## Friday Fun: Hyper Rogue

Posted in: Friday Fun | December 21, 2012 | No Comments

For those of you looking for a science-game-fix, I’ve got an interesting one this week.  A friend of mine passed this one on to me recently (thanks Piotr!)  It is not a science game per say.  But it has a nice twist.

Hyper Rogue

This is just your standard move around, kill bad guys, collect useless treasure game.  Except for one big twist: the world is non-Euclidean.  I think this is the first time I’ve really seen this executed in a game.  The surface your character is walking on has a negative curvature.  That means it is not curved like a sphere, but like a hyperbolic plane.  More familiarly: a saddle, so named for its shape.  Or better yet, Pringles.  Try flattening out a Pringle.  Even if you could get it from breaking, you’d find it just can’t lay flat.  There’s too much material around the outside, it would have extra folds of stuff.  (The converse is if you took the top half of a globe, and tried to lay it flat.  There’s not enough material around the outside, so it would tear a bunch if you managed to get it flat.)

Back to the game.  Since you’re walking on a hyperbolic plane, there’s a surprising amount of area within a given radius.  On the site, you’ll see pictures of how they game designer depicted this all on a two-dimensional screen.  Your character can see only a certain distance (ahem, radius), but in order to draw all the tiles properly, they get drawn smaller around the edges.  That’s their way of dealing with the ‘extra folds of stuff’ issue.

It’s a curious game to play around with.  I’ll admit, it is very easy to ignore the mathematical twist entirely.  After all, you’re just walking around a world.  And by the way it is drawn, you might almost think you’re just standing on a sphere.  (It’s easy to mistake the smaller tiles around the edges for you being at some North pole, and them being at the Equator.  But, of course, that’s not true at all.)  The geometry manifests itself in a couple different ways in the game.  First, with all that extra (folds of) stuff, the world ends up having a lot of area.  So much packed in such a small radius that it is very hard to get back to where you started.  And of course, parallel lines come up, too.  In flat space, parallel lines always stay the same distance away.  On a sphere, they will cross eventually (think lines of longitude).  But on a hyperbolic plane, the parallel lines will diverge.  So in the game, you’ll encounter sets of walls that are parallel, but diverge.  It messes with your head a bit.

The site has a bunch of pictures and a video of the game, or you can just go for it and download it (free!).   So why not check it out?

-Andy

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