> 4D Blocks

4D Blocks

This is a work in progress. The current version is Version 6. Usually I like to wait until things are perfect before putting them online, but I doubt this will be finished any time soon. So, I guess it'll have to be an experiment in anti-perfectionism as well!

Now, here's the real introduction (mostly from version 4 but the number of examples is up to date).

The project has come to fruition! You can pick up blocks, move them around, turn them in your hand, and assemble them into structures; and then when the time comes you can knock them down and scatter the pieces all over the place. No picture or video can capture how awesome it feels to be able to do all this; you just have to try it for yourself. No doubt there are other programs that let you manipulate objects in this much detail, but I've never seen one. When I play in 4D mode, I can practically feel the development not of formalizable knowledge but rather of actual physical intuition!

As the cherry on top, I constructed a simple 4D jigsaw puzzle that you can solve.

Oh, and by the way, the cute little trains are now truly four-dimensional, able to run on elevated platforms, and there are now over 500 example files that you can look at, including some other wonders that I haven't even mentioned.

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Here's the introduction from version 3, which is still relevant.

This is not a joke! This is a real screenshot from inside the game. The train moves and is indescribably cute, and you can make it go forward and backward and control all the track switches. And you can do exactly the same thing in 4D, except that I haven't bothered to construct such an elaborate layout in that case.

Here's the very beginning of the 3D-4D analogy for trains. These are rails that extend away from you and then turn to the left.

I'll save the rest of the analogy for in game, where you can see everything for yourself. There are over a hundred example files that you can load and look at, and lots of documentation that helps explain what you're seeing. You can also create your own example files using a fairly simple PostScript-like descriptive language.

The trains are dedicated to my dad for his birthday. He likes trains too!

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Here are some old pictures of blocks from version 2. In this first one I'm looking down on a tesseract from above. Underneath the tesseract is a blue three-dimensional floor mat. To break it down:

  • Largest white cube is the retina boundary.
  • Large blue cube is the mat boundary.
  • Blue cross shape is a pattern on the mat.
  • Small white cube is the top face of the tesseract.
  • Green cube indicates the color of the top face.
  • The bottom face of the tesseract coincides with the middle of the cross, but you can't see any of that since it's underneath the tesseract.
  • Once you know where the top and bottom are you can imagine the six sides, and of course if you're in game you can fly around and look at them.

For comparison, here are a couple of pictures from 3D mode. As in the maze game, comparing 3D and 4D is a big source of understanding.