Interview with Minecraft's creator

Ars Technica's Andrew Webster has a good interview with Markus "Notch" Persson, creator of Minecraft, a fun and popular zombie defense game that has made a widower of me.

"The original idea was to make a game similar to Dwarf Fortress in tone, but with a Rollercoaster Tycoon type interface," Persson explained. "As I was playing around with a first person mode I stumbled upon a game called Infiniminer that used low-res textures in a 3D environment, and I realized that that was a perfect fit for both my artistic skills and the type of game I wanted to make.

"Right from the start, the vision for Minecraft was very similar to where Minecraft alpha is now, but I focused on just getting the engine written and making sure that the controls felt smooth. People really liked the early versions of the game that didn't have any gameplay at all, so I decided to keep that around, calling it "creative mode...'"

"I'm working on hiring some people to help with development and business, getting an office, and all that," he told Ars. "Then my focus is to finish up survival mode multiplayer, with working enemies and health and better cheat prevention tools for server admins. Once that is done, the game will be in beta, and there will be lots of polishing and tweaks to get the game ready for the final version. After the final version, we will keep working on the game.

"There are a lot of things that could be added to this game, and we'd like to try to add as many of those as we can."

Building a hit, one block at a time: the creation of Minecraft

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    1. Yes!

      Especially because people who buy the game while it is in alpha get a 50% discount off of the price it will be when the game goes final.

      Notch is a really nice guy, and he’s got a lot of talent.

    2. i wanto to buy it , i can buy it but i just cant use paypal…… if it had paysafecard payment method …. i would be so happy ………….. many ppl probably would buy it …. adding more payment services = more ppl

  1. Of the many things I love about it, I love how it cultivates that part of human nature that wants to create something in harmony with the natural environment, then ruins you with temptation. You find yourself inside your little treehouse or whatever, becoming once again dimly aware of a hunger, a hunger that can be sated only by embarking on a major civil engineering project.

  2. The sudden success of this game is like digging upwards into an underground river and being flushed back to a lava flow. With every block I break I tunnel more deeply into my childhood. My girlfriend made a tree fort with a hot tub. I made a lava moat with a lavafall and a waterslide. I am doing everything I can not to type this in all caps and with a dozen exclamation points. Ahem.

    !!!11!11elevens!!!elevens!!

  3. You know, I really have no time for games right now, but after reading his about page and his plans to eventually make it open source and maybe even public domain once sales have run their course, I can’t help but feel like buying it.

  4. Calling it a “zombie defense game” is like calling the internet a porn delivery system. True, but slightly incomplete and misleading. Calling it “Lego D&D” might be more accurate.

  5. Earlier today I did a little interview with Notch about his favorite fan levels, the idea of a Minecraft MMO, etc:

    http://bit.ly/90DmYl

    The economics of this are amazing too — he’s sold it 253K times at around $13.50, so nearly $3.5 million. From a team of FOUR. It’s almost certainly the biggest indie game ever.

  6. My friend on Facebook told me I needed to play this. So I popped over to youtube and looked at it. I don’t get it.

    No I get the idea and game play, but I’ve played open ended things like this before and the same thing always happens: I get bored.

    For me at least, it’s like crack for the first couple of days/weeks/months. Then slowly it looses it’s grip and I just stop playing it. Without something to accomplish I’ve given up playing many games like this.

    1. Yeah I can never understand why other people like games that I only play for several months.

      The only really good games are the ones I play for 10, maybe 15 years.

    1. As an actual widower myself I think perhaps you should get off your high horse. Unless you were being sarcastic. In which case, carry on.

    2. As someone who has actually found physical objects dear to those who have lost them, I feel that your use of the word ‘found’ is misleading and disrespectful.

  7. I love love love this game. It’s so simple and beautiful at the same time. Exploration plus digging plus building. And zombies!

  8. Stop giving interviews and start earning my $13, Notch!!!

    (Just kidding, though I do hope that development picks up once he hires people.)

  9. DF is pretty amazing and initially impenetrable. It’s sucking up my evenings currently. Some BB readers might like it, but it’s impossible unless you do a tutorial first. And I recommend a tileset, I can’t do the ascii, but to some using the ascii is a mark of win.

  10. Even as I’m caught in this game’s spell, I wonder what it is that makes it so compelling. The physics engine seems bulletproof: much more ambitious projects have left me cold because of the weird glitches.

    There’s such a gentle learning curve: before I can get frustrated for not knowing how to make armor, I’ll get caught up in the topiary or tower building. It’s the perfect puzzle garden.

    And I notice that although the physics are simple, the lighting is quite nuanced. There’s a crisp sense of reality to what I can build, that was never there with the Lego games.

    If this thing becomes open sourced, I predict it will become the default format for MUD and MOO and MUSH.

  11. Even as I’m caught in this game’s spell, I wonder what it is that makes it so compelling. The physics engine seems bulletproof: much more ambitious projects have left me cold because of the weird glitches.

    There’s such a gentle learning curve: before I can get frustrated for not knowing how to make armor, I’ll get caught up in the topiary or tower building. It’s the perfect puzzle garden.

    And I notice that although the physics are simple, the lighting is quite nuanced. There’s a crisp sense of reality to what I can build, that was never there with the Lego games.

    If this thing becomes open sourced, I predict it will become the default format for MUD and MOO and MUSH.

    1. I just really, really want Notch and the Dwarf Fortress guys to get together and make a unified game. Pull that camera out, make the mobs dwarfs and orcs, add a sensible UI…

      On the other hand, Notch is making some serious money doing what he’s doing, and Minecraft is incredible on its own.

  12. Then my focus is to finish up survival mode multiplayer, with working enemies and health

    No. Damn it. Bad Notch! Bad!

    Fix multiplayer, make it playable as more than a godmode sandbox, THEN restructure your company. Damage and rails, that’s all it needs. Crank that out first, and then you can take as long as you want to count your millions of indie moneys.

  13. I love this game, i play it on my friends laptop and I am addicted to it. I am building a big house in the sky and in another level making a huge mine.

  14. blah this game is awesome but I just accidentially dumped a bucket of lava in the main room of my house and lost all my stuff. sigh.

  15. Put survivors in and make your dude start with a wife and make an empire with them and make them have jobs and things that would give it a good rating!!!!

  16. This is one of those games that will still be fun when people are playing crisis on their Iphone 7’s. Shitty graphics, worse sound, yea, it doesn’t matter. Where else can I create a skyscraper with a lava fountain and a room made of pure diamond?

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