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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogscubrick (meditative 3D puzzle for android / windows (Rift) / linux / web)
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Author Topic: cubrick (meditative 3D puzzle for android / windows (Rift) / linux / web)  (Read 4237 times)
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« on: February 14, 2014, 10:34:56 AM »

Cubrick is a minimal, meditative, 3D puzzle/platformer game, in development for Android, Windows (with Oculus Rift support), Linux, and the web
(and eventually Mac OSX / iPhone / iPad when I get my hands on a Mac to compile it)

I call it a "platformer" with some reservation, since there's no jumping, no accidentally rolling off the edge and dying, and although there is a small element of timing certain movements, it doesn't require any real manual skill or dexterity - I'm trying to focus on testing your mind and perception, not your twitch button mashing ability.

Playable Prototype

A playable prototype is available to play directly on the website (if your browser supports the Unity plugin), or to download for Windows, Linux, and Android.

I welcome feedback, please let me know if anything breaks, or if you have any questions/suggestions!


Motion / feel / "flow": movement, control, and animation as fluid, natural, and intuitive as possible, to avoid high-level "interface" frustrations that take the player out of the game.  Strangely I'm influenced by old skateboarding games where you could just ride around effortlessly, ollie-ing off everything you came across...  On another level, I'm trying to reduce/eliminate as many "speedbumps" in the experience as possible: no loading screens (you can even start moving before each level is completely loaded), no "wait and read" title/credit/legal screens... so from beginning to end the entire experience "flows".

Mood / visuals / sound: stark, thoughtful, meditative, generally peaceful, but occasionally some tension or "darkness" as the story progresses.  Picture a virtual space inside the mind of an artificial intelligence.  This is supported by the sound design, from cubrick's movements (a simple pentatonic piano "plink"), to other complimentary sounds in the environment, all overlaying and harmonizing with the ambient soundtrack.

Story: Cubrick's backstory ties into some other things I'm working on, and will be hinted at in that greater context, but never really spelled out.  I'm trying to keep human language out of the game as much as possible, and to a minimum in the menu/GUI, to give an almost "machine perspective" on what's taking place.  You may meet other cubricks, they may be a part of you, or completely independent, and you may not even stay the same cubrick for long...

Cross-platform / cross-play: Cubrick is made with Unity, making it easy to deploy cross-platform (though I won't be able to release an OSX/iOS version until I get my hands on a Mac).  But while most cross-platform games live in their isolated ecosystems (Windows/Linux/Mac games can sync to any other PC using Steam, Android games can sync to any other Android device using Google Play, iOS games can sync to other iOS devices, etc.), I've developed a simple way to save your progress on one platform, and pick up where you left off on a different platform whenever you like, without any extra effort on the part of the player (aside from creating a unique profile on the game server - you don't even need to supply an email address).  This is an opt-in service, so you play offline by default, but it will allow you to (for example):

  • start a game on a Windows PC...
  • ... resume that game later on your Android phone/tablet...
  • ... resume *that* game even later on your Linux PC...
  • ... resume *that* game in a web browser on your work computer (or any public/shared computer where you may not be able or want to install games)...
  • ... and so on

In-game level editor: I'm creating all the game's levels *in* the game, and making the creation process seamlessly integrated into the game, so that you can literally start creating/destroying/modifying without "stepping out" of the game (see "flow" above).  It will be easy to share your levels with any other players who have profiles on the server, or by simply copying level files (saved as JSON format in plain text) from your save folder into theirs.

Oculus Rift support! Optional Oculus Rift VR support is working nicely (coming soon to Windows prototype) through Unity's Oculus SDK integration.  The VR experience works really well with the minimal aesthetic - the objects and environment feel like little blocks that you can almost reach out and touch ;)


I've been working on Cubrick on and off as time allows since June 2013.  I hope to have a complete product ready sometime in the first half of 2014.

Done: Movement & controls (including "clones"), graphics, animation, sound effects, dynamic ambient soundtrack, a handful of sample levels for the prototype

To Do: Minimalist GUI icons (reduce/remove text), more soundtrack work, finishing some deeper puzzles and gameplay elements that will be revealed when they're ready ;)

Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 08:25:35 AM by acatalept » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 05:23:49 PM »

i would love to get a copy for the pc when it becomes available to test, and when you get a mac, id like to record a video on it Tongue

Firearrow games


too bad eggybooms ents are actually men in paper mache suits and they NEED to be agile
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 08:16:41 AM »

I'm really happy with the look and feel of the zoom - switch from a birds-eye, 3/4 pseudo-isometric view to get a grasp of the layout... to a close up, "over the shoulder", guerilla cam view for a more immersive experience (have to try this with an Oculus Rift ;):

« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 09:24:15 AM by acatalept » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 01:55:19 PM »

Any update on the game? It looks really cool Smiley. I was kinda confused about what my initial goal was but i ended up playing about 15 minutes of it just going around, making clones and blocks and "exploring" with the mechanics.

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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 07:51:33 PM »


What Ever Happened To Cubrick?

I was experimenting back in February/March with getting this working well in VR on the Oculus Rift DK1, and although the game itself looked really good in VR (the simple flat art style feels very physical and real, like looking into a model or diorama) and played surprisingly well, I got hung up about halfway through getting the menu/GUI working in 3D (a nice sort of holograph projected onto cubrick's back -- flat 2D interfaces are very hard to use in VR), and that was about the time that my Unity Pro trial license expired (the Pro license is needed for Rift support).  But the nail in the coffin was Epic releasing Unreal Engine 4 for $19/mo in the middle of March, including Rift support ;)  So I jumped ship from Unity and sadly cubrick has been shelved since then...

The current build is just a sort of playable prototype that doesn't include much gameplay, just a few levels testing visuals & performance, experimenting with touch interface ideas, seeing what works before getting too married to a design document.  The only gameplay currently implemented is navigating around 6 of these three-dimensional, shifting labyrinths, parts of which you would be able to manipulate by activating switches, and parts of which were simply beyond your control.

You can play from a zoomed-out 3/4 isometric-ish perpsective (toggleable in the Debug menu to true isometric, Monument Valley style ;), or zoom in (touch the top/bottom of the screen on mobile, or PgUp/PgDown on PC) any amount up to a very close third-person over-the-shoulder view (I still like both views, so it doesn't seem right to drop one).  When rolling onto a "switch" (the gray/yellow "plus" with an empty space in the middle), you can touch the middle of the screen (on a mobile device) or press Enter (PC) to activate the switch (making the "flower petals" fold up around you), and then press a movement direction or the perspective rotation direction controls to move the switch in any of six directions (equivalent to tilt, yaw, or pitch from the cubrick's point of view).  Early puzzles are very simplistic and it doesn't matter which direction you move, but more complicated puzzles (later in the game, not yet implemented) might require multiple switches being activated, or require turning a switch in multiple directions in a specific sequence sort of like a combination lock, which you would learn how to decode as the game progressed (I was planning to implement a system based on sound, concord/discord, as well as visual cues).  Currently the only objective is to reach the final switch at the end of each level to move onto the following level - touching the colored squares to turn them off currently only acts as a breadcrumb trail, making it obvious where you still need to go.

Later gameplay (not implemented yet) would revolve around navigating these labyrinths alone and in tandem with other "cubricks" (you can currently spawn these at will in the Debug menu to play around).  Some of these would be controlled by the player in parallel with the "main" cubrick (meaning when the "main" one moved one square in the direction it was facing, any others would move one square in the direction they were facing, even if they were underneath, facing opposite, etc).  And the player could switch between them at will (using the square bracket keys on PC, or touch the middle of the screen on mobile devices when not on a switch).  However, there would be hints of one or more other cubricks with free will, navigating around other sort of parallel universe labyrinths which occasionally overlap the player's labyrinth (at first just partially flashing into existence at the periphery of the labyrinth, but slowly becoming more concrete, and even connecting to the player's labyrinth), and eventually the player would need to team up with one of these, even though it was autonomous and not directly under their control.

It would even be feasible to do multiplayer with more than one human player on separate devices working together to solve particularly challenging puzzles, but that was way down the road ;)

I can't blame you for being confused, it's still in a rather early state and very incomplete, with no clear goals and no hand-holding.  But maybe I'll take a break from my other project one of these days to get cubrick into a more finished state just to be able to put it to rest.

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