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Talking to the Creator of Q.U.B.E

Toxic Games kicked off 2012 with great triumph, creating one of the most successful Indie Games of the year so far: Q.U.B.E. This first-person puzzle game took the gaming world by storm, recuperating the investment made by Indie Fund in just four days by selling over 12,000 copies on Steam.

Q.U.B.E was a nominee for Best Single Player in 2010 in the IOTY 2010 – Best UDK Game on IndieDB, a finalist in the Sense Of Wonder Night 2011 event at Tokyo Game Show and nominated for Innovation in Game Design in the Extra Credits Innovation Awards hosted by The Escapist Magazine.

The Toxic Games team from left to right: Daniel Da Rocha, Jonathan Savery and Dave Hall The Toxic Games team from left to right: Daniel Da Rocha, Jonathan Savery and Dave Hall

Obviously, this game was destined for success. I caught up with the Managing Director of Toxic Games, Daniel Da Rocha to talk about Q.U.B.E and find out a little bit about the mastermind himself.

Take us through the journey you have experienced as an Indie Developer from the initiation of the project Q.U.B.E to publishing the game.

Wow, where to begin! 2011 was definitely the craziest, most exciting year of my life so far. Q.U.B.E. began in 2009 as a student project and we managed to secure funding in tandem with graduating from University. Things then went from strength to strength as we were entering competitions and travelling around the world.

How did Q.U.B.E go from being a student project to a full blown development project?

I was pretty sure that Q.U.B.E. would stay as a student project but feedback from fellow students, lecturers and reps from game companies said we could take this project somewhere and develop it into a commercial game; that's just what we did. We did research on different funding models, went to game expos and conferences, set up a page on IndieDB and generally began spreading the word.

Many people are comparing Q.U.B.E. to the Portal games. How do feel about that? Where you influenced or inspired by Portal at all?

I think it's natural for people to make those comparisons upon seeing the game for the first time. I think it's interesting but definitely good for publicity. Funnily enough we weren't inspired by Portal to make Q.U.B.E. In fact, it was an animation called “The Room” that first gave us inspiration to start constructing ideas for the game.

Q.U.B.E doesn’t have a very strong storyline and is filled with mystery. Was this intended? Did Toxic Games focus mainly on gameplay rather than telling a story?

We spent awhile coming up with different stories to the game but none of them really fitted and we struggled to think of ideas for how those stories could be told throughout the game without text or voice. Due to limited time and resources we stuck with a minimalist approach to a narrative. Although, there is room for a story in a sequel, as the game ending suggests.

What was the process of formulating the puzzles in Q.U.B.E?

We would all gather round a table and discuss the game's content, throwing new ideas out there. Initially we were aiming to have 100 puzzles but that was too ambitious.


Indie Fund switched to a different model with Q.U.B.E (50% of the projected $40,000 budget and an "intermittent" deliverable schedule.) Why was this?

This was an experiment for Indie Fund to try out this new funding model. They chose us because we took the lowest amount of funding out of the initial three games.

You graduated with a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) in Computer Games Design. Why Computer Games Design?

It's always been my dream to make my own games, even at a young age I was creating simple games using software such as The 3D Game Maker. I studied e-Media (3D animation, web design etc.) and felt it was natural to move into game studies. Initially I applied to do animation but the University recommended games design.

What are your favourite games?

Halo, StarCraft, Call Of Duty, Gears of War, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

What’s next for Toxic Games?

We're currently working to bring Q.U.B.E. to other platforms as well as a soundtrack. Platforms include iOS, OnLive, Mac, XBLA and PSN.

If you haven’t checked out Q.U.B.E yet, head over to the official Q.U.B.E website, read my review or simply download the demo.