Niggling Hate Thoughts Regarding The Sales Pitch of Antichamber

#1 Posted by clnutella (4 posts) -

To start off, I like the look of this game. It looks like a relaxing, exercise in exploring how the puzzle environment reacts to your actions that I can play at night to get pissed at my T.V. trying to figure out what the hell I need to do. However, the way that antichamber was described to me through all the media I've read about it up to this quick-look described it as "non-euclidean" and "4th-dimensional". I didn't see either. What I now see looking back at the reports on this game and the quicklook is people using words they think sound obscure, arcane, and befuddling without knowing their meanings. It is the equivalent of a child being asked to describe the color of things they saw on their walk over to school and them replying "rotund" or "non-magenta".

a not rotund, magenta object

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Euclidean_geometry

Non-euclidean: "non-traditional geomentry". where curved lines can be parallel. Geometry regarding the transeveral of a sphere. I only saw boxes and flat surfaces in the quicklook and motion/structures following paths and patterns described in euclidean geometry. Non-euclidean rooms would have me moving in what appears to be a straight flat path, but in reality, it would be a curved, 3 dimensional movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-dimensional_space

4th dimensional: Assuming it is the spatial 4th dimension, one property that this would exhibit is being able to see both the front and back of an opaque object at the same time while looking at it. While this is literally impossible to convey, at least certain features of the front and back and top and bottom of the objects should be seen by the observer at the same time. This was not present in the quick look.

All this makes me think that video game sites should look up what the words they use mean so that they don't accidentally oversell the accomplishments of the media.

TLDR; of all this topological-nazi rambling: Antichamber may be a good game but it is not what it was described as in the media. Or do I just give too much of a crap about stuff I am interested in?

Maybe I really should stop caring about the meanings of words and just learn to be surprised by what the world really does.
#2 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

Are you like, a book person, man?

#3 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4664 posts) -

No you're absolutely right. It was frustrating listening to Patrick talk about non-Euclidean geometry when it was clear its just a cool word he heard someone else say. Never stop correcting people or else they'll remain ignorant until Someone else does.

#4 Posted by laserbolts (5317 posts) -

You are crazy but I like the picture. I like sharks.

#5 Posted by PolyesterKyle (137 posts) -

I was also oversold on the game. It looks pretty cool, like a pretty bizarre puzzle game that at times might mess with your preconceived notions about how things normally work in video games. But when the quicklook started out I was given the idea that my mind would totally be blown and I would have to create an entire new set of rules in order to even traverse the game world. Like I would have to submerge myself in a whole new life of truths and laws to even comprehend what was happening on screen. Maybe that's just my childish expectations taking over but when I hear these sorts of buzzwords thrown around I expect a little more astonishment from the experience. Again, not saying the game looks bad or anything, in fact it looks quite cool but I was just a little underwhelmed thanks to the foreword at the start of the quicklook.

#6 Posted by Khemitude (222 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

I like sharks.

Then you probably shouldn't play FarCry 3.

Though yes has been annoying me aswell! also is it just me and my british ears but does is sound like they keep saying "Non-Neuclidean" Maybe its just an American theme like how americans always seem to pronounce Tara (Tah-Rah) as (Teh-Rah) you know like Terra. For ages I thought Tara in Buffy was actually called Terra because of their pronunciation of it and with the whole witch coven thing that she first appearind with Terra made sense in my mind. Rant Over!

#7 Posted by Barrabas (326 posts) -

So what they mean by non-euclidean in this game is that you can be in a spot [(x,y,z) coordinate], leave that spot, and come back to it yet be in a completely different area. So I guess a better term is that it violates coordinate space, or euclidean three dimensional space. To me that just sounds like a different form of non-euclidean from the normal curved spaces. But, I'm not a mathematician so there may be a super strict definition of what it means to be non-euclidean even though that sounds like an all encompassing generic term.

As for 4th dimensional, in video games they usually use that to mean time. I haven't seen any manipulation of time yet, but I'm not very far in it.

You shouldn't get too hung up over those things regardless. It seems like a great puzzle game so far.

#8 Edited by John1912 (1853 posts) -

Whats with the raciest title man! NOT COOL!

#9 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7070 posts) -
@Oldirtybearon
No you're absolutely right. It was frustrating listening to Patrick talk about non-Euclidean geometry when it was clear its just a cool word he heard someone else say. Never stop correcting people or else they'll remain ignorant until Someone else does.
Just to be a dick, I'll start. "Someone" shouldn't be capitalized. And Patrick isn't the only one describing it as non-Euclidean. Most reviews I've read say the same thing. Plus I haven't seen enough of the game to say that it isn't non-Euclidean at some points. I'd be willing to bet the later areas of the game are pretty mind-bending.
#10 Posted by eccentrix (1539 posts) -

I thought this thread was going to be about the notion of "Don't take in any information about this game before you purchase and play it" which I was thinking about as I bought it, but then I realised people can say whether a game is good or bad without mentioning any details. But, yes, I agree with you. I wasn't expecting walls or floors or easily describable/recognised spaces. I was expecting to have to run up sideways while looking back but still remember to rotate to maintain what "up" means. Maybe gaining to ability to flip the screen upside down in order to figure out which plane you're on.

Online
#11 Posted by DrFoxbard (35 posts) -

Non-euclidean rooms would have me moving in what appears to be a straight flat path, but in reality, it would be a curved, 3 dimensional movement.

Yeah, that kinda happens, I don't know. There's no way to recreate the map of this game with Euclidean math, but I believe it could be done with non-euclidean geometry, I know at least many more of the rooms would be able to match up.

As far as 4th dimensional geometry goes, what you stated is not the only property of a 4d solid, another property is that an object can have the same dimensions on the x, y, and z axis, but a differently sized w-axis, leading a person traversing the object to experience different travel times while apparently walking the same distance. Additionally, a 4d object would not have all of its sides visible to a viewer who can only see 3d, that's not only a limit of the game, but a limit of our eyes, even if the game somehow rendered a hypercube, we'd see a cube, or another polygon, depending on what angle we saw it at. There are no visual representations of 4d space in the game, but, again, the map and some puzzles only make sense in 4d space.

#12 Posted by demonknightinuyasha (462 posts) -

that picture is now in my desktop wallpaper rotation. thank you. also it was bugging me too.

#13 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4664 posts) -

@mariachimacabre I take it your phone doesn't do weird things with spelling. Nice try though.

#14 Posted by JasonR86 (9650 posts) -

Who fucking cares?

Online
#15 Posted by BisonHero (6395 posts) -

Oh yeah, for sure, no gaming journalist actually knows what "non-Euclidean" means, but in their defense, I swear I remember the developer using it in interviews, which is why the term is being used so widely by gaming journalists.

This is part of the greater problem of Patrick and Ryan using big words on the Bombcast that they don't actually understand, and emphasizing/enunciating those words so you notice how super smart they are. Conversely, I'm more willing to buy that Brad has actually...earned the vocabulary he uses, because when he throws out a word that is slightly more obscure, he tends to actually use it properly.

It's not that I think everyone but Brad is stupid, but my issue is that Patrick and Ryan make fools of themselves by using words they don't really understand the meaning of. I feel Jeff and Vinny do a decent job of being comfortable with their vocabulary, and don't make misguided attempts at sounding like intellectuals.

#16 Posted by Animasta (14667 posts) -

to be fair, I doubt Euclid would give a fuck

#17 Posted by mellotronrules (1179 posts) -

full disclosure: i haven't played the game, so i can't speak with authority on this. i'm also not a geometer (that's a hell of a word, btw), so please excuse any stupidity.

BUT

it appears in-game that you can walk in a straight line without changing direction, and in the course of doing so A) return to a place you were previously and B) enter a place or point that doesn't fall along a plot of that single straight line.

is that non-euclidean , in a sense? or if it IS euclidean, why is it so? i'm genuinely curious!

#18 Posted by davedaape (1 posts) -

Perhaps you're wrong in your criticism? The mechanics of the game make non-affine transformations possible (though not fully modelled) violating the properties of a euclidean space? Think of it like pacman: essentially pacman represents the y axis with cartesian coordinates and the x axis with polar coordinates (creating a cylindrical world where you can infinitely loop). I believe this is the idea journalists refer to when they use the term 'non-euclidean'. Does the pacman example not violate the "parallel postulate" in the wikipedia article you quoted? This is a example that occurs many times in AntiChamber.

#19 Posted by blank_field (6 posts) -

Antichamber is a non-Euclidean Rogue-like Doom Clone.

#20 Posted by ShaggE (6401 posts) -

To be fair, Patrick has absolutely NAILED "ostensibly". :P

#21 Posted by ViciousReiven (821 posts) -

It's more like 'a representation of 4th dimensional space within a 3-d rendered world'   
I finished the game, most of the mind bending trickery has been around for ages, old games like Marathon had some of these, which basically had multiple rooms existing within the same game space but you only see/interact with one at a time, clever scripting is used to instantly switch between them, that's this games single most used trick, although I think it might be a little more dynamic than that. 
There's nothing that could be described as non-euclidean though, I'm not even sure non-euclidean stuff could even be adequately displayed in a video game. 

#22 Posted by asmo29a (149 posts) -

What's usually meant when someone's talking of a "Euclidian space" is your normal R³ with the standard scalar product (which defines length and angle as we normally perceive them) or a more general Euclidian vector space R^n again endowed with the Euclidian scalar product. Whatever "non-Euclidian" is supposed to mean, I can't imagine what any space with a non-standard (or no) definition of length/angle would look like from inside, and I bet it wouldn't be intuitively traversable.

So the most you could reasonably hope for in a video game is a standard Euclidian space with some anomalies thrown in to play with your expectations of how things should be, and that's exactly what Antichamber is.

#23 Posted by Humanity (9013 posts) -

@PolyesterKyle said:

I was also oversold on the game. It looks pretty cool, like a pretty bizarre puzzle game that at times might mess with your preconceived notions about how things normally work in video games. But when the quicklook started out I was given the idea that my mind would totally be blown and I would have to create an entire new set of rules in order to even traverse the game world. Like I would have to submerge myself in a whole new life of truths and laws to even comprehend what was happening on screen. Maybe that's just my childish expectations taking over but when I hear these sorts of buzzwords thrown around I expect a little more astonishment from the experience. Again, not saying the game looks bad or anything, in fact it looks quite cool but I was just a little underwhelmed thanks to the foreword at the start of the quicklook.

I hear ya. Hearing Jeff talk about the game with Patrick and Ryan and making it seem like it would redefine your perception of space and reality was pretty rad. Then the Quick Look came about and maybe it's early in the game or maybe I got a little ahead of myself but it was not at all mind bending. Look here and then look away and you're in a different room - walk down a hallways, past a scripting trigger turn around and its a different hallway. In a way it seems to be more of a shifting maze than a puzzle game. I suppose what I was expecting was for the geometry of the world to be in constant flux as you walk through it sort of like an Escher drawing rendered in real time.

Online
#24 Posted by Andorski (5239 posts) -

Like other scientific terminology, "Non-Euclidean" has been defined as something other than it's mathematical meaning. To deny the correct usage of "non-euclidean" to describe pieces of fiction is just as wrong as a politician denying evolution due to it's characterization as a "theory." While the more logical side of me would prefer a "one word/one meaning" approach to literature as it does to science, the history of language has never behaved in such as manner.

#25 Posted by I_smell (3925 posts) -

People who cover games for a living are still really prone to using buzzwords in a pinch, commiting a tagline to memory, referring to something that happened in a press demo, and basically giving in to marketing. 
It's a shame, but people still really easily adopt phrases like "Triple-A", "Streamlined", "non-linear", "Horde 2.0", "a new I.P", "visceral action" and a "character action game". It's kind of surprising, I don't know if it's just games that're really bad at this, or if it's every type of entertainment coverage.

#26 Posted by Gaff (1706 posts) -

Quick, someone file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau!

All kidding aside, people really should start taking every pitch with a pinch of salt.

#27 Posted by StarvingGamer (8128 posts) -

@I_smell said:

It's a shame, but people still really easily adopt phrases like "Triple-A", "Streamlined", "non-linear", "Horde 2.0", "a new I.P", "visceral action" and a "character action game".

Wait, what's the problem with referring to a game by their genre?

#28 Posted by Freshbandito (677 posts) -

I think alot of people here are jumping down Patricks (for some reason they focus on his use of the word instead of others) throat for using the phrase 'non-euclidian' without fully understanding the word themselves. From my understanding of the concept it looks like the game doesn't render non-euclidian geometry but uses script trickery to give the impression of movement through a non-euclidian space.

It just seems like the argument here is like saying "Blinx the time sweeper isn't really about time travel! it's just coding where it runs the game bckwards!"

#29 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -
@StarvingGamer: It's just a phrase the Devil May Cry team came up with because beat-em-ups were going out of style. Wouldn't you say those games are more COMBAT-focused than character-anything? 
It's in the same group as phrases like "freemium", "open-world sandbox", "the experience", "quick-time event", and calling them "cinematics" because noone likes cutscenes any more. It's all stuff that marketing people are hoping will catch on, and then a couple years later it has.
 
I don't think AntiChamber is that insidious... I'm just saying game sites absorb and repeat this stuff really easily.
#30 Posted by StarvingGamer (8128 posts) -

@I_smell: I can't remember where it originated, but I've been using the term "Character Action Game" to describe that sort of game since before God of War 3 and Bayonetta were things.

Seriously, is this some sort of Twilight Zone episode where I've slipped into an alternate reality where no one has heard of "Character Action Game" before? If so, then it's a really shitty episode.

#31 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@I_smell: I can't remember where it originated, but I've been using the term "Character Action Game" to describe that sort of game since before God of War 3 and Bayonetta were things.

Seriously, is this some sort of Twilight Zone episode where I've slipped into an alternate reality where no one has heard of "Character Action Game" before? If so, then it's a really shitty episode.

I remember that phrase being used for a very, very long time. I was weirded out with all the comments on the DmC review going, "what does character action game mean?".

Not just you, buddy.

#32 Posted by yoshisaur (2700 posts) -

Completely justifiable argument. I don't care enough about anything you described here, but I feel that you explained it in a professional manner. Now if only more people accepted this type of argument and displayed it in the same way.

#33 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

@ck1nd said:

Completely justifiable argument. I don't care enough about anything you described here, but I feel that you explained it in a professional manner. Now if only more people accepted this type of argument and displayed it in the same way.

It doesn't need to be an academic paper to call people on bullshit. Video games, brah.

#34 Posted by jkz (4008 posts) -

Yeah I'm not even particularly interested in math any more, but it rubbed me the wrong way. It's not even the word's misuse that irks me - it's a marketing buzzword, so I don't exactly mind if they pick up on it and accidentally, or intentionally, drop it into a sentence regarding the game, since that's how marketing is meant to work - but more their insistent, repeated use of it. They even recognised that their understanding of it as a term was shaky, and yet continued to use it regardless as one of the game's fundamental descriptors.

And before people get defensive, it's not because of its essential wrongness. It's because, somehow, in spite of hearing the game be named repeatedly for years, I never once laid eyes upon it or spent time reading up on what it was about; as such, when they described it on the podcast as they did, I was left with a much different impression of the ways the game plays with reality and dimensionality (don't think that's a word but you know what I mean) than it does in actuality, and almost went and bought it as a result of its seemingly fascinating concept (until I saw the quick-look, and decided I'd hold off for a bit, given my general knack for not finishing puzzle games).

In short, the terminology was misleading, and I was mislead until seeing the game in action fixed that. But eh, oh wells, they're usually pretty good with that sort of stuff. If anything it just solidifies in my mind why I adore the quick-look format for getting a REAL feeling for a game

#35 Posted by RenegadeSaint (1537 posts) -

Point well-made. Kudos, OP.

#36 Posted by Lyisa (340 posts) -

So my only question is: does this actually take away from it as a puzzle game, or as a concept? What the game looks like and has done seems amazing regardless of the terms used to describe it. I remember fez being labeled somewhat similarly. Did you have similar expectations for that?

#37 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

This post was more pretentious than the pretentious people reviewing the game. Well done?

#38 Posted by Tiwi (1401 posts) -

Just gonna say it, we live in non-euclidean space, so by definition it's basically true whatever the salespitch is.

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