Friday, August 26, 2011

Web Dimension manual

Web Dimension


 General Description   [ 1.0 ]

How To Play [ 2.0 ]
Hints [ 3.0 ]
Game History [ 4.0 ]

[ 1.0 ] General Description

What if a master software designer was also a great musician? And what if he took a whole new look at something like Darwin's theory of evolution - and turned it into a fabulous musical fantasy?

Over one hundred fifty years ago, Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution.

It's about time somebody made it hip.

A very unique computerized music video with an electrifying evolutionary web rocked by exquisite visual effects and eleven outrageous tunes.

How to Enjoy the Biggest Event Since the Big Bang.

To fully appreciate the Web Dimension experience, we suggest you first stretch forth your arms and deftly crack your knuckles (a ritual attributed to early Neanderthal Man).

Then, after the pain subsides, turn off all the lights in your room and turn up your TV. (It's getting fun now, isn't it?)

In the Beginning A grey web will form before you. Life will spring majestically from it. Atoms, amoebas, planets and more. Primitive? Yes. But also, potentially, quite satisfying.

As the atoms and other organisms slide smoothly out along the web, you must attempt to connect with them in just the proper way. If you're successful, even more fantastic creatures and wondrously wild music will be your reward. If you're successful.

The Missing Link Yes, there are rules to our little electronic universe. However, wouldn't it be much more fun if you took your first steps up the evolutionary ladder all on your own?

So, for now, it will suffice to say that you rendezvous with life at the crossroads of existence (the nodes of the web). But the key is to get there first. And then, figure out the rest.

(Just remember how much poor Cro-Magnon Man achieved 30,000 years ago: the wheel. Fire. Cave graffiti. And he didn't even have a 64K RAM PC with a full graphics utility. Let alone printed instructions.)

Evolution of the Blues If you're clever and cool enough, you'll evolve to the blue web. A world of incredible music and color. Here, organisms live out their days quite differently. Painted paths will appear through time and space.

(The neighborhood has really taken a turn.) Again, connection is the key. But sometimes, and in some places, not touching is even more critical.

But we've said too much already. Experiment. Take your time. This is all new ground. Leading-edge stuff. You'll get there eventually. (But, if you don't, there's always the How to Play section.)

[ 2.0 ] How to Play


How to Start

Press F1 to start the game.

The Object

To experience, enjoy, create. There is no beginning, no end, no rules, no lives to be lost, no score to be gained. Watch. Listen. Learn.


It is suggested that you try to figure out the objective, hazards, and rewards of the game without reading these instructions.

The Process

There are eight levels of evolution. Each level has three phases:

Phase 1: Freeze all organisms into energy clusters.

Phase 2: Stabilize all energy clusters.

Phase 3: The transitional phase that moves you to the next level with a musical reward.

Levels increase in difficulty, and the sequence keeps repeating.

The Procedure

Phase 1: Grey Web. Freeze organisms into energy clusters. To do so, arrive at an intersection (node) of web strands before an organism gets there. As it approaches, hold down the joystick button.

Caution: All organisms 'paint over' their paths, but the color disappears when they reach the path's end. Touching a painted path or crashing into an organism when it is not at an intersection will set you back to the start of Phase 1.

Phase 2: Blue Web. To stabilize energy clusters, go over them with the fire button pressed. You do not have to be at a node. In this phase, the energy clusters don't paint their paths, but you do. Touching your own painted path will set you back to the start of Phase 2.

Phase 3: Incredible music. Lights. Color. A new epoch is about to begin. Enjoy, because there's level after level of fantastic creatures yearning to evolve from the web.


Use the joystick to move your on-screen character. Maneuvering around the web takes a bit of getting used to at first, as you don't always move in the opposite direction to go back the way you came.

[ 3.0 ] Hints

Relax. Enjoy the game. You have as many lives as you need. Evolve at your own pace.

We've found Web Dimension to be an excellent thing to do while on the phone, since there is no pressure to do well. Hey - it beats doodling.

[ 4.0 ] Game History

Russell Lieblich, Designer and Programmer

"Similar to Master of the Lamps, I wanted to create a really trippy sound-light sculpture; in retrospect, a really primitive screen saver. Making a game out of it was an ancillary chore. To the best of my knowledge, nobody was doing anything even like it at the time."

On sound technology then and now: "There was only one sound chip in the C64, the 'SID' chip, which did both sound and music. There was no MIDI back then. All you had was this 4-tone analog oscillator. It could put out a triangle wave, sawtooth wave, pulse, and it had a noise generator, and that was it! Music and sound then was completely table driven, based on an interrupt timer. There was no such thing as a 'MIDI stream' - it was completely macro-driven. In other words, the data was stored as 'Tone=C4, Duration=8th note'. Web Dimension was yet another example of how we did stuff back then that was never done before - looking back on it, to do the sounds and music in Web Dimension without MIDI was quite a feat."

Before joining forces with Activision, Russ spent most of his time studying music. Russ currently owns a recording studio in the San Francisco area, and occasionally works on computer game projects. He plays the keyboard primarily, but is also a professional saxophone player. He also did the music for a CD game called "The Manhole".

From the Web Dimension box: Russ is a man of music. And science. He has degrees in both. It is from these seemingly opposite interests that Web Dimension was born. And certain scientific theories were, shall we say, updated. (We'd like to think Darwin would have gotten a kick out of it.)

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