As a stupid jumped-up monkey trapped within three dimensions, I am fascinated and wholly baffled by Marc ten Bosch's upcoming four-dimensional puzzler Miegakure. It looks amazing and so far beyond me. Thankfully, before Miegakure arrives, Bosch is offering an easier way to play in four spatial dimensions.
On Friday he released 4D Toys [official site], a physics-driven toybox of 4D shapes to play with and get a feel for the fourth dimension. It has optional VR support too, though entering into four-dimensional space as a three-dimensional being seems like a surefire way to get yourself trapped in cyberhell. Have a look in this video:
You're twisting my melon, man.
But I'm excited by this. A toybox to simply play with 4D shapes and intuit how they work sounds great. They exist in a 3D space (within a 2D display) so we don't truly see in 4D, but turning 4D shapes over and flinging them around will surely help me prepare for Miegakure. Marc ten Bosch says:
"4D Toys doesn't take you through carefully-constructed successively harder challenges the way Miegakure does. It's just 4D shapes, as if you were a very young kid again and given a box of wooden toys. Since the toys are 4D, that's sort of true: you have no experience playing with 4D shapes.
"Play is undirected and we don't expect a child to come up with verbal realizations of what they are doing. They can learn about making stacks, and gravity, and fitting shapes into holes, and that could form the foundation for future, verbal, learning. Alternatively, one can just look at how pretty it is, like the waves rolling down the ocean, or the intricate swirling patterns in a fire.
"It's so exciting to me to see a pile of hypercubes or a rolling 120-cell. Most representations of a fourth dimension are so abstract (a spinning bundle of lines) and my work has been to get away from that. It's the first time anyone has seen these objects as physical objects that bounce and roll and can be grabbed!"
One day, we will get to play Miegakure.