Minecraft Modders Will Not Pay A Fee

By Jim Rossignol on April 26th, 2011 at 5:45 pm.


No way, no sir. That’s what was decided soon after Notch posted saying that modders would be required to pay a small fee to register and download the Minecraft source code in order to make mods. The internet disagreed about whether that was going to happen, and so it did not happen.

Other details explain that the mods must not be malicious, or make money, and that Mojang retain the right implement them into Minecraft as they see fit, so as to avoid situations in which the team are forced to copy popular mods, because a mod does something their game does not.

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147 Comments »

  1. Urael says:

    Oh come on, Notch, show some backbone. Time to stop pandering to the wishes of the Great Connected.

    • Starayo says:

      He definitely should have stuck to his guns. A small fee – even if just $5 or so – is easily justifiable for access to non-obfuscated source code. If anyone can get in, it lowers the bar for quality radically. I can’t see the system working. What’s to stop malicious mod writers from simply using multiple accounts?

      Google charges $25 to be able to list apps on the android market, even free ones.

    • Phydaux says:

      I agree, a small fee separates the wheat from the chaff.

    • Unaco says:

      Totally. This is why I’m expecting, nay, demanding, Bethesda, with Skyrim, start to charge a fee for the Construction Set.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      With word of mouth recommendations and the ratings on hosting websites have you guys really had a great deal of difficulty finding good mods to play on games with free dev kits?

    • Dominic White says:

      @Unaco – If Bethesda offered the full source-code for Fallout 3/Oblivion for $5/$10, it’d sell like hotcakes. Mod tools are one thing, but base level access to the game code? That’s on a whole different level. So much stuff in Oblivion and Fallout is hardcoded, and source access would let them change *anything*.

      The people complaining about this idea don’t seem to understand the difference between a mod SDK and actual source.

    • CMaster says:

      @Dominic
      There are a whole big pile of reasons however to prefer an API over the source code solution being offered here, especially given the nature of Minecraft, it’s mods and the way it is played compared to a more story-driven SP game.

    • Tei says:

      Paying for a certificate serve no purpose. Is a good thing that has ben retired.

      Here is my youtube channel, I hope to be able to make some fun mods and put there as soon is possible :D
      http://www.youtube.com/user/teiman

    • radomaj says:

      Yeah, because the iOS App Store isn’t filled with fart apps, no sir. /sarcasm

    • Tei says:

      @radomaj I am not a clever person, so I don’t understand double negatives. I have run a search on my iPad, and I have found this fart related apps: Fun Sounds Free, Bluetooth Fart, Fart Shaker Deluxe, Fart Studio, FREE Sound Effects!, Fun Sounds Ultimate, Fart Sounds, Maquina de PEdo Extremo, Glow Fart Button, Fart For Free, Fart Machine! Lite and OFFENSIVE SOUNDS!

      I don’t know what was you point, but theres not shortage of fart aps for the iOS devices.

      You pay $99 to have a app in the Apple store. But apps are products for sale, mods are supposed to be free. Is a different thing. I am not tryiing to make a GREAT point here, just pointing the obvious. If the obvious need more pointing, I could help way more.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Tei

      If my sarcasm detector’s not broken, what radomaj meant is that fee doesn’t mean that there’ll be quality, as iOS store’s various fart apps prove.

    • rivalin says:

      @Tei

      Either you are a deadpan comedy genius or an alien that recently arrived on Earth, or possibly just a mad man. I haven’t decided which.

      ps I miss your bird avatar

    • Conor says:

      In our hearts, we know it’s all of the above.

    • radomaj says:

      @Tei, I am on your side, I was responding to Phydaux. Kaira explained what I meant.

    • Wulf says:

      I miss tei’s prinny avatar, too.

      And in regards to this, a fee might actually prevent some good works from appearing, as I know for a fact that there are some open source projects that some fairly poor people whom also have 9-5 jobs work on. If one day they found they had to pay to work on their project, they’d just find another project.

    • belarm says:

      @Starayo: There are existing methods to separate the wheat from the chaff. Popularity and word-of-mouth have always worked the best.

      Some of you whippersnappers may be too young to remember it, but once upon a time there was this game called Quake. The developers took the radical step of releasing several of their development tools to the community, free of charge. People started messing around with the game, first just making minor fixes, elaborate cheats and funny modifications, but these ‘modifications’ grew in sophistication over time. A bit later, some weird guys made this mod called ‘Team Fortress’. You’ve maybe heard of its sequel? At the time, the idea was completely insane: a class-based, multiplayer CTF mode in an FPS? It is also noteworthy that TF was not the only CTF mod. The community decided which one it liked the best, voting by choosing which mod to run on their servers.

      All of this happened in an environment where, once you paid for the game itself, you could just do whatever the hell you wanted. The games known for their mods have always had this model, because it works. Random high school kids have made some very interesting contributions to mod communities over the years, and if their code was a little rough, well…there are always some greybeards who’ll help them clean it up. Raising the bar to entry does not work because any single criteria you use as a metric will ultimately fail to correctly model the attributes you want to select for.

      I am not suggesting Notch does not deserve the money he’s asking for – this is a pragmatic issue. This model has been tested and found to be successful for, believe it or not, fifteen years – and that’s just how long we’ve had developer support for modding. People started modifying video games roughly 23 seconds after the first Odyssey was sold. Erecting barriers to the process will just make people more inclined to work on some other game.

  2. DainIronfoot says:

    Perhaps I’m daft, but aren’t there already loads of minecraft mods? Not just different texture sets but things like planes, airships, creatures and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. What exactly are they intending to change about the way these work? Ingame loader or something?

    • pakoito says:

      Open API, sourcecode release and ingame loader. Pretty much everything so you don’t have to fight minecraft.jar to get any two different mods working.

    • Mistabashi says:

      Actually as far as I’m aware this indicated that Mojang won’t be doing any sort of API or mod loader, simply making the full unobfuscated source code available to modders so they can do whatever they want without the restrictions of a mod API and keep it up-to-date as the game is updated.

      Seems like a massive can of worms to me, but it’ll be interesting to see how it works out…

    • d32 says:

      This means (among other things) that all mod’s won’t get broken with every new minecraft release.

    • jamesgecko says:

      @Mistabashi: Wait, a source release? If that’s so, it’s not just a massive can of worms for Mojang, either. Not having a standard modding API to enforce a clean separation between the game and the mod is going to mean that there will be *all sorts* of conflicts between mods which might not exist otherwise. It’ll also mean that mods will have a decent chance of breaking every time there’s a major Minecraft release, almost exactly like what happens now.

      We’d essentially have all the same problems we have with mods right now, except that it’ll be easier for people to make them.

  3. zeekthegeek says:

    He would have had to go full retard to charge for mods, what with his decision to probably NOT do a mod API now.

    • pakoito says:

      He didn’t want to charge for mods, but for mod development. Read the thread.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, the entire point was that he’d charge a small fee to give people full access to the source-code, which is far deeper than a basic modding API, and would let them completely rebuild the game to spec, just so long as they didn’t run off and make their own game based on it. It would tie them into a license.

      It made sense. The internet being stupid and angry, however, killed the idea very quickly.

    • Urael says:

      I think he did want to charge for mods, you know:

      “We want to buy and/or license good mods and/or total conversions and sell them ourselves

      http://notch.tumblr.com/post/4955141617/the-plan-for-mods

    • Nalano says:

      Sounds like a dev quite understandably trying to cash in on his popularity meeting with full impact the internet’s ingrained hatred of paying for anything.

    • CMaster says:

      @Urael
      That part of the plan won’t change.
      Honestly – I’ve been musing on the possibility of a monetizeable Minecraft mod personally. However, such a process would be at both the modders and the MC team’s discretion – the default state for mods would remain free. The fee that was being suggested was a fee for modders to A) access the source code and B)distribute certificated mod.

    • Nalano says:

      I, for one, would be first in line to whoever makes a TC Dwarf Fortress in native 3D. And I will personally hand a wad of cash to the man who does this as well as Tam Adams and Markus Persson.

      And I think so would all of you.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I’d be disappointed if he did do a EA/Valve and have DLC and a hat shop. At least I’d (maybe) get any planned DLC for free as I purchased during alpha.

    • GraveyardJimmy says:

      If he decides mods are not the same as expansions (if he does charge for them) and that alpha supporters get charged, that will be a pretty rubbish move.

    • CMaster says:

      @Graveyard
      Buying in Alpha entitles you to all updates to Minecraft, Notch stating this includes expansions he puts out and would otherwise charge for, which is good and means no misunderstandings.
      I don’t however see how paying Mojang entitles you to other people’s (modders’) work for free if they are trying to make money out of it…

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I think mods being paid for kinda defeats the point of mods. Sure If someone makes an exceedly good mod I’ll donate a bit of cash if they have a paypal link. But paying for mods is a bit weird.

    • CMaster says:

      @bitcrusherrr
      Why?
      Mods are just DLC/Expansions developed by people who aren’t the original developers, when you get down to it. Don’t get me wrong, most mods are better off left free. But when you’re talking about a game that was only developed by one person when most people bought it, developing something of the same standard as a mod is quite feasible – and surely “deserving” of the same compensation?

    • rivalin says:

      @CMaster

      DLC is just mods that people charge money for

      See his point now?

      What people used to get for free now costs money. The internet has just been clever enough not to start paying for something they didn’t used to have to, seems pretty logical to me.

    • CMaster says:

      “What people used to get for free now costs money. ”

      Oh for fucks sake, not this bullshit again.
      Yes, some developers used to put out some extra content for free. I fondly remember say, the old Unreal Tournament bonus packs. But those few companies who were into it still do.

      Much more common however was for either games to be left as they were when the box shipped, even if that included features that just plain didn’t work, or content made inaccessible due to bugs, or often selling a pretty half-arsed expansion pack for £20. Seriously this whole “DLC is just stuff we used to get for free” is well, stupid nostalgia, which paints all old game devs with the brush of just a few of the best (who could afford to due to very successful games). Also, find me examples of free singleplayer content that was just being given away a few years ago comparable to the DLC for Fallout 3 or Borderlands.

    • Wulf says:

      Not to mention that some mods are so amazingly good that they’re generally not sold for a high enough price, or recognised enough.

      The Ball, for example.

      Just because something is a mod, that doesn’t make it automatically cheap & nasty.

  4. Djdclarke says:

    He basically said in no fewer words “We don’t really appicate you making our game work” – The end of the day SMP would not be half of what it is without mods – he really should be paying them, not vise versa.

    • Dominic White says:

      “We don’t really appicate you making our game work”

      No, he didn’t. That’s what the bugfuck insane Minecraft community thinks he said, but he has never said anything of the sort. The Counter-Strike playerbase is less hostile than the Minecraft scene now.

      I love the game, but dear god, 90% of forum posts about the game are about how terrible Notch is, how greedy he his, how much he hates the game, how he hates mods, etc etc.

    • Urael says:

      That’s a rather harsh interpretation of it, man. I think all he was saying was “We’d like to be able to protect our investment while still enabling modders to do the crazy things they do with our game”.

      @Dominick: I agree. Half of these people should be taken out and sterilised. Or at least have boxing gloves surgically welded over their hands so they can’t spew more bilge onto the forums.

    • Flobulon says:

      People just don’t appicate the amount of work Notch puts into Minecraft; he’s just one guy, and I can imagine it being difficult for him to keep motivated when there’s a hundred other people ‘fixing’ his game.

      Give the man some appication, people.

    • Alaric says:

      What Mr. White said.

      The larger the community, the more imbeciles it has.
      The more imbeciles there are, the louder they get.
      The louder they get, the less reason there is to join a community.
      (And once they reach critical mass, the less reason there is to play the game [if the developers cave in to their demands.])

    • briktal says:

      It was more of a “Thank you for making our game work, that’ll be $5.”

    • Wulf says:

      I’m with Mr. Diamond White on this.

      He’s expressed admiration for modders and mods many times, the only thing that bothers him I think is that without having total control over the usage of mods, that if one of those mods happens to have malicious content, he’d get blamed for it. So this is likely why he wanted to have more control over it. He’s not a big company with a team of highly trained lawyers, after all, he probably hasn’t even thought about a legal department, so if something really bad came of mods, it could really cost him a lot if someone decided to be stupid and petty.

      And if people think that he’s not put enough work into Minecraft, well… all I can say to that is go and code your own bloody game. Seriously, do it. Right now. Go. Shut up, just go and do it. Off you go. See you in a few years. I’m familiar with coding migraines and working on projects as the sole coder, it’s painful, and it’s damaged me to the point where I just can’t face being the sole coder on a project any more. It’s harder than most people realise.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I’m with briktal. In addition, I think it’s a bit silly to pay for access to source code when “You can’t sell your mods or make money off them unless you’ve got a separate license deal with [Mojang]“.

      This wasn’t ill-intentioned, but it was ill-thought out, and I’m glad they changed their mind.

      If people want to release certified mods, that should be a separate service, not a requirement for access to source.

      EDIT: Good lord! Dominic, Urael, Alaric, and Wulf, you guys are completely off the deep end today.

    • Wulf says:

      @Consumatopia

      It might be the difference between those who’ve worked to make things and those who have not, especially in the field of coding which is filled with lots of FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU, more than you may ever realise. And the more crazily emergent game you make, the more coding nightmares you add in just with the possibilities. To wit, it’s actually far easier to program a scripted single player game than it is a sandbox, and I know this from experience.

      This is why I sympathised for Notch when he started losing it and going crazy at the complexity of his own code, to the point where it almost destroyed him. He simply didn’t realise fully what he was getting himself into, not even after Wurm, he didn’t realise how much work this would be for him alone. And the attitude of people has been “YOU STILL HAVEN’T GIVEN US ENOUGH GAME FOR OUR MONEY, NOTCH!” So yeah, I’m going to fight that attitude whenever I see it, because it’s clear that, as I said, some people haven’t ever tried coding that kind of thing.

      Seriously, if you value your brain and don’t want it damaged, never try coding something as emergent as a sandbox. But at least have some sympathy for those that do. Coding is a horrible, terrible thing.

    • phuzz says:

      Lets face it, at this point Notch could fix the bugs, call the game finished, and refuse to touch it any more and he’d be pretty much within his rights.
      And I for one would like to see the amount of BWAHHH in the Minecraft forums that day :)

      It’s a game for fucks sake people.

  5. BigKowalski says:

    Or you could just keep illegally decompiling the already-easily available source. This is straight bullshit it’s not like Notch is providing an SDK to help modders or really, anything at all (except an easily obtainable source). I hope this doesn’t lead to lame DRM bullshit.

    Although an in game mod loader/unload-er would be nice.

    • Dominic White says:

      I love how not just giving the internet the source code up-front, bending over and screaming ‘TAKE ME NOW!’ is being unreasonable.

      Welcome to the logic of the Minecraft community…

    • Flobulon says:

      Unobfuscated code.

      Also, mods that don’t break every patch.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      But he IS providing the game, and would have been providing the source code.

    • Alaric says:

      Yea, how dare he not provide us with the source code, which could otherwise be easily stolen.

      He should also mail us all a free copy of the key to his house, which could otherwise be easily broken into.

      Oh how evil he is for not doing so! Oh no!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Alaric, your hyperbole is so thick I can’t even tell whose side you’re on.

    • Alaric says:

      I’m on the side of the developer of course.

      The day I find myself siding with a bunch of pricks noted for nothing else other than their hypertrophied sense of entitlement, will be the day I kill myself for being a worthless, pathetic, contemptible knave.

    • Stupoider says:

      How very emotive, Alaric. What say you; death to consumerism? The only good customer is a dead customer?

    • Alaric says:

      A paying customer is entitled to what he paid for, not to whatever he can think of demanding.

      Did those who paid for the game get the game? Yes.

      If the developer is kind enough to provide them with something extra – great. This move on his part should be appreciated, not taken for granted. He most certainly doesn’t owe anyone any tool-sets, much less the source code. It’s a gesture of good will on his part.

    • Consumatopia says:

      If you say that you’re going to release mod tools for the game you sold, then later announce those tools will be for sale, then your earlier statements were half-truth at best. Notch may not “owe” anyone these things, but if he’s a man of his word (as he seems to be), then he’ll deliver them.

    • Wulf says:

      There’s a subtle but very important difference between tools and source code.

    • pepper says:

      Remember, tools != source code. With tools I would presume some sort of a API that can call functions from the engine and have some sort of content loading system.

      NOT the source of the whole engine. Take the UDK(Unreal Development Kit) for example, its considered a tool but does not have the full source code of then engine included, for that you would need to give epic a wad of cash. Most developers actually work this way when they provide tools to the community.

  6. DJ Phantoon says:

    Woo, look at this comment thread explode.

    And it’s his game, so he can do what he wants. Seriously. You can’t stop him from doing whatever he wishes (within whatever law applies).

    • Om says:

      Well, yes. I don’t think anyone’s disputing whether or not Minecraft is Notch’s… :s

      Of course that doesn’t stop him being a prick/saint (delete as appropriate) for his actions, or us discussing the merits of said course

    • MCM says:

      Actually, I think the point is rather the opposite: they could have stopped him, so he decided not to try.

      This whole “it’s his game” or “it’s their game” nonsense just shows how wildly warped our notion of authorship has become.

  7. TillEulenspiegel says:

    It’s a bit like Apple charging $5 for Xcode 4. It’s not that Notch was being evil and greedy, there’s just a sense of..huh? why?

    It’s unprecedented. The whole plan is kinda odd. Mods have always been an informal, hands-off thing. He wants to give modders full source code access but no stable modding API. This is a bad, bad idea that will only lead to lots of broken mods.

    • Hematite says:

      It certainly sounds poorly thought out, probably a chain of individually sensible steps have lead to a dumb plan like so:
      1. modding should be officially supported, not hacked decompiled code
      2. there should be some accountability for mods – people pay for minecraft, but malicious mods could steal their logins or put malware on their computer
      3. to be accountable modders should register with mojang (hey, we could implement a mod browser too since we’ll know about all the licensed mods!)
      4. to be accountable, the registration needs to be paid or bad people will make throwaway accounts as fast as we can squash them
      Notch: “Hey internet, we’ll have a mod store where you can get licensed mods (small fee required, modders)”
      Internet: “You Asshole! You want us to pay for the privilege of writing a game for you to sell to us! How dare you plan to get married when you haven’t even written siege engines into the indy sandbox game I bought for the price of lunch and have been enjoying for months already. You lazy bastard!”
      Notch: “Whoa, whoa. Sorry about that. I didn’t realise the community felt so strongly about this. I guess you can have access to the code for free”

      So there you have it. I think Notch is really hung up on his sense of duty to all the people who bought the alpha and keeps letting the loudmouths in the community have their way as a result.

      I’m a programmer and getting my hands on the Minecraft source (legitimately) would be worth more than the price of a AAA game just for my own enjoyment – that said I’ve got a decent income and I don’t begrudge others their cheap thrills. I remember being a broke teenager well enough, and I wouldn’t want that to get in the way of keen modders.

      I already bought two accounts to support Mojang, and I’m sure they’ll be seeing some more donations/spurious purchases from me in the future.

  8. Om says:

    What concerns me is this line: “It’s possible we might have a mod marketplace for selling
    and buying mods that fans have written…”

    Now if I’m not mistaken then one of the key characteristics of a mod is the fact that its free and its creators amateur. Labour of love and all that. I do not like the idea of monetising this scene by putting mods up for sale

    • FD says:

      While that has certainly been the case in the past there is no reason it needs to stay that way. Some mods that just add a little feature or something sure you’d have a hard time charging for it but when you start talking about massive conversion mods the case becomes much less clear.

      I see nothing wrong with potentially paying for a large well made mod if there was an infrastructure available to support it.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I wish there were more mods I could pay for. Money is a great motivator to get people to finish stuff (can’t pay the bills with +rep, can you?), and so many promising mods die every month. Yes, some mods would have died anyway, and many are doomed from the start (when will people learn that remaking Stargate in Source just isn’t worth it?), but more than a few die because the creator(s) need to eat at some point and free mods do not pay the bills.

      Proof of point: MINECRAFT ITSELF. Minecraft is still technically not released yet. Would Notch have spent nearly as much time on it if it didn’t pay the bills while he was working on it? Of course not.

      “But MadTinkerer! Minecraft is not a mod!”

      Forgetting about Infiniminer already, huh?*

      “Oh.”

      Exactly.

      “But that’s just one isolated case!”

      Day of Defeat. Team Fortress. Counter-Strike. Dawn of the Ancients. Half Life (IS A QUAKE MOD). Starcraft started development in the Warcraft 2 engine. There is a market for RPG Maker games. Peggle Nights. Actually, all expansion packs ever.

      So yeah.

      *I’m not saying Minecraft is just an Infiniminer clone, but it did start as one before it properly became the Minecraft we know today. There’s nothing wrong with that: it’s just an illustration of my point.

    • pepper says:

      @MadTInkerer,

      To be honest, Half-Life isnt a mod of Quake, yes they used the Q1 engine(albeit heavily modified) but that doesnt make it a mod. You wouldnt consider Mirros Edge a Unreal Tournament mod would you?

  9. CMaster says:

    Honestly, I think he should have stuck with the charge – the certification system IS going to take money to run. I’m kinda disaapointed to see that they’ve abandoned the idea of making an API and are just saying “go nuts with the source”. Yes, it means that mods can go further than they ever could with an API alone. But it also means avoiding conflicts and trusting that mods aren’t malicious a lot harder, as well as issues with updates…

  10. Flobulon says:

    Jim, I notice you’re not expressing any sort of opinion about this. Is this because you don’t really have a particularly strong opinion about this, or..? Objectivity scares me.

  11. ResonanceCascade says:

    Well — rightness of the community aside — if you’re a Dev and your customers are vocally opposed to something you’re thinking about doing, then listening to their feedback is probably a good way to go. Even if they’re being unfair.
    At least with something like this, anyway. There are certainly cases relating to game design choices where going with mob rule is a terrible idea.

    • cliffski says:

      except pricing. your customers always think your game should be $0.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @cliffski I take it that two tier pricing DLC experiment didn’t go so well?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Call it an “expansion pack” so people won’t realize it’s DLC.

    • Wulf says:

      @cliffski

      “your customers always think your game should be $0.”

      This is where Notch one-ups you, because despite all the slack he gets, he knows better than to generalise all the people who’ve bought Minecraft, because in doing so he’d also be admonishing myself, Dominic White, Alaric, and anyone else who respects him.

      Some customers will always think your game should be $0, and then there are some customers who’ll pay ludicrous amounts for a game, because they think it’s worth it, and those games can be indie. Look how much some people paid for the Humble Indie Bundle, and look at how much money Kickstarter projects have raked in.

      I had to point this out because I don’t think your public ‘all of my customers are my enemies’ attitude is doing your sales curve any favours. I’m not saying be dishonest, I’d never say that as I value honesty, but what I’m saying is that blanket statements about all of your customers are never a good idea.

      (And I’ve bought some of your games, too, yes. Even back before the price-cuts/sales and such.)

    • Urael says:

      C’mon, guys, let’s not let this get personal. I’m not sure what Cliffski’s done to deserve the boot here but let’s keep not drag another thread into yet another mud-slinging session, shall we?

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Well cliffski, I don’t know what your situation is, but if I released a game and the primary feedback I got was that it was worth 0 dollars, I would DEFINITELY take that information into consideration — and not by dropping the price, either. ;)

      But seriously, I know what you’re saying. I just don’t think most customers truly feel entitled to a free game, even on teh interwebz.

      Now whether or not many of said people will try to obtain the game for free anyway is a different question (they will). But feedback can still be gleaned from a high level of piracy and incorporated into a future approach, as Mojang and a few other indie devs have shown. Lemons to lemonade and such.

    • Mistabashi says:

      As someone who worked in retail for many years I can tell you absolutely that the vast majority of customers aren’t interested in paying a “fair” price for anything. Their primary interest is in themselves, naturally, so they will always want things to be cheaper. This isn’t just true of gamers, or people on the internet, it’s true of everyone, the world over. If you don’t think this is the case, I would ask you one question: “when have you ever payed more than the price you were offered for something?”
      The answer is of course never (charitable donations aside), and it’s for this reason that, as Cliffski pointed out, you can’t base your pricing on what your customers tell you they want to pay; you base it on what (from experience) they are willing to pay. This is how trade has worked for thousands of years.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      “If you don’t think this is the case, I would ask you one question: “when have you ever payed more than the price you were offered for something?”

      Who are you arguing with, exactly? It’s certainly not me, unless you’ve just decided to attribute a half dozen things I didn’t say to me.

      I didn’t ever say that people wouldn’t want a free game, I said most people don’t feel they are ENTITLED TO ONE. Do you walk down to the local car dealship and bang on the desk, demanding a free Porsche? I’d hope not, for all the years you worked in retail.

      What I DID say is that there is information to be gleaned from people who do pirate games, and that this can be adapted into a strategy. I also cracked a joke which implied that if people’s only feedback to cliffski was that his games are worthless, he should make better games. But it was just a joke. Christ.

  12. jealouspirate says:

    I think it’s a very smart move to try and tightly control addons. Games like World of Warcraft have allowed a lot of mod freedom and sometimes certain mods became so popular that they completely changed player culture in ways that Blizzard couldn’t control, and were so useful in a raiding environment that Blizzard has to design encounters around user-made mods.

    Honestly, what developer wants that kind of headache?

  13. Stupoider says:

    “Can I go back to working on the maps now?”

    Hmph.

    I still see modding as a gateway activity that can lead to a range of things concerning the gaming industry. Limiting it to the “professionals” isn’t something I’d necessarily appreciate, especially when modding has become one of the defining points about PC gaming thanks to developers like Valve and Bethesda, who don’t charge for access to create mods.

    I doubt I’d be overjoyed if either of them decided to start charging, so I sure as hell won’t support Notch if he thinks he had a shot at squeezing money out of this venture. This is unprecedented, so at least in my eyes the outrage is excused.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      That’s certainly some creative interpretation you got going on there. Doesn’t mean it’s any more valid than the standard whining the Minecraft community loves to partake in.

      I don’t even know where you got the idea that the fee “limited it to professionals”. Notch wanted a simple way to up the overall mod quality by charging for the mod tools so that that the concept of modding actually carried weight to the community. He doesn’t want to see “nude patches”, prank mods, SMP cheating tools, etc. The fee was only supposed to truly determine if the people who wanted to mod were actually serious about it, nothing more. Calling it “limited to professionals” is a completely cynical interpretation that’s not at all grounded on reality, just as much as your assessment that the purpose was to “squeeze” money from the community. There’s absolutely nothing from his blog post, interviews, and updates that should make any level-headed person believe he’s out to “squeeze money”.

  14. HardClumping says:

    dear mister im too fat to finish our flagship game

  15. mandrill says:

    What Notch should have said is this:

    “You want to Mod My game, and you want there to still be a game for you to mod and not have it completely f**ked up by assholes coding malicious mods, then you pay the fee, simple as that. You get the source and a certification system. Othewise no modding.”

    • Om says:

      And imagine the reaction if this was the policy coming from EA or Valve. Cue ‘Money for Mods’ outrage

      I have sympathy for Notch in that he’s dealing with one of the worst fanbases on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that we should automatically line up behind this policy of his

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Given Notch has drawn “inspiration” from mods and brought them into the game proper its a bit silly to assert that the existence of mods isn’t a two way street.

    • Azradesh says:

      Oh please, just how would paying prevent malicious mods?

  16. patricij says:

    It almost brings me to tears to see all the cheaptards that think they own notch’s soul and all of his belongings for 9.95/14.95 euro’s…It’s like them being some shareholders, only not…

    • CMaster says:

      @Kobzon
      It’s probably against some T&Cs somewhere. But practically or legally, pretty sure that you could.

  17. skinlo says:

    Perfectly reasonable imo. An indie title that has sold 2 million copies has stopped becoming an indie in the traditional title in my book, and has moved into professional level responsibility. If a mod comes out that ruins the game, and lots of people install it, the chances are he’ll be blamed.

  18. Kaira- says:

    Eh, I’d really prefer a stable modding api over the access to source code. Of course access to unobfuscated source code helps to work on mods when compared to decompiled code, but I predict broken mods at every update that comes. It’s a lazy way to do it, but better than what we have at the moment.

    Also, should we take bets how long it’ll take that the unobfuscated code becomes publicly available? I’d bet for ~2 hours.

  19. Xocrates says:

    This reminds me of when Introversion released the Source code for Darwinia, years after the game came out, and costing more than all their games combined.

    The community was eternally thankful since it could now mod the game to their hearts content.

    Meantime Notch announces he’s going to release the Source code for free. Internet rages.
    *facepalm*

  20. Berzee says:

    I like minecraft.

  21. Moonracer says:

    this seems like an interesting path to take dealing with modding. I look forward to seeing how it works out.

    ultimately, as with any game, any mod support is better than no support.

    • pipman3000 says:

      i heard of really interesting approach to modding where they give users modding tools free of charge. i really like sound of it and am eager to see how it develops..

  22. Eightball says:

    Everyone upset about this change can just send Notch money when they download a mod. Yanno, since they want to do that so badly.

    • CMaster says:

      That isn’t what’s changed or what was suggested.
      What was suggested was a charge to access the source code and be allocated a certificate to verify mod content was developed by you.

      The mod marketplace idea was separate, only suggested as a possibility and hasn’t been scrapped.

  23. Mario Figueiredo says:

    About all this, the only worrying thing is why didn’t Notch want to make an API. This would be the best solution and the one guaranteeing the best compatibility between patches. It would also avoid having access to the source code and all the inane discussion raised by the possibility of charging for it.

    I say its worrying because I do wonder if the current state of the code is what stopping him from implementing an API. Did he ever make a plausible comment on this? Why not an API?

    • Kaira- says:

      I had the excact same though. Of course this is better than the current situation, but I predict a lot of breaking is going to happen.

    • daphne says:

      Aye, this. I can see how people would perceive the offer of source code as an incredible gesture, but an API would have been a greater boon for the purposes of both mod development and (much more importantly, I’d say) mod maintainability. It’s not because they want to protect their valuable raw source code that many platforms offer such a service, it’s actually the preferred method for developing tertiary software. This just appears, at least on the surface, hasty. But any more and I’m certain to be criticized for my sense of entitlement by people who have a poor grasp on the concept.

    • OTD Razor says:

      I’m also worried about how this will fragment things and make security more of a PITA. A certificate approach is not going to stop malicious software being distributed since the source code will already be out there.

      I have the bad feeling that Notch is really wanting to just move on to another project and has little interest in coding an API for modding. It would do alot of good to the health of the community to simply pay someone else to write and API… he has the money, no question.

    • Mistabashi says:

      From Notch’s previous blog post:

      “One slightly bad news item is that I’m starting to get second thoughts about the modding API. People are already doing great mods, and there’s no way we’d be able to make an API good and dynamic enough to support all of the awesome things people are making. I still very much want modding to be a part of Minecraft, but I’m not convinced spending months writing an API that won’t satisfy people is the correct way to do so. There probably are better ways to do it.
      The main problems we need to solve are preventing people from making money off our work (unless they have a license deal with us), and making sure mods don’t break with each game update. People obviously already CAN make mods, so the ability to make them isn’t the biggest priority.”

      I suspect a major component in this descision was simply the amount of time it would require to implement a mod API (while the ‘community’ cries about a lack of updates), coupled with the fact that it’s a boring job and he’d rather be working on whatever new idea he’s come up with.
      I agree that releasing source code could open up a can of worms as far as security and multiplayer hacks goes – I really hope Mojang are going put a lot of thought and effort into these areas, which are currently pretty shambolic as it is.

  24. ColOfNature says:

    I bought Minecraft a while ago and I’ve more than got my money’s worth from it, and I had no intention of becoming a modder, so I’m not all that bothered about whether they charge or not. That said, though, what immediately struck me when I read Notch’s post was

    ‘Let players sign up as “mod developers”. This will cost money.’

    followed not long after by

    ‘We retain the right to use your mod idea and implement it ourselves in Minecraft.’

    Which could be read as “you can pay us for the privilege of access to our codebase, and then we’ll make more money by appropriating your improvements”, and I can see how some people might be upset by that. But obviously, this being the internet, it turned into a bit of a drama and Notch – very graciously – backed down, which I think in the long run will be a good thing for the community and for Mojang themselves – after all, they still get all those extra eyes checking and improving their code, and they get some extra goodwill from having given away something they originally wanted to charge for.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Well, they said (and still say) that they reserve the right to take your idea, which is different from taking your code or your art.

    • mwoody says:

      They sort of have to say that, whether they intend to do so or not. If they didn’t, the following would happen almost immediately:

      a) Mojang releases version 1.x
      b) 1.x has annoying bug/design feature
      c) User fixes design feature
      d) Mojang simultaneously arrives at the same fix and implements it on their own
      e) User releases his fix weeks before Mojang, because they wait to incorporate it into next major release
      f) Mojang is accused of plagiarizing a derivative work, possibly opening themselves up to legal repercussions at worst or angry fans at best

      They actually have, in the past, incorporated user mods in to fix certain bugs, but they’ve done with permission and giving credit to the original creator. I see no reason or indication that they’d change this policy, and I doubt anyone has a problem with it. The policy is a CYA measure, and a smart one.

    • edit says:

      Yeah, I think Mojang having a right to use ideas implemented by modders is essential in this case. Content is getting added to the game all the time and I’m sure Notch has more in store.. and no doubt there will be features that players want that modders will get to before Mojang gets around to them, even if they had intended to. It would suck if Mojang had to either ditch things they would otherwise have implemented or have legal conflict with modders over ideas that they had probably already considered. It’s a very wise move to be upfront about it and ensure modders understand that Mojang can still do whatever they want with Minecraft regardless of what modders do. Minecraft itself will only benefit from such a policy as the input of modders has real potential to improve the actual game.

      Based on past events (remember the hacks, supposedly in protest of a lack of updates? *cringe*) I’m sure there would be some little tard out there who would want to fight Mojang over some trivial modded feature and waste everyone’s time for a bit of attention.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I really hope this doesn’t become a problem to Notch. I don’t play Minecraft anymore, but I admire his work and would hate to see him take the shaft by some skilled and dedicated modder (and he’s got plenty of those).

      The biggest problem I see here (besides all that have been named) is the real danger of a derivative work to become more popular than Minecraft itself. With full access to the code the world is any modder’s oyster. Even knowing about all the licensing barriers, Notch may eventually find himself in a spot in which his game, his updates, and his added content are all seconded by more skilled and more dedicated modders who can eventually turn Minecraft into a “necessary evil” to get to the mod.

      The second biggest problem is that this doesn’t guarantee at all, quite on the contrary, compatibility between mods. Despite any rules, despite any design and coding guidelines in place, despite the certification issue, some modder will always want to break them to implement what they wished to be implemented. Tough luck if their mod happens to become popular. Let’s talk about bending the mod certification rules in favor of some, but not all (here comes the angst).

      The third biggest problem is indeed multiplayer. I can’t even fathom the type of problems this can bring, without Notch having any real way to actually stop cheats and hacks, other than storing in the server any possible hash combination of mods in a user system.

      On a final note though, my personal view was that after a while (and I think around sometime late last year) Notch got tired of Minecraft. Don’t jump on me! Just have been having this impression, not saying that he actually is, but that there seems to be signs he is. It was last year, around October/November that he formed the company and recruited. However, fixes to old problems still have to wait a long time, updates are still slow, and even during a beta stage there seems to be an insistence in adding content instead of fixing and pruning old content issues. Then we hear of this new game he’s starting to implement; and a radically different one at that. I do wonder if he doesn’t just wish for modders to eventually take his place and he can just guarantee his sales without so much pressure from the community…

      Also, a long time ago he once said that his plan was always to eventually release the game source code, when he got tired of doing Minecraft… hmm…

      edit: Replied to the wrong thread. Oh well, sorry about that.

    • Wilson says:

      @Mario – I don’t see why a mod becoming more successful than Minecraft would be a problem for anyone. Notch still gets his money, and users get something better than Minecraft (and Minecraft obviously isn’t bad). In fact, this is why a modding API (or something making mods easier to do) is the thing I want Notch to add most of all. I’d be happy for him to add that and then forget about the game, because modders seem likely to outproduce whatever Notch can do (and that’s regardless of whether people think he’s being lazy and could produce more if he put more effort into it). Minecraft has such vast potential, but it could be made easier to unlock by modders.

  25. Azradesh says:

    I’m kinda shocked at how mawny people think it’s ok for him to charge modders twice over. That’s not cool at all, just imagine what you’d be saying if blizzard said, “sure you can use the map editor, but only for 5 bucks”. You’d all be ready to tear their faces off.

    • CMaster says:

      Well yeah, but he isn’t talking about a charge to access tools they already have.
      He was talking about a charge to access the source code of that (if Blizz charged $5 for access to the SC2 source, people would be biting their hands off) plus a system of verification, because well, letting people do this means that a popular minecraft mod could also grant you a massive botnet.

      Honestly, the idea of taking money doesn’t thrill me, but it does help cover the support costs of running the cert system. It also makes it a lot harder for busted dirty mod developers to get straight back in the action (they could use stolen payment details, but that would flag them up as bad too). The downside is it discourages people from just trying things out and making minor improvements.

      That said, I’m with the others above saying that a proper modding API would be better in most ways to this. Guess it just looks like too much work…

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Except for that this isn’t a “map editor”, this is the distribution of the game’s source code.

    • pipman3000 says:

      yeah its more like civ4′s sdk (which was free btw)

    • Azradesh says:

      You’re right, it’s not an editor, it’s just the source code. Releasing the source costs the devs exactly zero extra effort and time, actually making an editor or mod api takes work. This would be charging for zero effort.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Releasing the source costs the devs exactly zero extra effort and time, actually making an editor or mod api takes work. This would be charging for zero effort.

      Right. It doesn’t take much work. But he would not charge for the effort. He would be charging for the privilege of accessing the source code. It’s just that you don’t give a damn about that.

    • Azradesh says:

      I know what he is charging for, I just don’t think it’s justifiable and I don’t think you’d be ok with it if anyone else were to do it. (EA, Activision, etc)

      The other reasons for it are also a complete joke, (control and prevention of malicious code) once the source is out there, it’s out there for everyone.

    • Azradesh says:

      “It doesn’t take much work.”

      Actually it doesn’t take *any* work, at all. It’s already there. It’s always been there.

  26. pipman3000 says:

    so glad i don’t play minecraft anymore

  27. pipman3000 says:

    if EA tried to do this RPS would be demanding blood and murdering their employees in the streets.

    piles of severed heads on every street corner and bloody graffiti damning their corporate souls to video game hell.

    • pipman3000 says:

      please screw me over any way you want it’s okay as long as you’re indie

    • Wulf says:

      I’m going to Sisko this.

      There. Is. A. Subtle. But. Very. Important. Difference. Between. Mod. Tools. And. Source. Code.

      If EA or anyone was offering me the source code for their games, especially game that hadn’t had Linux releases, then yes there’d be people more than willing to pay $5 for it.

      In fact, you’d probably even have people asking EA to do that, and offering to cover the administrative costs with their collected monetary offerings.

  28. Wulf says:

    So, today I’ve learned that there are people who have absolutely no clue what source code is. I’m not saying that that’s all of the detractors, but there are clearly some who don’t, especially comparing the Civ 4 SDK’s partial and restrictive source with a full source code release.

    I’ve also learned today that there are people who honestly don’t realise that there are some out there who’d give their left arm to a developer to have access to unobfuscated source. And there are some that believe that those people would actually be angry at EA for selling the source of some of their games (so that they can be released cross platform). Considering that source has been sold before, after a fashion, in the Humble Indie Bundle, it’s surprising that these people don’t realise how wrong they are.

    I say let Notch charge for it and see how well it sells, because if it sells well then there were obviously people who’d be appreciative of the chance to poke around in the guts of his game. It’s not unprecedented, after all, because the Humble Indie Bundle already set a precedent for this, long ago with the first bundle (and have done so with the Frozenbyte bundle, too).

    All in all, I feel kind of sorry for Notch, because I think that people wouldn’t hate if they actually understood the situation fully. It’s not the first time Linux users or coding geeks have had to buy access to source code, after all. No, not by a long shot.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      there are some out there who’d give their left arm to a developer to have access to unobfuscated source

      Ehhh…while it’s intellectually interesting, it’s probably not very useful. You can’t do anything with it, because you have no license. It’s lousy for writing mods, because the game’s still in development, and unlike a proper API, any of the code you hook into is likely to change at any moment. And they’re using Subversion (rather than a DVCS like Git or Mercurial), which means maintaining an interesting fork is going to be a frustrating experience.

      So while it’s better than nothing, it’s actually not a very good solution to any practical problem.

    • Wulf says:

      And yet hundreds of open source projects based upon source releases would seem to disagree with you. I mean, it’s okay to have an opinion and you’re welcome to it, but there’s a mountain of actual evidence to the contrary. Just take a look at Id’s released sources for one example to see what people have been up to with it.

      I just think that perhaps not many gamers are in touch with what source is though or what uses it would have, and thus not familiar with open source games or communities, either. All you have to do is look up the crazy things people have done with Doom and Duke Nukem to see why source code releases often result in people doing crazy things.

      You might think otherwise, but like I said, there’s a mountain of evidence to the contrary. You underestimate geek compulsions.

      (The reason I mention Id is because it’s similar to Minecraft, the sources were just unceremoniously dumped on people, as I recall, same with Duke Nukem. No repositories or anything of the like when those sources were released, and yet people went on to do awesome things with them. The only point of contention is the license, but Notch hasn’t said that people can’t mod as they like, yet, has he?)

  29. aerozol says:

    Edit: Hey, he has done this, with the ‘Certificate’ serious devs can buy. Good work, Notch.
    Hope people don’t steal off with your code.

  30. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Whoa. Sometimes the Minecraft community astounds me. Also a reason I tend to visit the official forums as little as possible for reasons of engaging in discourse.

    I mean, it’s the source code we’re talking about. Not something you’ll see developers (especially when still working on/making profit from a game) release all too often. Personally I hope Notch’s decision won’t come to haunt us via hidden viruses and the like.

  31. MajorManiac says:

    I do hope Mojang offer a licence to make comercial games from their source code. With a licence payment of course.

    As I would be happy to pay a couple of grand to make a comcerial game on their engine.

  32. TillEulenspiegel says:

    No no no. There are two VERY DIFFERENT THINGS here. One is open source, as defined by a license like GPL, BSD, MIT, Apache, etc. The other is…let’s call it “viewable” source.

    In Minecraft’s case, we’re very much talking about the latter. Microsoft offers similar source code viewing rights in certain academic agreements. Again, you can’t actually do anything with the source, legally. You cannot create something based on it.

  33. wererogue says:

    “Mojang retain the right implement them into Minecraft as they see fit, so as to avoid situations in which the team are forced to copy popular mods, because a mod does something their game does not”

    I don’t think that’s quite accurate – his post was more about mods which duplicate planned features, not stealing ideas.

    Maybe I’m a little optimistic, but I read the post as meaning that if people make original mods that fit with the game, Mojang may license their mod and fold it into the game.

  34. shableep says:

    Couldn’t modders use the source code to create a Mod API and Mod Loader? Sort of like how Bukkit is for server side stuff.