At first glance, cyubeVR by Stonebrick Studios seems to be the next in a long series of Minecraft clones. We're familiar with the concept of an infinite, procedurally generated world. We're accustomed to the idea of mining resources and crafting tools and building with voxels.
So, when I heard about a new mining game built for VR, I almost passed it by. I'm glad I didn't.
One of the things I admire about cyubeVR is that it's built for roomscale. There's no point-and-click. Want to dig a hole? You'll need to swing your shovel. That beech won't turn to planks on it's own – brandish your axe to fell it, and physically hack it down to size.
Answering community questions on Reddit, Corvin Engelken (the developer) spoke to this as a fundamental principle of the game:
There will likely never be a way to "turn [physical actions] off and be able to hold down a trigger or something to do mining", because thats fundementally different from what the game wants to be.
We've written about accidental exercise games before, cyubeVR may soon join their ranks.
I have a lot of respect for indie devs. Corvin Engelken has been working full-time on this game for over two years (a level of dedication most of us can only dream of), and is now actively engaged with the VR community to make the concept even better. Feature requests for smooth locomotion or multiplayer support are often ignored by AAA studios, but Engelken has welcomed the feedback.
I spoke to Engelken about the role that the community plays in indie game development. For him, an active fan-base is paramount.
"For me, the community is really the most important thing", Engelken said. "If the community wants a game to succeed, it will. The perspective my community has on things in the game is more important to me than what I personally think."
Strangely, the strongest community response has been focused on the game title. "CyubeVR" feels a little amateur and clumsy. Personally, I think that a strong reaction to the brand is a great sign – a passionate fan-base needs a compelling banner to rally behind, so this could be evidence of player enthusiasm.
Engelken echoed that sentiment. "Since I'm seeing myself as a game developer and not as a naming specialist, I can probably be very happy with the name being the biggest issue of the game." Suffice to say, it's likely the game will see a rebrand before it's official release.
CyubeVR will launch into early access on Steam on January 26.