A Day In The Life Of Minecraft Creator Mojang

By John Walker on March 7th, 2011 at 1:00 pm.

Jakob and Notch looking at houses with saunas. No, really.

With exclusive access to Minecraft creators Mojang, I spent a day with Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and his team in their Stockholm offices, from the first meeting of the morning to the Friday afternoon’s booze and gaming relaxation. With kebab in between. Notch talks to us about how he came to be in the position he’s now in, his intentions for Minecraft and Scrolls, and the philosophy behind his game development. I also speak to his colleagues Jakob Porser and Carl Manneh, find out how the team deals with player feedback, their passion for transparency, and Notch’s plans for games after he’s completed Minecraft.

“Sweden is a nation of heavily regulated drunks,” Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson informs me as we walk through a local off-license. A freezing, snowy town seems to be disguising the drunken nature of its inhabitants well. We gather beer because it’s Friday, which means it’s gaming afternoon at Mojang, the six month-old game developer located on one of Stockholm’s many islands.

Mojang has enough money to be comfortable. Not that you’d quite know it to look at their current offices. Its unassuming entrance belies the presiding tone of relaxed yet focused dedication. A scrap of file paper is taped to the inside of the window by the front door, with “MojangAB” hastily scrawled in green pen. It’s accompanied by a graffiti scrawl on the adjacent wall, seemingly declaring “ron”. (But in a country that says “bra” for “good”, I quickly learned to make no assumptions.) Still in the process of being refurbished – or indeed furbished – their labyrinthine floor of an apartment building looks as though they’re squatting there. “This is the conference room,” says Daniel Kaplan, Mojang’s business developer, showing me into an empty room bereft even of carpets and curtains. There’s a single cardboard box in one corner. “It still needs some work.”

But it’s home to one of the biggest success stories in indie gaming for years. Currently employing nine staff, things have moved quickly for the fledgling company, since the days when Persson was coding Minecraft from his oversized desk at home.

“When I went full time on Minecraft, last year in June, I was spending all my time at home,” explains the man behind the phenomenon, Markus Persson. “That was really awesome… for two months. Then slowly I started getting weirder. It felt just wrong.”

This was to be a time when everything started changing for Persson. Minecraft was bigger than anyone could have expected, the creator included. He was the talk of the gaming scene, people staring transfixed at the counter on his website showing how many copies he’d sold. And then he found himself invited to visit Valve. They wanted to offer him a job, but Persson turned it down. “I don’t want to work for Valve,” he explained as we walked back to the office. “I want to be Valve.”

When he returned from Seattle he said to two good friends, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, that he wanted to start a company. Porser had worked with Persson before at King.com, then later got to know Manneh. It was clear the two coders were going to need someone to manage them, and Manneh was the obvious choice.

Mojang was created more so they could develop their recently announced second project, Scrolls, rather than Minecraft. Minecraft was doing just fine, bringing in enough money to keep a company easily afloat. But Scrolls had been on their minds for years, and this was a chance to finally bring it into being.

“I had all this money, and a fairly valuable IP, and it was my sole proprietorship. Which was pretty bad,” says Persson. “Starting a company meant we could make sure everything was legal.” A company he intends to keep small. “The original plan was to be seven people, but I think we’re going to end up being about twelve. If there’s other things we need to do, like have a big support department, then I’ll try outsourcing that.”

It must be quite daunting to expand so quickly, I suggest. “Not really,” says Carl Manneh, “when you have loads and loads of revenue. It’s not like we’re running on a tight budget. We have pretty much all the freedom in the world. We could hire even more aggressively if we wanted to, but we want to keep the team small.

Carl Manneh, CEO.

At Mojang, the work day begins with the team gathering around their large pinboard, on which all their current tasks are tacked. Everyone takes it in turn to say what they did yesterday, and what they’re planning to do today. Holding the meeting in English so I could join in, there was talk of peculiar coding corrections, intentions for constructions they would be making in Minecraft that afternoon, and quite how late the currently absent artist, Markus “Jnkboy” Toivonen, had worked the previous night. (They don’t work with deadlines, I’m told, apart from when they do.)

The meeting is a time when they can question each other about ideas, and seemingly be surprised by the initiatives their colleagues have completed. And then they get on with it, unhindered.

And to do this, they say, it’s important to keep the size of the company small. “If your company gets too big then you get the mean of every opinion. The middle of it,” says Persson, looking around the room. “If you have 1,000 people it’s going to be very bland.” You can’t gather 1,000 people around a pinboard.

Jakob adds, “We want to work in a tight team where everybody knows each other. I worked at companies where we’d start out being fifteen people or so and it’s really tight. But over the course of a couple of years you’re one hundred people, and you don’t know each other any more.”

It’s part of realising Persson’s philosophy for the company.

“What I want to do is work in a company that develops new IP. We shouldn’t focus on what other people have done. When a gamer plays a game they wonder, ‘why can’t I pick up that rock?’ What we should do is make those kind of games. All the tiny things that almost unconsciously annoy us in games, we should try to avoid doing those things.” Let us open all the doors. “Yes, if it’s a door, it should be openable.”

The idiosyncrasies of gaming seem to fascinate the team. I mention how it makes me laugh that sometimes a killed pig doesn’t drop a pork steak, joking that it’s like in World Of Warcraft when a wolf apparently dies without keeping any of its fur. Persson laughs, and describes it as one of his expectations in games. “Random loot is something you can get really obsessed about. It’s annoying when you don’t get something for a long time, but it’s very annoying when you get lots of it.”

Jakob Porser

The morning passes with people focused at their desks, occasionally interrupted by calls to gather to see the latest YouTube video of something to do with Minecraft. “One of the coolest things about Minecraft is how often we all end up gathered around a monitor to watch something someone has made,” says Carl Manneh. The atmosphere in the office is light, but it’s clear these are focused people. However, Friday is a more relaxed day, with the afternoons dedicated to gaming – a tradition that goes back to previous companies they’ve worked for.

Another tradition comes first, however: kebabs for lunch. We headed to a nearby favourite, and settled down with ludicrously piled plates.

When meeting Persson, it’s impossible not to tell him your Minecraft stories. He’s enthusiastic to hear them, and has anecdotes of his own. We exchange techniques for surviving drops from the top of giant dirt marker towers near our bases, and compare who is the more finicky about clearing out caves.

One of the joys of Minecraft is quite how adaptable it is to play. Some see it as an exploration game. Others take on the combat. There are those who must dig, and dig, obsessively hunting out every scrap of ore. And others still construct, building elaborate projects. Persson’s an explorer.

“I like to dig out caves. I think it’s a completionist thing. I see a hole through to another cave and I have to continue on, clear every passage.” He’s able to resist digging out dirt and gravel, and as such hasn’t discovered the bug that lets you dig more quickly if you aim the shovel at the wrong angle. Don’t ever fix that bug, I beg him. “Bugs that are fun are fine,” he reassures me. “I don’t need to fix bugs that are fun.” And there’s much to the game that even he hasn’t yet mastered. There’s a corner jump that Persson’s seen people do on YouTube. It involves jumping from one block to another around a corner, and he can’t do it. “But it’s MY game!” he exclaims.

Markus Persson

At 31 Persson is already a millionaire. But it really doesn’t seem to have changed him. His delight at the financial success is that it means he’ll be able to keep making games for as long as he wants to. “I can keep doing this for the rest of my life,” he says, with evident enthusiasm. The change is very new, and is still sinking in. “It wasn’t really overnight. It was half a year. It was more, ‘I have a fairly large income, but I don’t know when it’s going to end.’” As for the upsides of having enough cash, he says, “I’m slowly starting to get used to flying business class, things like that. But it wasn’t like, ‘Oh shit, I’m rich! I’m going to buy a horse.’ I have basically the same life as before.”

It’s a life that had long contained an interest in gaming, starting when he was a child, programming at eight years old on a Commodore 128. He would enter the codes printed in magazines. “I figured out if you did something wrong, it did something else.” It was an example of his being a tinkerer. “I had this bedside clock, which I pulled apart and screwed back together. I did the same thing with the code.”

Continuing to code on Atari, and then later getting a job with a middle ware company “that never sold anything”, he eventually came to notoriety working with Rolf Jansson on Wurm Online. It’s a game he talks about very fondly. And one that got him used to working in reaction to an audience.

Because people love Minecraft so much there’s always a source of outrage whenever anything changes. I ask Persson how he filters this, how he stops himself from focusing on the negativity. “I’ve started taking a mathematical approach,” he tells me. “I’ve started counting. Okay, there’s eight positives, and one negative. But it’s still difficult. And of course, when there’s a lot of negative comments then it means we did something wrong.”

I ask if they’ve gone back on anything in response to this? Markus tells me about the Creepers, how they used to explode every time they died. “People said it wasn’t fun.” And those seem to be the words to get to the very centre of Mojang’s development, to make them take notice. “That led to the decision to have everything that effects the game negatively always happen near the player. So it’s your fault, you saw it happen, you know why there’s a big hole in your house. It’s not like you get back and find it’s all blown up. That would be no fun.” It was the feedback about the Creepers that led to that whole way of thinking, that influenced the rest of their process.

As we walked back to the offices, sliding on the inch-thick ice covering every pavement in the town, I pointed out that since I’d arrived it had been snowing heavily enough to close English airports, but from a completely clear blue sky. I expected to be told this is quite normal for Sweden, but the others gasped in surprise too. This is a country truly dedicated to snowing. It surprises me that it took so long for snow to be added to Minecraft.

Back in the office, something I was told earlier became apparent. The gaming on Friday afternoons is not a feature of an office of slackers, looking to live in some sort of 1990s MTV imagined version of what a gaming start-up would look like. (I didn’t see a single beanbag.) It’s because everyone works so hard that leisure time has to be forced on them. Despite the allotted gaming time having started, everyone was still at their machines finishing the projects they’d pledged to work on at that morning’s meeting. Beers sat beside them on the desks, but convincing themselves to stop working seemed to take more than a bit of alcohol.

With two games on the go already, they’re a busy group. Although with Minecraft due to be finished before the end of the year, it leaves room for that third game Persson had mentioned earlier. I ask him whether he’s willing to talk about it yet, expecting the usual polite declination. Mojang is not your usual developer.

“I have many games in mind,” replies Persson. Does he know which will come next? “It keeps going back and forth. I’m really annoyed with how there are no space trading simulators at the moment. And the ones there have been always kind of miss the point. They’re fun, but even Elite 2 which was a great game, wasn’t really what I wanted. I really want to make that, but that’s going to be lots of work, and be extremely nerdy, and probably won’t sell very well. But hopefully I can convince other people here that they want to do it.”

Well, there’s our headline then: “Mojang’s next game is a space trading simulator.” But he’s not done.

“And then I have this weird town simulation thing, which is basically a single character Sims. You’re just one character in the town, just living.”

I find myself wanting to brainstorm the idea with him. Yes! I want a game like that too. Persson is a man who’s constantly having ideas. Minecraft’s development process matches its author – new thoughts manifesting all the time, getting added in on the fly. As you chat you feel like you’re part of the development process, Persson considering thoughts and calculating whether they’d improve his projects.

Does he plan to make it real, or fantasy? “The setting would be a real city, but it would have the same approach as Minecraft. If it’s fun, it gets added. So it wouldn’t be a super-realistic city simulator. It would be my take on what real life is.”

We talk about The Sims, about the frantic nature of work it puts on you. How so few life simulating games have any concept of calm. “I like the idea of calm,” Persson comments. “I like focusing on what’s actually fun. Sims, well it is kind of fun when you get used to it, lots of it is doing the same thing over and over a lot. I want something which is… something more playful.”

The headline I’m writing in my head starts to get a bit more convoluted. “Notch’s next game is either a space trading sim, or a real-world calm city, experiencer.” But it gets more complicated. I ask him if there’s any more ideas in his head.

“Er… yeah. I shouldn’t probably say this because people might steal it, but what the hell. It’s like a football manager, but it’s for fantasy heroes. If you have a troll and a goblin in the same team, the troll might eat the goblin. Stuff like that.”

Again, yes. The idea came about because Markus wants to enjoy football management games, but doesn’t like football. “But I do like people going into dungeons…” He fades out, and then brings up an old game he loved, Darklands. “It was a take on Germany in the Middle Ages. When you start the game it’s random whether or not dragons exist. So you don’t know throughout the game – people keep referencing dragons, but they might or might not exist. It was how people in that time thought about the world.” Quite how this fits into a football manager style game remains a mystery.

“One tiny detail I want to do for it,” Persson continues, apparently back to the core idea, “is something like the Diablo inventory management.” Referring to the loved or loathed inventory Tetris, he emphasises that it itself was “a thing. It was a game within the game. So we could definitely have that kind of inventory for each character in your party.” And then once again the development cogs are whirring faster than I can keep up with. “Oh, but I need more healing potions! And he could carry it, but then he can’t heal that guy, because they’re probably going to be far from each other, because he’s an archer, and he’s like…” Markus and I both break into laughter. “I think there are more ideas,” he adds. “But I can’t remember them right now.”

The transparency with which they work has obviously gathered a lot of attention. Their ideas, as has just been so comprehensively demonstrated, are shared openly. It must have both helped and hindered them. “It helps,” says Persson, “because it’s part of how I wanted to develop games, inspired by 2D Boy and TaleWorlds. I am very verbose, and I’m used to talking about things. And it gets us lots of good PR, because it means people want us to succeed.”

However he’s also aware that it does mean other people can take his ideas. “I don’t mind clones,” he adds, expressing his dislike of people being prevented from making mimicking games. “You own the concept of blocks falling?! I’m really against the idea of software patents.” But if he gives all his ideas away, he says, other people could work on it before he’s able. “So it’s a strategy to not do that.” He laughs, and continues, “But now I’ve told you all the ideas anyway.”

There’s a strong tone of the desire for ideas to be free within the company. While disappointed when people use their trademarks or art work, Persson fully encourages people to steal the ideas behind Minecraft. There’s plans to release parts of the source code in the future, to encourage people to modify the game. The save and load code, for instance, will likely be released to allow others to make their own level generators. Modding support will also contain a lot of source code. But not the core, or the renderer, at this stage. But later on, once the game is no longer being developed, he can see the whole game code being released.

Something occurred to me during my time with Mojang that I’d not thought about before. Minecraft taps into something on a really primal level – it’s about the very most basic human needs. It addresses the basics of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, focusing on the need for homeostasis and shelter ahead of the subjects of most other games, that appear higher on Maslow’s pyramid. Friendship, family, respect, morality, problem solving and so on are the subjects on which most games will centre their narratives, even if they’re just about shooting soldiers in the face. But Minecraft gets at what lies underneath. Persson sees it so much more clearly. “If you base your game on reality, you don’t have to design – you can just copy.”

With his town simulator, and of course Wurm Online before Minecraft, the theme is consistent in his games. “I think it comes from the frustration with other games,” he explains. “Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I open this door?” It’s unfamiliar from how I would expect it to work.” But this seems to be something that’s been the case for twenty years now. “And they get worse,” Persson adds. “I figure it ties into how linear a game is. If a game is too linear, if you try to explore you just get frustrated.” We talk about a shared desire in driving games to drive the wrong way around the track, or off toward the crowd.

Which captures so much of the overriding philosophy of Mojang. As much as Minecraft is procedurally generated, so is their development. This open, inspired method of constant iterations seems to constantly surprising themselves. Persson explains that mob villages will likely be an expansion for Minecraft after it’s finished. But then if he realises how to do it before, then it’ll get in there.

It’s risky, exciting. But they’re also in a position of security with the remarkable cash at their disposal, new offices they’re in the process of making their own, and the opportunities to make the games they’ve always wanted to play. And Persson recognises that need for safety, both in and out of the game.

“The sense of security is really important. That’s why torches are in the game. It’s so you can feel safe.”

__________________

« | »

, , , , , , , .

62 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Every interview I read, or video I see of him makes me like Notch more. The guy barely seems aware that he’s a millionaire – he was overjoyed to shake the hands of Anthony Carboni and Tim Schaefer at GDC, and was honestly surprised when Minecraft won awards.

    The man loves to make games, and when he found out he had money, he set things up to make even more games. And yet he seems to catch a genuinely surreal level of flak. You don’t have to look far to find people calling him greedy, expoitative, a liar, or even (in one particularly weird instance of internet trolling becoming rumor and spreading like wildfire) incredibly racist.

    • McDan says:

      Muchly agree, Notch seems so nice. and I think it’s brilliant what he said about “being valve”. That’s just awesome, go Mojang!

    • Ice-Fyre says:

      Thats true, people are always saying he should fix/add this or that, as he has loads of money! Or he’s conning people when they don’t put out an update :-(

    • Urthman says:

      Imagine if every single games developer said, “I want to be Valve” and meant it.

    • oceanclub says:

      “You don’t have to look far to find people calling him greedy, expoitative, a liar, or even (in one particularly weird instance of internet trolling becoming rumor and spreading like wildfire) incredibly racist.”

      I think it’s just a measure of the popularity of Minecraft and the fact he’s a person rather than a corporation. I mean, millions of people love it; if even a fraction of percent are nuts, you’re still talking thousands of people. See also the Internet Fuckwad Theory.

      I mean, George R R Martin gets death threats because he hasn’t published the next in the “Song of Fire and Ice” series (out this July though, yay).

      P.

    • Wulf says:

      I think that oceanclub is right but also that humans are predatory scavengers – it seems to be a leftover aspect of our genetic make-up that will hopefully get phased out within a few generations. What I mean by this is that folks will look for the easiest targets, and if you seem weak, or nice, or ethical, then you’ll have these scavs essentially sizing you up as their next feel-good meal, putting someone down so that they can feel better. It’s abstract predation, and it’s an ugly element of our race, but undeniably there.

      Notch seems nice and he’s also entirely incapable of throwing a punch. On his Tumblr account it actually took some seriously nasty comments (and I mean nasty) for him to turn off commenting, and he wasn’t even a jerk about it. That’s why you have some people who’ll want to sink their teeth into him, because to them he’ll look like prey, and that’s all there is to that. And these same people you’ll have defending bigger names too who treat people like jerks, because seemingly running on baser instincts, they feel it’s wrong to annoy the ‘bigger predators.’

      So they just skirt around and look for the easy mark, someone whom they can lay into to make their own life seem less significant. Unfortunately I’ve encountered such people so often on the Internet that I could probably write a paper about them. And I actually feel kind of bad for Notch. What bothers me is that those who like him aren’t vocal enough in their support, more people should be like Dominic here to actually help offset things.

    • starclaws says:

      They call them “New Money”

  2. Jon says:

    This was so good I’ll let you off for posting an article about this article.

  3. drewski says:

    What a nice story. Go Notch!

  4. Farkeman says:

    i thought it will be something like this :
    http://meanwhileatmojang.ytmnd.com/

  5. tomeoftom says:

    Absolutely brilliant article, John.

    • Axyl says:

      agreed. One of the most enjoyable I’ve read on RPS so far.
      Kudos. :)

  6. Arvind says:

    “I don’t want to work for Valve,” he explained as we walked back to the office. “I want to be Valve.”

    That’s the right attitude to have.
    *standing ovation*

    P.S. I bet he starts a digital distribution service, where instead of buying games, you dig deep into caves and hunt for games, or craft them out of obsidian and pigs. And all those games can only be played in a computer coded in minecraft.

  7. Staggy says:

    Gotta say, Notch seems like a very likeable guy, I can’t think of anyone who has actually met the bloke having a bad word about him.

    I see a hell of a lot of parrells to Introversion here, after the unexpected success of Uplink.

    • Lambchops says:

      Let’s hope he doesn’t make their mistakes. By their own admission introversion were very close to the brink of folding up, which would have been a great shame. Obviously they didn’t have as thick a money stuffed security blanket as Mojang but they do serve as a bit of a cautionary tale for indie developers who start to expand. Fortunately they seem to have turned the corner again and Subversion looks incredibly intruiging but it would presumably nice to just experience the ups and not the downs!

  8. Aska says:

    Go on, Notch. Buy a horse.

    You know you want to.

  9. Tei says:

    Making games seems to me as very hard. So this is like a adventure. Your most precious loot will be experience.

    The friday gaming session could be interesting. First, It stop from some dude having the idea to release somethign a friday, is a horrible idea because if something is broken, then it will be broken the whole weekend. So it already make Mojang more reliable. I have seen startups do stuff like that. I know one that have “English Friday”, a day where at the end of the day, meet and talk in english.

    People say that notch is rich, but I don’t know if this is the case. Hiring people will burn trought a lot of money very fast. I suppose notch is …economically viable, but now his company is wellfunded. You don’t get rich in Europe just being very good at something, that is a USA thing. (I could be wrong).

    I say.. bravo!, not only to notch, but all indie guys. Lets hope this people continue doing original titles that expand the frontiers of gaming :D

    • skinlo says:

      What are you talking about Tei? Of course you can get rich in Europe?

      And anyway, I think Notch cares less about the money, and more about games (well, thats my impression of him). That less of an American thing though.

    • randomnine says:

      Tei: different studies use different metrics, but those I’ve seen suggest economic mobility (the likelihood of becoming rich if you’re poor, or vice versa) in at least some European countries is equal to or higher than economic mobility in the US.

  10. Gaytard Fondue says:

    Just think of all the football players. They earn millions sucking at foot-the-ball, it’s just their luck that they don’t suck as much as us regulars

  11. simonh says:

    Awesome article, but…
    Stop calling our capital a “town”! :(

    • Urael says:

      “New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town….”

      Try not to take it personally. It’s an accepted way of describing any large urban setting and isn’t derogatory. :)

    • John Walker says:

      By “town” I was really referring to the district of Stockholm we were in.

  12. terry says:

    Interesting and wonderfully engaging as always, JW. What I enjoy about Minecraft is that it is so freeform it almost defies description. A friend of mine bought it the other day after I talked about it to him, and after logging in, he punched down a few blocks, placed them in a confusing manner and was baffled as to what the object was. I couldn’t quite explain what the hook was then or now, but it seems to embody a bit of the nature of play to me, like the bizarre ritualistic games kids end up creating if you gave them a boxful of buttons and twine. It has a framework of rules, but because the game part isn’t quite nailed down, every player can approach it differently, and can take away different meanings from it, and as an experience it’s very much limited only by your own patience and ideas.
    I’m excited to see Notch considering his next games with the same experimental philosophy.

  13. Freud says:

    Nice article.

    Seems like a good idea to keep the company small for the types of games he makes/wants to make. Growing too big forces a focus on being hit driven. Which might mean “Minecraft II – Caves of the Aztecs”.

    • Torgen says:

      I’d buy that. (mind is filled with ideas implementing Aztec mythology in a MC setting.)

  14. Robert says:

    Nice interview.

    I do think I have to make Notch my hero though But it wasn’t like, ‘Oh shit, I’m rich! I’m going to buy a horse.’ I have basically the same life as before.”

    PS: I’m sad there isn’t a photo of Walker and Notch, together.

  15. Durkonkell says:

    Magnificent, John. Well done!

    If only more developers made it their mission to be valve.

    • sexyresults says:

      I reckon plenty are currently aiming that high (I know I am).

  16. Fumarole says:

    I love the fact that the workspace they’re using is apparently just tables pushed together.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, they didn’t rush out and immediately buy the fanciest stuff Ikea had. They just got some vaguely practical furniture and threw it together into a comfortable workspace. It’s like the polar opposite of John Romero’s wing of Ion Storm, and approximately a thousand times more humble.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I don’t know how they’re working on computers right next to sunny open windows, though. No monitor I’m aware of handles that situation well. Sunlight is lovely, but only when your screen is facing away from it.

  17. sonofsanta says:

    I don’t know what magical cocktail you took at midnight on New Year’s day this year John but it’s kicked off one hell of a journalistic streak. This was absolutely cracking.

    Looking at the picture of Notch though, there may be a reason why you won’t see a photo of John & Notch together… /conspiracy hat on

  18. Will Tomas says:

    John Walker: Best journalist in games journalism. Classy stuff.

  19. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Ohmygod he mentioned Darklands. If you want to talk about underrated, forgotten classics, that’d be top of my list by a mile. It’s such a great game, so far ahead of its time that nothing quite like it has yet been made.

    It’s the only game I’m aware of that had an extensive, annotated bibliography in the manual of historical sources they used in making the game.

    • Freud says:

      It also had bugs that could critically damage system files.

    • oceanclub says:

      “It also had bugs that could critically damage system files.”

      Would this be a problem nowadays, since you’d be playing it through DOSBox?

      P.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I was playing it around 1994-5 (a couple years after the initial release) and never encountered any bugs worth mentioning.

      The Quest for Glory series was also horrendously buggy, even after patches. And Daggerfall. And probably many more. They’re still, to me, massively important games that players can still enjoy and developers can learn from.

    • patricij says:

      QFG series is bloody excellent…and buggy, yeah…one bug prevented me from finishing the windows version of QFG4, because I couldn’t pick up the damn letter from the floor of my hotel room….it just jumped one pixel too far T_T

  20. Shakermaker says:

    Great article. I’d love to see more ‘fly on the wall’ reports like these. The description of the work space alone very much added to the picture of Mojang as a company. Kudos!

  21. Daniel Klein says:

    This is a brilliantly written article. I felt like I had met Notch after reading this.

    And best of luck to Mojang in all their endeavours. They sound like an awesome bunch of guys.

    • Skeez187 says:

      This. Very well written, pleasant, and informative article. RPS is great.

  22. Shagittarius says:

    Disappointing that the next project from the new studio is a lame CCG. There are plenty of great CCGs out there already.

    Bleh, what a waste of a good start. Too bad money greed chose the next project instead of inspiration.

    • Wilson says:

      That doesn’t really make sense. Just because they’ll be charging for virtual cards doesn’t mean the whole game is about making money. If that was really the best way to make money, the big studios would be churning out card games instead of shooters. It really does just sound like a game they’ve always wanted to make. I really don’t see how you can bring greed into it.

    • aerozol says:

      Too bad he’s just doing what he wants, ignoring judgmental dicks.
      Oh wait, that’s what he should do. What everybody should do…

    • John Walker says:

      What a bonkers claim!

      It’s a game idea Notch and Jakob came up with five years ago, and have always wanted to make. They created Mojang really with the intention of finally having the opportunity to make the game they’ve discussed for so long. And they’ve said in a number of interviews that they know it won’t see huge sales. So quite where your accusation comes from, I’m really not sure.

    • Shagittarius says:

      Forgive me for jumping to conclusions. It should have been sufficient for me to say that I’m quite disappointed in such a pedestrian project after something as different as Minecraft. I personally am quite let down by this.

  23. Lars Westergren says:

    Um, troll eating the goblin? Don’t they already have that in Blood Bowl?
    Great article, John.

  24. Lucas Says says:

    Excellent article. Seems like a great bunch of guys.

    As much as I probably don’t care about Scrolls (besides that it’ll probably be great and I’ll buy it two days after launch when all the servers are back up from exploding), all three of those post Minecraft ideas sound brilliant, especially the fantasy football manager. As someone who loves sports managers and hates sports, that’s the best idea I’ve heard in months.

  25. satsui says:

    Well written. Great article.

  26. Bassism says:

    John, I’m going to echo the chorus mentioning what a great read this was.

    I think Notch is going to go far with Mojang. Well, I mean, they already have, but I have no doubt that they’ll continue to release incredibly cool things ad nauseum.

    I think Notch is much like a Swedish, not-rubbish-at-writing-code, older version of myself. Space traders are almost certainly my most loved genre of game. And while most of them are great, they definitely all have some niggling things or other that I wish were better. Ultima VII is one of my favourite games of all time, because it was the first (and to be honest, in many ways the last), time that I got that feeling of being a dude in a city. I could watch the baker until he went home for the night, break into his shop, and use all of his flour making bread all night long in order to feed my well-meaning, but destitute, group of adventurers. Then the next day I could go back to the scene of the crime and convince him to hire me on as a baker! Brilliant, pointless stuff.

    I hope he does make that space game, and the city sim, and whatever other crazy things he might think up. And, I believe that he will, because he is in that incredibly rare position of being able to do quite literally whatever he wants. Even more rare is to have the desire and talent to do incredible and unique things.

    Mojang is hugely inspirational for me. It’s an unlikely success story, with millions of reasons behind it, unlikely to ever happen again. But it all happened because Notch just went out and did something he thought was cool, and which turned out to be something we’d never seen the likes of in gaming.

    I’ll be preordering everything Mojang ever releases. And I’m pretty much just as sure I’ll enjoy every single one too.

  27. MycoRunner says:

    Anyone notice the IBM model M keyboard in the first pic? Wow am I really that geeky? Time to read the article…

  28. Wulf says:

    He says he could do this for the rest of his life – and I imagine he means being totally awesome and making games that I like. Do I believe him? Well, pretty much yes. I may not be into Scrolls, but Minecraft excites me so much that I’m very eager to see what they do with Scrolls, and Mojang is a name I’ll be watching for in regards to all their future projects.

    Indeed, Q.E.D, go Notch!

  29. bagga says:

    “I’m really annoyed with how there are no space trading simulators at the moment.”

    01. DO IT
    02. GOTO 01

  30. mda says:

    ‘Oh shit, I’m rich! I’m going to buy a horse.’

    He really said horse and not house!? :)

    “I had this bedside clock, which I pulled apart and screwed back together. I did the same thing with the code.”

    I did that with all my toys as a kid too ^_^

    • adonf says:

      Well yes it makes sense. You need a very big house to own a horse and it’s rather high-maintenance. Poor people have houses, but not usually not horses

    • Springy says:

      I took that to mean a racehorse, not something to keep and go for brisk trots over farmland.

  31. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    Lovely read, cheers John (and mojang people).