Iubes Is Shareware, Also A Kind Of Darwinian Minecraft

By Graham Smith on February 5th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

Sort of like a Darwinian Minecraft.

Iubes: the game with the name that looks a bit unfortunate in our post title font. Iubes: intelligent cubes, who roam around the inside of a spherical world. Iubes: a sort of speeding god game mashed up with a real-time strategy game.

It’s now available to download as shareware, with a paid version if you want to play the game’s online mode.

Here’s the most recent trailer:

The idea is to design a functioning city by plopping down buildings and depending on your little creatures to scurry around building them for you. The world has a day night cycle, and while you can speed up time, by default day lasts an hour. At night, your dead iubes rise from the graveyard, meaning you to fight them back down. It… it sounds a bit strange.

The multiplayer mode is no less unusual, requiring you not to beat a real-time opponent in a one-on-one fight, but beat the strategy they used in their previous battle. If you win, other players will then fight against your recorded strategy. The idea is to, essentially, have the most efficient method of playing the game.

It all sounds super interesting. The game is £9.75/$15 if you want to take it online, but it sounds as if there’s plenty of game to try for free first. That’s what I’m doing now.

Thanks, PixelProspector.

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32 Comments »

  1. SillyWizard says:

    Lubes.

    That is all.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Nevermind, that is not all!

      How is it that the inside of a sphere can have a day/night cycle without the Leiber Solution?

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I pretended, for my own amusement, that you were partially speaking German and that you actually just said “how can you have a day / night cycle inside a sphere without The Love Solution”. Then I added some Barry White. All in all it was a fun time.

        • Halk says:

          Except that “Leiber” does not mean “love” in German.

          • Creamice says:

            It literally means “bodies” in a kind of old-fashioned (dare i say – carnal) way. With some goodwill it still makes for a nice Barry White joke i think.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    The wisdom of the tooltip text seems strong. Will be interesting to give this a spin and see if the unit intelligence actually helps, because RTS units really don’t have the strongest record here, and indirect approaches like Darwinia have tended to be LiquidWar-style globs before too long IME.

  3. Premium User Badge amateurviking says:

    This looks like a slippery customer.

  4. Felixader says:

    Hm, i have to say that the idea seems good and the basic gameplay is rather interesting. The biggest Problem that keeps me from playing more is that the game is sorely lacking charm.

    The music in the menue and at the end of a game is rather the best part of it.

  5. Turkey says:

    The graphics are giving me a really strong Darwinia vibe.

  6. Mags says:

    And this is why we use serifs.

    Serifs. The sane choice.

  7. DRoseDARs says:

    Lubes? Fizzjob? Oh dear…

  8. jrodman says:

    Shareware very strongly implies no limitations at all in the product provided.

    It came from an era when distribution was difficult, so it encouraged its users to make copies and give them to others, and for anyone who found it useful and used it to send payment to the author. Essentially it was freeware with a moral code for payment.

    Software that required registration to access features was a category which came later, in opposition to shareware, and was called, derisively, crippleware.

    • Geebs says:

      I owed Jeff Minter a fiver through most of the nineties.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      There’s a difference between crippleware and Apogee-model shareware. The former gives you a broken program/game and charges you to fix it. The latter gives you a complete but shortish game and charges you for more like it.

      Of course the distinction can be unclear. Iubes seems to straddle the line a bit.

      • jrodman says:

        I would say the clear part is that the term is obsolete. Is someone asking me to put the game on a floppy and give it to my friends or upload it to BBS systems?

        At the very least, does the license allow unfettered duplication?

        I would guess the answers are no.

    • codrer says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shareware

      Shareware (also termed trialware or demoware) is proprietary software that is provided to users on a limited basis and only for a certain limited trial basis and pursuant to a license which restricts any commercial benefit, use or exploitation of the software. While there may not be an initial up front payment, the license pursuant to which the software is provided limits and restricts usage.

  9. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    Talking about an RTS on a curved surface, anyone able to report whether Planetary Annihilation is any more comprehensible since the last several patches?

  10. racccoon says:

    Looks mental.

  11. Premium User Badge Chaz says:

    Wow, that’s almost what I imagined the cylinder world Spyre to look like in the book “Queen of Candesce”.

  12. tasteful says:

    i cant wait to Iube up and work myself into that tube!

  13. Thrippy says:

    It’s uncrippled full shareware. If addicted and grown weary of the AI, you can pay to unlock multiplayer. A throwback to Try Before You Buy prior to the saturated bubble era of poseur indie early access and pay to play alpha-ware. Just say no to the bubble.

    To me this is a straight up RTS only with unit micromanagement eliminated so that the game can focus on resource management. Warcraft/Starcraft/C&C requires too much frantic mult-tasking (measured in +100 APM, actions per minute) to ever be palatable for many gamers. It’s a good idea to selectively disable parts of the traditional full featured RTS to see if we can get somewhere new instead of year in, year out, continuing to graphically polish the decades old existing genre (i.e. Blizzard).

    i(I)ubes has borrowed the notion of Minecraft’s “biomes” with each world procedurally generated from a fixed set of landscape themes (there’s maybe half a dozen?). I’m impressed how this translates into the necessity for changing up flexible basic strategies depending on what world you find yourself in. Dense forests allow for rapid resourcing. Deserts and frozen mountain themes dictate dispersed building and wide spread small scale skirmishes. Ideally if the game continues expanding on this idea, it could discourage rote build orders, a necessary evil of the traditional RTS.

    Existing inside a cylinder as it is, each skirmish map is edgeless and wraparound. Fronts can open up anywhere lengthwise along the cylinder and there is no “back of your base” that allows substantial base turtling. You can just attack in the opposite direction against an entrenched tower builder.

    The corpses of your fallen iubes are tallied and can respawn as nocturnal ghosts from a buildable cemetery. It’s a slight soft counter against rushing. Thus, the harder you are hit in any single day cycle, the stronger your counterattack will be during the night cycle.

    No repair! This may be necessary due to recording the skirmish for playback. But it does make every building placement a decision you have to live with for the duration. All building damage is permanent. This serves to push each skirmish toward a decisive conclusion, over and above the factors of population cap and exhausted resources. The necessary evils of cancel build tactics and a dozen peons repairing your HQ are entirely absent from this game.

    Population is capped at 200+50 ghosts for each side. I noticed CPU creeps toward red line at the pop cap. Hopefully this game will sell well enough to support the continued addition of features and engine optimization. Need bigger battles. We need more small RTS titles. Good ones like this.

    tl;dr: differences in maps are not entirely cosmetic, anti-turtling and anti-rush measures are built into the game design. Smells like I(i)nnovation. THE FRENCH LED RTS RENAISSANCE CONTINUES!