Everything We Know About Cube World So Far

By Published November 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm
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It's been a while since we last posted a major story about Cube World, the Zelda- and Diablo-inspired voxel action-RPG, but the time is right: Wollay is hopeful for a 2012 or early 2013 launch, and as such, has released numerous updates on the state of the game. This video-centric post will cover all of the major improvements to Cube World since our last video, including some of the easily-missed tweets by the game's programmer, Wollay.

As a primer for those who are unfamiliar with how voxels work, check out our voxels vs. vertices in games article.

 

Cube World's major advancements since the initial videos can be summed up in a few major sections: Persistent mechanical interactions, environments, and progressive mechanical interactions (character-driven, rather than ever-present elements).

We'll cover some of the frequently-asked Cube World questions herein, like possible races and classes, the world's generation, and city building and generation.

A Brief Overview of the Game and its Engine

Cube World is an infinitely-generating world with virtually limitless horizontal and vertical bounds; caves go hundreds of cubes deep, mountains go equally high, and the land will perpetually generate as you continue to explore. Wollay hopes to include boats and ships for sea travel, which will unlock potential for numerous continents and islands, all waiting to be explored.

The objective in Cube World is pretty straight-forward: Explore, adventure, and have fun. Everything is customizable to a degree that it is satisfying, but confined within enough boundaries where each modifiable element doesn't take priority in gameplay. Building is an example of this: We're given a few tools for basic structures, like prefab walls and elements, but won't have the freedom that is present in other, more building-focused games. The same goes for character stats (dexterity, strength, et al.), which will be automatically incremented based upon class and subclass choices, but not individually customizable. All of this helps ensure focus is kept on adventure and exploration.

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Take Zelda and mash it up with generic MMORPGs, Diablo, and Minecraft -- you're left with the best elements from each, hopefully, all contributing to Cube World's creation.

The voxel engine itself is interesting. It's built around infinite everything -- Wollay has stated that there is technically no vertical or horizontal limit to the game's expansion, noting that he has been in caves that are "200 cubes deep."

Other Major Updates

I've included a transcript of the video below, which focuses on all of the major updates to the game. Below the transcript, you'll find some of our thoughts and concerns as they pertain to Cube World.

Video Transcript

Hey everyone, this is Steve from GamersNexus.net! Today we are talking about Cube World, an action-RPG, voxel-based game that is inspired by the likes of Zelda, Diablo, and fantasy MMORPGs. We first covered Cube World in Saturday Heat Signature, where we explored the basics and discussed rumors. This video will cover everything major that we know so far, broken into sections of gameplay mechanics, combat mechanics, and general concepts.

Let's start with an overview of the world.

Cube World is an infinitely-generating, voxel landscape with effectively limitless vertical and horizontal bounds. The game is being developed entirely by a programmer named Wollay, who is looking to achieve an action-RPG feel with a focus on exploration and traditional RPG elements, like questing, leveling, and group play. Cube World will be multiplayer-enabled and, according to Wollay's twitter, is currently aimed at supporting 4-5 players in LAN or online play.

The game has numerous landscapes and environments, including just about every basic biome you can think of, major cities, small towns, faction strongholds that include walled countryside and guards, dungeons, caves, and more. Each environment is littered with appropriate prefabs and monsters -- dungeons have traps and interactive elements (like levers), mountain biomes are perfect for hangliding, cities have inns, shops, and towers, and so forth.

All of the cities in Cube World are also randomized to an extent -- the game features hand-crafted, individual building components, but the engine then generates buildings out of the pieces that Wollay has provided. Further on the front of semi-customization, players can take these building components and place them to construct their own structures, but will not experience the freedom of building as demonstrated in - for example - Minecraft; however, Cube World wishes to retain its focus on adventure, and simplifies building to a level that is fulfilling, but not overwhelming.

There are multiple city and building styles within the game, too. So far, Wollay has mentioned a medieval stone style, North American wood style, European style, and log structures; temples, dungeons, camps, and fortresses comprise most of the non-friendly buildings, each of which houses enemy factions, treasure, traps, and obstacles. Proper dungeons will contain portal stones, which will allow players to teleport back to the entrance of a dungeon upon its completion, thus reducing repetitive travel.

Random fact: Wollay mentioned that the deepest cave he's encountered was 200 cubes below ground, and that he enjoys hangliding through the cavernous depths; different ores can be found deep underground, like iron and gold, which can then be used to work on crafting weapons and items.

And crafting is a huge part of Cube World, from what we've been told so far. The game contains a lightweight voxel editor, allowing you to place different aesthetic highlights on your weapons and armor, each of which adds special effects. Enchanting a weapon with wind spirits, for example, might increase your speed and attacks temporarily. While Wollay has stated that we can't directly create new weapons, we can modify existing ones to an extent that they're entirely custom.

Weapons we know about so far are pretty basic, but include: Swords, maces, axes, greatmaces, greatswords, greataxes, shields, longbows, crossbows, two-handed katana, bombs, staves, wands, daggers, unarmed, longswords, potentially shurikens, and plenty more unannounced options. There are also spells, of course, but so far I've only seen mention of a few types - like fire beams and fireballs and water healing spells.

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This all contributes to the top-level character customization approach of Cube World. We're given basic look choices, class and race choices, and sub-class archetypes to choose from. Cube World aims to bring customization to the player, but not to the point where it's overly complex. You won't be able to modify individual stats, for example, but can choose a class and subclass and use certain equipment to bolster important stats for your build, thus reducing obsession with "creating the perfect character," so to speak, and allowing us all to just focus on the fun.

Player characters can also accumulate pets in a pet bag, then equip them (one at a time) to play. Currently, pets can be recruited by feeding them their favorite food -- they can also level and assist in combat. The pets we know about, to name a few, include dogs, cats, moles, hornets, crows, pigs, penguins, bunnies, slimes, and other so-called "special mobs."

Speaking of mobs, we know a little bit about them so far. Following the rest of Cube World's random style, Wollay has mentioned that enemy mobs will be generated based around a random selection of bits-and-pieces; a Saurian turtle may have a large or short snout, for instance. Different body parts will generate different abilities and advantages, too. Boss mobs will scale in level based loosely on their location in the world, so the starting regions will contain lower-level mobs, but as you separate from civilization, they grow impressively difficult. Some monsters possess the ability to destroy bits of the environment, so it's entirely possible that you'll feel the environment disintegrating around you during epic battles.

Battle will ebb and flow around a tight combo system, where subsequent attacks accumulate beneficial effects like increased speed or bonus damage. Character abilities are governed by their primary archetype or class, then secondarily by a subclass. Wollay has been fairly definitive with his four available class and subclass options, which are currently listed as:

---Warrior: with Guardian or Berserker. Guardians have increased health/defense (tank); Berserkers have increased attack speed with each successful hit.

--- Ranger: with Sniper or Scout. Snipers have highly-accurate ranged attacks. Scouts are more mobile and good in mid-range.

--- Spirit Mage: Fire Mage or Water Mage. Fire mages shoot firebolts and fireballs to burn enemies; water mages can heal allies or cast other damaging spells.

--- Rogue: Assassin or Ninja. Assassins ambush enemies and use stealth attacks (active). Ninjas are specialized in evasion and counter-attacks (reactive).

Wollay has suggested that he is interested in pursuing a Paladin class next, though the current list seems fairly set in stone. He also is investigating a PVP or arena combat system, though may face balance issues in PvP combat.

Combat also requires user-controlled aiming, as there is no longer an auto-lock-on system; this is important for a lot of reasons, one of which is the damage rating of normal attacks. Non-ability attacks are more powerful than previous iterations of the game, but also significantly easier to dodge. This makes stamina- and spirit-point-based attacks an important resource that must be employed strategically.

Stamina is also used outside of combat and when interacting regularly with the environment: Sprinting and hang gliders are two instances of this. You can use stamina bursts -- which do not regenerate until you've landed -- to increase hang glider elevation. Wollay also mentioned via Twitter that he hopes to add boats and ships, though we can already swim. Further on the environmental interaction front, players can carve out holes in caves, create bypasses, and generally destroy voxels with use of very Zelda-like bombs; these can be placed in caverns and detonated to link tunnel systems. Climbing cliffs is also a solid function of the game, allowing players to feel secure in their ability to explore deep mountains and deep caverns.

The game is shaping up to be the epitome of adventure and exploration - we can only hope that as things progress, the community can show patience and allow time for a proper, tested build to be promoted to the web. Show your support for Wollay by visiting his blogger page, linked in the description below, and feel free to check out our full article on what we know about Cube World so far - also in the description.

And with that, I'll see you all next time, peace!

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OK, Great. That's all very teary-eyed. What are your concerns?

As I said in the video, Cube World has the potential to shape into the epitome of exploration and adventure. It has a simplistic-yet-customizable set of player-controlled variables, it has the randomness we desire in infinite landscapes, and the overall aesthetic is cohesive and fitting. Sounds great.

But I'm worried. As Cube World has continued to progress and differentiate itself from its initial "Minecraft clone" accusations (back when it was but a wee tech demo), it has become increasingly more generic with its RPG elements. Races? We've got orcs, humans, elves, and dwarves. Classes? Nothing wrong with the tried-and-true core archetypes: fighter type, agile type, ranged type, and MU type. Quests? Fetch me X of Y, adventurer! Maybe even kill a few Z! Oh, and don't forget to deliver to—uh, I'm out of letters—that guy in the woods. The one with the star marking him on the map -- yes, that's the one.

Borrowing influence from existing (successful) games is certainly not inherently bad, and in fact, it is often beneficial to the health of the game, but it is worrisome. If Wollay can fuse enough external mechanics to create a unique experience, well, more power to him; in the same node, if it feels like poorly-replicated bits-and-pieces of a game, we'll all be left wishing the community hadn't pressured for such an early release.

So I suppose the parting message is quite simple: Be patient. Wollay's working hard on the game, and although he has his silent bouts, there's no reason to make the first post on every video and thread "release the alpha!" or "I'm throwing money at my screen, but it isn't working!" No—let the man (and his wife, who helps with art) do their work. It takes time to make a good game, and again, Cube World has the ability to be that good game.

Here's hoping for a smooth release.

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

Last modified on November 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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