Asylum: Oddly Angled   4 comments

I’m trying to get through a big chunk of game before I write my next major update, but I’ve got a small “feature” to report on that is mind-boggling on its own.

I mapped the original Deathmaze 5000 and Labyrinth on a spreadsheet, as they followed the same pattern as many RPGs of a regular grid; possibly with some teleports or other sneakiness, but a grid nonetheless.

That doesn’t hold for this game. The above picture is entirely wrong. The real map (at least for the starting area) is something like:

So you have five “inward” doors and two “outward” doors in every hall, but even though it appears you are turning 90 degrees to go around halls, you’re turning 72 degrees instead. The real map is a pentagon.

This is one of those times I am intensely irritated by a feature but simultaneously in awe of the chutzpah. The game is essentially lying to the player.

This would have been faster to spot but trying to drop items in a hall causes a janitor to appear and scoop them up. I admit for a long time I assumed I was simply being prey to some teleporter shenanigans (probably I still am — I’m guessing “behind the scenes” in the code there’s still a grid somehow — but it still all comes out functionally to a pentagon).

The only reason this is marginally fair is due to the low-res nature of the graphics; it would essentially be impossible on a modern system (although in a “node” system like Myst you might get close). I am still curious, though, if anyone has been in a pentagonal building before, and if it was possible to “feel” like the turns were at right angles even if they weren’t.

Posted April 3, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Asylum: Oddly Angled

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  1. I’ve been in a hexagonal house, but I don’t think I’ve been in a pentagonal building. (The Pentagon in DC *does* give tours, at least in normal years, but I’ve never taken one.)

    However, Myst Online features a few pentagonal D’ni buildings in its 3d engine. I can confidently say that moving around in them, you’re always aware that the corners are not 90 degrees. You might have a hard time telling if the shapes are five, six, or seven-sided — 3d realtime games are often a bit fish-eyed, which distorts angles. But right angles are obvious.

    Now, you can imagine a curved space in which five right angles really do make a full rotation. Take a look at this video, for example:

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