but will soon be adding the third, and while thinking about today I thought "why not add a fourth?". Just as different characters have different reaches (it's coordinate based) which allow them to hit people within a certain range, so the same could apply to crossing over dimensions. A wraith might exist in a slightly different dimension but be able to reach across, thus hurting regular humans who couldn't hit back - unless they had (say) a magic sword, which would extend into the wraith's dimension. Different creatures might appear differently depending on their dimension offset, too - so a werebeast might "change form" by effectively slipping into a different (but nearby) dimension, which would then make them appear as a werewolf in the "main" dimension.

I pretty much dismissed that idea as not really fitting the mud I'm working on, but going back to the Amber it did make me think a bit about how the people travel. The royalty of Amber are able to travel through the shadow worlds by focusing on a feature of the world around them and changing it (in fact, they shift to another shadow world which is more like the one they envision). They do this a bit at a time until eventually they're at the place they want to be.

Well, in a pseudo-randomly generated world like the one I'm developing it might well be possible to apply a similar concept. By allowing each character to apply their own offsets to the various seeds used to generate the world, it would be possible to let people effectively shift the world around them. But by storing these offsets on each character, it would ensure that the world only changed for that character. Thus you could focus on the nearby forest and change it into a plain, turn the city into a small village, make an island rise up out of the ocean - but you'd effectively be in a different world to the rest of the players. Giving directions to other players would then become more complex than just "go north to the forest, then east to the side of the ocean" - you'd have to say things like "go over the river towards the forest, then change the forest into a desert, focus on making the mobs smaller and the sun larger", etc.

I'm still really mulling over this idea, but I think it could have some definite possibilities. I'd be interested to hear any thoughts anyone else has on the matter.
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Old 07-04-2003, 11:38 AM   #2
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Ever read The Boy Who Reversed Himself or whatever it was called? Really interesting ideas about dimensions in there. In that book, there were 1D and 2D creatures in addition to the normal 3D ones, as well as inhabitants of higher dimensions. Each dimension was basically a "slice" of the dimension above it, so if you went into a higher dimension and turned around and then went back to your own dimension, you could be reversed (your left/right were switched, or sometimes you'd have your innards on the outside and your outards on the in). One time the characters reversed some ketchup, and it turned out that reversed ketchup could get you high. And if looking at a 4D being, you could only see one 3D slice of it at a time, so it could change from moment to moment.

So this gave me an interesting idea for an evil maze, that seems to change whenever you move, because it's 4D and you can't see the whole picture at any given time. I guess the only way you could represent it is having 4 mazes (6 if you're capable of going up/down in the game) in the same "space" and which one you see depends on which way you turn.
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Old 07-04-2003, 11:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ July 04 2003,15:07)
"Characters in the game could leave a blurred trail after themselves, representing time, and you could kill someone by shooting their blur - ie, shooting where they used to be".
Time-seeker missiles

It's probably more interesting if you can actually see backwards in time, and shoot at the blur indicating where your victim _will_ be.

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I'm still really mulling over this idea, but I think it could have some definite possibilities. I'd be interested to hear any thoughts anyone else has on the matter.
Hmm... my first reaction was like "bah. That's just a funkier way to implement a teleport spell".

But in fact, with the right setting, it could become a very powerful concept.

There's the notion of success or failure (you try to shift into a desert, but mis-manage the heat and end up in a laval pit), and a whole skill-set related to this sort of travelling. And it doesn't necessarily have to be limited to "think the destination" in terms of locations - for some, thinking in colours, for instance, or smells or sounds (depending on class? race? school? whatever) could add a completely new dimension to the game.

Now the question remains whether that would be actually fun to play... But these are just a few rushed stray thoughts of mine.
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Old 07-04-2003, 11:54 AM   #4
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Interesting concept. †
I just hope you are not planning to call it 4 Dimensions? We're sort of attached to that name.
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Old 07-04-2003, 12:01 PM   #5
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Well it's not really a teleport ability - you cannot travel in the regular three dimensions with it. Instead, you're moving through a fourth dimension. You stay at exactly the same x/y/z position, but the world around you (including the creatures within it) change. If you want to travel to the desert three miles north if you, then you'll still have to walk there - that doesn't change. But what you could do is change the ground in front of you into a road, to speed up your journey.

Perhaps a better way to explain it is this: Each player can change any part of the game world around them. But they can only interact with other players who are in the same "version" of the world as themselves.
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Old 07-04-2003, 01:09 PM   #6
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OK, so let me follow this thought with a few defining questions
- How do you define the "core" world?
- Are the number of "mod-worlds" reachable limited or not?
- if not, how can you promote any player interaction at all, given that while players may be "physically in the same spot", they are also in effect in a completely different environment?
- How do you maintain any challenge, since in practice, a dangerous monster in one dimension will not necessarily be present or dangerous in the next dimension?
- How do you build a consistent storyline when the total world is in effect a dynamic and ever-changing construct?

A few ideas stemming from this: everyone is bound to the same core dimension, and the ability to move through another one is in fact a skill with limited (but trainable) duration.
Another possible skillset could involve the abiltiy to sense someone in another dimension, or even, as you mentionned in the opening post, to communicate or strike at people in other dimensions.
The most ambitious realization of the basic idea could be even one step further: the physical laws themselves change with the dimensions (but that would probably limit the amount of dimensions present), like, A strikes at B in world X with a fire spell, but B enters a fire dimension, and when the spell connects, B gets actually healed by the spell...

Hmm... I need more time to think...
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Old 07-04-2003, 01:13 PM   #7
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Just to be pedantic:

4D already exists and no, it isn't "time". In fact, 4D is something involving hypermathematics and incredibly difficult to understand pictures. A nice example is over here which diplays a hypercube, which is basically a common cube in 4D.
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Old 07-04-2003, 01:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
How do you define the "core" world?
Within the concept I'm discussing, the "core" world would effectively be just one possible world, utilising some sort of on-the-fly random world generator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Are the number of "mod-worlds" reachable limited or not?
Theoretically not - there would be more than anyone could reasonably visit.

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if not, how can you promote any player interaction at all, given that while players may be "physically in the same spot", they are also in effect in a completely different environment?
It's the same issue as you'd have with a large world. The solution would be to provide players with a way to locate each other, or otherwise encourage players to stick together.

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How do you maintain any challenge, since in practice, a dangerous monster in one dimension will not necessarily be present or dangerous in the next dimension?
Imagine that all mud game worlds were 1 dimensional; there were only two commands used for movement, "north" and "south". Now let's imagine that someone suggested having a 2 dimensional mud, and answer your own question.

Yes, you could go to a different dimension where the monster is weaker, or doesn't exist. But that's no different from being able to walk around the monster in a regular mud. You could also have some particularly tough mobs which existed the same in all dimensions.

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How do you build a consistent storyline when the total world is in effect a dynamic and ever-changing construct?
The Amber books (which is where I got the idea from) did an extremely good job of it. As with all muds, the game world should play an important part of the theme.

Anyway, time short, need to run - will reply more later.
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Old 07-04-2003, 04:09 PM   #9
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This may be somewhat off-topic but the Alastair's post hit close enough to home to post.

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A few ideas stemming from this: everyone is bound to the same core dimension, and the ability to move through another one is in fact a skill with limited (but trainable) duration.
Another possible skillset could involve the abiltiy to sense someone in another dimension, or even, as you mentionned in the opening post, to communicate or strike at people in other dimensions.
† This description of the system is strikingly similar to the "astral travel" that I created for my game. †Those with the ability are able to move into a plane that is randomly shifting yet has permenant locations where players are able to exit the plane to other real world locations. †At first it was just going to be used as a replacement for the portal-type standards and ended up adding another dimension (pun somewhat intended) to the game.
† The astral beings are able to lower themselves close to the physical plane and have minor interactions with the physical plane, in the same context that spirits are able to touch the physical plane. †Those with elevated senses, wether natural or mystical, can sense the astral beings and there are set attacks which can crossover. † The usefullness of the this so far has been limited to eavesdropping or minor pranks in the same mold that invisible characters like to pull off. †I have left quite a few limitations on the interactions but at some point I may decide to loosen them to see how out of control it can get.
† While in astral travel physical attacks against other astral beings have little relevance and the laws of magic are bent that alters the effects of the spells. †As I mentiioned the plane is in a constant shift, so being able to reach the astral plane does not automatically mean you will be able to find your way out, or find the link to the place you intended to go. †Astral guides have the ability to grasp the nature of the plane and have a much better chance of locating specific place.
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Old 07-04-2003, 06:55 PM   #10
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A completely different approach relying on infinite dimensions could be to classify any spot along three scales(axes? sp)

- temperature, from freezing to boiling
- wetness (from wet to arid)
- vegetatÓon / infrastructure (from lush jungle to desert to dense city)

Then place each of those on a wheel.

As the player progresses, he will initially learn to change only one of the wheels, and only by a tiny bit, and over time acquire the skills to "travel" along all three wheels and through great distances.
For instance, a beginner with the initial vegetation / infrastructure skill would be able to move from a town to a village to a plain to a forest (step by step), but for instance could not transport himself to a glacier at the same physical location before progressing enough to learn also travelling through temperatures...

Or alternatively, in order to simplify, the temperature and wetness wheels could be combined in a single one, for instance a colour wheel (black - ether->dark grey - caverns -> grey enclosed mountains ->dark green - forest -> light green prairie [...]-> blue - sea -> dark blue - underwater -> black) etc.
And using the vegetation / infrastructure wheel as an overlay.
Additionnally, you set elemental properties according to the colour selected (White: glacier, strong against water, weak against fire). You could even twist it further by actually having only one single basic player race, but which actually shifts as the player travels through dimension: lizardlike in "hot" colour zones, mammothlike in cold dimensions.

Which of course could further translate in different skill specializations: while some players are apt at moving through the dimensions, others might be proficient at shapechanging without changing dimensions.
Your opponent has strong fire magic? translate yourself into a desert and become a lizardman so that you're immune to fire spells, then strike back at your opponent who remained on the glacier with fire spells of your own while he's weak against it.
Or alternatively, stay on the glacier and just shapeshift to a lizardman, absorb the fire attack, then shift back to a yeti and maul your opponent before he gets a second spell off.

Perhaps to add some more specifities, take a very limited set of mobs and then decide how they themselves are declined through the colour wheel, then play with location shifting for the mobs themselves.

In order to allow better player interaction, you could determine at least one location (a single inn, a whole town?) to reach uniformally across all dimensions, a sort of inversal gathering point...

Well, this more or less dries up my ideas at this point
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Old 07-04-2003, 08:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ingham @ July 04 2003,12:13)
Just to be pedantic:

4D already exists and no, it isn't "time". In fact, 4D is something involving hypermathematics and incredibly difficult to understand pictures. A nice example is over here which diplays a hypercube, which is basically a common cube in 4D.
Not to be quarrelous or anything, but time or 'duration' is considered the 4th Dimension. What you are talking about is called the 5th dimension, or more aptly, the 4th Spatial Dimension.

And of course the hypercube is a 4th dimensional cube-like object 'shadowed' in the 3rd dimension, as a square is a 2nd dimensional shadow of a cube and a line is a 1st dimensional shadow of the a square. And then everything is shadowed down to a point* in the 0th dimension.

*A point being nothingness.
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Old 07-04-2003, 09:20 PM   #12
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Good point, though time as we know it is nothing more but entropy; the natural tendency of all matter to become chaotic and less energetic. Our current time system is based on variables, like the year which is based on the orbit of the earth around the sun and the month, which is based on the orbit of the moon around the earth. Time is just another name for the natural tendency of all stuff to degrade/wear down/burn out/whatever.

Then again, if we go back far enough, all matter in the universe was condensed into a no-dimensional point when no dimensions yet existed, nor did entrophy. So in a way, we both could be very right. Suppose we could argue about this for ages but I'm pretty sure neither of us (well, dunno about you) are experts on temporal and/or dimensional theories.
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Old 07-05-2003, 08:18 AM   #13
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Tavish wrote:
This description of the system is strikingly similar to the "astral travel" that I created for my game. Those with the ability are able to move into a plane that is randomly shifting yet has permenant locations where players are able to exit the plane to other real world locations. At first it was just going to be used as a replacement for the portal-type standards and ended up adding another dimension (pun somewhat intended) to the game.
Well as I mentioned in my original, I did the same sort of thing with GW back in 1995. But that's really just the equivilent of a 3D mud which only has two levels of height.

What I'm really thinking about here is a situation whereby a fourth dimension allows just as much freedom of movement as the other three (and for those pendants, this fourth dimension doesn't necessarily have to be THE fourth dimension, just an extra one beyond the standard three found in most muds).
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Old 07-05-2003, 11:37 AM   #14
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A little off-topic, but what the heck.

It bugs me when people call themselves experts on this, since no one has actually glimpsed the fourth, or fifth (whatever you want to call it) dimension, or seen ours from another. How do we know some force that can't exist in our dimensions doesn't make an actual hypercube, or anything else that we can imagine for that matter, impossible or changed from what we expect? For instance, gravity would be very different in the second dimension. The force would be radial instead of spherical, if it works at all. Can things be dense in the second dimension? Circles would settle like spheres on a plane, but since they're infinately thin, they are basically nothing.

What if our up was really skewed to the left? Would we even know it? Since everything would be tilted, including our senses, nothing would be as far as we're concerned. Probably the only way to see would be to look from another dimension, and that doesn't mean drawing pictures. The fact is, theory only gets you so far with things that no one can see at all.
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Old 07-05-2003, 02:20 PM   #15
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This is fascinating stuff here. Would like to point out also that there is a way creatures and such could be just as comfortable in one dimension as the other. In a book I read 'Sentenced To Prism' by Alan Dean Foster there were silicon lifeforms that were a type of fractal that existed in neither the 2nd or 3rd dimension (or maybe just the 1st and 2nd but also detactable in the 3rd, doncha love it?) but kind of in the middle, or both if you like. Don't have time to describe it scientifically at the moment, but thought that might be another thing to think on. Were pretty much invisible without the right kind of equipment but were perfectly solid and could be felt, tasted, heard, etc. Using this theory why not have walls that cannot be moved through in several directions based on fractal mathematics?

Hope I've added just a touch more insanity to an already iffy subject
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Old 07-05-2003, 02:27 PM   #16
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Hausdorff, that was the scientist/mathematician who hypothesized about the fractals. Do a Google search on him if interested.
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Old 07-13-2003, 08:38 PM   #17
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I like the idea of creatures that exist in ALL the planes/worlds/dimensions/(call them what you want), Add in a sort of mental health for a player as well, and you can do the Cthulu RPG thing, creatures appearance/presence can have an effect on it. That way players who have sensitive character (Sensitive as in able to see/effect other planes) have the benefits from mutiple planes, but also a few weaknesses, If my char is insensitive to these creatures, he can be ignorant of their horror, and "ignorance is bliss", whereas if I can see all the nasties around me, the shock can start to pile up until.... (insert generic horrible thing to happen here)
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