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The Secret Origin

Survey of Other Games

Somehow, in the whole time I was writing my game, it never occurred to me to check whether any four-dimensional maze games already existed. It turns out there are several. Fortunately, none of them has quite the same combination of ideas as mine, so my effort wasn't wasted; in fact I am still very pleased with both the concept and the execution.

One of the big ideas that went into my game was that a four-dimensional person would have a three-dimensional retina. I thought that idea was unique to me, so I was surprised and pleased to discover the following game.

4D Maze

The retina is supposed to be made up of solid blocks of color. When I first had the idea about the retina, I wanted to display it by making the blocks translucent, but I couldn't figure out how to do it, and so was forced to invent other methods. Well, guess what? The author of the above game did figure out how to do it.

The other games take different approaches. In the next, the maze is presented as a two-dimensional array of two-dimensional mazes, and the whole maze is visible at once, as in a traditional paper maze.

A Four Dimensional Maze

Normally, when I want to draw a map of a maze, that's the representation I use, but sometimes I like to draw a sequence of three-dimensional mazes, like so.

The next game returns to a first-person view … but for a three-dimensional person. At any instant, the view consists of a three-dimensional cross-section of the maze. The three-dimensional person can move normally within the cross-section, and can also cause the cross-section to rotate. In addition, the person can send out “sonar pulses” in the perpendicular directions as a quick way of checking whether there are any passages.

illiMaze4D

The game itself seems to be for some kind of proprietary VR system, but the documentation has some nice pictures.

The last two games entirely avoid the problem of representation. The first is a text adventure with eight movement commands; the second, equivalently, displays one room at a time, with eight doors representing the eight movement directions.