Toxic Games is set to release its UDK-powered game, Q.U.B.E., as a commercial PC game on Steam. Read on to find out how three classmates got started with UDK and, with no coding, prepared their first-person puzzle game for digital sale later this year. (Update: the game is now available on Steam.
Toxic Games, a UK-based team founded by former classmates, began development of Q.U.B.E. as a student project in 2009. All three core teammates are game designers with no programming expertise. Thanks to the encouragement of academic mentors and industry veterans, and with the help of the Indie Fund for start-up shops, Toxic Games went from student hobbyists to bona fide independent developers upon graduation from university.
Q.U.B.E., which stands for “Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion,” is a first-person game that presents the player with a series of brain-teasing puzzles, ranging from physics-based challenges and 3D jigsaws to platform-based trials.
With the aid of technologically enhanced gloves, the player manipulates and navigates a deep space training facility packed with cubes. The player can pull red blocks one at a time, extract multiple cubes of yellow all at once, use blue for jumping, and push green cubes around in the environment. Memories flash throughout the game to unravel the meaning and purpose of the experience.
Toxic Games Managing Director Daniel Da Rocha recently explained why his team selected UDK for Q.U.B.E. Not only did their classes at the University of Newport in Wales teach UDK but it outshone other options thanks to great tools and the power it gave them to create a fun game with unique visuals.
“Off the bat we expected a high-end game engine that produces amazing results. Achieving these amazing results was far easier than we originally perceived,” said Da Rocha. “Within a couple of days we were familiar with the layout of UDK and had done a few tutorials to get to grips with the engine. Creating a basic level takes no time at all and you can have a lot of fun doing it.”
“We preferred the look of UDK. Because of the prospect of visual scripting, we found out that we could create the game without any programming knowledge. Getting a programmer on board at the beginning of the student project proved very challenging, so having this privilege was invaluable.”
Da Rocha elaborated on working with Unreal Engine 3 tools, from Unreal Kismet to Unreal Cascade.
“Unreal Kismet has been an amazing tool for us to use. We were able to learn it very fast and prototype things quickly. Also, it's more interesting to look at than lines of code, and you can instantly see if something isn't going to work. We have literally been able to create everything in the game using Unreal Kismet, which is great. We definitely recommend this to anyone who has no programming knowledge and wants to create their own games.
“Unreal Matinee has also been invaluable to us. Being able to animate things straight in the engine (rather than export from a 3D application) makes life so much easier and again helps with rapid prototyping.
“Unreal Content Browser and Unreal Cascade have been great too. The content browser creates an organized work flow and assets pipeline. Importing assets and other files is dead easy and they just work, unlike what we've experienced with other engines.”
Da Rocha expressed satisfaction with Epic and the support of the Unreal Engine 3 development community.
“Epic has been really good to work with. They are very friendly and are out to lend a helping hand,” he said. “The Unreal community and UDN have been very helpful, and it's always comforting to know that if you have a problem you're not alone; someone out there always knows the answer.”
Q.U.B.E. has been in full-time production for eight months as of July 2011 with an anticipated release for PC via Steam later this year.
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