In this part, I will add the third and final dimension onto the dimension map. This dimension is expression, and it is the one that I care most deeply about when it comes to video games (and pretty much most things, coincidentally). Most game-makers, game-players, and non-game-players do not think of games in terms of expression, so in the last couple posts, we were free to exclude it as I introduced this dimensional view of games. But now we finally get to add it in our visualization, which is important, because it will reveal a hidden side to games and explain why I disagree with so many of my friends when we are talking about games.
But for now, let's just map it out. As I mentioned in the first post, it is difficult for the human brain to visualize something in true 3D. In fact, it might be impossible. This is because even if a human has more than one eye, the two eyes are placed so close together it is nearly impossible to get anything above a vague sense of depth. This is why optical illusions work, including the illusions of depth now taken for granted in representational paintings and film. We see, and therefore think, in terms of the x and y axes, and have to use cognitive tricks to reveal the z axis.
Therefore, the best way to visualize something--especially an abstract idea--is in two dimensions. So not only are we going to collapse the universes of diversion, sport, and expression into straight lines, we are going to flatten this three-dimensional multiverse, as well.
While there are several ways to collapse three-dimensional objects into two-dimensional objects, for our purposes, it's best to imagine the axes forming an upside-down "Y." To do so, we are simply going to turn that dimensional map we created in Part 2 and rotate it downward, and then we're going to attach our third dimension to the right angle they create so that it creates two 135° angles, as such:
The dimensions now create an upside-down "Y"
That was easy enough. Now I'm just going to have to explain how it works. Functionally, it's fairly similar the dimensional map we created in Part 2. We just assign a value to the expression dimension:
The quality of expression is mapped to the Expression axis
...and then we draw two lines to link this value to the line created by the first two dimensions:
The full expression of the quality of a game is a triangle
So now we have a more interesting object when we are discussing video games: not just a line, but a triangle. Notice that it is apparent when we decrease the expression value to "0" that we get a right triangle (which is what we were getting without realizing it before):
The triangle is a right triangle when the expression value is 0
What is less obvious is that is that if we reduce either of other two dimensional values to "0," we also get a right triangle:
When the diversion dimension is zeroed out, we also get a right triangle
This aspect is the unfortunate distortion we get when collapsing the three-dimensional space into two dimensions, but as long as we remember that the only way to get a right triangle is to assign one dimension a 0-value, we'll be okay. This also allows us to view two dimensions in 2-D map we created in Part 2 if the other dimension is assigned a 0-value.
But don't worry much about the complexities of dealing in three-dimensional space. Just as a longer line symbolized a higher quality game in terms of two dimensions, a triangle with a larger surface area symbolizes a higher quality game in terms of three.
We learned from Part 2 that this dimensional construction makes clear the folly of overlooking dimensions. This furthers the point--while two games might be equal in terms of diversion and sport, the surface area of the triangle may be greatly different depending on the expression-value.
Also notice that in this construction, these dimensions are equal. Zeroing out any of them will result in a literally flat game. To maximize the surface area of that triangle, the game must have a high value in all three dimensions.