Choose Your Own Fractal: Polynomial

This morning’s trippy maths-cleverness comes to us via Indiegames, where they flagged up fractal 3D space shooter in progress, Polynomial. It’s a beauty, although somewhat slow paced at the moment. The game contains “mathematically generated fractal scenery and models”, which can be created first hand using the in-game editor. The results are rather spectacular. And I particularly like the Mandelbrot Set as an Eagle nebula type skybox. It’s only a 3mb download, go take a look. And watch out for the dynamic reactor setting, apparently having that switched on can cause dizziness.


  1. Stromko says:

    I have to admire this peculiar thing for actually including all the necessary rudiments of gameplay that I would expect. “There are enemies that shoot at you, avoid the shots. You can blow them up. Do that and your score goes up. There are vaguely defined powerups I guess.”

    It mostly makes me feel very foolish for paying for a class where I learned all about polynomials over the course of about ten weeks, and then I forgot all about polynomials a couple weeks later. But plugging in 3.1111111, the first number that occured to me (aside from 3.5 which made a simple ribbon galaxy and enemies that looked like galaxies?) that occured to me, made some very pretty wafeforms so that didn’t stop me from enjoying this.

  2. GibletHead2000 says:

    mmmmmmmmm… pretttty colourrrs

  3. Stromko says:

    I think one thing that could help it is if the program could better recognize what makes a good ship and what makes a good galaxy. Right now, after plugging in a bunch of random junk in various boxes, I’ve got a nebula that looks like a small, angry bright red lozenge, and yet again enemies that look like spiral galaxies.

  4. Bhazor says:

    Hey, thats a great use for sums.

    It’s pretty much all there as a game, just push up the pace and aggression of enemies and we’re all set.

  5. FatMat says:

    the guy says that there will be a multiplayer version. just add music while playing and it’s good.

  6. clive dunn says:

    I like this sort of thing. All professional mathematicians should be required to produce something like this. Something i can show my nephew and say, “look, maths IS FUN”

  7. Chris says:

    Interesting game, love the graphics.

    My first thought was as i jumped into the game was that it made me realise that i have never played a 3D version of Asteroids. Which would be good:)

  8. Mike_in_Akron says:

    I snagged some of them there images for wallpaper… nice!!

  9. Professor says:

    Anyone recommend any seeds for purtyness? So far only the default was beautiful for me.

  10. MrBejeebus says:

    really fun, and the rector thingmy DOES cause dizziness

  11. espy says:

    Lovely. I admire how graduall it ramps up the difficulty. You’re just whooshing around, popping hapless amoebas, then at some point, you turn your ship around and stare at a seemingly endless miasma of rainbow-colored things, sending blue strings of death all over the place, and then, between all the mayhem, an autotarget-upgrade, right in front of you, the picking up of which results in an amazing cascade of alien doom, a crescendo of pops accompanied by an orgasm of color, on drugs, while strapped to a rocket, flying into the sun.


  12. Gap Gen says:

    Infinity: Quest for Earth has a lot of very pretty procedural generation stuff. Talking about molecular clouds as backdrops, here’s Infinity’s take on them:
    (example screenshot)
    (forum post)

  13. alasseo says:

    There’s a forumpost over at about this game by the creator. link to

  14. Jaffo says:

    Hmm, kinda like a basic Elite. Even uses the same scanner. Pretty.

  15. Wacky says:

    How can I turn the whole damn HUD off?That Radar is blocking my screenshots.

  16. FatMat says:

    “h hides/shows HUD (arrows, boxes, and things)” says the readme

  17. Mad Doc MacRae says:


    Freespace (stripped down) on drugs?

    You can make the game tougher in the options menu (hit escape). I started getting toasted every so often when on “normal.”

    The two powerups at the same time (very fast shot + auto aim within the reticule) is instagib, countered only by the massive waves as you start playing for a while.

    And it’s a bit early for a game set in the fractal wars isn’t it? I lost a few friends to the math menace…

  18. undead dolphin hacker says:

    I think it’s time we find a genre name for “acid trip procedurally generated indie shooters” so we can stop taking them seriously.

  19. Snuffy (the Evil) says:

    This is quite awesome. I’ll have to run it fullscreen with the HUD hidden and get myself some very pretty wallpapers.

  20. IvanHoeHo says:

    Sweet Jesus, it’s like Planestate: the video game!


  21. firebug says:

    wallpaper, seems like there are enough comments to call it fan art! I love it !

  22. Simon Jones says:

    Everyone should try playing it with the Sunshine score in the background. Brilliant.

    Also: The sense of scale in this outstrips most supposedly ‘big world’ games I’ve played lately.

  23. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It looks.. pretty. I can’t wait to try it out.

  24. mysteriesofkabir says:

    I thought that comment about dizziness was a joke. Ten minutes later I really feel a little bit sick.

  25. PHeMoX says:

    Too bad it doesn’t work on my laptop here..

  26. mlah says:

    I tried the demo and it was awesome although I don’t feel the full game should cost $20 especially when there is next to no documentation, it would be nice to have more than shoot stuff, collect stuff to go off of, and the guys attitude seems to be that we should just throw money at him and he might just be bothered to improve stuff.