Try this brain-melting 3D game that was built entirely in ASCII

Try this brain-melting 3D game that was built entirely in ASCII

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. A resourceful developer has built a browser-based online 3D game that is entirely rendered in text — and it also has a multiplayer mode.

Yes, you heard that right. Asciicker (read as Ass-kicker) is all ASCII, meaning the graphics are made up entirely from colored letters, numbers, and symbols. The only exception is that the game creates the illusion of three-dimensional space.

You can navigate through the game‘s map with the keyboard arrows (or WASD, if that’s what you’re used to) and also use the spacebar to jump.

The best way to experience the 3D aspect of the game is by holding Q or E to rotate the camera. It looks absolutely astonishing. Check this out:

For the most part, Asciicker is still an experiment.

There’s no storyline to it, no purpose, no goals to accomplish. The funnest activity you can do in it right now is to follow other people playing it (which is more difficult than it sounds because everyone looks the same).

Think of Asciicker as a proof-of-concept — and a wonderful visual experience of three-dimensional space built entirely with text.

In a Reddit thread, creator gumiks explains Asciicker was built purely in JavaScript — without relying on a game engine or any other dev tools.

Indeed, you can follow the progression to the current version by adding “X1” at the end of the URL, and working your way up to X13. That’ll give you a better idea of all the moving elements behind rendering three-dimensional space in text. To put this in perspective, gumiks first began developing the game in 2017.

What’s even better is that gumiks is far from done. The developer plans to craft dev tools that’ll make it easier to design levels and new assets for the game.

The idea is to use the dev tools to render normal 3D assets in textmode. Here’s what this will look like:

The dev tool was written in C++, and also uses OpenGL to render and the ImGui library for the user interface.

The developer built the software exclusively for Asciicker, but plans to open-source it for others to use too. “I couldn’t imagine its use in other type of game engine,” gumiks says. I’ll probably release it as open source as a mod tool or just for letting other devs to have easier start with their similar projects.”

Now go get lost in Asciicker by clicking here.

Read next: Microsoft's new font for devs is very aesthetically pleasing (and free)

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