Voxel-based games are a rising design where developers are liking more and more to work with, but we wondered why that is. We love games that use this kind of design, and in general gamers like it too, but we wanted to know why developers chose to to make a voxel-based game instead of a realistic or low poly design that’s been used for generations now.
So we got in contact with a few developers that are making voxel-based games that were awesome enough to answer our simple question: Why Voxels?
Groundfall Developers – Ryan & Zach:
We truly believe that while voxel technology has been around for a very long time, voxel games can arguably be considered an emergent genre. Voxels been catapulted to the mainstream primarily by the success of games such as Minecraft, but since then we’ve seen Stonehearth, Planet Explorers, Cubeworld, Vox and so on. Voxels allow a form of creativity that is unique to the art style, and pose considerable technical challenges as well. There are over two dozen Kickstarter projects tagged with “voxel” alone, nearly a million search term results, and countless attempts at innovation both in video games and other technology such as medical rendering.
We chose voxels for Groundfall because they allow us to spend less on art, iterate rapidly with our technology as well as (we hope) provide a unique gameplay experience that hasn’t been done before. Admittedly the biggest complaint against voxels is “ermahgerd minecraft clone” but we are making a game with Voxels because we genuinely love the style and hope to offer something new.
Voxel Quest Developers – Gavan Woolery:
From an interaction perspective – adding and removing blocks is the easiest way to understand and interact with a world allows construction and destruction. The human mind seems to grasp Cartesian grids better than any other geometry structure. From the perspective of procedural generaiton, it is much easier to work with a solid volume than it is a surface (as you would with procedural surface construciton and polygons) — even if this means wrapping a voxel data set with a polygon surface. From the perspective of memory and performance, it is much easier to compress voxel data as voxel positions are inherent, and do not need to be explicitly stored, whether doing a naive implementation or a more complex compressions scheme like octrees.
The Kindred Developers – Mat:
We wanted to make a game that gives players as much creative freedom as possible. Voxels allow players to create amazing 3D worlds. In The Kindred, players can build their towns and villages however they like and have their people, their Kin, live in those creations who rely on you to build a thriving utopia.
There’s many different reasons why developers chose to develop their game with voxels instead of the norm designs that we’ve seen in many games for many years.
Designing a voxel game is easier in most cases compared to other design choices, as it’s less work and less time-consuming to make the materials and models that you want and throws you into more content production.
It’s also more simple to understand and comprehend to work with for both the developer and the gamer/consumer because of psychological reasons, and that would conclude that a player would get a much more enjoyable and a faster learning experience.
Lastly it would give a much more easier experience and an enjoyable one in regards to creative creation gameplay, where creating content in a building game is almost a one to one for gamers and developers, creating desired constructions in the simplistic ways, and in most cases exceeding the expected scope of what the developers had envisioned.
These are a few reasons of why developers would choose to develop their games with voxels in mind. If you’re a developer and are making a voxel-based game and want to chip in on the reasons of the choice to develop using voxels, hit us up and we’d hopefully have it up here to help those in their decisions and to those curious.