levelHead


I somehow missed this when it first came to light last year, but it is still quite extraordinary. Tilt a cube to move a man around in spaces that are projected onto the surface of the cube, and rely on your own spatial associations gleaned from play to navigate the rooms contained “inside” the cube… Not only is the cube-manipulated-via-screen interface for levelHead rather unusual, the concept for the game – Memory Loci – creates a somewhat unusual problem for the player to solve. It is, as its creator Julian Oliver points out, rather like a futuristic Rubik’s puzzle.

Oliver explains (sort of):

It is this navigable accumulation of spatial associations in memory that is configured as the core mechanism of play in levelHead. Rather than the computer containing these relationships for the player it is the memory architecture of the human player that describes the scope of their free movement. It is a game that in order to be played relies on the imaginary and unseen architecture being of equivalent relational resolution to that of the digital architecture displayed.

More here, and there’s a splendid video of it in action after the jump.

I watch videos like this and think “some people are just cleverer than me”.

I found this, incidentally, via WMMNA’s write up of the Homo Ludens Ludens exhibition. It contains much that is on the weird edge of design.

12 Comments

  1. Ging says:

    That’s really quite impressive, though I am confused as to what exactly you’re meant to do – I appreciate the guiding the dude about the place, but to what end do you guide him?

  2. Naurgul says:

    I think you’re supposed to improve your memory by remembering how each place looks and guiding him through a sequence of rooms, each of which has a number of doors, some of which lead back to square one. At least, that’s what I got.

    The concept has me excited, even though I despise memory games. :/

  3. Thiefsie says:

    CUBE the movie in game form?

  4. Tak says:

    Let us hope that poor, poor little man never becomes self aware. Oh the horror of realizing you have near infinite processing power and memory, and are as close to immortal as they come, but you’re doomed to exist only in a three inch cube. *cries for the little man*

  5. Naurgul says:

    If you think about it, he doesn’t have to know there’s a whole world outside of his little cube. I don’t think he would be capable of knowing, even if you were to become self aware.

    /mandatory philosophical reply :p

  6. Chris_24 says:

    I think the idea is you see the same room from different angles, depending on which way you turn the cube…

  7. Ginger Yellow says:

    That’s seriously cool. It’s a shame he’s not exhibiting it anywhere in the UK. Imagine a giant version projected on to the back wall of the turbine hall at the Tate Modern with people arguing over which way to turn the cube..

  8. Fat Zombie says:

    It would be better if the man was a ragdoll; then, instead of guiding him, you let him flop about until you got him into an exit.

  9. Down Rodeo says:

    The great thing is it is open-source (as far as I can tell) so if you particularly wanted you could make it do all these things!

    Also, I didn’t think that anyone was allowed to be that clever.

    (Probably couldn’t make the self-awareness though.)

  10. Noc says:

    You could fake it, though.

    But goddamn, I want to spent a hour playing with this thing.

  11. Carey says:

    If you think about it, he doesn’t have to know there’s a whole world outside of his little cube. I don’t think he would be capable of knowing, even if you were to become self aware.

    /mandatory philosophical reply :p

    Note that the Memory Unit section suggests a taste for Borges. See the Library of Babel.

  12. Nate says:

    “I don’t think he would be capable of knowing, even if you were to become self aware.”

    i see what you did thar