Skip to main content

Design Bites: Cubetractor

The "Design Bites" series is about learning or appreciating just one design element of one game. It's about applying an analytical eye, even if it doesn't touch on everything.

What's Cubetractor?

Cubetractor is a tower-building action puzzle game with bullet-hell elements developed and released by Ludochip in mid 2013. The player character pulls cubes along the ground, combining them into structures like turrets, barricades and many others. The goal is to destroy all enemies, either with turrets or by crushing them.

What's Awesome?

Games with levels will often feature a grade system, where the player gets a star rating or grade letter at the end of each level based on their performance. This feature is often used to motivate the player to replay levels to beat their old performances. Most of the time this amounts to encouraging players to take on restrictions to increase multipliers, or find point-maximising strategies. Cubetractor makes great use of this feature with cleverly designed optional mechanical difficulty. Here's an example:

Early Cubetractor towers fire very. slowly. So their bullets are very easy to dodge. Because of this, it's trivial to get past most of the early levels with a little patience.

But if you want to get that Master Rating, you're going to have to live a little more dangerously.

Pulling the cubes in quick succession, all while dodging the odd tower shot, makes Cubetractor a lot more challenging. Moving cubes hurt you if you touch them so you essentially create more projectiles for yourself to dodge - especially true in later levels where the hail of bullets really kicks in.

The key here is that the level is not hard on its own, instead it becomes hard when the player chooses to make it so. It's not a discrete difficulty setting - the player makes a choice to increase the mechanical difficulty for themselves and they feel damn cool doing it 

Popular posts from this blog

Wacom vs N-Trig - A Modern Comparison

WARNING: This post is long. I wrote this because I could not find an unbiased comparison of the modern N-Trig and Wacom technologies online. It was written in response to the artistic outcry regarding the Surface Pro 3. If you are an artist, I believe it is worth reading.

UPDATED as of 20th June 2014 to reflect N-Trig software advancements.
UPDATED as of 23rd June 2014 to reflect new direct Digitizer comparison information.

Those of you who may visit this site regularly will know that I am a game developer, but what you might not know is that I also do a lot of sketching. (Maybe one day I will post the stuff online)

Since I am a geek, I do almost all of my sketching digitally, which means I am always looking out for new developments in digitizer technology. This brings me to this post in particular:

Following the announcement of the Surface Pro 3, many artists were shocked and disappointed by the news that the SP3 would be using N-Trig technology rather than Wacom technology like the SP…

Unity: How Adapters can help you write fewer MonoBehaviours

TL;DR: You don't need to duplicate a bunch of code to do the same things to a Image and a SpriteRenderer, or RectTransform and Transform, etc. You can use a simple pattern called the Adapter Pattern. If you've never used it before, this post explains how.

The Problem: Image vs SpriteRenderer Lets say you want to make a sprite fade out, maybe its a dead monster or a collectible, but in either case you want it to gracefully depart from the screen rather than blink out of existence. Kinda like this eyeball monster from Beastly:

So that's pretty easy right, one way of doing it is with a MonoBehaviour that modifies the sprites alpha value via SpriteRenderer.color. Your class might look something like this:
public class AlphaFaderSprite : MonoBehaviour { public SpriteRenderer spr; public float fade_percentage; void Update() { spr.color = new Color(spr.color.r, spr.color.g, spr.color.b, fade_percentage); } } Now, anyone who's used Unity for more than an …

Blogger Templates for Noobs - Part 1 - Template Structure

I've been curious about blogger templates since I started using the site a half decade ago, but I never took the time to learn how to build them.

Recently I've been making changes to this site and I've been picking up a few things about blogger templates, so I'll be sharing things on this site as I learn them.

Setting Up I'll assume that you have a blog already, so the first step is to visit the dashboard of your blog and click on the "Template" tab on the left-hand side.

Then, click the "Edit HTML" button to get started.