Guncraft Preview: Minecraft-Like Building Leads to Destruction
Minecraft is cool, but it’s missing one important element: guns.
Modders have addressed the lack of shooting implements in Mojang’s building-and-exploration game, but other developers have taken to riffing on the voxel building formula to make some very interesting worlds ready for extensive combat. Guncraft, an indie online shooter currently in open beta, runs with that formula by providing some satisfying gunplay and cool building ideas, allowing players to reshape the world around them — either by adding to it or destroying it.
I got a chance to play around in Guncraft with a few of the game’s developers and other members of the press not long ago, and found the title a fun foray into first-person shooting mechanics. The game excelled in two ways over the standard trappings of the genre: customization of your capabilities and classes, and the ability to build cool, strategic elements.
World of Cube
Guncraft is built on the same cube-based, voxel graphic idea as titles such as Minecraft, with much of the graphical dedication spent on the making-things side, rather than on being pretty. Characters themselves have that sort of cubic LEGO Minifig look, as well, and the name Guncraft will eventually refer to the ability of players to actually build their own firearms.
So the game is a shooter in a voxel world, which means that almost all of it is destructible. Maps often contain buildings of various materials, including steel and glass, as well as wildernessy things like dirt, trees, mountains and so forth. You carry with you a tool that lets you break stuff down into component parts, as well as two other weapons — usually either two guns, or a gun and a support item. Bombs, rockets and gunfire can mess up the environment around you as well, and manipulating your environment is a key strategy in several important ways.
Guncraft is a shooter, so your primary goal is killing other players. But rocking other players’ faces , or lend themselves to objective-based gameplay. You also have the ability to build things, although not in quite the same piecemeal arrangement as in Minecraft. Breaking down items and buildings also is key to some game types, as you’ll actually have to mine the world around you with your tools to provide your team with resources to build important structures. Mining also converts material to your resource pool from which you draw ammo, too, so you might occasionally have to stop fighting and find a safe spot to dig into the ground to keep yourself supplied.
How you manipulate the environment is done with a lot of preparation and planning ahead of time. You don’t build things piece by piece like in Minecraft in the heat of battle — you prefabricate what you need, which means relying on careful planning and strategy.