Get Your Head Around This: Miegakure’s 4D Puzzling

Still twisting my melon a bit, man.

After the last time we saw 4D puzzle-platformer Miegakure, when I was baffled by it all, I went back and re-read Flatland. Learning to think in a new spatial dimension we’re unable to see or experience can’t be that difficult, can it? Creator Marc ten Bosch has finally explained quite how it works with a new trailer, showing how one can slip into the fourth dimension to walk through (or, technically, around) a wall. I think I’m starting to get it. Maybe. Come see.

Here, watch this video and read the accompanying blog post for the low-down. I couldn’t possibly summarise it concisely and correctly.

Get it? Got it? Sort of but not entirely? Okay, that’s fine. Maybe it’ll help to read Marc’s explanation that “From the perspective of a regular 3D observer standing next to the wall the player character would suddenly disappear, and a few moments later reappear on the other side of the wall (assuming the player character is very thin along the fourth dimension).” And this is before we have 4D shapes involved.

Our Jim took to Miegakure quickly when he played it earlier this year, so I imagine it’ll all become a lot clearer when we’re actually controlling the shifts ourselves, curious hands reaching and feeling out something we can’t see. Still no word on when we’ll all get to play it.


  1. c-Row says:

    I wish I had enough smarts to understand. That looks like FEZ but less intuitive.

    • golem09 says:

      It’s like FEZ programmed entirely in 2D

    • notcurry says:

      That’s because the use of the fourth dimension is, perhaps, a little arbitrary. A fourth dimension makes no sense in our understanding of space, therefore whatever you find when you warp there is totally up to the developer. In FEZ that’s not the case, because the look of the world in 2D imposes certain restrictions on what you can find in the third dimension.

      However, I’m hopeful that the developer will find a way to make it logical and intuitive. It could be a beautiful thing if he does.

      • Steve Catens says:

        I thought the 4th dimension was time or spacetime, the 5th Dimension was either the Twilight Zone according to the first season intro, or the American Jazz/R&B group from the 60s that popularized “The Age of Aquarius”, and the 8th dimension was the space that exists within solid matter where the Lectroids dwell.

        I don’t have any idea about the 6th and 7th dimensions, undoubtedly a result of the more popular dimensions hogging all the attention.

    • Winged Nazgul says:

      It’s like Fez but without the greasy giving-money-to-phil-fish feeling. Sign me up!

      • John Connor says:

        Careful, Phil Fish is the messiah ’round these parts. Anything short of fellating the man is misogyny and you will be sentenced as cis scum to the heteronormative labor camps.

        • padger says:

          Oh yeah, all anyone talks about around here is Phil Fish.

          Fish, Fish, Fish. RPS might as well rename the site Rock, Paper, Fish, Fish!

          I mean they… didn’t even bother to review Fez? And only mention Fez in passing news articles?

          Hmm. It’s almost like you are wrong about something.

  2. melnificent says:

    To add to the confusion. It’s a 3D representation on a 2D display of 4D space.

    • LTK says:

      I think actually seeing this as it would appear in 3D would be even more mind-breaking.

  3. Wisq says:

    So now I’m wondering if they’re going to treat the fourth dimension as literally just a means of accessing neighbouring related-but-different third dimensions (as per the 2D/3D analogy), or actually as the whole “the fourth dimension is time” thing. Because the fact that everything is a desert and there’s a pile of rubble exactly where the wall used to be makes me wonder if they’re suggesting that your new, alternate third dimension is a far-future version of the previous one.

    • faelnor says:

      There might be some esoteric explanation along the way, but the trailer’s script tends to suggest it’s to be taken as nothing more than a spatial dimension. The fact that there are fully physical 4D objects such as that polyhedron to interact with or block your path makes me think that there might not be a ‘classic’ interpretation of the fourth dimension. Although it then makes it weird when he switches along the fourth dim. plane and there’s such a partition between the grass and the desert rather than a continuum. Probably just a concrete example for demonstration/tutorial purposes.

      Hmm, who knows. Interesting concept.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        In the end though, it seems like the impact to gameplay is similar to being able to warp between different worlds. Maybe the actual game will be more imaginative, but without the fancy context it’s pretty much that.

    • Snakejuice says:

      If time is the 4th dimention, then all “3D” games are actually 4D.

  4. slerbal says:

    I know nought about this game, but Flatland is an amazing book. It blew my mind as a 9 year old when I read it and changed the entire way I viewed the universe forever. That book is wonderful.

  5. Wytefang says:

    Flatland, by Edwin Abbot, is an awesome read. Love that book!

  6. Gog Magog says:

    … book completely unrelated to Cities of the Plain. Figures.
    Game looks cool, but I usually don’t care very much for puzzling. Even Portal could only string me along with humorous soundbytes.

  7. tehfish says:

    I thought the 4th dimension was supposed to be time? ;)

    That aside i’m struggling to get my head around this. Understanding fez was easy, as i’m quite good at visualizing 3D objects in my head, so mapping 2D onto that was simple.

    This though… *brain melt*
    Hopefully it’ll be easier once i get to try it :)

    • Crafter says:

      The numbering is pretty arbitrary.
      Time is usually the fourth dimension (or 4th and 5th if you consider that time is part of the complex pane but time is one of the biggest enigma in Physics).
      Here the game considers that there are not 3 but 4 spacial dimensions. Imagine how to explain a 3d world to an inhabitant of a 2d one. Yeah, that’s pretty much impossible. In the same way, we can’t visualize 4 dimensions at the same time.

  8. Bishop says:

    So rocks fell off a wall into the 4th dimension? The problem with such an unintuitive thing like the 4th dimension is you’ll solve every puzzle by stumbling apon the solution rather than understanding it. Also the distance we can move in the 4th dimension is tiny in those examples and it’s inexplicably sandy, even in the 2D to 3D example it’s just magically desert.

  9. tumbleworld says:

    “Hey, let’s call our handy parallel platform world the 4th dimension!”

    Hnng. Punches me in the !!SCIENCE!!.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Yeah, correct me if I am wrong, but are you not just playing on a cube where you can only see one side?

      • FunkyLlama says:

        More like a 4D hypercube through which you can only see 3D slices

  10. baozi says:

    Maybe I’m just stupid, but is there really a need to confuse people like me with this 3D to 4D thing if the fourth dimension isn’t just time? 2D to 3D like in Fez is easy to understand and it’s made visual in the game (and made to look more confusing in this video!), but this just looks like you’re jumping to a parallel world. The connection between 3D and 4D isn’t apparent.

    • zaphos says:

      Fez was about 3D->2D projections; this game is about showing 4D in 3D via slicing. The 3D->2D analog isn’t “made to look more confusing” in the video; it’s actually a different (albeit related) concept.

      As to whether there’s a need to confuse people … well, hopefully you can move through that confusion and learn something new :) As you play the game, one imagines you should learn a more intuitive understanding of the connection between the 4D world and its 3D slices.

  11. KillahMate says:

    Wow, people are really surprisingly confused by this game! No, time is not the fourth dimension – that’s just a convenient simplification. Time is actually a lot more complex, as you might imagine.

    Also, I would imagine that different regions of the game space are visually delineated for clarity’s sake – these are NOT parallel worlds. There’s an actual fourth spatial dimension in play here – they didn’t just make it up to confuse people.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Well, time is a dimension and it’s often considered to be the fourth one, as it is used in a four-vector in Minkowski space :)

      The most unusual property of the time dimension is that everything we know so far can only move forward in this dimension, but you can still see it as a singular numerical value that locates something in time.

    • LTK says:

      I never knew that the time dimension was anything more complex than just another dimension wherein we have no control over how we move. Care to elaborate?

      • Tacroy says:

        You actually do have control over how fast you move in time, just start moving really fast in space and your time-speed will go down.

        This leads to a really interesting model for why the speed of light is the speed limit – you’re actually always traveling at C all the time, but usually it’s along the time vector. When you speed up in the three space vectors, you slow down along the time vector. The 4-magnitude of all velocities is constant.

  12. hypocritelecteur says:

    So it’s another platformer with a SOLVE PUZZLE button?

  13. thugnificent says:

    Eh, looks pretty nice.

  14. LTK says:

    Guys, it’s really not that hard. We exist in four dimensions and are able to move freely through three of them. This game simply decided to make you exist in five dimensions, and lets you move freely through four of them.

  15. sophof says:

    His shift from 2D to 3D already doesn’t make any sense and is completely arbitrary, probably so that it looked similar to his 3D to 4D example. We actually live in the 3D world and there would never be such a strange, hard line from grass to desert, nor would the wall suddenly end in rubble. Either it suddenly ends, or it decays.
    That means it has no logical basis and you can never actually puzzle with it. It will just be look until you find. I suspect the main problem is that the author didn’t realize that the screen already is a projection of 3D space on a 2D plane. That makes 4D projection nearly impossible.

    Giving the character the ability to move any direction and distance in time would make more sense as a fourth dimension for such a game. Then the desert and rubble suddenly make sense.