Miegakure Selected Press

Walking through a wall

Some comments on Miegakure after my Experimental Gameplay Workshop talk at GDC’09.

Chris Dahlen seemed to really get it,

AVC at GDC ’09, Day Four: Wake Me When Your Game Does Six Dimensions

If you remember just one quote from this afternoon’s Experimental Gameplay Session, let it be this one: “Let’s push this block into the fourth dimension.”


Designer Marc ten Bosch has created a game that takes Super Paper Mario one step farther: instead of just switching from the 2D to 3D to get yourself around an obstacle, you have to think about four spatial dimensions, and switch through those to reach your goals.

And it works. I don’t really get how. I can’t think in four spatial dimensions. But Bosch has a prototype that floips into 4D, and he says he could probably code it to five or six dimensions too, if he wanted. Oh, and there’s a shadow mechanic too: if a 3D object projects a 2D shadow, a 4D object would project a 3D shadow, so … okay, I’m lost. But just wait ’til the demo! Wow.

Ryan Kuo made a good point on challenge in games.

Keita Takahashi Drew My Picture

In general, videogame challenges have either been physical (reflexes in platformers and shooters) or tactical (inventory management and battle in RPGs; things that Tom Chick plays) in nature. In these new games, challenge is conceptual as well: Can your mind piece together the world of Where Is My Heart? Can it work out the intricate dimensional folds of Miegakure?

Kim Pallister said:

GDC09: My Favorite Things

Miegakure: An EGW entry by Marc Ten Bosh, this was a prototype of a game taking place in four dimensions, and it broke the brain of about half the audience members. Tricky to explain without a video, but here’s my attempt: The Kuju PSP game Crush (video) is a game taking place in a 3D world, but where players can play the world as a 2D game along a choice of axis (e.g. XY, XZ, or YZ). Miegakure takes the concept a step further by taking place in a FOUR dimensional world, but allowing the player to at any time play along three of these axis (e.g. XYZ, XYW, XZW, YZW). Rotating between spaces would cause the 3D world to sort of fold in upon itself before displaying the other view, and at that point my brain snapped. As Marc pointed out, the math for programming this kind of thing is kind of trivial, but I’d imagine getting your level designers to grok it would be trickier. I should note that both Jon Blow and Chris Hecker appeared absolutely giddy when Marc was demoing his game. Schoolgirl giddy.

To clarify, what you see is actually a slice of the world (as opposed to a projection), and there is only two sets of axis you work with.

This A.P. story is going around the world:

Experimental games get play at conference

Warren Spector mentionned the game on his blog.

One of the speaker/demo-ers showed off his ”4D game” – Miegakure – a game set in a four-dimensional space, unfolded so mere 3D mortals can (nearly) parse it. I barely understood what the guy was talking about and by the end of his brief talk and demo my head felt like it was going to explode, but, man, do I want to try to figure it out! Proof positive that there are whole universes (maybe literally) of new ideas to explore in gaming!

22 Responses to “Miegakure Selected Press”

  1. Josh W says:

    That sounds really exciting! Are you going to be releasing a demo? It seems one of those things that is truly understood only by playing.

    More broadly it’s got that portal or braid style potential to it, you could turn this into something classic if you can find the extra story resonances of your concept and develop them into the gameplay, or as additional elements like the sound, in harmony with it.

  2. Brice says:

    Hi Marc! Congrats on becoming an IGF finalist! There are so many fans (I among them) of this concept — please tell us that you will one day be releasing the game to play…? Or perhaps selling it? So few people have the opportunity to go to GDC.

  3. […] far to be based around the conceptual headflips of a 19th century novella. Marc ten Bosch’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop presentation at last year’s GDC was widely commented upon. This year, he’s picked up a nomination in excellence in design. And now, he’s speaking […]

  4. […] far to be based around the conceptual headflips of a 19th century novella. Marc ten Bosch’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop presentation at last year’s GDC was widely commented upon. This year, he’s picked up a nomination in excellence in design. And now, he’s speaking […]

  5. Resin says:

    Sounds like a fantastic concept that I would like to understand better. The most interesting bit sounds like the whole shadows thing, is light then considered to be four dimensional as well? Are the replaced axis selectable, and does it matter which axis you choose to replace with the fourth dimensional axis?
    Two games that I would like to see a comparison made to in order to understand what this game is about:
    Scott Anderson’s Shadow Physics:
    and Edmund Mcmillen’s Time Fcuk:
    Are these 2D->3d equivlents your 3D -> 4D game? I’d rather just get to play the demo but failing that I want to understand what this is a bit more.

  6. Marc says:

    Well it’s better if you play it rather than having me explain it πŸ™‚

    The shadow thing, well there’s many ways to define it, but if light could spread in four dimensions, then it would create shadows of 4D objects, and these shadows would be 3D, by analogy to how shadow of 3D objects are 2D.

    The axis you swap is not selectable to keep the controls simple. I find that it does not matter much. For example the two horizontal axis are equivalent.

    Shadow physics is about being able to walk on the projections of 3D objects on a 2D plane.

    Time Fcuk is about moving between different 2D worlds, composing a sort of 3D universe.

    My game is about moving between different 3D worlds, composing a 4D universe. You can also see and move objects across the 3D worlds, but that’s hard to explain, so you’ll just have to play the game!

  7. Resin says:

    Yesi It would be better if I could just play it…from the other comments here, I understand there is no demo planned. Short of going to the GDC is there a way to play the game, a download button that I’m overlooking?

    Hmm, moving a 3d shadow causes a 4d object to move? I sort of thought of how you move the 2d shadows in shadowphysics and the direction the 3d object moves is restricted to those 2 axis. Trying to visualize the same concept going from 3 to 4 hurts my head though, different 2 dimensional planes-easy to picture, different 3 dimensional planes not so much so, I guess thats why I mentioned Time Fcuk as a comparrison point(albeit a 2D comparison), you have a character and then rotate through the different 3d components of the 4d world.

    When you talk about 5 and 6 dimensional options would they be handled from the 3 dimensional just nested in each other? Does that even make sense?

    I’m going to take it that time as the fourth dimension has no place in this game – if the different 3D states you were rotating through were different points in your progression through the game (?)….no, no nevermind.

    btw, I love the Japanese garden setting if your interested in more reference I would recommend this book:
    It has a great breakdown of things like diffent types of lanterns, rocks, fences, etc.

  8. Marc says:

    No, but it will be shown at PAX East and a bunch of other places this year.

    Explaining all of this in a blog post is not ideal, but I’ll try.

    Essentially in shadow physics your character is a line between the light source and the wall. That line could be a line in 4d.

    No you don’t rotate through the different 3d components of the 4d world, it’s more clever than that, you’ll see.

    Your idea about 5d or 6d sort of makes sense.

    Time has almost no place in the game, yes.

    Thanks for the book.

  9. RobbieCrash says:

    I’m going to assume you’ve seen the mention on xkcd, but if not, I’d expect to be flooded soon.

    It’s tragic that there’s no public demo of this game. It sounds incredibly interesting.

  10. typs lik dis says:

    can a nigga get a download link

  11. typs lik dis says:

    why aren’t my posts getting posted, where can i play this game

  12. Angry XKCD Mob says:

    I demand a demo! Rabble Rabble Rabble!

  13. Ben says:

    You’re going to have a flood soon, my condolences. Any chance of a download link for any kind of demo?

  14. ManiSto says:

    I actually came here from xkcd, thinking there would be a playable demo, not just a youtube video… πŸ™ Can we play it soon? πŸ™‚

  15. Another drop in the flood says:

    Another xkcd reader here. Very interested in the concept, but I’ll just take your word for it being much easier to comprehend through trial and error. Being a freshman in college, I don’t have much of a chance at practically attending any conferences, so it’s disappointing I won’t be able to play it, but with the youtube video up, I’ll take what I can get πŸ™‚

    I search for games that involve critical thinking all the time and find some surprising candidates. Congratulations for getting just a fraction of the hype such a game deserves πŸ™‚

  16. Anonymous Coward says:

    Another xkcd reader who stumbled upon your game- looks fascinating. Can’t wait for it to be playable.

  17. DrNoze says:

    Thx for this game! Can’t wait….

    My post about the game (in french) : http://www.foxylounge.com/MIEGAKURE-un-puzzle-platformer-en


  18. gonegahgah says:

    Usually we tend to think of the dimensions as left-right, forward-back & up-down but in reality they don’t have to lie in those directions. Mathematically speaking we in a sense have four dimensions already because we have x, y, z and towards. Things like gravity and magnetism are toward dimenions. I only say that because I’m curious how the toward dimension (the fifth dimension by my reckoning in your game) actually works. I also am curious about a true 4th space dimension in the sense of what true buildings would look like in 4 dimensional space. As you say a flatworlder builds a different house to a 3D worlder; so how then again does a 4D worlder build the house differently again. I don’t know that you game addresses that idea but I think it would be an interesting idea to explore. I would assume still that there is still only 1 toward direction (being the down direction) so the other 3 dimension are all sideways dimensions. Having 2 down directions might be an interesting thing to imagine. Creating a tool to allow us to explore a true 4D world might also be interesting. Kind of like making a tool to allow a flatlander to explorer our world. They would see different things as their plane were moved about in our world (as long as they twisted with the moving plane; unlike everything else. Very interesting idea Marc; I’ll be interested to see how you have implemented it.

  19. gonegahgah says:

    The other interesting thing about being a flatlander in a 3D world, and to then extrapolate it up, is that things would appear to defy the rules of the flatlander (and in turn us). If we presented a 3D donut to a flatlander it would depend on how we presented it to them. If we presented the donut standing up but side-on to the flatlander they would see a line from ground to the top of the donut. If we presented the same donut down the middle front-on they would see a bottom line, above that a gap and, in defiance of gravity, above that a top line just floating there. If we moved the donut a bit further to the side of their plane then the lines would grow smaller with a bigger gap and the bottom line would magically be slightly above the ground.

    The same goes for us. For a river to flow at a constant speed, if it passes through a narrower part, that section of the river must also get deeper so that the same volume of water passes through that section than the wider section. So we have wider or deeper. Looking at it from above, like a flatlander, we only see the river getting wider or narrower so somehow the river compresses going through the narrow space; when in reality it is just making use of the 3rd dimension to go deeper.

    The same would go for us in a 4D world. If a 4D donut were moved through our 3D ‘plane’ it would appear to magically change shape and would even do strange things like seem to defy gravity without explanation. I would love to see something like that in action.

    It’s an interesting thing to try to imagine.

  20. marc says:


    There’s a 4D civilization in the game, but I won’t go into details.

    Having two down dimensions is a little bit annoying gameplay-wise because that means there should be two jumps buttons, or at least a way to fight the second gravity. That seemed contrived.

    The defy gravity part is totally in the game and is quite awesome if I can say so myself.

    I had not thought about the river that way, thanks!

  21. Harvey Perry says:

    Another xkcd reader here. Any updates on this? I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around the overall concept. Switching from 2D to 3D then defying gravity. Like the expression says “Limited only by your imagination”. Thanks