Sunday, July 17, 2016

Scoring rules in Cubendor

Scoring rules in Cubendor
To succeed in the 100$ Cubendor Challenge I announced a few days ago or to simply just get high scores in the game, it's good to know how the scoring works, right? So let's have a look at that!

Like described in the in-game instructions of Cubendor, the score you get for smashing lines with one block drop in the game is the product of four multipliers:
  • Number of blocks destroyed.
  • Number of lines destroyed
  • Current level in the game
  • The number of faces on which the lines were formed (or more specifically the minimum number of faces on which the destroyed lines can be determined to belong to).

Concrete examples make rules always easier to understand, right? So let's have a look at a few examples:

Level Blocks Lines Faces POINTS
1 6 1 1 6
1 12 2 1 24
1 16 3 1 48
1 24 4 1 96
2 24 4 1 192
5 24 4 1 480
5 22 4 2 880
5 38 7 3 3990

The first row shows the basic case: one single row smashed on the first level of the game, which results in 6 points, the minimum for any smash. The second row shows two parallel lines, which gives 24 points, a quadrupled amount of points compared to the single line, as it has both double the blocks and double the lines.

The third row shows three lines, but notice how in this example the amount of blocks is 16 instead of 18 (3*6). This means that the three lines aren't parallel to each other: two of the blocks are used for more than one line. The fourth row shows what Tetris games call a Tetris, aka four lines formed in parallel. On level 1 you would get 96 points for this. Fifth and sixth row show how forming these four parallel lines would give you 192 and 480 on higher levels 2 and 5.

The seventh row is where things get interesting. It's still only four lines and on level 5, but now with two blocks less compared to the four-line Tetris. Does this mean that the resulting point amount should be less than with the previous? Nope. In this case the lines were formed on two different faces of the cube, 2 lines on one face, and 2 lines on another, so the player gets a face multiplier of 2, raising the points for that line blast to a pretty nice 880 points. This is what the game calls a Double Sider.

Although seriously not an easy task, it is also possible to form lines on 3 faces at once, in other words to get a Triple Sider. By getting multiple lines on multiple faces on a higher level, it is possible to gain thousands of points with a single smash (see the eighth row in the table).

The example shows how, in addition to just surviving as long as possible, the scoring system is designed to encourage two things:
  • smashing as many lines as possible at once.
  • smashing lines on multiple (two or three) faces of the cube at once.
The first goal is pretty self-explanatory and fully intuitive, but the second one is also crucial when trying to get the best scores possible. The exact definition of the latter just isn't perhaps as intuitive as one could initially expect. This is due to the fact that a single line formed on the edge of the cube is in principle inherently located on two different faces of the cube. I'm guessing that this may be a source of confusion so I could elaborate that in a separate blog post later on.

In any case, the above description and examples should show that just going for the easy lines here and there won't get you very high scores. But as surviving to high levels is pretty much equally important to getting those sweet combos, it's good to avoid getting too greedy in the hunt of those double or triple siders either.

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