Sometimes I get bored of first person shooter maps. You figure out all of the secret passages, protected vantage points, and unique widgets, so it all comes down to how fast and accurately you can pull the trigger against the other team. But my friend Morgan just showed me something really different: maps that don’t follow the laws of Euclidean space.
Euclidean space is, simply put, the way we’re taught to understand space. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; two parallel lines will, by definition, never intersect; measurements of absolute distance can never be negative. In 99% of cases, this thinking best helps us understand the world – and, of course, makes intuitive sense.
But the Euclidean view is not the only way to understand space, nor is it the ‘right’ one. (You’re probably familiar with the fact that space itself is not Euclidean at all, but curved, thanks to the General Theory of Relativity.) In fact, you could easily mix up the rules of space to create environments that are impossible to implement physically, but easy to build as a first-person shooter map.
Playing such a map would be like walking around inside an M.C. Escher painting, where you could easily find yourself walking around on the ceiling or climbing an infinite staircase. If you thought Halo gave you nausea, just wait for this: while trying to outsmart your opponent, you enter a closet like the one shown above. Taking an immediate left, you walk around to the other side of the door, coming up behind your opponent who is still trying to follow you. Bulls-eye.
It’s worth noting that this concept appears in several movies like Tron and 2001: A Space Odyssey. And, of course, there’s the now-famous scene in Inception where Joseph Gordon-Levitt evades a thug by sprinting up a Penrose staircase, which allows him to circle behind and push the bad guy off the ledge.
So it’s already appearing in the movies, and countless TV shows. Why not in gaming? Maps like these open up the possibility playing competitively in puzzle maps – basically, a multiplayer Portal. Since the map is more difficult to figure out, the game would reward players who think strategically, instead of just pulling the trigger faster.
Personally, I would love a game like this, but still suck at it since my FPS strategy is learning the map and then killing newbs.