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Minecraft Interview

Lord of Minecraft on GamesIndustry.biz (registration required) is a quick conversation with Markus "Notch" Persson about Minecraft, his successful sandbox game. One answer they highlight separately is his explanation of why he's been so public about the boatloads of money the game has been earning, reportedly as much as $350,000 a day. "Personally I like sharing that information, because I'm generally an open guy," Persson told them. "But it feels a bit sometimes like it's a bragging page." And while he is willing to consider selling DLC for the game, he rejects the idea of courting investors: "I'd rather have [the games] just be self-funded, because we can run the company we want. If we fail with a game it's because we failed it, not because we had to rush it to meet a deadline."

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28. Re: Minecraft Interview Dec 2, 2010, 15:20 Elessar
 
Ventura wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 06:29:
I'm not expecting him to get all "completely bogged down in testing", but fuck, he could have fired it up once. Maybe if he had, then he'd have known that he'd broken the game.
Of course he runs it as he codes, it's silly to think he wouldn't. If you're an avid PC gamer, you should know by now that even AAA devs have a hard time with the infinite amount of hardware profiles out there that run some builds fine, while others don't (*cough* Black Ops *cough*).

It's also silly to expect a few guys, just starting off as an indie dev to produce beta quality products in an alpha stage. In this stage, considering the entire scenario, it should be entirely acceptable that the game could be broken at any given point. If you didn't realize you were signing up to be a tester for a very young game, idk what to say. If you're upset about paying for something in this state, consider it a preorder that you get to futz with during the development process.
 
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"You don't get what you deserve, you get what you get."
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27. Re: Minecraft Interview Dec 1, 2010, 10:55 JohnnyRotten
 
Ventura wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 10:14:
Nor is it sold as a complete game, that's a falsehood, there are disclaimers all over the place before you buy that it's an alpha and it will have bugs.

You've got complete and unfinished mixed up. It's not sold as a finished game, but it is sold complete in that it's the only payment you need to make for it.

I wouldn't say the website's full of disclaimers either. The front page mentions potential instability at times, and the purchase graphic says you get 50% off during alpha. That's pretty much it. If there's a line somewhere about how he reserves the right to release updates without trying them out first because that's what the paying public is for, by all means, point me to it.

The first thing on the page (upper left) is a graphic that says
50% off during alpha. Pre-purchase now.

Under the main content logo is the text:
Minecraft Alpha [The latest!]: In browser | Download

After the what is minecraft graphic, in news it says
Minecraft is still in alpha, but is rapidly nearing beta. I've only got one more feature to add; multiplayer support.
I'm renaming the old version of the game "Minecraft Classic", and will be slowly phasing it out. I won't remove it, though. Just hide it.

The next paragraph after that says:
The main branch of the game is currently called "Minecraft Alpha", and is under heavy development. It can be a bit unstable at times, so don't get too attached to your save files yet.
You can read more on the development blog, or here.

Under purchase now, it says:
When Minecraft is finished, it will sell for 20.00.
If you pre-purchase now during alpha, you pay just 9.95!
The price will go up at beta.

Please note that when you buy the game, you're paying for the game as it is right now!
You will receive any and all future updates for free as a bonus. Read the copyright information for more information.


The website IS full of disclaimers about the status of the game. I think the only way he can say "alpha" more is to actually have "alpha" before AND after the word minecraft - alpha minecraft alpha is in alpha.

His blog is also up to date on game status, the changes he's made on every release, and the changes he's planning. I'm not saying he's been the most agile developer (a little development joke there), but I don't think he's misrepresented the game.

For those who don't get the game - I tell my friends that it's like being able to go back to your childhood to play with Lego's and Lincoln logs. You build amazing creations and then blow them up (without the mess).
 
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26. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 10:14 Ventura
 
Nor is it sold as a complete game, that's a falsehood, there are disclaimers all over the place before you buy that it's an alpha and it will have bugs.

You've got complete and unfinished mixed up. It's not sold as a finished game, but it is sold complete in that it's the only payment you need to make for it.

I wouldn't say the website's full of disclaimers either. The front page mentions potential instability at times, and the purchase graphic says you get 50% off during alpha. That's pretty much it. If there's a line somewhere about how he reserves the right to release updates without trying them out first because that's what the paying public is for, by all means, point me to it.
 
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25. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 09:47 NicklePop
 
WyldKat wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 09:42:
CommunistHamster wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 08:05:
"Alpha" isn't an excuse for notch anymore, since he's marketing and selling it as a full game.

It isn't an excuse, it literally IS an alpha build. Nor is it sold as a complete game, that's a falsehood, there are disclaimers all over the place before you buy that it's an alpha and it will have bugs.

Why is it so hard for people to understand this?

Jealousy ...
 
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24. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 09:42 WyldKat
 
CommunistHamster wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 08:05:
"Alpha" isn't an excuse for notch anymore, since he's marketing and selling it as a full game.

It isn't an excuse, it literally IS an alpha build. Nor is it sold as a complete game, that's a falsehood, there are disclaimers all over the place before you buy that it's an alpha and it will have bugs.

Why is it so hard for people to understand this?
 
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23. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 09:38 justice7
 
you guys do know this is just an indie game right? Just some dude, no different than you or I. His game got a lot of attention; and he's just kinda riding the wave.

I dont think Notch ever intended Minecraft to be so successful. Cut the guy a break, just because he made some money you guys expect the fucking moon.
 
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22. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 08:31 The Half Elf
 
You guys don't like it then don't support him, it's that simple.  
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"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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21. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 08:05 CommunistHamster
 
"Alpha" isn't an excuse for notch anymore, since he's marketing and selling it as a full game.  
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20. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 07:47 eRe4s3r
 
Hes taxed 56% but not for the first few thousand dollars...

That said, you can live happily from an interest of 4 million dollars - even the most secure investment nets you 2.5% a year
 
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19. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 07:43 Ventura
 
All things aside, alpha or retail, he IS selling it so that does put some extra obligation on him as opposed to a regular alpha I suppose.

I'm only annoyed so much because it's a great game with some serious potential, and - no disrespect to any fans of his - but I just think it deserves better.

I've worked on free mods for Warcraft 3, Quake 1 and Supreme Commander 2 and I've tested them a lot more than Notch appears to be testing his Minecraft updates.
 
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18. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 07:08 peteham
 
Ventura wrote on Nov 26, 2010, 06:29:
Why do people always do that, I mean, go straight to the opposite end of the scale? I'm not expecting him to get all "completely bogged down in testing", but fuck, he could have fired it up once. Maybe if he had, then he'd have known that he'd broken the game.

I bought it back before the Halloween update, and I think it was almost in better shape back then. Armour worked, tree leaves decayed, items dropped on the floor when you died, and the player made "hurt" sounds when they felt pain.

I know that beta comes after alpha, but I'd like to know; what comes before it? Because that's where we're headed.

I don't disagree that he, as you put it, could've fired the game up once before releasing etc. Not knowing the specifics of this particular blunder, as I seem to have dodged it by playing the game rather irregularly, I can't really comment on the specifics of whether he should- or shouldn't have caught it. But being a developer myself (not games, though) I know all too well how easy it can be to make one tiny change that shouldn't affect anything, and indeed doesn't affect anything on your devsystem, but makes things blow up for everyone else.

Then there's also the old saying about omelets and eggs. At this stage he's probably still spending a fairly large percentage of his time doing huge internal changes that are basically invisible to players except when they end up breaking stuff; but are necessary moving forward.

All things aside, alpha or retail, he IS selling it so that does put some extra obligation on him as opposed to a regular alpha I suppose.

Edit: stupid touchpad caused an entire sentence of my reply to end up in the quoted block

This comment was edited on Nov 26, 2010, 07:14.
 
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17. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 07:07 frag.machine
 
ATM minecraft gameplay is pretty crude, specially multiplayer which resumes to a online Lego. IMO single player is more fun: there's the first night rush where you need to run against the clock to build a shelter, and later there's the cave exploration part that can be really creepy. The halloween update added a new hell-like dimension and mobs but it really needs to add more content to became attractive to people more used to FPS games.  
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16. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 06:29 Ventura
 
Well, I'm sorry to join in on the fanboi chorus, but that's what alpha means. Alpha, as in even less project-maturity than beta. If the author had to carefully regression test every version when implementing new stuff, he would NEVER be able to make any progress because he'd be completely bogged down in testing.

Why do people always do that, I mean, go straight to the opposite end of the scale? I'm not expecting him to get all "completely bogged down in testing", but fuck, he could have fired it up once. Maybe if he had, then he'd have known that he'd broken the game.

I bought it back before the Halloween update, and I think it was almost in better shape back then. Armour worked, tree leaves decayed, items dropped on the floor when you died, and the player made "hurt" sounds when they felt pain.

I know that beta comes after alpha, but I'd like to know; what comes before it? Because that's where we're headed.
 
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15. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 05:46 peteham
 
|oR|jonvall wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 20:03:
I don't get it! I played the free version, both single and multiplayer, but the point escapes me! I understand that you can build things but is that all there is? I heard something about running from skeletons...no clue.

I played on a mp server and it seemed as if there was crap built everywhere....I just don't get it. What the hell am I missing here?
Free doesn't have all the features alpha does, though I'll have to admit I'm rather fuzzy on the details since I went straight for alpha anyway. There's some stuff about it on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft#Classic .. That said, the alpha also has major gaps in its current feature set. Some stuff only works in singleplayer (like mining cart networks etc), multiplayer damage wasn't implemented until as recently as last week, and so on. The creator has said in interviews that he plans to add some form of objective to the game at some point, but as of now, all there is to do is to be creative and build funky stuff.. I'm frankly amazed at the amount of hours I've put into it though. Building stuff is fun
 
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14. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 05:19 peteham
 
Ventura wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 21:17:
I bought it, and it was great, but he's not the best developer. None of his patches seem to ever be tested, and it doesn't help that there's a huge group of "it's an alpha, what do you expect?" fanboys on the official forums.

I mean christ, his last patch, released just the other day, actually broke the game. These days it's selling over 4000 copies every 24 hours, one wonders how much money it has to make before he'll actually take it seriously.
Well, I'm sorry to join in on the fanboi chorus, but that's what alpha means. Alpha, as in even less project-maturity than beta. If the author had to carefully regression test every version when implementing new stuff, he would NEVER be able to make any progress because he'd be completely bogged down in testing.

I'm not saying it isn't annoying when the occasional build is effectively broken, but this is what every single one of us early adopters signed up for when we bought it early.
 
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13. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 04:07 Asmo
 
What's there to get, the alpha version single player is basically an open world that you can explore/mine and build in with the option to have bad guys...

It's childish, in it's most literal form. Like playing in the sandpit when you were a kid. The simplistic graphics don't really detract from that.

All in all, well worth the cost of admission even at this stage. Notch's patching though leaves plenty to be desired. I'd like the option to pick a build and stick with it, the current build with monsters being able to spawn in what would normally be a well lit area is really starting to annoy me...
 
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12. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 26, 2010, 00:07 Dev
 
BTW, per the stats page he's sold 652,924 at something like $13 each. Thats $8.5 million. However, he's hired a bunch of people and signed leases on an office building, so he's plowed a good chunk back into his work. And thats assuming no tax. It wouldn't surprise me if he's taxed at around 50% for this, a lot of european countries have high tax rates. So thats already down to $4 million or so. If he retired right now, he and his wife aren't exactly going to be living comfortably off the interest even if he kept it all.

You can get more than that from a small venture capital funding. I mean look at APB, they wasted $100 million in VC money.
 
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11. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 25, 2010, 23:45 Dev
 
|oR|jonvall wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 20:03:
I don't get it! I played the free version, both single and multiplayer, but the point escapes me! I understand that you can build things but is that all there is? I heard something about running from skeletons...no clue.

I played on a mp server and it seemed as if there was crap built everywhere....I just don't get it. What the hell am I missing here?
Single player is more the "campaign" type game. You start from scratch and build up a place to live while avoiding the baddies at night (or deep underground).
Multiplayer is where people cooperate to build, I don't think there's baddies. If you've seen those videos of things like Minecraft Earth, thats a multiplayer server creation.

This is the best explanation of the single player game I've seen (its basically a trailer):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaMTedT6P0I
This one should be on the frontpage of the minecraft website, instead of that totally stupid cart thing.

And this is what kinda stuff can be done with multiplayer servers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWPk5zlKAEM&NR=1

This game, and other games like it such as The Sims, or other sandbox games aren't for everyone. Some people like more structure, some people like only FPS, etc.
Eggheart wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 19:47:
Also looks like it's getting a HD graphics update soon ->
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjhtjDnneLQ
I think whats happening is that its getting official skin support built in, and thats just an HD skin. However, it would have to support HD textures to have HD skins working, so yeah, its HD support in an offhand way
Silicon Avatar wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 22:31:
Minecraft is fun, but it has garnered so much attention that in 18 months there are going to be clones of it everywhere - and some of them will be better than what Notch can do.

The thing is, he's also made so much money that he doesn't have to care, so...

He might wake up one morning, look at the code, look out his window, and realize that he could be taking a 6 month vacation in the Caribbean.
Thats fine with me... if he puts those people he recently hired to work doing minecraft fixes/updates in those 6 months. He has enough money to delegate some work now (he could always hire a couple extra programmers if needed).

Clones are also fine with me, I'd love to see more sandbox games out there. Dwarf Fortress was kinda a precursor to this and I wasn't able to get much into that. I much prefer this and would love to see it get more in depth towards the realm of dwarf fortress type depth. There's far too much consolification and FPSes out there, I'm happy to see other games and I like sandbox stuff.




This comment was edited on Nov 26, 2010, 00:06.
 
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10. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 25, 2010, 22:31 Silicon Avatar
 
Minecraft is fun, but it has garnered so much attention that in 18 months there are going to be clones of it everywhere - and some of them will be better than what Notch can do.

The thing is, he's also made so much money that he doesn't have to care, so...

He might wake up one morning, look at the code, look out his window, and realize that he could be taking a 6 month vacation in the Caribbean.
 
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9. Re: Minecraft Interview Nov 25, 2010, 21:48 Icewind
 
space captain wrote on Nov 25, 2010, 21:46:
true story: after daikatana tanked, romero got a mail order bride from russia and made her his bitch

Yeah, he had to because he's an ugly long haired freak.
 
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