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Tesselated, phase-shifted playfield

Connect the map to other instances of itself, with adjustments
  [vote for,

Taking something like a generic team-versus-team first person shooter as a tangible example...

Design your map so that it connects to other instances of itself, with each instance containing all the same players doing all the same things but made subtly different somehow. You don't experience any subjective change when you cross the threshold, and you don't see anybody else change when they cross the threshold, but on re-encountering the duplicate version of those you've left behind on the other side of the threshold they're not the same anymore. Even though they're still controlled by the same human player and they don't think they've changed. They think you've changed.

Since it's the same map, it contains the same connection points to further modified versions of itself. If that the map was simply a big open square connected to itself at all the edges then you'd be able to see across into the next instance, and the instance after that, etc., and you'd be able to see multiple instances of yourself and of everybody else... except all subtly different.

But being open like this would extend forever over an infinite series of duplicates, which would be hard to render and you'd risk having awkward interactions with yourself (in public), so you don't want to do that. Better to discreetly hide the connection points behind corners like in a public toilet or locker room.

Players would be free to travel from one instance to another, retaining their own characteristics so far as they're aware, but they would encounter others modified in some way. Alternatively others might travel the other way and appear modified in a corresponding way.

So what kind of modification?

Well... perhaps their gravity is 90 degrees out of phase. Like that Escher drawing. The implication being that the connection between maps involves a rotation, so you travel through it with no subjective change, but you would land on a wall rather than the floor and that wall would feel floory to you (it's only those other idiots who are walking all over the walls and ceiling).

Or perhaps their gravity is only 9 degrees out of phase; but if you travel through that same connection in the same direction ten times in a row then you end up 90 degrees out. Not sure it's so easy to design the terrain for that, though.

Or 10% bigger, or 10% smaller. Which also has weird implications for gravity, because subjectively the transition shouldn't affect you, which means you must fall at a different speed from the bigger and smaller people you encounter for continuity, and we can't warp time because this is a multiplayer game.

Or they're on a different team. You're blue, and you head through the connection and you're still blue, but your blue teammate who you left behind is already over there only he's not blue anymore -- so you kill him.

The concept could extend to other genres, like puzzle games, but the possibilities are a little too abstract and I want to stop typing now.

b153b, May 09 2017

that Escher drawing https://en.wikipedi...vity_(M._C._Escher)
[b153b, May 09 2017]

Origin of the alternative-universe goatee http://memory-alpha...r,_Mirror_(episode)
As if anybody in the world could possibly need this explained. I just like adding links. [b153b, May 10 2017]

Brief demonstration https://youtu.be/i5VB0Tw64yg
This is just 2D, and I didn't implement any physics or collision detection, but it shows how things tessalate and change as you cross between worlds in ways that are deliberately unintuitive [b153b, Jul 12 2019, last modified Jul 17 2019]


       // Multiple universes ? //   

       Of a sort. Only, while the population from the other universe might be evil (as illustrated by their clothes and/or goatees) they behave exactly the same because they're all controlled by the same players in the different universes.   

       That's more that you can vary between universes. Goatees. Clothes. Also, lighting and other visual environmental effects. You might find someone hiding in a brightly lit corner or behind a steam vent which is shut off, because in their perspective it's dark or steamy.   

       What you can't do is have different shapes or abilities; because then what's possible in the subjective view of the player could be impossible when viewed in another universe.   

       I was thinking that projectile weapons are affected. If you scale someone down and want them to see their bullets come out at the same speed, then those bullets move proportionally slower. But you could scale up their effects; so a small player runs slowly and fires slow bullets that are easier to avoid but do more damage. So they see giants who move very quickly but are easy to kill if you can hit them.   

       Whatever you scale one way for one person's point of view, you have to be able to invert so that the other person gets a reciprocal, consistent point of view.   

       Though consistency isn't necessarily that important. You could have somebody in a dark room and somebody else in a fully lit room, in the same room, and one person would stumble about blind and look a bit silly to the other person. Though you probably want to avoid that because it can feel a little unfair.
b153b, May 10 2017

       well, rather than traveling to reach a new interpretive universe perhaps you could look at a "glass onion" to find a preferred variation, then press on it to be whisked to the preferred version.
beanangel, May 10 2017

       How do glass onions work? I'm not familiar with them.   

       I like the idea of wandering between them accidentally, or at least without any direct evidence that it's happened. As display parameters could be changed, it may not be obvious that you've reentered the same map with a different perspective.   

       More fun still if it could be done progressively; so after an aimless crossing or two you might be looking at your teammate and asking him where he got that cowboy hat which he claims to know nothing about. A couple more and suddenly you're looking at the evil version of your teammate and he's looking at the evil version of you, so now you have to have the "You're evil!" / "No, YOU'RE evil!" battle.   

       Of course, springing the mechanism on the player(s) without warning is just one way it could go (and the gag wouldn't last long, but in a series of missions you could tweak new features at each stage).   

       Players could also be motivated to cross the thresholds to change their abilities. Moving to an enlarged version of the map so they can fit through a gap, or fumbling through an extremely dark version of the map (while most other players can see perfectly well) to get to a version where weapons are more powerful.   

       That said, there could also be a glass onion in some versions of the map. I wonder if its properties could be tweaked as well.
b153b, May 10 2017

       When you met yourself in the next map, which one of you would you control?
pertinax, May 14 2017

       // When you met yourself in the next map, which one of you would you control? //   

       You control all versions of yourself at once. Everybody else controls all versions of themselves too.   

       Each map should, so far as physical movement is concerned, work the same for each version of yourself. There can't be obstacles in one map that aren't in another; but those obstacles might look different.   

       That way when you walk onto the next map to meet yourself, that version has walked off of that map onto another map. Generally you'll always arrive too late to meet yourself, like Clark Kent trying to cover a Superman story.   

       To make that work, most things have to be relative. If you walk into a version of the map that is 10% bigger then everything in it is 10% bigger and everybody in it thinks you're 10% smaller. The old you in that version will have simultaneously left for another version that is 10% bigger again; and if you follow them then you'll be in a world 21% bigger than where you started.   

       A map could be set up so you could see yourself leaving but, as we know from Back to the Future Part II, that might work out badly.
b153b, May 21 2017

       I've added a video link showing the same playfield mapped back onto itself where transiting off the edge of the map causes a rotation, and some edges also include a change of colour for all the objects on the map (except for the player). You can see other images of the player as different colours (a reciprocal mapping) zipping around in the periphery.   

       But it's not a first-person shooter like it should be, because I'm not ever going to have time for that.
b153b, Jul 12 2019

       Sounds like something that would make Portal even more spatially complex.
wjt, Jul 13 2019

       Does the relatively same connection between copies of the map always result in the same sort of change being experienced when walking through it in the same direction, and the opposite change when walking through it in the other direction?   

       // What you can't do is have different shapes or abilities; because then what's possible in the subjective view of the player could be impossible when viewed in another universe. //   

       That could be good, actually. You and the other players would have different sets of abilities, but you'd be able to tell which copy of the map another player was subjectively on by what moves you saw them doing.
notexactly, Jul 22 2019


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