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Curiosity attracts 158,000 tappers on day one

Curiosity attracts 158,000 tappers on day one

Wed 07 Nov 2012 8:37am GMT / 3:37am EST / 12:37am PST
MobileDevelopment

User numbers cause server issues for 22 Cans' tapping app

Peter Molyneux's gaming experiment Curiosity: The Cube became a victim of its own success last night, as thousands of users overloaded servers.

"I now understand what's going on, basically we and our server are overwhelmed by the number of people trying out the experiment," tweeted Molyneux late last night.

"Everyone please remember something as concurrent as this has never been attempted before, and we're just a tiny company."

His last tweet of the night at around 1am revealed 22 Cans was trying to make live changes on the server to fix the issues, which included people being unable to connect to the game or hitting error messages when looking at stats or friend's info.

1

97 million "cubelets" have already been destroyed on the first layer, with the average daily destruction rate for each user clocking in at 306. At 2pm yesterday Molyneux reported that 2 billion in-game coins had been spent and 625 people have purchased the 1 million coin chisel. That number could easily have doubled by now.

Curiosity: The Cube is free and the first of a series of "experiments" devised by the 22 Cans studio. Users strip away layers of a cube by tapping, but only one user, the one who removes the final cubelet, will get to see what's at the centre of the cube by video link.

22 Comments

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
Hm, I can't access the in-game store - both the store and info buttons are greyed out for me. The actual game seems to be working fine though, as far as it goes.

The real problem is that so far I've not seen any sign of anything I'd describe as actual gameplay. You literally just tap on squares as quickly as you can to clear them and earn coins that (so far) I can't spend. Maybe something more interesting will happen when people break through the outer shell of the cube to the next layer, but if this is all there is to Curiosity then it's a bit disingenuous to call it a game at all. It's an impressive tech demo, showing how thousands of people can collaborate on a single online object simultaneously, but that's about it.

You can draw on the surface of the cube by selectively removing squares, but as thousands of other people are destroying the cube at the same time, you often find your creations are destroyed before you can finish them, even when you pick a fairly remote corner of the back face of the cube, So far I've not seen much in the way of large scale structure being created by players. I'm not quite sure what Peter was trying to achieve here, but I've no particular urge to "play" it again.

Posted:2 years ago

#1
Maybe Peter had no idea himself as the overall idea was probably a user generated content/creation...

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Obviously not a game but strangely compelling considering that it is just grind. It is obvious why Apple initially rejected it.
People are having great fun creating all sorts of wording and imagery with their tile removal, as you might expect.

It is difficult not to sympathise with the server problems. You can stress test, but the real world is the only real test.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

281 815 2.9
I love this. I can't explain why in less than 4000 words, but I love it.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Ian Pickstock Senior Designer, Arooga!

3 2 0.7
do those 4000+ words consist of tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.... ?

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Ben Strauss Consultant, Gun Media Holdings

10 1 0.1
Totally toyed around with it yesterday for a bit. Sort of waiting for the video link to be something like....the announcement for another Fable.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Level one has gone! Now everyone can run amok on the next level. How many are there? As it is server based they can add more layers any time they want.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
And is the second layer any different, apart from the change in colour?

Posted:2 years ago

#8
the terms and conditions say that there is an undisclosed amount of layers - read: "when things start slowing down we will decide to wrap things up"

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
@Bruce and @Michael, is there any depth to the layer? If so then each one should theoretically be smaller than the previous, meaning that adding new ones underneath would be difficult to do without changing the size of the cubelets. I guess there's just no depth then.

I've yet to try it. It seems disappointing that you can't attack all layers successively. That would allow for much more varied and interesting 3D player creations. I guess I'm only mildly curious then, eh?

Posted:2 years ago

#10
i believe they may just fudge the physical dimensions. assuming this app stays popular i could see them shrinking the cube down, but if things slow down they will have to end it. - the terms also say that the last layer will make it obvious that it is the final layer.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
Matt Clark wrote a very interesting possibility on MacLlife:
Wouldn't it be amazing if there really was no way to reach the center of the cube? Maybe 22 Cans will just keep replacing each layer with another, into infinity. How long would people continue to tap? A couple months? Years? Maybe the "last" player is actually the person who manages to stick around. Now that sounds like a social experiment.
I never considered the amount of time this thing would remain up. Always assumed we'd know within a few months at most, but it could be years... decades?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Hugo Trepanier on 7th November 2012 6:52pm

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support

155 65 0.4
When linking to Facebook, the app seems to want access to everything going - name, date of birth, martial status, your posts...

I couldn't uninstall it fast enough.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Andrew Wilson 3D Artist

29 2 0.1
Interesting in theory, but at the moment it just doesn't work. I couldn't see anything that looked remotely like a 'creation', just fairly large untapped areas so I'm picking it pretty much doesn't work right now.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
I am so frightened by people actually tapping away at a virtual cube. On the bright side if I could get those 158k names I'd be able to rid society of some dead weight. More resources for those who actually use their brains for life and thought instead of tapping on a virtual cube for virtual money while revealing virtual pictures of nothing.

I wonder if the prize is an automatic entry to the darwin awards 2013.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
The game is a bit like popping bubble wrap. A waste of time but strangely compelling.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
@Andrew - there were some bits of writing being carved out of the cube's second layer when I had a quick look last night, but given it's one big shared world and the layers are being cleared at the rate of about one a day at the moment, any creation is (very) short lived, and all that seems to be getting created at the moment is simple graffiti.

Ironically, Curiosity will probably get better when less people are playing it, as you'll have more time and space to draw something more interesting, although there'll be less people around to see it.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Curious fact is... I can't find the download link? On the 22 cans page one link is to the apple store, the other is to google, who tells me I'm about to download the android version. No Linux version?

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Ian Pickstock Senior Designer, Arooga!

3 2 0.7
If it's realistically represented, then in a moment of utter boredom while watching the US election a few nights ago, I did a very rough count of the number of cubelets on the first layer - it was ~4500 - this would give a volume of about 91 billion cubes - which fits their description of their being 'billions of cubes'.

Of course it could be all smoke and mirrors and lies... :)

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4

Posted:2 years ago

#20

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Ok never mind, a coworker made me remark it's not a PC game. For some reason I was sure it was coming out for PC... must have got confused :S

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
@Michele, it's no big loss, really. I tried to connect several times yesterday and most of the time it failed.

The interface, what little there is anyway, is very poorly done (looks bland and is unresponsive). The cube itself looks alright, I guess, but is not really impressive in scale, and the ambient sound is exactly what I would expect from someone who fell asleep on his keyboard and occasionally rotated his head in his sleep - suitable but not exciting.

There's hardly anything to do here and most of the time the cube's faces would not load up properly, or did so very slowly. When I did manage to tap cubelets away, I was still hoping to find some level of enjoyment even then but that quickly dissipated as I was rapidly booted out of the server. I found out that pressing multiple fingers randomly and rapidly on the cube's surface is what got me the most points. Yay. There was no strategy or feeling to it.

For anyone wanting to create anything at all with simple blocks, Minecraft would probably suit their needs much more. It's more versatile and more stable, and it has actual gameplay and creation tools. Curiosity, curiously, doesn't.

I will try it again later in hopes of seeing it in its full glory, in a working state, as it was meant to be experienced. I want to see others chip away blocks (I saw none of that yesterday). Yet my hopes are very low.

What bothers me the most is Peter Molyneux's scandalous declarations that this will change the player's life. I do not wish to call the man a fool publicly because he has done some truly amazing contributions to gaming in his time, but this is just nonsense and I kind of hate him for that. Why is this man saying ludicrous things publicly, bluntly lying to people's faces and still getting praised for it by senior members of the industry and fanboys alike?

Posted:2 years ago

#22

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