Home Virtual Reality Three-Body VR beginner’s tips and tricks to help you master the problems

Three-Body VR beginner’s tips and tricks to help you master the problems

Virtual reality gaming has grown more popular and affordable in recent years, with a whole range of cutting-edge commercial headsets like the Valve Index and the PlayStation VR 2 enabling players to experience an ever-growing library of exciting games. That doesn’t even begin to include all the impressive third-party VR headsets out there, like this shiny experimental “Three-Body” headset that was gifted to me by the fine folks at… well, they didn’t actually tell me who they are. It just showed up on my doorstep in a box with my name on it! Netflix, maybe?

It’s really sleek and cool, and doesn’t have a charging port or any type of wires to connect to my computer or monitors. At first I thought it was some newfangled bicycle helmet my wife ordered off of Amazon, but turns out she didn’t know what it was either! After putting it on and playing around with it for a few hours, though, I feel confident in saying that this was one of the most intuitive and exhilarating gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

I wasn’t required to sign an NDA, and I do know there are a bunch of other players out there who have gotten their hands on the game. In case you’re also one of the lucky beta testers out there and are wondering how to get the most out of the experience, here’s some handy tips and tricks as you work to solve the mystery of this world!

[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for 3 Body Problem season 1.]

It’s a different type of survival game

Image: Netflix

Part of the experience of Three-Body is discovering what the game is actually about. If you’re looking for the TL;DR version, though, here it is: It’s a survival game. Simple, right? There’s tons of survival games out there, from Rust and Minecraft to Sons of the Forest and Subnautica. This one’s different, though.

Instead of punching trees to get wood to craft into tools to kill animals to craft better tools to kill monsters to craft even better tools to scavenge for supplies to craft the best tools in order go farting around doing whatever you so please, the objective of the game is far more ambitious. In short: You have to save an alien civilization from a recurring catastrophe involving the anomalous effects of a tri-solar system. No pressure!

It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it

Sea Shimooka as Sophon walking across lava in a still from 3 Body Problem

Image: Netflix

You might be reading this and thinking, Wow that sounds really cool, how do I get my hands on this cool futuristic headset game? That’s the neat part — you don’t. You’re either already playing the game, or you aren’t. Three-Body is an exclusive, invitation-only VR experience. That means you have to be gifted a headset by the developers; you can’t purchase it. Sorry!

That also means you should take this kind of seriously, especially when choosing your in-game name. You can’t use your real name, and don’t try to name yourself something juvenile like “DicksAhoy69.” Choose something cool, and preferably science-related — but be sure to make it something you like, since you can’t change it afterward!

Don’t try to take someone else’s headset in order to play yourself, though— the game’s moderator does not take kindly to trespassers. They won’t ban you, since you technically don’t have an account anyway, but they will swiftly cut your head off and eject you from your play session if you go noodling around in someone else’s game. Ouch!

Brush up on your astrophysics!

Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) holds up an apple in a medieval hall in 3 Body Problem.

Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix

OK, now that we’ve got the basics of the “who” and “what” of Three-Body out of the way, the next question is the most tricky: How exactly do you go about saving an entire civilization from this particular extinction-level event?

There’s a long answer and there’s a short answer to this. This is the whole crux of the game’s premise, calling on player to rely on their intuitive prowess and deductive reasoning to arrive at a theory and test it out. In short: You’re gonna have to science the shit out of this problem. If you don’t have a Ph.D. in applied physics or astronomy, my condolences. There’s hope, though, and it’s called your local library! Get yourself a library card and start hitting those books, because this situation is not going to un-fuck itself!

Not interested in doing all of that? Curious as to what the actual solution to this “three-body problem” really is? Are you sure you wanna know? OK…

[Ed. note: Spoilers for Three-Body (and The Three-Body Problem and 3 Body Problem) ahead.]

The short answer is simple: You can’t actually solve the three-body problem. Disappointing, I know. But that’s not the point of the game. The point is in how you reach that conclusion on your own. Three-Body is tracking how you work through the stages of the problem, testing hypotheses and refining theories, and all the while the game itself is scrutinizing the way in which you behave and treat the members of civilization you’re trying to rescue. So be careful who you punch and harass — the game will remember that!

Don’t be afraid to assert yourself…

Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) pointing at an object off-screen.

Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix

You’re the savior of a whole dang civilization, so act like it! Every level of the game will task you with convincing the most powerful leader of a particular historical era what the best solution to Three-Body is. Moreover, you’re not the only person playing, as other verified players are competing against one another to test their own theories and advance through the game. You can also team up with other players in co-op mode to compare notes and co-author a solution.

If you cross paths with a particularly foul-mouthed person named Aristotle or Sir Isaac Newton who’s throwing their weight around, that’s probably another player. Players are encouraged to cooperate and play nice, but if someone starts insulting you and stomping all over your pitch, don’t be afraid to tell them to fuck off and make your case as to why your solution is the best solution. Remember: The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

…but be mindful of the historical era you’re in

Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) and Jack Rooney (John Bradley) leaning over the rim of a boiling pot.

Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix

All that is well and good, but there’s just one other complication to process: convincing the leader of each historical era to actually hear you out. Remember when Galileo argued that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe and he was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition and sentenced to house arrest until the day he died?

Well, Three-Body has a fail state that’s kind of like that, only instead of house arrest, it’s being burned at the stake or boiled alive in a big ol’ pot or whatever other fiendish form of punishment is most fashionable for that particular era. You have to be cautious in how you present your theory, and if you’re a woman or a minority… my condolences. I don’t know why the game has prejudice hard-coded into its design. Turns out Langdon Winner was right; artifacts do have politics.

The ‘game’ doesn’t stop when it’s over

Thomas Wade (Liam Cunningham) sitting at a desk with a futuristic headset on a table.

Photo: Ed Miller/Netflix

If you succeed in advancing through the three stages of Three-Body, you’ll be sent an invitation to participate in the fourth and final stage at a location near you. It’s not so much a “challenge” as it is explanation of the game’s design and purpose and a simple yes-or-no question of whether or not you want to keep “playing” beyond the game. If you choose yes, you’ll be invited to a party — yay! If you choose no, you can go home. Simple, right? Well, that’s the thing: Sometimes a choice isn’t really a choice, but in reality an ultimatum. So… choose wisely!



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