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Thread: Spacial paradoxes in games
26-07-2011, 01:59 AM #1
Spacial paradoxes in games
Just watched this analysis of deliberate spacial anomalies that Kubrick put throughout The Shining... I'm curious as to whether this warped sense of space has ever been utilized in a game, particularly a horror one. I found it interesting that the Duke Nukem map was limited by the engine and the impossibility of the Overlook's blueprint, and it got me thinking about an engine that allowed for such a blueprint to be rendered in full.
While the subtleties of such a layout would probably be all but lost on most players, I was particularly intrigued by the disorienting, shifting nature of the hedge maze (watch part 2.) Can anyone think of a game that deliberately fucks with the player by (subtly) changing the map layout completely?
26-07-2011, 02:30 AM #2
It's a brilliant idea but I can't think of any examples of it.
The map changes behind your back, or is laid out in a way that'd be impossible in the real world. It'd be great way to make a corridor shooter - where you keep going back the way you came, but yet you never quite retrace your steps; each time there's some new wall, or door, or room, that shouldn't be there, it hadn't before.
26-07-2011, 02:36 AM #3
I've seen it done in Neverwinter Nights modules, but I think it was being done on the fly the DM.
26-07-2011, 02:43 AM #4
From a Youtube comment (oh lawd has it come to that?):
Continuity errors and set design fails =/= extra genius points to Kubrick.
On topic: It would be good to mess with the player in such a way, and my brain is trying to tell me that it has happened to me in something like Korsakovia but I can't put my finger on it. (Edit: But of course, I remember now, Metro 2033!)
Meanwhile RPS has featured this before.
Trouble is, anything other than a quick headfuck and you risk your game being un-navigable, then you player won't know what to do in real life, rather than sort-of-in-character-disorientation, unless you have already communicated rules to them like in the game above.
Last edited by P7uen; 26-07-2011 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Metro 2033333!
26-07-2011, 02:46 AM #5
Alan Wake had a few scenes that touched on this idea; specifically in the DLCs. Very disorienting and very impossible to have actually existed. Quiet interesting though. Shame it wasn't on PC. Fuck.
26-07-2011, 02:51 AM #6
That was neat.
A few examples come to mind. If I remember correctly, Silent Hill 2 featured rooms that shouldn't exist, buildings which were larger inside than they were outside, and several weirder but more overtly supernatural things that I won't spoil. What stuck with me most vividly was a basement that could only be reached after traveling down a staircase for what seemed like a mile.
Prey did this too, though it called attention to it. Doors leading to a room on the other side of the ship. A corridor in which you existed in two places at once, for lack of a more elegant explanation. And though I haven't played it, I remember hearing or reading about an infinitely long hallway in Stalker. That might have been on the RPS podcast.
26-07-2011, 02:59 AM #7
26-07-2011, 03:12 AM #8
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There's actually quite a lot of them in old-school dungeon crawlers to make mapping them difficult. I'm not sure if it's what you're after, though.
26-07-2011, 03:22 AM #9
This is worth checking out for the unbelievable obsessively-detailed attention that guy paid to even the tiniest elements in his movies. Given who we're dealing with, it really doesn't seem possible this was due to oversight.
26-07-2011, 03:48 AM #10
When they were designing Portal 2 apparently they built the levels as collections of "modules" and had invisible portals stitching them together, which they then removed when they built the final levels by joining the sections together. If I remember correctly there is only one "impossible" space in Portal 2, but I don't know where it is. (I think this is all said in the commentary). Anyway, portals would allow a designer to build Escheresque levels - endless staircases that loop back on themselves, moebius waterfalls, that sort of thing. That would be cool - in fact, I'd be surprised if it hasn't been done already. Someone needs to make this level.
26-07-2011, 03:49 AM #11
Marathon had a multiplayer map in which several hallways shared the same space accessible by going east to west or north to south. That was one of the cool things about those pseudo-3D engines of the time. Something like that would be much harder in a real 3D engine I think. Portal 2 has an impossible space, mentioned in the dev commentary, but the "world portal" tech is built into the game engine, for obvious reasons.
Edit: The Marathon map
Last edited by Smashbox; 26-07-2011 at 03:57 AM.
26-07-2011, 03:52 AM #12
In portal 2, it's the part where you try to open the fake door, which falls in on you. Wheatley's defective killbox.
26-07-2011, 03:57 AM #13
26-07-2011, 04:07 AM #14
I completely forgot to mention House of Leaves in my initial post, as a dead-perfect example of how these spacial inaccuracies can create a deeply unsettling mood. The fact that shifting, impossible geometry would confuse and frustrate the player is exactly the point. The suggestion that Kubrick created these set pieces in this way out of pure oversight is as ignorant a statement as saying that deeper meaning can not be found in literature if the author did NOT intend it.
26-07-2011, 04:11 AM #15
Kubrick, more than almost any other director I can think of, was a meticulous planner and researcher, maybe to a fault. That's why he's got so few films from such a long career. He spent so long planning each project that I would be surprised if he were unaware of the spacial incongruity.
26-07-2011, 04:28 AM #16
There is a trick to navigating it though, and it is possible to actually reach the end.
There were some user-made levels for Descent that abused geometry in interesting ways. Like a huge room containing a floating cube where each face of the cube has a door that opens into a different room, each many times larger than the cube. Or a long hallway with a pole at the end. Fly around the pole once, and the hallway you just came from is gone. Go around a few more times and it opens back up -- into a different hallway. Fly around the same number of times in the opposite direction to get back where you started. So to get to the exit, you had to remember which way to spin around, and how many times in order to end up at the correct corridor :)
26-07-2011, 04:35 AM #17
Hasn't Amnesia some somethings along these lines, at the very least I feel like its done the whole "you walk down a hallway for a mile and you turn around and the end is still right behind you" thing, maybe in the Justine DLC?
26-07-2011, 04:46 AM #18
Also, don't forget the original never-ending staircase in Super Mario 64.
26-07-2011, 04:48 AM #19
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How about the never-ending street in the city of Skara Brae in The Bard's Tale? That's from 1985.
26-07-2011, 05:05 AM #20