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Cubewar is an early networked multiplayer game developed at MIT in the late 1970s, largely predating the video game genre.

The game play involved flying inside a small enclosed cube of discrete cell locations, moving forwards only one cell at a time, but able to pitch, roll or yaw to switch orientation in 90 degree increments, and to shoot opponents appearing directly ahead. The only view available to a player was a two-dimensional transverse plane of activity forward of the current position, in low-resolution ASCII graphics showing other players or the cube’s boundaries.

Reminiscent of Rubik and Escher, the game encouraged three-dimensional thinking: players were blind to activity above or below their current bearing, and would have to constantly switch orientation to scan their surroundings. There was no universal “up” or “down” in the cube, only a subjective reference frame unrelated to the orientation of other players.

Game play was tournament-based: several players would “log in” and run multiple rounds to the death, forming a league table from each of the overall wins. A player “killed” in one round would remain attached to the game but relegated to the role of observer until the commencement of the next round.

For this project Nick has faithfully recreated the game in its original incarnation using Max/MSP/Jitter. More information on Nicks work can be found his website HERE

 

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