Space Jewels

This is a simple game to warp your mind.

Error: You need to enable Java (not just JavaScript) in your browser.

Go ahead, try it!

The performance of this game varies greatly on different OS platforms.
("Java: Write once, run anywhere, experience anything.")
So if the game seems jumpy, try a different OS/browser.

Any comments whatsoever are welcome! (see bottom of page)

Known issues:

It doesn't work!

This seems to be quite a common problem -- look here.

I can't finish any levels!

Indeed, it seems that nobody besides myself is capable of finishing a level.  Well, I wrote it, tested it, got good at it, set all the parameters to my own liking, and then set a time limit that I found about right.  So it's not surprising that nobody else can do it as fast as me on their first several tries.

The best suggestion has been that it somehow let you take as long as you want, and then you compete against your own previous time records.  This suggestion has merit, but I haven't worked on the program in a while and probably won't for a while (what I really want to do is change it so that I can include a relativistic space, but that will take a lot of rethinking and rewriting), so you have to live with the way it is for now.

So get good at it!
Get comfortable swooping around in your little ship, scooping up jewels on the fly.
While you suck, stick to the Hemispheric level.
If you ever finish that level, try Euclidean.
If you ever finish that level, try Hyperbolic.

I find the time limits very easy to finish within, so don't give up hope.  The entire reason I wrote a game for this was so that I could feel what hyperbolic space is like.  And the only way you learn to feel what it's like is by getting good at it, so you'll need to get good at it anyway (i.e. not just so that you can finish levels, but so you can benefit from the whole point of the game).  You wouldn't expect to get much of a feel for hyperbolic space if you only spent 20 minutes there, now would you.  So if you're serious about feeling these spaces, go ahead and play around!

Euclidean space looks warped!

Yes, it is "warped", just like when you look through one of those door peep-hole lenses.  This is so that the whole plane can fit on the screen.

One of the reasons for doing this is that otherwise, one winds up thinking that the main weirdness about non-Euclidean space is how warped everything looks.  But "warpedness" is of course just an artifact of whatever projection happens to be being used.

By experiencing a "warped" Euclidean projection, you should eventually see how the "warpedness" is not really part of the underlying geometry.  Instead, you can discern the "real" differences, such as:

In Hyperbolicland:

In Euclideanland:

These are all geometric features that are completely independent of the projection.

The jewels all disappear into the distance in Hyperbolic space!

In hyperbolic space, there is a whole lot of space (hence the word "hyperbolic"), and it is very easy to get lost.  For your own good, you should take care not to stray from the jewel field.

In fact, if you go far enough from the jewel field, the loss of precision will collapse your ship! (makes it hard to continue playing)

By Matthew Cook. Comments?  Tell me!
Last updated: 27 October 1998