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Scripts in 3-D?

From:Daniel A. Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 12, 2000, 20:47
I just had an idea.  I think I'm more interested in conscripts than conlangs
(and better at conscripts anyway), so I'll just specialize in inventing
writing systems.

My idea is an alphasyllabry, but not one that marks exclusively CV patterns.
  I want something that marks all sorts of consonant combinations and
syllable-final consonant marks, as well as nasal and aspirate vowels.
Devanagari comes to mind, and you have all sorts of conjuncts with Sanskrit;
Tibetan likewise.  (Modern Hindi really just preserves <ks.> <jn~> <tr> <tt>
and maybe a few others.  But it does have anusvara for vowel nasalizaton and
visarga for final vowel + [h].

But I'm thinking even more advanced than that.  The directions of writing
could top to bottom for individual syllable cells, and right to left with
syllables in main writing, as in Arabic.  I'm trying to imagine a mix of
Mongolian and Tibetan script, or maybe Devanagari and Assyrian.  Or in some
cases a rebus form as in Hangul/Korean.

What are some of the natlang scripts with this two-dimensional system.  Or
theoretically, could you have 3-D writing?  I'd imagine only engraved
systems like cuneiform could accomodate something like this.  A 3-D syllable
could have each dimension being: horizontal (R > L) for onset consonant,
vertical (T > B) for vowels, and finally depth of stroke (shallow > deep)
indicating a third characteristic, probably nasal vowels, spirantized
consonant, or what not.

This could be something kinda Star Trek-like, as is the form of chess they
played in The Next Generation (at least)...

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