A rubber cube is… a cube yes, but not your everyday kind of cube ! Also called « drunken cube », this effect shows a rotating 3D cube that goes distorting as if I was made of melting rubber or was going liquid. Somehow this is a combination between a 3D object and a distorter.
I searched the web for a while until I stumbled on what is supposedly, at least on Atari STf, the first attempt at producing this effect. Presented as a « premiere » it can be seen in the 1993 Traou’n int ket bet graet ben breman demo by Adrenaline (hard to tell tho who actually coded it first as you can read below).
I would say that this effect is pretty cool and unlike others like shadebobs it managed to evolve so that today it still looks fresh and interesting. For instance in the 1993 Brace demo by Diamond Design you can spot a very stylish and colorful rubber cube.
What’s nice about the rubber cube is that you can combine it with another effect. After all a cube is basically nothing more than a 3D object isn’t it ? Then why not add a texture and make it a mapped cube as in 1993 Rising Force demo by Holocaust ? :
Indeed the next generation of rubber cubes fully embraced the wave of « new school » effects (as opposed to « old school » being of the early generation from the 80s till mid 90s). This is how this effect managed to live a new life thanks to the uprising of mapping, among others.
Last but not least we have to thank the coder of Checkpoint for giving us another improved variation of a rubber cube in the 2014 Thunderdome demo. Not only the cube is mapped but also light sourced (not sure this is bumpmapping), that is to say that light creates reflections and shadows over the cube but better check it out by yourself :