Sunday, August 18, 2013

So I was playing this game...

I was playing this game called Cube World not too long ago, and enjoying the hell out of myself (if you haven't tried it, you should - it's fun!) when I was hit with the (apparently irresistible) urge to make something out of voxels.  Voxels are really hot right now (wear oven mitts), thanks largely to Notch and Minecraft.  Of course, there are several other voxel related games out there (EQ Next anyone?), and there's the whole argument about whether some of them are really using voxels at all.  But all that aside, the Infiniminer/Minecraft/etc style block engine is really popular now for what I see as primarily one reason - freedom.  There are several forms this freedom comes in, and two main ways it expresses itself:

  1. Player Freedom
    This is what allows the player to build and destroy live in these games, altering the world to a degree that's more or less unprecedented prior to this.  This alone is powerful enough that there is an entire genre of games with this as their central feature.  Minecraft is a solid example of this.  Minecraft became wildly popular as a game before its feature set really included anything else.
  2. Developer Freedom
    The other expression of freedom is on the developer side.  Due to several of their basic characteristics, voxel/cube-based games lend themselves quite well to procedurally generated content.  This is of particular benefit to smaller studios that might not have the manpower to put out a lot of handcrafted content.  A solid world generation algorithm can let them focus on interesting gameplay and new features, rather than the hundredth QA run through the game's intro level.
So what do you do with all this freedom?

I don't know what you do with it... but I'm doing this.

More coming soon.