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Book Review: Minecraft

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the not-the-game,-the-book-about-the-game dept.

Books 77

Nick Kolakowski writes "Markus 'Notch' Persson is the famous indie-game developer behind Minecraft, which is also the name of the new book about his life and work by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson. (The effect is slightly odd, like naming the Steve Jobs biography iPhone.) Minecraft traces Persson’s development from an isolated young man building simple PC games in his bedroom, to a frustrated game developer who feels the software conglomerates are stifling his creativity, to a multimillionaire who's had some trouble coming to grips with his gamer-land fame. The Persson described in the book is an introvert's introvert, far more interested in coding than partying, although he does display flashes of entrepreneurial aggression that would make Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos proud: at one point, he confesses that he wants to build a gaming behemoth on the scale of Valve." Read below for the rest of Nick's review.

He certainly has the money to make many of his empire dreams come true, as Minecraft remains a strong seller more than four years after its Alpha debut. The game features a "survival" mode, in which the blocky hero attempts to survive against hordes of enemies, as well as a "creative" mode where players can mine blocks and use them to build pretty much any structure. The latter mode has unleashed some spectacular displays of creativity, including enormous replicas of the Egyptian Pyramids and the Empire State Building.

While the authors clearly had some access to Persson, they didn’t use that face-to-face time to plunge deeply into his character: there’s precious little insight into how his occasionally messy childhood informed his worldview, for example, or the duality that clearly exists between his more insular self and his ambition to build a massive company that, at its heart, rests on interactions between millions of people. On the other hand, by avoiding the plunge into that psychological thicket, they also prevent their work from falling into the tedious armchair-psychiatry that’s doomed many a biography.

The book is at its best when describing the Swedish gaming industry (from its giants down to the indie studios), and how Minecraft went from bedroom-developer project to worldwide phenomenon. That’s almost enough to overlook how much of a cipher Persson remains, even in the final pages.

You can purchase Minecraft from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews (sci-fi included) — to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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It just doesn't sound... (1)

2.7182 (819680) | about a year ago | (#45196225)

very interesting.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196337)

Much like the actual game!

Re:It just doesn't sound... (2)

2.7182 (819680) | about a year ago | (#45196407)

Even though this review has been posted for > 40 minutes there are only 4 comments here. The people have spoken.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#45197053)

No, just you and an Anonymous Coward, it seems.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198699)

Or they haven't finished the book yet.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196521)

Nor merited. The guy made a single video game, that's his life's accomplishment. What else really needs to be said?

Now a book on John Carmack, Warren Spector, Will Wright, Sid Meyer, Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski or even John Romero might actually be interesting and warranted.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (4, Funny)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year ago | (#45196573)

I'd want to read an autobiography by Richard Garriott. I imagine it would read something like Fear and Loathing.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (1)

malakai (136531) | about a year ago | (#45199863)

I'd take a short story on a few of his Halloween parties. I imagine it reads like 120 days of sodom....

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196605)

I'd pay to read about that time that John Carmack almost killed Jace Hall for real.

CAPTCHA: brutish

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207193)

This? [youtube.com]

Re:It just doesn't sound... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196697)

I think people have a need to read about lives that resemble their own, as well. Persson is living the "shut-in gamer boy" version of a princess fantasy come to true. Girls grow up with tiaras and promises of prince-suitors. Today's disenfranchised 20-something guys have nothing like that. People like Persson are naturally bound to become the rockstar idols of self-insert dreams for these people.

Who among you can honestly say he would not love to swap lives with Persson? Multimillionaire after writing a relatively simple computer game? Sign me up for that dreamboat.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45197989)

Multimillionaire after writing a relatively simple computer game? Sign me up for that dreamboat.

It's not that simple to write something like Minecraft. Think about: maintaining the data for a huge dynamic world, the lighting system, monster AI, some simple physics, particle effects, animating the player and NPC heads and limbs turning, interactions of the various materials, calculating how lava and water fill empty spaces, procedural generation of realistic landscapes, multiplayer...

Re:It just doesn't sound... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198547)

Minecraft procgen is literally smoothed noise that has been built up over the years.
A lot of people still prefer "173craft", aka Minecraft 1.7.3 because of the world gen in that was very specifically a mess and created absolutely wonderful worlds.
I'm on the edge between them both to be honest, both generators were great. But getting them to play together is hard since they are so wildly opposing systems.

The chunk system in Minecraft that contains blocks is still terrible. Ever since that McRegion crap was added to Minecraft, it has been noticeably laggier.
I remember I used to be able to play Minecraft on a netbook easily. McRegion destroyed that ability in an update.
It also fails really hard when it comes to mobs in them. Lots of mobs+McRegion and walking the borders between regions is SO LAGGY, holy crap it is laggy.
Why that crap got integrated I will never know. It is like they never even tested it. There were so many complaints about it, nothing done. (and the complaint site they used even got disowned by Mojang! WHAT)
I'm sure Minecraft still sends entire game chunks when ONE single block is updated in them. That is 16x16x256.
I hope that was changed, I seriously hope that was changed, that would be terrible if that is still like that.

Block movements, aka liquids, are literally just spawning new blocks n+1 (and the other directions) with a flow-texture applied, based on a group-check of nearby blocks.
Fairly simple stuff and easiest way to get integer liquid flows, I am experimenting with this right now in use of simulated sounds on and off at random.
When it reaches a gap underneath, it spawns a new "source", but really a sourceless source, where it resets the meta value to max the height of the water again.
And due to the limitations of the water engine, you can take advantage of it easily. (such as the water only checking I think 4 blocks around the source for the nearest drop, which can be used to create really nice natural looking flows with no walls at height level)

Likewise, the lighting and physics system aren't the best. They work, but aren't the best.
The lighting system is also one of the reasons infinite height worlds aren't possible in the current game because it becomes an absolute nightmare. (besides the terrible chunk system mentioned above)
There has been many proposed solutions, such as storing a map of all the chunks viewed from above and using that for calculating light instead of loading ALL the chunks between sky and your game views draw distance. This system would work regardless of being 10 chunks from the sky or 1000 chunks since all it would be doing is loading a very simple map image of a chunk layer stating whether block0, 1, 2 ... n is transparent or opaque.
The downside is this won't work for those mods that use realistic lighting systems that add shadows and stuff. The maps would need to increase by 2 so that it covers the 2 faces of the chunks that are needed, east to west shadows and sky-to-chunk shadows.

Then it is just general modelling stuff seen in any game. In fact they are looking to rewrite the modelling system, well, are, to make it considerably easier to implement things which will be great. I look forward to a "mob update" in the future, the thing that annoys me most in Minecraft is the emptiness.
All these new biomes coming up soon need to be filled with life.

The game needs a lot of work to fix the inefficient engine oddities.
The chunk system needs to be scrapped entirely and rewritten from the ground up, planned out the ass. Hell, get the minetest guy or the guy that made infinite height worlds, THEY get it.
Lighting needs a few simple fixes and optimizations for integer worlds and that map generation system to cut down seeking out light paths for the sky.

On a sidenote, this is also why me and friends run a Minecraft Hexxit mod server, adds a lot of fun stuff to Minecraft and takes out the boringness and emptiness of it. Fixes some stupid stuff too.

Minecraft was done a hundred times before (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45199463)

Minecraft was helped by a few converging factors that the previous ones (openly admitted by Persson) lacked.

One: Youtube. Especially the affiliate links algorithm. This meant that people who had a lot of follow-on watches and had people watch a long stream got more money. And minecraft was something that they could record playing and get people watching.

Two: Minecraft is shit. Really. Without going to a wiki, try to play the game. How are you suposed to even know you're meant to PUCH A TREE to break a block? How do you know you're meant to press "E" to open your inventory and then put that block of wood into the four-square bit to turn it into wood and THEN put those four bits of wood on those four spots to make a crafting bench with then you can build an axe. After putting it down. And how do you know how to make an axe? What sensible person would think that a wooden axe would chop wood? Then we get into all the other recipies. So minecraft is shit. So you need to watch someone else play to find out how the hell you're supposed to play (or read a wiki. But that's reading, so natch). This means point #1 is important to even play the game.

Three: Derivatives are allowed. You can see a lot of companies threatening LPers who are "making money off our game" by recording them playing it and getting ad revenue. Minecraft were 100% clear that you can make an LP from the start. Making #2 a safe decision.

Four: Freely sharing, multiple platform play. Especially in alpha/beta, that meant that word-of-mouth meant people could *try* the game. Find out about point #2, see others making good with point #1 and know they too can do it because of point #3.

Five: Modding. Of course other games had this. E.g. Half Life, Doom, et al. But this helped a lot because of point #2, Minecraft being shit. So people modded things in like Industrial Craft or MineFactory or Forestry or Buildcraft to make a more interesting and deeper game, including mods like TMI or NEI that at least allowed you to find the recipies, and boy did these mods add a shitload of frankly illogical recipies. The use of these new items and why you'd install them of course required more LP and mod spotlights to demonstrate and inform people of these new things and how to use them. Meaning more LP content and more players.

1.6 has damaged Minecraft Vanilla because they're trying to make the game deeper by making people have to move and explore the procedurally generated world, but their "solution" is all stick and a removal of all carrots to make the stick bigger. Food now more important, this is actually a good idea, but you're likely going to spend a long time farming and creepers blow shit up, including your farm. Nice. And then you'll be eating bread, more bread, even more bread. Brill. They also ramp up the mob spawning to force you to move to reduce the spawn rate back to something you're not having to go out and spam hit a million mobs to be able to farm yet more wheat for bread so you can afford to mine or craft. Problem is, there's not a lot above ground to see, and moving "house" is hard because

a) the day is 5 minutes long and you HAVE to get to bed or monsters spawn still, during which time you can walk directly 600 blocks. But this isn't exploring.
b) all that stuff you had has to be ferried and your inventory isn't big enough for more than a chest's worth of stuff.
c) you have to camp between the old and new place every night.

1.7 isn't addressing this and is likely only going to make it worse.

Modders are falling behind and 90% of good gameplay is from the mods. Add that you're gaining little or nothing (and potentially losing more) and why are you upgrading? Maybe 1.7 will allow a framework that allows modders to more easily move from 1.5+ to 1.7 and thereafter have an easier time going to later versions. Maybe. But at the moment, it's losing momentum and that momentum was why Minecraft made money.

Re:Minecraft was done a hundred times before (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year ago | (#45204491)

Without going to a wiki, try to play the game. How are you suposed to even know you're meant to PUCH A TREE to break a block? How do you know you're meant to press "E" to open your inventory and then put that block of wood into the four-square bit to turn it into wood and THEN put those four bits of wood on those four spots to make a crafting bench with then you can build an axe. After putting it down. And how do you know how to make an axe? What sensible person would think that a wooden axe would chop wood? Then we get into all the other recipies. So minecraft is shit. So you need to watch someone else play to find out how the hell you're supposed to play (or read a wiki. But that's reading, so natch)

And yet Dwarf Fortress makes nothing like the cash that Minecraft does, and is far more fucking impenetrable.

Nothing you've highlighted explains the success of Minecraft as opposed to a dozen other games. If anything its accessibility (aided by Youtube tutorials or not) combined with the raw creative capability it offers is what's led to its success. People can play, create, share.

They like that.

Re:Minecraft was done a hundred times before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45204617)

> And yet Dwarf Fortress makes nothing like the cash that Minecraft does, and is far more fucking impenetrable.

And yet Dwarf Fortress came out MUCH earlier, see point #1, retard.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198553)

Except most people aren't shut-in, 30 year old virgins like this guy. Not even most nerds or gamers.

And I can honestly say I would never swap lives with that guy. He's not me, he doesn't have my girls, he doesn't have my nationality, he's obese and out of shape. He has more money than me, but I've never been one who placed much value in the almighty dollar. I make more than enough to live comfortably, which is all I ever need.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197063)

Saying that he only made Minecraft is like saying that Bill Gates only made Windows. Part of the fascination is seeing how some guy who just wanted to make a game he'd like to play ends up a multimillionaire and doesn't go insane... although he did challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3 for the use of the Scrolls name.

There was a book [amazon.com] about John Carmack and John Romero, but as for the others there isn't currently a book specifically about them. You could always do what Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg did and contact one of those guys and perhaps write a biography for them. You'll probably want to spell Sid's last name correctly though.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#45197305)

"While the book lacks much about his thoughts on the whole Spore thing (presumably due to various contractual agreements with EA), the book is still somewhat illuminating about Wright. 6/10"

Re:It just doesn't sound... (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#45198337)

There already exists at least one book about Carmack and Romero: Masters of Doom.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year ago | (#45198987)

Nor merited. The guy made a single video game, that's his life's accomplishment. What else really needs to be said?

What the game was. How he made it. How he sold it. How he continued developing it. How this method brought about a worldwide phenomenon.

Now a book on John Carmack, Warren Spector, Will Wright, Sid Meyer, Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski or even John Romero might actually be interesting and warranted.

To the niche audience of geeks and gamers who likes that type of game. Persson on the other hand made a game which is played by millions of eight to eighty year olds, and is still a big seller almost four years after its initial release. With Minecraft, we are clearly dealing with a significantly different gaming beast.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#45201755)

And in another year Chris Roberts with Star Citizen, although given his Wing Commander Series throughout the 1990's maybe enough to warrant a book...

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45202029)

What would actually be read by the fan's of those you mention? Carmack, CliffyB & Romero made zombie shooters, Spector and Meyer made clicker crunchers...
Molyneux's fan base might read a book, after all the game name itself was Fable.

Therefore, I believe the term not merited may not apply to those you even mention, either.
But then again, the term merited may not even apply to video games themselves.
Then on top of this, the concept of interesting is entirely arbitrary. Just look at the list you produced.
Those you mention are only famous names of people who copied each other, not the ingenious people like the ones who made Dwarf Fortress for Fez, who said: "FUCK THIS, I'M DOING MY OWN THING".
Oh you don't know who those guys are? What a shame.
Please stay on /b, or whatever ignorance pit you choose, and remember that Stupidity is a contagious leprosy of the mind.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45207139)

Yeah, you're so hip, counterculture and esoteric to have heard of Dwarf Fortress and Fez.

Carmack and Romero singlehandedly ushered in the FPS genre; *everyone* knows Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, etc. Spector produced Wing Commander, was the man behind Looking Glass Studios and designed Ultima VI and Deus Ex. Wright did the Sim series, including SimCity and The Sims. Meier formed Microprose and designed Civilization, Pirates and Alpha Centauri. Molyneux designed Populous, Black & White, Fable and produced Syndicate and Magic Carpet. Bleszinski did Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, Unreal Tournament and Gears of War.

These guys did more for gaming than anyone. To try to equate the accomplishment of some one hit wonders to them is absurd. Developers like Notch owe everything to the aforementioned individuals.

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45202297)

Agreed. He makes one game, and he gets a biography? He only deserves a few articles titled: "How to Become Accidentally Famous writing a Sandbox in Java."

Re:It just doesn't sound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45222477)

Nor merited. The guy made a single video game, that's his life's accomplishment. What else really needs to be said?

Now a book on John Carmack, Warren Spector, Will Wright, Sid Meyer, Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski or even John Romero might actually be interesting and warranted.

I think it is merited, and well deserved.
Yes he had the right product at the right time, but what he changed, was huge. We already take most of it for granted, but minecraft gave us
* A creative game, with an open world that mostly relies on our imagination
* A step back to private servers and multiplayer co-op/social gaming (big games were going hire servers only, eg battlefield)
* Modding - This was seriously on the decline, as game companies wanted to lock people in again
* A rise of bedroom coders, a role model like we had in the 8 bit era
* Customer lead development - he listened to his customers and used them to guide him (not by always agreeing, that would be daft, but always listening)
* Proof that you don't have to be cutthroat to make money. Notch always seems like a great guy, and tries hard to stay grounded

He is a massive success, and someone I would be proud for my kids to have as a role model (ie someone who worked hard, but stayed honest through success).
If he had locked down minecraft, or been a tool the game would in no way be the success it is today

Where's the review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196377)

n/t

let's build a minecraft version (2)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#45196401)

...of the entire book. Would that still be pirating? This can be made easier with qCraft.

Re:let's build a minecraft version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196947)

Not difficult to do with the Bibliocraft mod.

Re:let's build a minecraft version (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45198001)

Or putting a buttload of signs on the terrain which each contain one sentence from the book. :P

Great, for fans, but ... (2)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#45196487)

That's awesome! It's a phenomenon, but I don't see how it's different from the experience of so many failed entrepreneurs. Especially when it doesn't shed light on the PERSON, and only talks about the experience.

Oh, and except, you know, that he didn't fail.

what we're all dying to know (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45196563)

Did Minecraft finally help Notch get laid?

CAPTCHA: dateline

Re:what we're all dying to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197615)

Yes, it did!

Top ten Minecraft Songs (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#45196589)

10. Diamonds are a girl's best friend
9. Don't Lava me Alone.
8. Baby, it's Dark Outside.
7. Here I am, with Open Doors.
6. He's a Creep, oh yea. Sssssssss!
5. Hmmrrmm. Hurt you.
4. White Feather Spies
3. Do the Chunk.
2. Build me a pillar to the Sky.
And the current number one hit.
1. Hmarrrr. Hmarrr. Brains.

What a title! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45196617)

Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and the Game that Changed Everything. That's a lot of scrubbing. "Soap stains, Mark. How do you remove soap stains?! They're the end game [comedycentral.com] !"

We Love Notch, but... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197083)

Give me a break.. Notch is never going to build a gaming behemoth.

In the years since minecraft has been released - a modding community has transformed the game a thousand times over, whilst his own "gaming behemoth in waiting" Mojang, trundle along with fairly small and unimpressive additions to the game.

To illustrate this - next up, they are introducing a "stained glass update".

Now, that's fine - I didn't necessarily pay for updates - but what was promised to me was a way to modify the game without having it broken every new build. This, they have massively failed on.

We're still waiting for the mod API, notch.

Notch made a good game, seems like a good guy and all, but he's fucking lazy (I don't blame him, effectively the greatest challenge of his life - to put food on the table is over) and/or unsure of his direction.

From the outside, it seems to have low standards for his employees and what they do for the game (I've no idea if that is true - it's just what it seems).

(Still, nothing can hold a candle to the develop of Cubeworld - who essentially released an alpha for money and thinks going completely silent and ignoring your community for months and months at a time constitutes a constructive way to engage the community).

Re:We Love Notch, but... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45198209)

They announced a long time ago - maybe years ago at this point - that they were abandoning a mod API in favour of providing source code access. Any mod API would be inherently restricted in ways that successful Minecraft mods aren't.

Re:We Love Notch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198885)

That's wrong though, they went back on it.
The mod API now is called Resource Packs.
Resource Packs will literally end up being the actual game at some point as the vanilla game itself will become a resource pack. (or so it is planned, you know how that turns out)

Resource Packs at the moment work fairly well, you can modify quite a bit of the media very easily.
They are working on the modelling part of that so people can easily modify models as well.
And that too will lead to new block creation (well, "non-full-blocks", full blocks can easily be done with the current system)
And soon will come logic and code support too.

Combined with the command block which is growing each update since it was added, and just recently had its length-cap removed (or increased significantly), it will allow for even simple in-game scripting.
The command block is already very useful now for making game-modes.
The command blocks can even self-replicate now. God forbid someone griefs in creative mod, the replicators, they come.
Only SG-1 can solve this.

Re:We Love Notch, but... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45210051)

Resource Packs are a way of replacing textures, sounds, and other nontechnical assets. For gameplay mods they've been working on integrating Bukkit's own plugin system into the main game for about nine months, but that will be limited to what you can do in current Bukkit plugins. "Real" modding will mean source for the forseeable future.

Re:We Love Notch, but... (-1, Flamebait)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#45198291)

Yes of course. Because Notch didn't keep up with the hundreds (thousands?) of modders, he's a piece of shit.

And nobody gives a fuck what you think if you aren't buying the game.

You can always count on gamers to be cunts about everything. No fucking wonder most developers want out of the business by the time they turn 25.

You motherfucking assholes are the worst customers on the fucking planet. You want top quality in unlimited quantity for free and if you don't get it you run to the Internet like a fat greasy bitch and cry all day about how the man is ruining your life.

Shut the fuck up and get a job. Cunt.

The modders need a job too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45199595)

Beause making a mod isn't their job, so they need a real full time job so they can put some free time into the mod. Have a look what happened to RedPower mod. IC2 and CCSensors (et al). These people have to have another job. Notch has a job that pays a hell of a lot and a larger team than any one modder. Look at what was in IC2 with only three part time developers. RP2 had one part time developer. Mojang has, what, 8 full time?

Re:We Love Notch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45199921)

The continuous update breaks was what caused me to leave the game. I used to run a server but the amount of times I had to put it into 'chaos' mode because either I had to rewrite and test my own mods, or the mods I used needed updating, was farcical.

I bought numerous copies of the game. I delivered, managed and moderated a server, for free, to hundreds of players under 16. I built mods that were used by the Bukkit community as well as on my own server.

I guess I'm a cunt as well?

Re:We Love Notch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45200917)

Yes of course. Because Notch didn't keep up with the hundreds (thousands?) of modders, he's a piece of shit.

And nobody gives a fuck what you think if you aren't buying the game.

You can always count on gamers to be cunts about everything. No fucking wonder most developers want out of the business by the time they turn 25.

You motherfucking assholes are the worst customers on the fucking planet. You want top quality in unlimited quantity for free and if you don't get it you run to the Internet like a fat greasy bitch and cry all day about how the man is ruining your life.

Shut the fuck up and get a job. Cunt.

Sounds like someone didn't get their cookie and juice at circle time.

Re:We Love Notch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45227451)

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Re:We Love Notch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198645)

> Notch is never going to build a gaming behemoth.

of course he won't.

He stumbled on a gold mine, but instead of investing his resources to make it to the next level, he is fucking around.

2 things were needed to make Minecraft something in the scale of Valve:

* Real modding support, so people could actually build apps/games in minecraft
* A persistent, mojan-hosted, persistent world.

Re:We Love Notch, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45202527)

From their blog, posted today, for the 1.7 patch:

It feels like we’ve been working on this for a year now, with more than half a million lines of code changed over 1,104 commits we’ve been working extremely hard on this update. We’re calling this one “The update that changed the world”, because it really has in two different ways; there’s over twice the amount of ingame biomes, and we’ve overhauled lots of the code preparing for the plugin API.

Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Stickerboy (61554) | about a year ago | (#45197281)

"...To a frustrated game developer who feels the software conglomerates are stifling his creativity..."

Are we talking about the same person here? Notch takes Infiniminer, adds some new features and extensibility to the basic gameplay, which becomes his one and only claim to creative success. And it's the software conglomerates' fault that he doesn't have an original idea out yet?

Lucking into the Angry Birds /FarmVille style sweepstakes does not a gamer genius / tycoon make. He wants to build a Valve? Good luck.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197417)

A person that you don't really care about, has some things he likes, dislikes, and has some hopes, aspirations.... Why does he bother.

He will probably need some luck, but I don't know if he needs it from you -- a forum poster.

Re:Wait, what? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45198213)

I believe that's in reference to his time working as a software developer for an online games company and developing his own projects - Minecraft, various game jams - in his spare time.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45199869)

Well, thank god he did it. Because Infiniminer doesn't run on Linux.

Now if only minetest would really take off. From what I can tell it's a better engine

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45199955)

Jesus wept, you mean the one thing I reserved as justifying his reward was just plagiarised from someone else?

I've now gone from liking the guy, through him being an opinionated twat, past a overstated individual into the ground of total asshole ....grrr....

Re:Wait, what? (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | about a year ago | (#45218567)

Notch takes Infiniminer

Sorry, bullshit. First Minecraft video posted by Notch on 2009-05-13. Infiniminer source release on 2009-05-16. This means that Notch had been working on Minecraft for some time before Infiniminer's source code was released. Also, Infiniminer: .NET, Minecraft: Java.

So he didn't plagiarize anything more than the basic idea of a big world full of blocks. But Notch actually followed through to completion (more or less), while Infiniminer didn't. [rockpapershotgun.com]

As Steve Jobs was fond of saying, "Real artists ship."

Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197415)

Seriously though, Tarn and Zach seem much more interesting than Notch, especially if you look into the journey that led to Tarn working on it full-time.

And unlike Notch he/they're doing it out of passion for the specific game, not just 't3h m0n13z'.

Still prefer if it was open source though :D

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197931)

They've had an art opening on Dwarf Fortress in the ... smithsonian was it?
I think that'll do for a while :D

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45198371)

Where do you get that Notch is just doing it for "teh moniez"?

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45198679)

Are you blind or stupid?

Do you not know how much money the game made?
Do you not know how much the game used to sell for and got an arbitrary increase in price "just because not alpha / beta now"?
Do you not see him throwing away his money on projects all the time like Kickstarter and such?
Not even willing to put money in to his own games, even cancelling one that had AMAZING PROMISE because his game was "too popular for its own good" (literally a paraphrase of his words)

Notch used to be in it for the games, but once he realized Minecraft could make him money, he started looking around for ways to blow that up even more, which led to the many interviews and the talks with Valve and a possible Steam integration resulted in sales exploding, getting his paypal suspended till they made sure it wasn't a scam, etc. The rest is history.
Notch was extremely lucky that it actually exploded in sales, he was in the right place at the right time, he made the right moves in the press, and it happened.

The reason he did it was to give himself breathing room so he can faff about and do game jams for the rest of his life while streaming them to the world so they can watch him eat pizza at COMPANY MEETINGS.

Jealous as fuck, but still, he was in it for the money. Every indie dreams they could get that success so they can work on as many game experiments as possible and see what sticks.
Notch, however, gave up on that entirely with 0x10c as I mentioned above, cancelling it when people very specifically wanted it.
Why work when you can not work? Notch is one of those people.
I'd happily work till I drop. And still go on from there, not even death would stop me.

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#45201329)

Wow dude... just wow. I guess this demonstrates a dark side to humanity. Wait a second... There it is. Right there:

Jealous as fuck,

There we go. That pretty much describes the entire problem encountered here. We've got a word for it.

But lemme just point how this guy is wrong:

Do you not know how much money the game made?

A lot. It's sold 33 million, so he's probably made around a hundred million. But that doesn't mean jack shit when it comes to what motivates Notch.

Do you not know how much the game used to sell for and got an arbitrary increase in price "just because not alpha / beta now"?

Yeah. $15 -> $30. "Just because" it's a more fleshed out game. Come on dude, they were selling an empty sandbox without any gameplay. When they added some content (which honestly isn't a big draw for me), they bumped the price.

Do you not see him throwing away his money on projects all the time like Kickstarter and such?

Yeah, it's like he's got a shit-ton of money and doesn't particularly want to horde it.

Notch used to be in it for the games, but once he realized Minecraft could make him money,

"The game" has always been sale. It's a product you sell for money. "In it for the game" does not exclude making money. "The indie scene" doesn't shun money, they just usually don't have any. The "spirit of Minecraft" is not the same spirit as the GPL or open source.

So anyway, this is an important reminder that if you take an average joe, and give him a bunch of money, then a host of people out there will instantly hate his guts no matter what he does. This is simply jealousy. Move along.

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (2)

Cederic (9623) | about a year ago | (#45204573)

Do you not see him throwing away his money on projects all the time like Kickstarter and such?

You appear to be bitching about the fact that Persson is using his money to provide financial backing to other developers in a way that doesn't get him a share of their success?

How dare he! Anybody would think he values the games, not the money.

You fuckwit.

Re:Where's the Dwarf Fortress book? (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | about a year ago | (#45217129)

Shut up or log in, there is probably a good reason you posted this as AC.

Winning the success lottery... (4, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#45197427)

... Notch was in the right place at the right time. The success of fortress craft (clone) shows that there was an audience untapped for basically what amounts to a basic 3d modelling tool with some minor game elements.

Re:Winning the success lottery... (1)

issicus (2031176) | about a year ago | (#45198807)

yes. I thought Terraria was a lot more fun, better art. You can't make a 3d model of boobs though...

Re:Winning the success lottery... (1)

DocHoncho (1198543) | about a year ago | (#45199489)

I agree, I've always thought that minecraft was a great sandbox but they forgot to put an actual game in there anyplace. A handful of mobs, awkward combat, anemic equipment progression... it can be great fun to build grand structures but it just seems like every big idea they had to add to the game ended up being half assed leading to a constant nagging feeling that the game just isn't living up to its potential. I've always kind of wished they'd just open source the thing and let the community create something awesome.

Re:Winning the success lottery... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45199849)

I've always kind of wished they'd just open source the thing and let the community create something awesome.

There's lots of open source minecraft knockoffs, some of which are technically superior (e.g. minetest) but the community has not done anything all that awesome with them yet. You're welcome to put a hand in.

Re:Winning the success lottery... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45200415)

I've always kind of wished they'd just open source the thing and let the community create something awesome.

There's lots of open source minecraft knockoffs, some of which are technically superior (e.g. minetest) but the community has not done anything all that awesome with them yet. You're welcome to put a hand in.

I've thought about it, and I'll do so, but not before we actually have the shared memory architecture machines in the next couple of generations so I can do atomic scale voxel physics. Runs beautifully on a "high end" multi-GPU APU system, but not everyone has those yet. Still waiting on heterogeneous computing so we can use the render geometry as the physics geometry without needing two copies in RAM or lots of updates shoveled across a bus pinchpoint. Soon we'll get back the level of freedom that we had with pure software rasterization, and with shit loads more RAM and cycles to boot. Then it will be worth doing some crap with blocks, IMO.

Protip: Mining is stupid mindless grind -- Delegate that to some AI minions and give folks some useful tools for really building things in-engine. The fun isn't in the grinding, you can make the Skinner box much bigger...

Re:Winning the success lottery... (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#45201491)

and I'll do so, but not before...

Kid, computers are LUDICROUSLY fast. They can handle more data, than you can EVER possibly hope process for a computer game. And I mean game. Physics simulator, sure, that can always take more. But for games, we've largely hit peak-pixel. There's no need to add more polygons, it doesn't look any better. In that same vein, there's no need to shrink the resolution of, say, the shatter remains of the wall that your cool-aid guy just broke through below a level that has diminishing gameplay impact.

Now hey, cool ideas will make real good use of advanced hardware. But if you have an good idea for a game, computers can do it. If computers can't do it, ask yourself if it really add to the game?

Then it will be worth doing some crap with blocks

There is no hardware limitation. You can do it now. It was worth doing so more than a decade ago. This is a pathetic excuse.

You're all weirdos (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197935)

A guy does something he thinks is fun. He manages to convince other people to pay for using the thing. He works on it until he doesn't think it's fun anymore. Then he goes to try his hand at more fun things. Isn't this normal? What's all these calls about him having a "bad work ethic"?

Also, people will only write books about successful people, because they're fun and it's fun writing it. Again, not strange.

Re:You're all weirdos (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45210067)

Celebrity. People feel that because he's successful and they know who he is, he should stop being a human being.

What happened to 0x10c? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197943)

"he confesses that he wants to build a gaming behemoth on the scale of Valve."...

And yet he couldn't even finish 0x10c.

Yeah, yeah, I know some game ideas are doomed to fail and being able to see that before you spend time and resources on them can be a blessing. But the way 0x10c was handled makes me think that Notch didn't even bother trying. He announced it, realized he had no clue what he was actually going to do with it, then cancelled the entire thing. He should have either kept his mouth shut (and all his fans waiting for his next big creation that might actually come to fruition), or worked the idea into something that would have worked before announcing it.

VALVe has had their fair share of setbacks and leaks before, but they've at least been consistent in delivering... Eventually. They are one of the few companies I know of who can delay a project for as long as Half Life 2 took, and still release something that exceeds all expectations. If Notch can't even do that, what hope does he have of ever becoming as successful as them?

Re:What happened to 0x10c? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45197981)

I don't think he cares about "success", only creating something that resembles his inner vision. He hasn't shown any tendencies to yield to external pressure at all. Nor should he; if more people had his attitude the world would be richer.

Did you... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year ago | (#45198331)

The game features a "survival" mode, in which the blocky hero attempts to survive against hordes of enemies, as well as a "creative" mode where players can mine blocks and use them to build pretty much any structure.

Did the reviewer play the game at all? "Surviving against a horde of enemies" is a pretty poor description of Minecraft survival mode, and in creative mode, you don't mine blocks to use them since you can get any block for free.

Re:Did you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45200645)

Clearly you haven't played the clusterfuck that is the latest release...

So much Notch hate... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45202809)

Remember when Minecraft was relatively unheard of? People were thrilled with it. I only heard or read good things about it during the Alpha and early Beta stages. And let's be honest, in those earlier stages, it was way buggier and way more crappy than it at release or even late Beta. Then everybody and their dog started playing it, and it suddenly became cool to rip on Minecraft. People started (and still are) bashing Notch for using Java, not having enough threads, eating food to stay alive when he could be coding, and failing to implement features that would induce real-life orgasms in its gamers.

You know what I think it is? I think everybody's got their own little inner hipster. Minecraft was unknown, and it was cool. Then it went 'mainstream' and it was cooler to point out its flaws. My inner hipster is screaming for me to be different, to be unique! I say Minecraft is a pretty damn fun game. If you don't think it's a fun game, fine. No need to hate on Notch for being 'lazy' or 'fat', which are both criticisms in this thread already.

Let the pendulum swing back the other way! It's now cool to say that Minecraft is a-ok.

Stolen from Wurm Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45203091)

Minecraft came heavily from the game "Wurm Online", where he was co-owner/creator [wurmonline.com]

Unofficial Wurm Online Trailer: [youtube.com]

It's basically an a wayyyy more realistic Minecraft. (Yes, I played for a couple months years ago, it was awesome!)

I feel bad that the other creator, Rolf, didn't become wildly successful.

Not impressed after hearing a talk by the writers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45204517)

I saw the two writers of the book at the annual book convention in Gothenburg last year, talking about this specific book. I was overall very underwhelmed. They talked about how playing with lego when he was a kid had inspired him - everyone plays with lego when they are kids over here, and he took the idea from infiminer, but apparently they didn't even know this. The writers (this was their second book I believe) seemed to be more interested in cashing in on the minecraft hype than understand what was actually going on.

Minecraft is not Notch's only game, maybe his largest, bu one of many many. I remember thinking about mailing him to motivate him to do something grander out of miners 4k, but my friends didnt see the potential that I saw and I dropped it. He seems like a guy who had great insigt and interest in the indie scene, and developed an ability to make; not excellent pieces of programming art, but interesting games that where playable in very short time. I don't know how many of those 4k competitions he won. Eventually infiminer showed up, he had great awareness of the indie scene so he saw it (and its potential) early, and had the ability to make something similar quickly. Having all those traits is actually quite impressive in my book, and he is probably quite interesting as a person. But my impression of the writers was that they had totally missed this angle. (Then again I havent actually read the book, so maybe I'm way off here.)

Minecraft is a software toy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45208801)

Minecraft is at its core a software toy. The addition of an ultimate goal didn't really change that. Creative mode makes it much more so. I find that while playing in survival mode is fun, I quickly lose interest and return to building in creative mode. Hexxit makes it into a dungeon-crawling game by making it practical to obtain top -tier items without gathering more than basic materials.

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