It’s Hip To Be Cube World

By Adam Smith on January 23rd, 2012 at 11:07 am.

a house of cubes

Since we first learned of Cube World’s existence, the game’s developer, Wollay, has been snapped up by Mojang, although it wasn’t like a crocodile eating a zebra but rather a company hiring an employee. UPDATE: actually that didn’t happen in the end, though apparently amicably. Anyway! Since then, development on the game has been continuing and there are plenty of new details and some screenshots that show a variety of environments and some nifty house construction. Prepare a pickaxe, for information and images await below.

The first batch of pictures show the jungle environment, which will be joined by others such as “deserts, savannahs, tundras and snowlands” soon.

Each zone’s appearance and flora (maybe fauna too?) will be decided by a climate system, which applies temperature and humidity values randomly across the world. Since seeing the first images of the game, in which the player’s location is listed in the top right corner of the screen, I’d stupidly assumed the map was pre-designed with no random variation. The fact that the first location I saw was ‘Hyra’, a seeming allusion to ‘Hyrule’, probably encouraged my lazy thinking. It turns out those names are actually randomly created, as explained here: “The names are…a random combination of syllables. Depending on the properties of the ground and the vegetation, each landscape has an additional name like ‘Hills’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Beach’, ‘Ocean’ etc”.

Touches like that make me excited because it’s the kind of thing I do for myself if the game doesn’t do it for me, so it helps to convince me the designer is thinking along the right lines, which are my lines. Every island and continent I gouge away at in Minecraft has a name of my choosing and given my giddiness when prospecting blocks, that name is often equivalent to a random combination of syllables: “metagorge”, “jortel” and “brustache” form a beautiful archipelago.

How about some pictures of house construction?

Rather than being entirely free-form, construction relies on collecting blueprints, either by purchasing them or completing quests I would imagine. These can then be stuck together to make a house in which to store treasures and pretend to live.

Finally, here are some caves.

There’s plenty more over at Wollay’s blog, including pictures of various enemies and NPC villages. The approach to design seems very open, with suggestions asked for openly and features appearing to be open to changes based on feedback. It’s also worth nothing that although the screenshots all show the player character, there is a first-person viewpoint available as well.

I’m very eager to see how this turns out, particularly as the ‘Minecraft with more focus’ comments aren’t going to vanish anytime soon and it will be interesting to see how much the two games do actually have in common. They have random worlds in common but Cube World also has random quests to complete in those worlds. Obviously there are visual similarities but it may well turn out that its graphically that the games actually most resemble one another. Time shall tell and then so shall I.

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47 Comments »

  1. GT3000 says:

    Definitely looks like it’s focus with a lot more Minecraft.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    Wollay was snapped and then unsnapped… Update ye mental notes.

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    Looks suitable for my gf who adored Terraria but is finding a post Wall of Flesh world incredibly frustrating.

    Interesting!

  4. Monkeh says:

    So far it’s looking good, can’t wait to try it out!

  5. AmateurScience says:

    Looks a bit like the love child of Minecraft and Lego [insert franchise here].

    This is a good thing.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      I’m getting memories of 3D Dot Game Heroes looking at this game.

      What a fun little game that was!

  6. sneetch says:

    This game is looking gorgeous! I am eagerly looking forward to giving him monies in exchange for it.

  7. Bluerps says:

    Looks great so far – though I wish there was more information about how the game will actually work.

  8. Meat Circus says:

    Oh wow. That looks gawjus.

    • Skabooga says:

      Having played neither, the screenshots of this Cube World do look prettier than the screenshots I’ve seen of Minecraft.

  9. JackDandy says:

    Wait- so it DIDN’T get picked up by Mojang? That’s pretty nice to hear.

    From the vids I saw so far, it’s neat- but the fighting system leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Adventsparky says:

      The game itself was never being picked up, just the developer, who was to be allowed keep this as his own project, not part of Mojang, but he’s decided to stay independent.

    • Big Murray says:

      To be fair, Minecraft’s fighting system leaves a lot to be desired as well.

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    Mojang never intended to pick it up, just to hire the developer. The game was always to remain undependant.

  11. lhzr says:

    no pay-to-get-into-alpha? aww :(

  12. Tengil says:

    Graphically this reminds me a lot of 3d Dot Game Heroes, although that was basically a graphical revamp of the 2d Zeldas.

  13. noodlecake says:

    This looks very pretty! :)

  14. Tams80 says:

    Minecraft and Cube World seem rather different games. Minecraft is mainly about creation and some people really have something against that. Cube World seems more about adventure and exploration, I’m sure there will be people who won’t like that. I shall ignore both crowds of people. Other than that they are significantly aesthetically different.

    Now, when can we play it?!

  15. Persus-9 says:

    This looks so lovely. If it plays as well as it looks then I’m definitely going to have to buy it.

    I have to say I’m liking how the Infiniminerlike genre is developing. Zachary Barth, I salute you! I also salute you for SpaceChem because that was awesome too.

  16. povu says:

    Sounds like Cube World will be a mix of Minecraft (3D random environment) and Terraria (more goal/gear/exploration focused) along with questing and some other nice stuff.

  17. sicbanana says:

    Oooh this looks sooo nice! It would be awesome if they took the “best” parts of Terraria and Minecraft and combine them with classic RPG elements like questing, dungeon-crawling and loot.
    AAAH, when I think about that…. IT’S ALL I EVER WANTED! GIMMEEE! :D

    edit: I think Re-logic, Mojang and these guy(s?) should get together and just do it… I would pay 50€ for that! A LOT of people would pay 50€ for that…

  18. GallonOfAlan says:

    According to the FAQ, it’s Windows only, C++ and DirectX. This presumably means that it won’t have the staggering system requirements that Minecraft has due to Java and OpenGL and so on, at the expense of cross-platformness.

  19. thaspius says:

    Infinite dragons? Fourth image down from the top has a green dragon in it.

  20. Crainey says:

    Do we have any insight into the condition of his employment at Mojang? You’d think that Mojang would want to publish his game, which will probably happen but at the moment it seems as though he works at/for Mojang but Cube World is entirely his own and has no involvement with Mojang, obviously he’d take friendly advice from Notch and co on it’s development though. Can anybody shed some light on this, I’m curious.

    • Adam Smith says:

      He decided to remain independent and turned down Mojang’s offer in the end. I had somehow missed that, hence the edit in the article.

      The original plan was for Cube World to remain his own property anyhow though, even if he had worked for Mojang.

    • Crainey says:

      Oh I thought that’s what you meant but it didn’t make sense for him to refuse that’s why I didn’t believe it. He said he doesn’t want to do a paid beta so how is he planning on getting money for the development of the game, I mean sure indie’s have been doing it for ages and it’s hardly something new but I don’t really see the downside to it unless your game is bloody awful, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.
      That all said I understand his decision to stay independent and it’s probably for the better, it’s always good to see somebody refuse offers so they can go their own direction, makes for better games.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      It makes sense to stay out from under any sort of employment contract that might endanger his IP or its release, even with the promise of “keeping it separate” – it avoids potential legal entanglements if Mojang takes offense at some element of the game’s content.

  21. Crainey says:

    So far this game looks like it could be another massive hit. If it can be as successful as Minecraft really depends how much freedom to do what they please a user has. though the blueprints is a nice idea and makes it easier for players, so much of the re-playability of Minecraft and time-sink that makes it successful is in that manual construction. Regardless this will be a title to watch for sure and I’ll be nabbing it asap.

  22. Tei says:

    It look like a 8 bits game in 3D, … so (making a joke only people with a calculator will understand) it looks like a 512 bits game.

    Well.. not exactly like 8 bits pixels (voxels?). Because the original 8 bits pixels where rendered using CRT technology: blurry pixels, pixels with memory (a white pixel in one of these games would left a white trail).

    So is more like a re-imagination of the 8 bits world, withouth the requiered shaders to make it feel faithfull in 3D.

  23. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Man, this looks amazing. I hope you can build stuff in it.

  24. MythArcana says:

    Since Voxatron pretty muck tanked, I’d like to check this out…even with the gratuitous lack of a fully original IP. And speaking of Voxatron, I don’t think I’ll be running out throwing money around until the product is final.

    • terry says:

      It tanked? I was under the impression it was still in alpha.

    • yutt says:

      @MythArcana

      Where are you getting this info? There is a dev blog from a month ago, the forums are still active, and I see no word, or even rumor, of it being cancelled or stalled.

      http://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?uid=1

    • Baines says:

      I want to like Voxatron, but the area visible on screen is just too small for me.

      Cube World looks better to me.

      Movement seems a little more sane than Terraria, as in the videos it looks like Cube guy can simply walk up a 1 block elevation, where in Terraria a character is stopped cold by a one block elevation. The whole world looks better than Minecraft, and videos don’t give me the motion sickness that Minecraft (and some of its more slavishly devoted clones) gives me.

      Though, as others have said, the combat still looks lacking.

  25. Frye2k11 says:

    Notch didn’t patent the cube, nor did he invent it. I am sure what is now considered ‘the Minecraft look’ will soon be something like the square tile in the days of Transport Tycoon etc. : the most obvious way to partition space, nothing more.

  26. celozzip says:

    hahaha in your face mojang! seriously, though when i heard they were hiring that guy i thought ‘oh great mojang is like the ea/microsoft of the indie world’

    good on that guy for saying no.

  27. Nixitur says:

    Randomly generated names? World generation depending on a random distribution of temperature and humidity? Randomly generated quests?
    That reminds me a lot of Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Definitely looking forward to this.

  28. Koozer says:

    Look, would it be that much trouble to introduce sloped pieces?

  29. The13thRonin says:

    Apart from sharing the same aesthetics how is Cube World even remotely like Minecraft? Minecraft was built off two basic premises; mining and crafting… Hence MINE-CRAFT… Cube World has neither, the developer has even gone as far to say he will not be including either in the full game. It is definitely more comparable to something like Zelda or even Diablo than Minecraft. I mean when Heavy Rain came out no-one said hey… This is the new Crysis even though both supposedly modeled themselves on ultra-realism in graphics design. Anyone who thinks this is going to be Minecraft 2 is setting themselves up for disappointment.

  30. ericks says:

    I love how people stopped focusing so much on hyper-realism and started using stylized graphics, but really, it doesn’t always have to be cubes people.