Classified Information: Cube World

By Adam Smith on October 11th, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

Every development update makes Cube World’s differences from Minecraft more apparent, although it’s not too far removed from what I imagined the adventure mode of Mojang’s game might be – a block-based world of exploration, combat and questing. As if to prove that it’s more RPG than survival sandbox, Cube World doesn’t just have character classes, it has the most traditional set of character classes that the world has ever known. Are you ready for this? I’d advise holding onto any hats, sitting down if at all possible and swallowing any beverages that may be in your mouth. Cube World lets players be warriors, rangers, mages and rogues. But wait, there’s more!

Each of the classes will have a choice of specialisations, which can be switched when in a village and provide different abilities. If you’re going to be facing a hard-hitting boss monster, it could be useful to switch your warrior from berserker to guardian, for example, so that he is more capable of soaking up and deflecting damage. Here’s the list of specialisations so far, with pictures:

Warriors can be Guardian or Berserker.
- Guardians have increased health and defensive abilities.
- Berserkers profit from war frenzy, which increases their attack speed with each hit.

Rangers can choose between Sniper and Scout
- Snipers are specialized on accurately aimed range attacks.
- Scouts are more mobile are good in mid-range combat.

Spirit Mages specialize on fire or water spells.
- Fire Mages can shoot firebolts and fireballs to burn their enemies.
- Water Mages can cast water drops and water splashes. The resulting water puddles heal friendly targets.

Specialization: Rogues can follow the way of the Assassin or the Ninja
- Assassins ambush enemies using stealth attacks.
- Ninjas are specialized on evasion and counter attacks.

These are the first four classes in the game, so there may be more added before release. There’s still room for clerics after all.

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50 Comments »

  1. daraujo says:

    Man, I always expect “Rogue” classes to include some sort of traditional Thief role. Always disappointing : (

  2. dalooney says:

    I’m waiting for the beta of that voxel game with various playable Nazi classes. Mein Krafft ftw

  3. Velko says:

    Doesn’t it bother anyone else that half of the supposedly GREAT games we get these days are made of huge-ass blocks? Has the world suddenly gone blind? They look crap! Jesus. Everything looks like Lemmings 3D these days, and somehow that’s the biggest thing since sliced bread?

    I just don’t understand.

    • trjp says:

      You’re right – you don’t understand…

    • x1501 says:

      Not a fan of low-res textures and meshes myself, but games like Minecraft (and hopefully Cube World) are great not because of their graphics, but in spite of them. Try actually playing Terraria or Minecraft for a couple of hours. Maybe then you’ll understand.

      • Velko says:

        Oh I’ve played Terraria for 6 hours or so (or that’s what Steam is telling me)… but that sort of art just doesn’t appeal to me. We’re past the ’90s, no? I mean, I’m no graphics-enthusiast, I’ve always played with crappy gear and never had a chance to really max everything, but surely there are other options available these days than 640×480? And surely these options shouldn’t be in the way of making the game itself good, I mean, they’ve made good games between 1992 and now, and most of them didn’t have three pixels per square-centimeter?

        Maybe I’m not hipster enough. I should grow an ironic moustache.

        • pakoito says:

          You probably missed the 00′s when they decided to trade functionality for graphics. Less complexity, more straightforward games at the cost of 3D engines and stuff. The new wave is a time machine to 99 to start a new timeline where graphics stalled and gameplay stood still.

        • The Random One says:

          …You do know that those are not actually pixels, right?

        • x1501 says:

          Instead of growing “an ironic mustache”, how about growing up, or at least growing a brain? As tough it may be for you to understand, some of us can prefer freedom and variety of gameplay to jaw-dropping graphics, however colorful and shiny they may seem. Name me one game from the 90′s that has Minecraft’s freedom of gameplay or its sense of scale, and then we can talk how being helplessly guided through Call of Duty’s meticulously scripted corridor of never-ending high-def explosions is what real gaming is all about.

          Oh, and by the way, neither Terraria nor Minecraft max out at 640×480. Both games support high resolutions and have user-created HD texture packs that make them look a lot nicer. Minecraft in particular has a crapload of user-created graphical mods that make its visuals look impressive even by today’s standards. E.g., see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF5RCyJv6Ok .

          • Amun says:

            …And next on our tour of the inter-net, we we see x1501. A fearsome predator who makes his home in the dark underbrush of the comment threads, only coming out to strike his prey — the commenter who doesn’t like the things that he likes.

            WHAP!

            The foolish commenter gets called a child and struggle is soon over.

          • Net_Bastard says:

            “As tough it may be for you to understand, some of us can prefer freedom and variety of gameplay to jaw-dropping graphics.”

            As tough it may be for you to understand, some of us can prefer having both good graphics and good gameplay in our games. You know, so that this medium can… what’s the word for it… advance? Yes, advance! That thing that the gaming industry has been doing for quite a few decades now! OH BUT DAT REQUIRES A HIGH BUDGET- Shut the fuck up. It does not require a very high budget to make games with graphics that look at least presentable. I’ve made high-res texture packs for Minecraft in my spare time, and they got positive reception when I put them online. Hard Reset was an indie game made with a small budget, and you wouldn’t even be able to tell that by looking at the screens. Games like The Witcher 2 have great gameplay and great graphics at the same time.

            Must I go into more examples?

        • Soleyu says:

          A few things, first of all, in minecraft specifically the games run at a higher resolution than 640×480, But I assume you refer to the “retro” astheric of say, terraria.

          In the case of minecraft, the game does not use pixels in the traditional sense, but voxels, which are basically 3d pixels, the advantage of voxels is that they can be procedurally generated to form terrain or monsters or whatever. That is why Minecraft uses voxels, to be able to create on the fly the worlds, but also voxels give you the ability to dynamically affect the world, since each voxel is basically a 3d cube then manipulating those is simple.

          Now Minecraft gas rather big voxels, which is why the game looks so “boxy” this was mainly for two reasons on for performance, conceivably you could make the voxels really small but being java that would make the game really, really slow. Second since Notch was alone getting all that to look really awesome would have taken a long time. And then well the style stuck, but I happen to think that it really suits the game and has its charms.

          Terraria on the other hand uses pixels, well tiles actually so performance is less an issue, but the algorithm that creates the world gets considerably more complicated the higher the resolution and the more complicated the tiles, and also the time it takes to make the graphics and their permutations, since this is done by hand, makes it a lot more complicated. And besides part of the idea behind terraria was always the retro look.

          The thing is, for now most of this procedural games will always look not as sharp as one created from scratch, but they do allow you to create random worlds and to be able to interact with the world in a more profound way that “traditional” games let you for less cost in both time and money.

          I think it’s a little unfair to compare this games to say Skyrim or the latest Castlevania, since the scope and goal are very different, the art style is a byproduct of this, but it also happens that the art style has its charms as well. Perhaps in the future we can have procedural games that look like Skyrim.

    • Urthman says:

      Velko, do you understand the trade-off being made? Do you understand the difference between a mountain in Crysis or Skyrim and a mountain in Minecraft or Cube World?

      The mountains in Crysis and Skyrim are fake. They’re empty shells with a pretty picture painted on them to make them look solid. Mountains in Cube World and Minecraft actually are solid. The individual “atoms” (blocks) are empty (just like atoms in real life), but the mountain actually is made up of blocks.

      You can’t dig into or blow up a mountain in Skyrim (unless the programmers specially script it, but even then it’s not the same kind of thing at all). Someday we’ll have computers that can make worlds as solid as Minecraft but as beautiful as Crysis. But for now, you have to pick one or the other depending on what kind of game you want to play.

      • Salt says:

        Well said, but it’s notable that the landscapes of Cubeworld are far less open to player building that Minecraft’s.

        At least what I’ve seen of it hasn’t featured any explicit digging or building, just adventuring in a relatively fixed world. That could be done with traditional landscape tech, but requiring more effort to make that scenery, and harder to apply procedural generation to it.

        • Urthman says:

          There may not be much digging or building, but everything is 100% fully destructible. Other videos show attacks from monsters tearing chunks out of the landscape. I’d be surprised if the final game doesn’t give the player bombs or spells or other means of destroying stuff.

          • Twisted says:

            The bombs are in already. In one of the gameplay videos they use bombs to expose a cave system.

    • Prime-Mover says:

      I tried minecraft, really gave it a good shot. But I just couldn’t get over the blocky and dull looking graphics. It however does not bother me the slightest. There are other games for people like us, and games like minecraft give – especially – indie developers room to focus on the innovative aspects of game design. In the long run, this cannot be a bad thing, and I would be surprised if there weren’t some spillover into more eye-candy driven games. A reason being, that games like minecraft exposes many of the shallow aspects of these games.

    • spectone says:

      I like these games because the graphics are not pretentious. Rather they focus on gameplay first. I can’t stand games with bad gameplay anymore I’ve been spoilt by too many games with good gameplay. If I want good graphics I’ll just go and watch a movie.

    • wodin says:

      They have a huge charm of their own if done well. In this game it’s done well. It looks great even though it’s voxels.

      I’m not sure you have a grasp on what is actually well designed good graphics to be honest.

      These are blocks but they look much better than minecraft. The castle game also looks great, and again made from voxels\blocks.

      It’s just a different style of graphic and just like your modern FPS graphics it can be done well and can be done not so well.

      Believe me when i tell you you couldn’t make blocks look so good a few years ago. No chance. They do use modern graphic computer power, as I said it’s just a done in a different way to your photorealism games. Also one reason why games where better many eyars ago was because it left things to your imagination. As your mind filled in the graphics or you adjusted to the world of the game looking like that your imagination also goes onto fill out the world and the possibilities. This is on the whole something that is missing from your photorealism games. Your imagination is no longer needed and thus isn’t used both in terms of visuals and gameplay.

      • jrodman says:

        Pedant powers: ACTIVATE!

        Voxels are quantized heightmaps. Looked at another way, they are a 2d grid of one dimensional values.

        That is, you can make things like bumps or hills with voxels. You can’t make objects with arbitrary cuboid shapes.

        These are not voxels.

        Voxels primarily were useful in an era when rendering arbitrary 3d shapes was not a possibility.

        • wcq says:

          Pedantman is mistaken.

          A voxel represents a single sample, or data point, on a regularly spaced, three dimensional grid.

          • jrodman says:

            Fine, you can generalize voxels to a third dimension, but these cubes are typically regular.

        • Dave Mongoose says:

          Voxel = vol[umetric pi]xel

          A pixel is a point in 2D space with a particular resolution; give it a 3rd coordinate and it becomes a voxel – a point in 3D space. Voxels can be used to create any 3D shape because they exist independently of each other, the only limitation being the resolution of the voxels.

          Because polygons took off in a big way when 3D technology was new, rendering technology followed after it and so graphics cards these days are optimised for rendering polygons. There are advantages and disadvantages to both polygons and voxels, but it’s certainly not true to say that voxels are not useful.

    • Velko says:

      Thanks guys! I knew I was going to be shouted down for writing that, but what can you do.

      A few points: yes I know they are not actual pixels, but most of you got the idea nevertheless. I don’t actually care what the technology is behind it all: the end result is what matters to me (as an end user) and I happen to not like it at all.

      Also, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to make games like this, but I was merely voicing my my annoyance at the fact that this sort of art style is becoming a standard, and, due to the fact that I don’t like it at all, that’s not good in my opinion.

      I understand that there is a trade-off, but I don’t understand why only the extreme ends of the graphical spectrum are suddenly available. Either you have gigantic blocks everywhere, or you have photo-realistic hand-holding CoD QTE mashups for kiddies (thanks, x1501!). All I’m asking is reasonably nice-looking stuff. Also I haven’t played Skyrim nor any CoD since the first one. I did play Crysis a few months ago but had to set everything low-to-mid because my rig couldn’t run it.

      I think the point is, why can’t I have a bit of both gameplay and graphics? If we’ve had a bunch of games that are all graphics and no gameplay, does that mean that nothing with any graphics is kosher anymore? (apparently yes, judging from the responses)

      But all right, no-one is forcing me to play these Minecrafts &co so it’s all good. Doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like the style.

      • wodin says:

        I know what your saying but you still don’t seem to understand that these aren’t poor graphics. No way could you get the frame rate, the fidelity the 3D effect and the overall crispness of graphics like in cubeworld years ago. Just look at the shading and lighting for starters. If a game could look like this on an old computerconsole (which it couldn’t) it certainly wouldn’t run at all well, animations would be very poor and if destructible environment was thrown in expect a frame every 10 mins.This is a modern day look of an old style of graphic.

        It looks excellent. It looks modern. It looks like a new game using an old graphic style.

        I have no issue with you not liking the style..I do take issue that these are poor graphics and outdated.

        Now something like Retro City Rampage is classic old graphics (Terarria is like this game, an old style but updated with modern graphic wizardry). Thats a game I can only play in small bouts and only because I grew up with graphics like that it’s a nostalgia trip.

      • Groove says:

        There are games with middle-ground graphics. Orcs Must Die had simpler, cartoony 3D graphics. I believe Monday Night Combat had a similar level of detail? The Blood Bowl games had decent graphics that were never very detailed, and they launced a pretty major re-release last year. A LOT of MMOs copied WoW and it’s simplified but still good grpahics. Also, depending on your definition you could include a lot of high-detail 2D games into middle-ground graphics. The new Swindle previews look positively gorgeous, but they’re built by 1/2 people. Same story with Gunpoint, the art on that looks very nice but it’s got precisely one art man.

        There are also games with graphics and amazing gameplay. Out this month you have X-Com and Dishonoured, with especially Dishonoured really pushing the boat out with interesting game mechanics. The much-referenced Skyrim wasn’t so beloved because it looked pretty. Deus Ex was a similar story to Dishonoured with the awesome graphics and exciting mechanics.

        • wodin says:

          I haven’t been that impressed with Dishonoureds graphics, no XCom but I think XCom looks better than Dishonoured.

          Not saying they both don’t look good, just you can see the console limitations in them.

          You know I but cubeworld having as good a graphic as Dishonoured..just as I keep saying a different style.

      • JackShandy says:

        “I think the point is, why can’t I have a bit of both gameplay and graphics? ”

        It’s simply impossible to make Minecraft without the blocky graphics, in the same way that it’d be impossible to make Lego Bricks that aren’t bricks. The gameplay revolves around moving blocks, so the game world must be made out of blocks.

        Many other games have good graphics and gameplay. Taste is a massive factor, obviously, but I’m sure everyone here can name their own examples. Minecraft-alikes are a very small genre. If you don’t like them, ignore them.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Indeed.

          You could make minecraft with smaller blocks to improve the blockiness of the game, however that change would have a directly negative impact on the gameplay.

      • x1501 says:

        We’re dealing with the extreme ends of the graphical spectrum, as you put it, for a couple of very basic reasons. First, as many said, most of these games must use the available computing power for other purposes. Skyrim’s total playable area is roughly 14 square miles. Minecraft maps can be as large as 1,500,000,000 square miles. Skyrim’s landscapes are static and immutable. Minecraft’s worlds are fully dynamic. You can dig through the landscape, destroy it, replace it, build upon it, or just do whatever the hell you want with it. See the difference there?

        Second, what you don’t seem to realize that we’re talking about extremely low-budget games created by rather inexperienced indie developers. Good graphics (especially hi-res meshes and quality animations) require enormous sums of money, and unfortunately, none of the big publishers who could afford it seem to be interested in creating this type of games. I mentioned CoD, and for a good reason. Games like CoD are extremely profitable exactly because of their linear and shallow nature. Flashy, short, and simplistic, they aim at the ADHD-affected lowest common denominator, and boy, does that bear fruit. By concentrating on epilepsy-inducing eye candy and instantly gratifying linear gameplay, as well as by intentionally ignoring such issues like lack of depth or replayability, the publisher of the series can repackage and sell essentially the same product for years, if not decades. Compare it to a game like Minecraft, with its almost infinite replayability and expansion potential. They probably could make a better-looking version of Minecraft, but they know they’ll never be able to turn it into a highly lucrative yearly franchise. So why bother?

  4. pakoito says:

    Priests FTW. Full Priest Party FTW ^ FTW.

  5. JBantha says:

    So we head back to town and change our class hat, right? Maybe they could put an overweight-Royal Family-female-member somewhere nearby.

    • Brian_black says:

      But, whatever would you want with the Obese Duchess? Wait, can that happen? Can a princess become a duchess? I’m not hip on the whole titles and bloodlines things, what with being a mongrel American.

    • RedViv says:

      And she shall be voiced by… Grey DeLisle!

  6. The Random One says:

    I’m sorry to say this, Adam, but that headline pun was awful. You need to go back to pun school

    (wait for it)

    and take a few more classes.

  7. Kodeen says:

    This game looks more and more interesting. Please don’t turn out to be 3079.

  8. Gloam says:

    Really love the look of this game but the combat looks a little unwieldy, kinda makes me want the same thing but turn based, console RPG style.

  9. wcq says:

    The voxels (or cubes, whatever they call them in this particular game) in the environment look a bit too large for my tastes. The huge ‘steps’ between height levels, almost as tall as characters, look like they’ll impede gameplay.
    Of course, I understand that halving the length of the edges would effectively multiply the amount of cubes (and thus memory requirements) with eight.

  10. Frye2k11 says:

    Screenshots don’t do this game justice. There are videos on their site. latest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=729VkxC4Z6E#!

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