Video Games In As Few Dimensions As Possible

First there were text games, then came 2D dungeons. When Wolfenstein 3D broke out on the gaming scene, it created quite a fuss. But if all you’ve got is a strip of WS2812 LEDs, those are a few dimensions too many.

[treibair] has started up a project on to develop 1D video games to be played on a single LED strip. While the end application is something with a cool physical interface, probably driven by a microcontroller, prototyping is a lot easier on the big computer. He’s writing it in Processing, though, so that the transition to the Arduino is easier in the end.

There are a couple of other games out there in 1D, including Line Wobbler (YouTube) and, naturally, Wolfenstein 1D. We even saw a one-dimensional “snake” clone at Make Munich a few months back. (Would the author please stand up?)

We think the idea is a good one, and lining up everyone’s 1D gaming experience in one place would be a great help. So link up code and reviews in the comments!

34 thoughts on “Video Games In As Few Dimensions As Possible

  1. It’s impressive that people can come up with playable 1D-games other than the standard pong-like game.

    The Wobbler game looks cool but I don’t understand the gameplay mechanics at all. Maybe it’s a game that you have to try yourself before you grok it… ;-)

    1. You are the first person to use the word ‘grok’ after I read a book that used it all the time. At first it seemed to be to be a fictional word (English is not my native language). But now I grok the word grok it seems entirely fitting to be used here.

      On topic: it amazes me how things are simplified by people and still remain enjoyable.

  2. Weird and intriguing.
    Video looks great, even though I’ve no clue whats going on. :) I’ll look up the normal game later.

    Any suggestions for games that should work great in 1D?
    Not Tetris I would assume. :P

        1. My idea would be a zero dimensional PONG game that uses PWM. Player one has to press when the light is out and player 2 has to press when the LED is fully lit. The closer to the correct state one presses the button, the faster the LED will fade.

  3. “First there were text games, then came 2D dungeons.”?
    1D games already existed In the early days of programmable calculators (like SR52 … TI59).
    E.g. sort a permutation of 123456789 by as few rotations of “substrings” as possible.

    1. “E.g. sort a permutation of 123456789 by as few rotations of “substrings” as possible.”

      Wouldn’t that be a text game instead of a 1D game? You just contradicted yourself.

    1. you definately dont want to use tone() directly while playing the game.
      look into non-blocking methods like timers or interrupts.
      this will make the game run very smoothly while playing music

  4. RGB LED strip game idea.
    You have a player dot of one color. Equidistant from the center are two goalpost dots of another color, with additional, pulsing dots next to each on the inside. Thus the minimal goal area is five LEDs long.

    Level 1. Tutorial. The player dot is placed at a random location outside the goalposts. Move the player dot between them.
    Level 2. An opponent dot of a third color is added. It will move toward the player dot. If it touches the player dot a life is lost. Wrap around from end to end (or mount the LED strip in a circle to make that obvious). Get the player dot between the goalposts without touching the opponent dot.

    From there, alter opponent speed, number of opponents, goalpost location and/or distance between the goalposts. The pulsing dots avoid confusion as to which side is inside the goal if the posts are a large distance apart, especially if the goal covers more than half the strip when arranged in a circle.

    What if the player dot is trapped between two opponents, both seeking to touch the player dot? Getting touched by two opponents simultaneously removes both of them. Good luck with that. :)

    Anyone may freely use this idea. Make money off it if you can.

  5. Ooooh! I made a “Racer” game, similar to the ol’ ASCII-based one on TI-82’s, that runs on a *very slowly* refreshed LCD display… (about 1/5Hz). But the thing is, it could probably be implemented in 1D. E.G. have the current track-edges be marked by white pixels, and have upcoming track positions be shades of gray, depending on how far away… Hmmm….
    1D-games might be perfect for that environment!

  6. It’s great to see my brainchild featured here. Thanks alot for the positive feedback and the ideas for more 1D (and even 0D) games. I will keep adding stuff.

    At the moment I am thinking about the controller concept. I would like to set up an ESP8266 in a way that people can connect to it with their phones and load a page in their browser that’s serving them the controller button(s). Unfortunately the ESP8266 is completely new to me so it might take a while to get that sortet out – if it is doable after all.

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