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Math Games Entertainment

The Geometry of Islamic Art Becomes a Treasure of a Game (arstechnica.com) 213

Sam Machkovech from Ars Technica reviews the game Engare, describing it as a "clever, deceptively simple, and beautiful rumination on geometry and Islamic art-making traditions." The game consists of relatively simple puzzles and a freeform art toy that unlocks its puzzles' tools to allow you to make whatever patterns you please. From the report: The game, made almost entirely by 23-year-old Iranian developer Mahdi Bahrami, starts with a 2D scene of a circle repeatedly traveling along a line. Above this, an instructional card shows a curved-diagonal line. Drop a dot on the moving circle, the game says, and it will generate a bold line, like ink on a page. As the ball (and thus, your dot) rolls, the inked line unfurls; if you put the dot on a different part of the circle, then your inked line may have more curve or angle to it, based on the total motion of the moving, rotating circle. Your object is to recreate this exact curved-diagonal line. If your first ink-drop doesn't do the trick, try again. Each puzzle presents an increasingly complex array of moving and rotating shapes, lines, and dots. You have to watch the repeating patterns and rotations in a particular puzzle to understand where to drop an ink dot and draw the demanded line. At first, you'll have to recreate simple turns, curves, and zig-zags. By the end, you'll be making insane curlicues and rug-like super-patterns.

But even this jaded math wiz-kid couldn't help but drop his jaw, loose his tongue, and bulge his eyes at the first time Engare cracked open its math-rich heart. One early puzzle (shown above) ended with its seemingly simple pattern repeating over and over and over and over. Unlike other puzzles, this pattern kept drawing itself, even after I'd fulfilled a simple line-and-turn pattern. And with each pass of the drawing pattern, driven by a spinning, central circle, Engare drew and filled a new, bright color. This is what the game's creator is trying to shout, I thought. This is his unique, cultural perspective. This looks like the Persian rugs he saw his grandmother weave as a child.

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The Geometry of Islamic Art Becomes a Treasure of a Game

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  • by Chrisq ( 894406 )
    How much is "Islamic" and how much is stolen from cultures that they have destroyed? For example "islamic" arches can clearly be seen in pre-islamic [wikipedia.org] Persia. You will fins that most things that Muslims claim to have invented turn out to be "we destroyed this library but copied this bit"
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @05:36AM (#55435455)

      So Microsoft didn't even invent "embrace, extend, extinguish"?

    • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @05:37AM (#55435461)

      How much is "Islamic" and how much is stolen from cultures that they have destroyed? For example "islamic" arches can clearly be seen in pre-islamic [wikipedia.org] Persia. You will fins that most things that Muslims claim to have invented turn out to be "we destroyed this library but copied this bit"

      For one thing, according to some interpretations of the Koran Islam does not allow it's followers to create images of living creatures which has led to a lot of artistic energy and creativity being poured into geometric artwork and the mathematics of geometry. Secondly, the pre-Islamic cultures you cite (Persia in this case) are the same cultures that contributed to the development of geometric art after they converted to Islam. There was no destruction of cultures to speak of, just a change of religion and a change of management much like there was when the Roman empire disintegrated in Europe. Germanic kings took over from Roman administrators and people largely welcomed them despite their occasional brutality because as a general rule they did a better job of defending the population than corrupt and incompetent Roman governors had and the new rulers for the most part just took over the existing Roman institutions and ran them more efficiently and with much less corruption rather than laying waste to everything in their path. The same applies to the Islamic conquest of the orient in many cases. As for stealing from cultures you destroyed, odds are you are either an American, and Americans destroyed thousands of cultures in order to steal a continent from hem or a Brit who did the same to build an empire so please try not to throw stones, you live in a glass house.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @07:37AM (#55435871)

        There was no destruction of cultures to speak of, just a change of religion

        I don't know about the Middle East but in Europe, the "just a change of religion" was definitely a destruction of (pre-Christian) cultures. I'd be very surprised if Islam, spreading at the same time, were any different.

        • Islam spread 500-1000 years later.
          But you are right, Mohamed 'artificially designed' his religion with the explicit goal to convert, conquer or destroy as many pagan tribes around his home regions as possible.

          • In my country, christianization took place in the 9th-10th century, so Islam spread in the 14th-19th century or so? I thought it spread basically at the same time.
            • Islam was founded around 500 (I guess one could look up the correct date), so depending on region, they spread the same time. But considering the geographical center of each "movement" islam was 500 years after christianity.
              Then again you could count the various waves ... which probably intersected but did not overlap ... to lazy to check :D

              So: you are Nordic then, or from far east Europe?

      • I love how whataboutism is used to gloss over the very real cultural destruction that the holy warriors of Islam visited on the nations and peoples they conquered.
    • by JohnnyBGod ( 1088549 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @06:14AM (#55435567)

      So... like every other civilisation, then?

    • How much is "Islamic" and how much is stolen from cultures that they have destroyed? For example "islamic" arches can clearly be seen in pre-islamic [wikipedia.org] Persia. You will fins that most things that Muslims claim to have invented turn out to be "we destroyed this library but copied this bit"

      We can say the same with almost every other culture. What's the point here?

    • In Islam representation of the human figure is forbidden, so art in that culture has been geometric from the beginning. Instead of centuries of variations on portraiture and scenes containing people, it has been centuries of geometric design.

      • by gwolf ( 26339 )

        Well, the same thing is forbidden in Judaism and in some branches of Christianism. But Islamic geometric arts are way more developed than either.

        • That and your parent is actually incorrect.
          Islam and judaism forbids depicting of god, not of humans.
          However some branches argue, that god created man in his image, and hence depicting of humans is prohibited, too.
          However there is plenty of islamic art that actually does depict humans.

    • by Ragica ( 552891 )

      Looks like Ars Technica is now a front for jihadists, either that or their ignorant dupes. You'd think a technically focused team wouldn't fall for this obviously religious indoctrination. Shows just how insidious this stuff is. Interesting that they posted the story under the name "Machkovech" -- vaguly jewish sounding. False flag? This guy is embedded deep, too (long writing history of articles there, none of them overtly Muslim). I guess more likely just identity theft. Someone should let this schmuck kn

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      Ever use the number zero? How about Algebra? The "Al" prefix and the Arabic word "Al" aren't coincidences.

      • "Ever use the number zero? How about Algebra? The "Al" prefix and the Arabic word "Al" aren't coincidences."

        You should have mentioned Alcohol, chances are greater that he used that one, compared to Algebra.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Yeah, if it weren't for those damn arabs and them bringing the hindu-arabic numbering system out West we could still be using Roman numerals to not do mathematics very well.

      Fucking savages.

    • During the peak of growth of Islam, there wasn't an "islamic culture" per se, there was a set of rules, a phylosophy. As it grew (by the means of military or cultural conquests), it *absorbed* and assimilated a lot of what was there before them. Islamic countries became the beacon of development of the world during the dark ages, not because science sprang out in a void,but because they conquered the cultural capitals of the South and East of the Mediterranean. Baghdad, Alexandria, Damascus, Córdoba, a

    • Islamic is the stamp westerners give it.
      Arabs or Persians would simply call it: arabic art and persian art.

  • by andrewbaldwin ( 442273 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @05:37AM (#55435463)

    An interesting geometrical application -yet what do the first 9 comments focus on? the word "Islamic". As I understand it (and I'm not a Muslim) creation of images is frowned upon (from the Jewish old testament commandment about graven images) so a lot of Islamic art is based on calligraphy and patterns (incl. some geometrically interesting tessellations).

    Slashdot used to be a good site for technically minded people - over the past year or two it's degenerated into yet another cesspool of bigotry and hatred - whether it be based on religion, women, gun control, Brexit or US politics.

    Save your bile for Facebook, Twitter and other similar sites and let Slashdot return to its roots in its anniversary year

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      Oblig. xkcd [xkcd.com]..

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Because in 2017 when they put a word such as "islamic" in something, it's (usually) never naive. In many cases it's reported BECAUSE it's 'ISLAMIC', and people caught up on that, and people are sick of that, which for example, a person like Trump won presidential elections. Especially if it's coming from left leaning media. It's actually sad. TBH, if I wrote the article, I would drop the word "islamic" all together, it's irrelevant. I'm against censoriship, euphemisms, and word manipulation for PC purpos
      • 'Islamic' is absolutely not irrelevant.
        It perfectly describes about what patterns we are talking here.
        You could call it arabic or persian though, but then the majourity of readers would need to guess about what you are talking.

    • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
      Broader internet access has destroyed most value in online communications. Trolling became a past-time for children as they gained access, especially constant access. Now they have grown older but not wiser, and the next batches of children have been ever worse having grown only seeing increasingly fallen versions of former communities. Only academic and journal websites have any merit, and even they are in danger of being lost. As said in Aliens (#2), the only option left to fix it is to nuke it all from o
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Religion is based on bigotry. It abhors the Other. I used to think Buddhism was different, then I saw what it did to the Rohingya. Do we hear a peep out of the non-Burmese Buddhists? Nope, not even the Dalai Lama can be arsed to speak up about these atrocities.

      • You forget to mention that the Rohingya are muslims. And the natives in south asia are scared to hell by the 'slow islamic invasion'.
        I'm not saying it is justified ... but if you want to talk about religions then don't take it one wayed.

        Btw: Myanmar is ruled by a military junta. That has probably much more to do with the expelling of the Rohingya than religion.

    • by RedK ( 112790 )

      Slashdot used to be a good site for technically minded people - over the past year or two it's degenerated into yet another cesspool of bigotry and hatred - whether it be based on religion, women, gun control, Brexit or US politics.

      You`re right, Slashdot has become bigoted. People like you refuse to tolerate other people's opinion.

      Such much bigotry in the quoted sentence.

      *sigh*. At least learn what the word bigot means if you're going to try to use it. The problem is that Slashdot articles have increasingly focused on things like politics, religion or gender, not that comments have become more "bigoted" as you put it. The bigotry comes from the side that says "any post that disagrees with me is Hate Speech".

      Look, we can say the wa

  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inicom ( 81356 ) <aem&inicom,com> on Thursday October 26, 2017 @06:00AM (#55435523) Homepage

    I haven't seen such a fun pattern-based game since some of the early mandelbrot fractal generators. Cool concept and execution.

  • by amalcolm ( 1838434 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @06:24AM (#55435589)
    Does anyone remember the children's toy Spirograph? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].
    The game's introduction reminded me of that.
  • Cool geometry game (Score:4, Interesting)

    by McGregorMortis ( 536146 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @08:37AM (#55436169)

    My son asked me to get Geometry Dash for him on his iPad. "Cool," I thought, "he wants a geometry game."

    Such a disappointment. The game has no geometry whatsoever, and I have to hear the same annoying pounding electronic music repeated endlessly whenever we drive anywhere.

    This is the game that Geometry Dash should have been.

  • I haven't tried the game yet but the description sounds a lot like the Spirograph.

  • Other good puzzle games include:

    * Pythagorea, iOS [apple.com], Android [google.com]
    * Pythagorea 60 iOS [apple.com], Android [google.com]
    * The Witness [steampowered.com]
    * The Talos Principle [steampowered.com]

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