Thursday, March 7, 2013

Qubicle Constructor

John Marine | 3/07/2013 09:45:00 PM | |
(UPDATED: March 26, 2014)

Making voxel models can be tough. One program that makes things a bit less complicated is Qubicle Constructor. It allows you to create and edit voxel images to your liking. If you are a gamer, you can even design voxel models for games (like Duke Nukem 3D, Minecraft, and Ace of Spades) through Qubicle Constructor. Qubicle Constructor can even be used with the Unity 3D engine for commercial game development. No matter what your needs are, Qubicle Constructor has you covered. My blog post pertains to this program and what I think about it.


The current version of Qubicle Constructor as of this blog post's initial date (March 7, 2013) is Version, and so this blog post is based on my experience with this version. A big part of this blog post is on making voxels. If you don't know what a voxel is, read my post entitled "Voxels" here on John's Blog Space. Click on the link to see my blog post on voxels: "Voxels" (John's Blog Space).


MAR 26 2014 - added some more commentary; edited links

--- Qubicle Constructor ---

What is possible with Qubicle Constructor? This video below demonstrates what this program is capable of utilizing its power (click on the link below the video if you are unable to view Flash media right away):

^ "Qube Race Game Trailer HD"

Qubicle Constructor from Minddesk is really one of the real easy and powerful voxel programs available. This program was created by a fellow named Tim Wesoly. Hardly any other program allows you so much freedom and ease to make voxel models. Editing is done through a Matrix mode and a Slice mode. Models can be viewed from the front, back, left, right, top, and bottom. You are given the power to edit as much or as little of the model as you like. If your intent is to make models and be able to export them out of Qubicle, however... you will need to purchase one of different versions of Qubicle Constructor. That is really the only negative to this great program if you are content with the Basic version.

I eventually bought the Voxlap edition of Qubicle Constructor to make voxel models for Duke Nukem 3D (especially with JonoF's port of DN3D). The Voxlap version allows you to import and export VOX format voxels into Qubicle Constructor. I spent most of this past weekend making models from bitmaps to put into Qubicle Constructor. The process is nowhere near tedious if you just make a simple model and build upon it. All you are doing is setting the ground work and eventually edit it as you go. To make a complete model you can be proud of, it will take a good deal of time to perfect and hone these voxel models to your absolute liking. As long as you have artistic talent and an eye for design, nothing is impossible with Qubicle Constructor.

Various versions of Qubicle Constructor allow you to do only so much with each version. The Voxlap version I mentioned is good for Build engine games. There are also versions which will allow you to export to OBJ format as well as a version to make schematics for Minecraft. If you want the full experience and as much editing power as possible, you must get the Master version of Qubicle Constructor. You can even get a maxed-out Qubicle Constructor package called the Education version... as long as you provide a valid academic ID.

A Word of Warning for Making Voxel Models for Duke Nukem 3D...
Now if you're going to make models for Duke Nukem 3D, you have to have a workaround going because Qubicle Constructor will not allow you to save under the KVX format. So you will need to save under VOX and then convert them to KVX through a program called SLAB6. It is recommended you find a bitmap to convert the color palette so everything comes out properly when you eventually do convert the model from VOX to KVX.

Since there aren't many resources or reviews of this program, I feel like I must provide something for the people to search and enjoy regarding this program. Please read on for my extended thoughts on Qubicle Constructor.

--- Qubicle Constructor: Overall Review ---

Here is a piece-by-piece review of Qubicle Constructor.

Qubicle Constructor: Positives.

These are the positives of Qubicle Constructor.

• fairly simple and straightforward
There is really nothing you are unable to do when making voxels, especially from scratch. It doesn't take a whole lot to get started. Once you get going, let your creativity flow as you meticulously edit models to your heart's content.

• easy to learn (difficult to master, of course!)
Have poor luck with polygons? This may be your best chance to make quality 3D material. Anyone who knows how to operate Paint programs will easily find this program to be easy in creating 3D models.

Qubicle Constructor: Negatives.

After reading those positives, here are negatives of mine regarding this program:

• can be buggy
My biggest flaw with this program is how buggy it can be. It can be a tedious task trying to copy-and-paste elements to make voxel editing easier. There were times I tried to undo certain mistakes I made, and I would get a message saying "Can't Undo while in transaction." So basically... I can't Undo what I tried to undo. The program sometimes crashes when I try to copy-and-paste some image from the Windows Clipboard while slice editing. These bugs need to be sorted out to fully enjoy this program and editing with it.

• troublesome when editing larger size images in Slice Editing
Sometimes, it can be tough trying to edit larger slices of a voxel model. Sure, you can zoom in and out on individual slices, but you sometimes can't edit the farthest edges of a slice. What would work better is if you had one Paint-style interface for Slice Editing where you could freely zoom in/out and move around the entire image as you're editing the slices in Slice Edit mode.

Qubicle Constructor: Tips for Improvement.

These are things I think are indifferent regarding Qubicle Constructor...

• More Tools Would Help
The Pencil tool allows you to freely add pixels to the voxel. If you hold down Shift while using the Pencil tool, it becomes a line editor. I would rather just want a proper line tool rather than

In addition to more tools, I even want the ability to increase brush size as well as making other primitive shapes, such as ovals, circles, squares, and the like.

• Magic Wand Troubles
Using the Magic Wand is a big help in editing large portions of a slice or a matrix. However, when I try to delete big parts of an image, I am unable to delete it by simply pressing the Delete key. So I have to use the Delete function from the menu to delete. It just gets pesky having to use the Delete function as opposed to having the Delete key work properly when editing.

• 256 Color Support
Since I mentioned Duke Nukem 3D, I want to be able to use palettes from certain games to be able to properly insert them into games. Even making models not for any kind of game would benefit from a 256-color palette so they could be properly used and utilized for games and other models. I want to see this be made available for more concentrated and focused voxel models.

• less confusing Slice Editing
Sometimes as I try to edit Slices of models, I often get confused figuring out what specific slice I'm working with or what exactly I'm trying to edit. I get confused often times what slice I'm working on as I keep pressing Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and stuff like that.

• Specks Often Times
A problem I sometimes have is that some dots come up as I'm trying to edit some models. These probably happen because I'm using (for example) the Pencil tool and trying to rotate a model I'm working on by holding down Alt while rotating with the mouse. No big deal, but these end up hurting the voxel model I'm working on.

• Right Mouse Usage (added: March 8, 2013)
For things like using the secondary color and other uses, I would like some more creative uses for the right mouse button when editing. You hardly use the right mouse button for anything, so I'm suggesting some more creative usage for the right mouse button. I basically just thought of this as I was coming up with this update to this post.

• Support for Animation and Rigging (added: March 26, 2014)
Qubicle Constructor is a great program for what it is. While it may be a stretch, I would love for the ability to allow for basic model rigging within Qubicle. Rigging is the term we use when trying to animate 3D models to bring them to life. Doing so will require you to edit limbs of your model(s) to allow for rigging to happen. If you have the Home or Master versions of Qubicle Constructor, you will be able to export models to OBJ format (among others), which can then be implemented into Blender or some other 3D modeling software that supports OBJ models.

This is otherwise a very good program. And again, you're going to need to purchase Qubicle Constructor if you really want to take and utilize your creations in games and in other forms of media. You will need any of the different commercial use versions of Qubicle Constructor to be able to use your creations for commercial use.

Learn more about Qubicle Constructor by visiting these links:
Minddesk Official Page

Thank you for reading!

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John Marine said...

nice detailed review (not that I know anything about the subject)

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