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Re: Non-linear / full-2d writing systems?

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Thursday, May 12, 2005, 21:20
On Thu, May 12, 2005 at 01:08:11PM -0700, Sai Emrys wrote:
> > > What I have in mind, however, involves "ink" that is drawn into a 3D > > > grid of voxels, > > > > voxels? I assume -els is 'elements' just as it is in pixels. But what is > > the vox- ? Looks like Latin for "voice". If so, there's another difference > > between your HST's schemes ans Sai's as I understand it. > > Oy. What he means is having 3d *pixels* rather than 3d *surfaces*. So > something in this language woud be a bunch of dots hanging in space.
Actually, it would be more like interlocked 3D volumes, or a 3D mesh of interlocked wires. Think of "normal" writing on paper as an assemblage of lines that are intertwined on a 2D surface. You can think of it as bits of wire lying flat on the surface of the paper. You can twist and scrunch up the paper all you want, like twist it into a cylindrical surface, but that does not change the fact that there are only 2 degrees of freedom on the surface of the paper. The 3D generalization would be lines that intertwine in a 3D volume: they are no longer confined to a 2D surface but are free to fill a 3D volume. Think of a ball of entangled wires embedded in, say, a block of gelatin. The wires are intertwined in a 3D fashion that is much more than merely a 2D surface plus depth. Imagine a huge block of gelatin as the "surface" you'd write on. Each "character" of the writing is like a blob of wires embedded in the gelatin, forming 3D letterforms. These blobs can be laid out in a truly 3D fashion, like filling a grid of N*N*N cells. That's what I consider a "true" 3D writing. Carving a cylinder to me is still 2D, just that instead of writing on a flat surface you're writing on a surface curved in a funny way.
> While I agree that this is "more 3d" than my conception (of bounded > surfaces), I think he's also right in that we wouldn't be able to > understand very easily. :-P
[...] Well, I think it's not that hard to understand. (I'm not talking about a random collection of dots in 3D, but a 3D volume containing coherent 3D characters which you may think of as bits of wire embedded in a block of gelatin, as I described above.) It's just that, when presented with a block of writing, our viewpoint which is limited to 3D doesn't give as an unobscured view such that we can simultaneously see the 3D interconnections between letters/shapes. Consider if you were a 2D creature confined to the surface of the page, trying to read what is written thereon. From your POV, you'd see a bunch of "walls" (the strokes of the letters) arranged in complex, labyrinthian ways. Some letters like O and theta would be indistinguishible, because you can't see through their outer "walls". It is impossible for you to adequately perceive the letters on the page because your viewpoint is confined on the page. Only a 3D being has the vantage point to be able to see all of the page at once. Similarly, a 3D writing would be written in a 3D volume, and may employ such shapes as hollow and solid spheres, or cubical blocks with different arrangements of holes inside them (with no break in the outer surface). To us, 3D people, we can only tell if the *outside* of the "letters" are cubical or spherical, but we can't distinguish between a solid sphere and a hollow sphere. Whereas, a 4D being would have the vantage point to be able to see the letters in all their internal detail simultaneously, and the difference between a solid sphere and a hollow sphere would be immediately obvious, just as the difference between O and the Greek theta is immediately obvious to us (but not to a 2D creature). T -- Bare foot: (n.) A device for locating thumb tacks on the floor.