Engare: Make Beautiful Islamic Art by Solving Math Problems

Iranian game maker Mahdi Bahrami has come up with a fairly interesting way to mimic Islamic art. A new game, Engare, lets you recreate drawings and shapes by figuring out patterns in each level of the game. Bahrami’s idea came forth out of a question posed by his high school geometry teacher. What shape would be drawn by a point attached to a ball if the ball was moving across the surface? The concept of the game is basically the same, except you play with more than just a ball and the further you proceed, the more complicated it gets. You start with an (in)complete pattern and you have to either recreate it or figure out a way to create the rest of it. You do this by attaching a point on one of the objects and when you press play, the point’s movement should draw the requested shape. You can see the prototype on the following site:  https://vimeo.com/77296105.

Engare differs from other games as it is about using a computer solution to visualize the answers to mathematical problems. Bahrami is also inspired by his culture as the patterns are based on beautiful pieces of Islamic art. Islamic art is drenched in mathematical knowledge, which means that the surge from being a prototype to a game about creating art was rather small. He loves the fact that Islamic art divulges its mathematical theories so flagrantly and gracefully. “I’m not saying the human body is not an interesting subject. But a human sculpture, for example, doesn’t show us all those interesting systems that form the human body. When we make a game about a guy jumping on platforms, normally we won’t get a lot of interesting answers about the human body”, Bahrami says.


The visual elegance of Islamic art aids to ensure that Engare doesn’t ever feel basic. Even though it’s a game based on math, you don’t have to solve any equations. “There are geometrical shapes that make us feel happy, patterns that make someone nervous or hypnotized, the tiling of a ceiling can make someone feel lonely”, Bahrami says. Following the advice of a friend of his, who’s a graphic designer, Bahrami was inspired to take the puzzles out and to let the users explore the art of drawing shapes with Engare’s tools candidly. He then decided to fully commit to this idea and has since developed a separate drawing tool based on Engare that can be used by anyone to design original art.

Bahrami is currently working on finalizing the iOS version and he hopes to release Engare this summer. To stay up to date, you can follow the game’s development on www.engare.design

Written by Ermin Crljenković

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Born in Belgium, with Bosnian roots. A student Applied Economics at the University of Antwerp and a football fanatic who loves to travel.