Notch No Longer Minecraft Lead Designer

By Adam Smith on December 2nd, 2011 at 3:14 pm.

The materials with which Notch may well fashion his next project

How do you take a break from a project that seems like it will never be finished? It’s a tough question that we newshounds ask ourselves every day and it appears Notch has been having similar thoughts. Now that Minecraft has been officially released, its creator is taking a step back, leaving co-developer Jens Bergensten to take the reins. As for Notch, he’ll be resting, helping out with Minecraft and starting work on a new project. Released or not, Minecraft isn’t finished, so read on for a quick look at the current state of play and then read further to find out about the loveliest Minecraft story I’ve seen all year.

I’d always imagined that NPCs would be one of the things that Mojang focused on before release, since there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for their inclusion, both internally and from players. It’s also a feature that could change the feel of the game quite dramatically and it will be one of the areas to receive attention sooner rather than later according to Notch.

…we started working on the villagers and that didn’t really finish in time, so we’ve got to keep working on that, and we have lots of surrounding features for that.

There should also be better support for mods in the future, which makes sense given the strong community that has built up around the game. However, despite the Vegas launch, Notch seems to recognise that Minecraft remains as much an ongoing project as it ever was.

There [is] so much we could add. We’re going to keep working for as long as people keep buying, really.

We won’t resort to phone tapping to find out what Notch’s next project might be but I have already volunteered to root through bins and pursue him in high speed car chases because that is proper investigative journalism.

Now onto the best applications of Minecraft I’ve seen for a while, with thanks to IndieGameMagazine for making me aware of them. These are not giant computers, architectural majesty or fictional spaceships built with the world’s blocks, but examples of the game being used to promote teamwork and learning in schools.

"But I thought computer games were invented to cause children to kill one another" the chicken mused aloud.

SpaceChem has been at it already and, as then, I’m happy to see the creative potential of another interactive playspace being recognised. There are two groups working to promote the use of Minecraft as a tool for learning, MinecraftEdu and Massively Minecraft. That’s all well and good, but the best way to understand how all of this works is to read a blog with a teacher’s experiences on it.

Here is such a thing! It isn’t long and I find it genuinely cheering, filled as it is with quotes like this:

Suddenly, the library was filled with their voices asking each other for help, shouting out their discoveries (“I can swim!”), getting themselves into danger and figuring a way out.

There’s no in-game tutorial or training zone in Minecraft (yet) but my students (and I suspect many others) didn’t need one. Being the gamers and digital citizens they are, they came pre-loaded with the literacies needed to navigate this virtual space (wasd keys for moving, spacebar for jumping, etc.) And while they might not have shared in game (yet), they shared their knowledge out of game. They taught each other how to dig, swim, open your inventory and much more.

The man who wrote this and encouraged those kids to think, learn and tell stories together? He is a good teacher. You can hear him talking with other educators about using games in the classroom on this podcast. Interesting stuff that I’d very much like to hear more of.

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98 Comments »

  1. Blackcompany says:

    Imagine a world where children once more are allowed to learn by doing, as opposed to just listening to lectures about doing. Where they get hands on and practice critical thought, coordination and teamwork in an open and positive environment. Now that is a school worth sending your children to.

    • sinister agent says:

      “Will this be on the exam?”

      “No. BURN IT.”

    • InternetBatman says:

      I went to one of those schools. I hated it. Give me math and sentence diagramming any day.

    • sinister agent says:

      Nearly all the best lessons I learned in a classroom were from a cover teacher who said that yet more exam practice could fuck off, and instead nicked a VCR so we could watch Cool Hand Luke.

      He was brilliant. I remember and live by more things that we talked about than what I do from almost every other teacher and class combined. Although seeing as the latter was comprised almost entirely of five years of constant exams and practice papers, that’s perhaps not as impressive as it sounds.

      I’d say “we should have played games”, but it would be pretty pointless as there was precisely one IT teacher for 2,000 students, and she was utterly insane. I’m not sure if my school ever had a single PC. Whine.

    • gwathdring says:

      I think it’s equally important to learn by doing and by listening. Both teach you different kinds of skills more efficiently–and then there’s the mess of personal learning styles that complicates this discussion immeasurably. The measure of a good school (or a good teacher) is not how interactive it is or how many innovative new techniques it uses, but simply how well it engages children with the material and how well the children learn. I whole-heartedly agree that the Test Them A Lot, Then Teach Them To Take Tests method fails on both levels more often than not. But I also think we should be careful. A lot of text-book writers have written early math curricula that involve solving a handful of difficult problems intuitively rather than lots of rote practice … and so far psychological researchers aren’t seeing improved learning as a result.

      Sometimes the “boring” way really works better. It varies from subject to subject and student to student of course. But just because we enjoy the mechanics of the lesson doesn’t mean our brain adapts the information better. Now, when we are enjoying *something* our brain is going to adapt information better. There’s a lot of research behind positive psychology and such. So engaging your students is completely necessary. But that’s not the same as teaching each individual subject with the most engaging, hands-on mechanic–you can also throw in engagement around the rote practice in other ways as well as encourage a more positive attitude towards the “boring” bits.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      How do you “learn by doing” quantum physics?

      Some things are great for learn by doing, others have years of elaborate concepts backing them up before you can even see the first rung on the ladder.

      Computers are still massively unintuitive, with stuff like shift or ctrl key-combos, or right-clicking, but the subject is ranked along side maths and native language in importance. Don’t even get me started on how you’re supposed to know that some “touch” interfaces actually react based on the number of fingers you’re swiping with. This is from university degree, and from working with primary children.

    • Apples says:

      It doesn’t really seem to me like they’re learning anything from Minecraft, though, except how to play it and probably some social skills. It’s just there as an impetus for the actual learning/teaching about creative writing, and to work up some enthusiasm for it. Call me boring and old-fashioned but I think formal, sit-down-be-quiet-and-listen learning is very necessary in schools. Yes it can be jazzed up with computer games and activities, but in the end you still eventually need to just get down to it and study. Learning how to do individual work and overcome boredom/lack of motivation are important skills too.

      I’m definitely not trying to say there’s anything wrong with using games or other activities in the way that teacher does, but I don’t think it’s inherently more useful, more educational, or more universally good for all children than traditional learning.

      • spikeman168 says:

        you can learn stuff from minecraft like me i learned about differen’t ores where charcoal comes from and pickaxes but the wood pickaxe doesn’t exist probably or the stone one. the point is i have learned more then social skills from it and learned even more from tekkit/tekkit lite

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      @Hoaxfish: Yes of course, because we’re speaking of giving Minecraft to university students, right?

    • MrBear says:

      I’m trying to imagine it and… such a world never existed. There needs to be guidance and at times children need to be taught what to think. The whole “I’ll teach you how to think” doesn’t work. Look at the school systems these days. Children are taught exactly that (with a varying dose of what they must think within politically correct limitations) and the result?

      Kids are getting dumber and dumber. That’s the result. In my country youths coming out of school can’t even do basic math or use our language properly. I know several small business owners who’d love to take up apprentices to learn a trade, but they can’t find anyone, cause all candidates are dumb and lazy.

      They don’t need to learn critical thought in school, that’s now what school’s there for. That’s the parents’ job (oh no, demanding parents to parent, how dare I!) The school has to teach them how 1+1=2 and similar.

      Wait till you get into university, study something worthless (like psychology, international development or philosophy) and then come out there and realize “oh, I know how to think but I know nothing of actual value that would feed me.” Whoops! This is what we currently experience. Too many people with too many worthless degrees coming out of college and then whining they can’t find jobs. Well, it’s not my fault some people are dumb enough to study worthless crap like psychology over something useful like medicine or engineering (they probably wouldn’t make the cut anyway, since those require sitting down and learning what to think and that is, apparently, evil.)

    • rockman29 says:

      I know it sounds romantically amazing for people to ‘learn by doing’ instead of just going to didactic lectures or whatever, but you can’t master law or history or engineering or medicine simply by doing. That would take forever, and not everyone is even good at learning like that.

      Sometimes, you have to just stand on the shoulders of those giants before you. If the professors suddenly told us to ‘do’ Immunology or ‘invent Calculus again!’ on your own and without any guidance, I would just respond with ‘What the ***k?’

      Learning is done in so many different ways and needs to be uniquely shaped for the trade being learned. Active learning doesn’t have to constitute exclusively of investigation by the learner anyway. There are many ways to actively learn passive material.

      I think very active learning is best at a young age though. Even throughout high school. Even often beyond high school. That type of self-learning skill is attained over a lifetime. The classroom should facilitate whatever learning is required or best fits the subject matter.

      I haven’t even read the article yet, so I have no idea why we are talking about this, but anywho, my two cents :-)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      @FriendlyFire
      Yes, I know that was a bit “far forward”.

      But that’s why I also mentioned primary children (3 to 11)… A lot of their stuff, especially in the nursery years, is very learn-by-doing. Basically structured play, with clay, or sand, or lego. However, stuff like letter shapes, spelling (e.g. the sound each letter makes by itself), basic maths is not “learnable” because there is no “baser” level, there is no point “earlier” from which to extend their learning through experimentation. If it was, there wouldn’t be stuff like Amazonian tribes who can only count “1, 2, some”.

      Learn by doing does not work when the subject itself is non-intuitive or based on “standardising” (the “correct” way to spell, the 26~ letters of the alphabet, etc). Standing on the shoulders of giants, does not mean everyone has to climb up their own personal giant.

      While it would be nice to prove everything through experiment, or discussion, etc… it would drastically slow the progress of most children. Obviously bad teaching methods can be as destructive, as can over-testing, but there is a basic point that education has itself evolved to the current structured learning that it is today.

      A good education would hopefully lead the child to question their own taught understanding later in life, where learn by doing/experimentation can really count, rather than to throw them in at the deep end during their early life.

    • Josh W says:

      However, stuff like letter shapes, spelling (e.g. the sound each letter makes by itself), basic maths is not “learnable” because there is no “baser” level, there is no point “earlier” from which to extend their learning through experimentation.

      I bet that’s not true; the alphabet and spelling is pretty arbitrary, but maths is a different story.

      You can start with “enough”, for example square buckets of different sizes filled with cubes, which gives you the concept of “less than or equal to”, then you can have games based on moving things from one bucket to another, pouring them out into trays, or other ways to get children to pay attention to the different ways to have “enough”.

      That can build into multiplication and addition, and from there, you can build out the natural numbers.

      That’s just a sketch, but so long as you set up environments to make discrete quantities matter, and show off the way they interrelate, there is the grounds there to build up mathematical intuition. From there it’s just about learning the appropriate ways to say stuff, which children will often do when trying to communicate, just let them know there’s names for all this stuff, and children will be quite happy to go “What’s it called when you have two buckets and another two buckets all together?”.

      Synthetic phonics and so on were an attempt to give writing the same intuitive basis, but that wasn’t really accompanied by creating situations where the correct descriptions mattered outside of teacher interaction. It would be pretty cool if people could make toy systems, on computer or otherwise, that make writing the correct words significant, and so something people can learn by experimentation.

      Also, not exactly about learning by doing but I came across some people doing a documentary about unusual ways to educate kids.

  2. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    Maybe this is a good thing for Minecraft. I haven’t really been happy with the direction that its development took after 1.7.3.And Jeb really knows what he’s doing. While I don’t expect him to take the game in a radical new direction, I think this’ll have a positive effect.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Yea, I really look forward to seeing what Jeb is going to do in terms of completing all those half-arsed parts of Minecraft. I don’t think I have any faith that Notch would do anything of the sort.

      As to wiki/learning, I think it’s quite hard to easily do, especially when there’s no real framework within the game for teaching the player. The game immediately requires you to know that coal is needed for light at night, and night can hit before you even find any. The best I can think of is some sort of inventory item/UI book that gives you the basics (automatically placed in the inventory of a new character)… and maybe crafting recipe books that randomly drop (you could craft without one, but they’d tell you the actual recipe if you hadn’t managed to work it out before).

    • ryryryan says:

      @hoax

      How about just copy terraria, and once the NPC’s get going, get a guide NPC who can teach you stuff. If he had his own little place near spawn or something that would be great.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Minecraft’s design process always seemed more iterative than top driven or goal oriented. I think Notch is more of a distractable and compulsive fiddler than a goal-oriented leader anyways. He would put something in, watch the community play with it, make adjustments, and then put something else in.

    • iucounu says:

      I think more goal-oriented leadership is just what Minecraft needs. Perhaps a squad of dudes with the word ‘Follow’ over their heads, and you have to run around behind them waiting for them to do stuff.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The goal-oriented refers to the design process, not the game itself. You can implement goals in a game without structure and you can have a lack of goals in a structured game.

    • iucounu says:

      @InternetBatman, I know, I was just half-arsedly cracking a joke. Although one could maybe argue that the rambling hobby-ish design process is part of the game’s charm; I don’t play or know much about Minecraft but I do feel that way about Dwarf Fortress.

  4. TODD says:

    Maybe Minecraft will become a good game now.

    But probably not.

  5. Njordsk says:

    I clicked on minecraft.exe yesterday, generated a new world, then tought. And tought again.

    I scrapped a few blocked. Tought again. And closed the game.

    i just don’t have the imagination for that one :(

  6. Mad Hamish says:

    I’m suprised he stuck at it as long as he did. Fair play to him, I would have burned out long before. It must be a relief for him to start something new.

    • The Tupper says:

      Yeah good luck to the guy. It’ll have been a pretty amazing couple of years, but anyone would need to de-compress after what he’s experienced.

  7. Wetworks says:

    I give Minecraft a 10/10 as a building simulator and a 5/10 as a game. You can tell Notch wanted to make Minecraft more rpg’ish with a leveling system, enchanting, better combat, dungeons but the fact of the matter is that the end result is not a very good rpg. The NPC cities are bad, the leveling system isn’t even fully implemented, combat is bad, dungeons are bad.

    I’m not going to cut Notch any slack either since he’s made over $60 million in 2 years and had the opportunity to take as much time as he needed to create the exact game he wanted. The end result is that the single player “game” portion of Minecraft is not very good.

    In fact a new player whose never even heard of Minecraft would not even be able to play the game without consulting dozens of Youtube videos and wiki’s.

    • mod the world says:

      My minecraft review:
      graphics: 2/10
      sound: 4/10

    • Dzamir says:

      Try to “win” the game in hardcore mode: best roguelike ever!

    • steviesteveo says:

      I think the youtube and wiki stuff is really horses for courses. For a lot of people there’s a lot of fun in a game where you have the space to go away and make it up for yourself and look it up if you fancy. This is why you find people who think it’s a shame that lego has started to have a one-right-way-to-assemble-this-kit type mentality.

      On the other hand, given the level of stuff you find on youtube I don’t want howtos for building piston driven punchcard readers built into a game primarily about burning cows and digging.

    • LukeAllstar says:

      As a building game, minecraft ist great, but it was great just as great a year ago in classic mode.
      The only big achievement they added are redstone and everything connected with it like those pushers. People made great use out of it

      As a adventure game, mincraft fails in a lot of ways. Terraria does just a way better job in this section. Tthose two games give you a similar feeling at the beginning, but mincraft just doesnt get better, but terraria gets so much better and more intense, just better in the adventure section

    • Consumatopia says:

      I think I agree with LukeAllstar. It’s great, but it was just as great a long time ago.

      Which I find kind of disappointing. I mean, it’s odd to be disappointed with greatness, but Minecraft is the kind of greatness that seemed to want to be more. One could imagine a developer with the resources Mojang now has turning Minecraft into a 3D Terraria, a graphical Dwarf Fortress, or a non-pointless Spore.

      Ultimately, the potential for procedurally-generated sandbox worlds is infinite. It’s inexplicable to me that Mojang and Notch would dive head first into the infinity, then apparently get bored and focus on a collectible card game.

    • Wulf says:

      You’re such a troll, mod the world. I really should have caught onto that sooner.

      I mean, anyone can pick at Minecraft’s graphics, but that’s just far too easy, and Minecraft was never about graphics. And it’s just so classy to do so. Though the music? I actually like the music.

      My review of your troll: 2/10

    • Premium User Badge

      Keymonk says:

      There are other sounds in the game than the music. And they’re not very good, tbh.

  8. bitbot says:

    What he needs to do is to hire more developers to work on Minecraft so it’ll actually start to resemble a finished game sometime soon.

  9. Coins says:

    I think Notch has done a great job. It’s a unique little piece of software, and I’m glad it has turned out this way. It could’ve been a lot more rigid, and the lack of clear goals is one the Minecraft’s bigger advantages, I think.

    • The Tupper says:

      I agree. And I’d argue that the lack of tutorial has encouraged players to engage with the wider community in the best possible way, despite personally doing nothing more than searching the wiki.

  10. JackDandy says:

    I really shouldn’t be surprised. But hey, maybe it’s for the best.
    Notch’s work ethics are questionable at best.

  11. nootron says:

    “Personally, I will now rest for a while, then get back to work refreshed and eager. ” – Notch

    “Yo Dawg, I heard you like vacations….”

  12. Jhoosier says:

    I must say that since buying into the alpha a couple years ago, I have put more hours into that game than any since, perhaps, Dwarf Fortress. Probably more than all my other games combined, aside from Just Cause 2, which for some reason has 250+ hours on it (think I paused it for a few days or something).

    The thing is, I’ve found mods to change anything I don’t like. Sure, they don’t all work nicely, but they work better than the Oblivion mods I’ve been playing with the past week or so. I’m ok with mods to change things, since the baseline Minecraft gives us something, and we can pick and choose which challenges we want.

  13. GrandmaFunk says:

    I am kind of surprised he lasted this long, the levels of hate and whining he gets from his own game’s community is something I’ve never seen elsewhere.

    He can literally do nothing right(not from lack of trying), he gets criticized for every single decision he makes…whether in-game or in his personal life, even the most inconsequential ones.

    I wish him the best and thank him for putting up with all this shit for the last year to give us a really fun game.

    • The Tupper says:

      I agree – it’s mental, as exemplified by a couple of comments above regarding his perceived ‘work ethic’ and holiday arrangements. I suspect that it’s simply part-and-parcel of using Twitter to engage with his customers.

    • gekitsu says:

      i very much agree.
      it probably is the flip side to the transparency he brought, and was lauded for. cause that was the other thing that was often said, wasnt it? make people pay for development versions, but be clear about the fact, and stay in close contact to your userbase throughout the development process.

      other video game celebrities like john carmack, gabe newell, hideo kojima or fumito ueda are not as “available” for that kind of personal derision, both because they dont engage in that kind and/or amount of open communication with their userbase, and because they keep their personal and professional matters more clearly divided.

      notch is very present and accessible, also on a personal level. the upside is that he appears much more human and “likeable” than a lot of other figures. the downside is that hes much more open for ad hominem internet scorn.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I suspect that it’s simply part-and-parcel of using Twitter to engage with his customers.

      I also suspect it’s simply part-and-parcel of using Twitter to make incredibly childish comments/tantrums from time to time.

      Notch definitely gets too much seething hatred from the community for some reason, but let’s be fair here, it’s not like Notch has been exactly the most angelic figure. He has made quite a few amateur mistakes and several ill-advised (or “not advised”, rather) statements that would’ve made PR people heads’ spin (not that he has any).

    • Wulf says:

      @Pointless

      Like?

      I’ve been watching his blog and I’ve seen none of this. Generally he tends to be a humorous, gentlemanly, and good natured. I see people making things up and perpetuating myths (but people like doing that so, so much), but I haven’t seen this for myself.

      Until I see a few linked tweets directly from Notch corroborating what you’re saying, I won’t believe it.

      In general, it’s just been gamers being self-entitled jerks, and cooking up all manner of nonsense to try and add justification to gamers, in general, being self-entitled jerks. I mean, nowhere else in any part of the world have I witnessed a group of people being more self-entitled and self-absorbed than gamers. Our little subculture has a market share on it. And worse, that tends to get projected onto other people who aren’t like that. Such as Notch.

      So I’m taking an “I’ll believe it when I see it.” stance, here. If it’s all the same to you.

      In fact. I’m going to outright call bull here and take this a little further. See, when I was following Notch on tumblr, he never said a bad word to or about anyone. Not one. The patience and kindness he showed was exemplary, frankly.

      And despite this, people kept bitching at him and hating him. It was bewildering. Many times I just begged Notch in the comments to disable tumblr comments, because he didn’t need that noise. I mean, it had to take its toll on him emotionally and mentally.

      One day there was a big blow up, and it resulted in…

      Wow, you should have been there, it went bad. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, hate-speech in general, entitlement, outright friggin’ sociopathy… it was a cesspit. I’d never seen anything like it. And it was all because one update had been delayed for a couple of weeks.

      Expressing a little disdain or displeasure at the delay? I suppose I can understand that. Calling Notch… all the things he got called? Yeaaahahaha…no.

      No.

      That was fucking horrible.

      The next day? He disabled comments, finally.

      What did he have to say about this?

      “Haha, you guys… you’re such potty mouths sometimes. Sheesh. :D”

      Yeah.

      See why I don’t buy your opinion?

      The hate that smaller development houses and indie developers get sometimes is just totally baffling to me. People tend to cook up complete nonsense about them, from outright lying about a game being so buggy and worthless that it’s unplayable, to calling a developer every slur you could think of.

      The entitlement sometimes is just too much to bear. Perhaps this is why my hatred of AAA titles is often so disproportionate. Simply because of all the shit smaller developers get. Maybe not always here (though sometimes here), but around the Internet in general.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Wulf

      I thought you didn’t like xenophobes and whatnot. Like, um, this: https://twitter.com/#!/notch/status/22330335379333120
      Not to speak about his outbreak on the whole Yogscast thing, where Notch, all the things considered, spewed rumours and filth on second-hand information, without any proof or consideration. And not to speak about that he did this when Yogscast was on aeroplane, unable to respond in any way… well, yeah. A dick move by all means.
      https://twitter.com/#!/notch/status/138716436129529856
      https://twitter.com/#!/notch/status/138716909767102464
      And his apology was not really an apology of any sorts:
      https://twitter.com/#!/notch/status/139069613865570304

      And if you compare this outcome to what Yogscast did on response, you can see what a proper handling to the situation would’ve been.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Until I see a few linked tweets directly from Notch corroborating what you’re saying, I won’t believe it.

      Selective memory much?

      His Yogscast tantrum and his little quips regarding the Bethesda lawsuit are plenty of evidence.

      It’s one thing to say “I don’t care if he said those things, he’s an indie dev”. I’d understand. Outright denial, though, is quite silly.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Well Mr. Pointless, that’s precisely why Notch is likeable: he doesn’t have any PR people to filter everything he says, and he loses his temper and makes errors of judgment like a normal person from time to time. May I now have the links to your every post online ever, so I can count the number of times you insulted people in a childish way or sounded like a complete moron, intended or not?

      Just to rectify something, I followed the Beth lawsuit story pretty closely and I don’t think Notch handled things in such a childish manner. Even though I see how you could have that impression if you didn’t piece every scrap of information together. Mojang kind of messed up by applying both for the trademark for Minecraft in about every possible domain they might think of using it (legitimate, and it was about time) and stuffing together with it the one for Scrolls with the same broad approach (not very well thought out, isn’t it). Then Beth lawyers came crashing down on them, but it turns out those suits weren’t so bothered about the silly trademark application in itself, since they kept suing after Mojang promptly took it down! They probably were made aware of Scrolls’ existence by the application, and now they want to use *their* own trademark of The Elder Scrolls to stop Mojang from making a collectible card game with a vaguely similar name as their action-adventure-rpg series, the only thing in common being they both have a fantasy setting.

      In light of this, I think Notch’s comments especially about challenging Beth to a Quake 3 match were brilliant. The lawsuit *is* completely stupid, and gamers’ sarcastic comments around the ‘net (“Skyrim? That game made by Mojang?”) are very much justified and hilarious.

  14. Optimaximal says:

    You can just picture it…

    Notch stands up, proudly proclaiming ‘My work here is done!’ before getting his coat, turning the lights off and leaving the office…

    …the rest of his co-workers looking stunned in the darkness…

    …a hissing noise is heard…

    • Digibull says:

      Next day the newspaper headlines read:

      “EXPLOSION HITS MOJANG HEADQUARTERS

      Witnesses report someone ‘creeping’ in a hole in the roof moments before”

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “EXPLOSION HITS MOJANG HEADQUARTERS

      Witnesses report someone ‘creeping’ in a hole in the roof moments before”

      A number of cool guys in the area reported not seeing anything, as they were walking away at the time.

  15. empfeix says:

    I am taking Notch’s lead and also taking a break from Minecraft. RPS has probably set the record for most posts about one game before it was ever released.

  16. MrBear says:

    Notch went postal on the Yogscast for absolutely no reason. He lied about them, said he saw them dropping the f-bomb on a child that wanted an autograph. Then, when the truth started to trickle through, he quickly backpadled and said he had reacted to something he had heard from someone. Then he blamed it on being tired and it was a misunderstanding and what not. Yeah, right. There’s no excuse for what he did. He never came out and said “Ok, what I did was stupid, I’m a douchebag and I’m sorry.” No, he blamed it on something else. He’s a typical Euro-peon.

    He’s a great programmer, no doubt, but outside of that his leadership “skills” don’t exist and he’s generally utterly detached from reality. His Bethesda stunt proved this. Of course all the fanboys went “omg that’s so cooooool!” but in reality his idea was stupid.

    • woodsey says:

      “He’s a typical Euro-peon.”

      Hmm… I think that might need re-wording before you’re the one who has to say, “I’m a douchebag and I’m sorry.”

    • lorddon says:

      I dunno, I think I’m totally with the guy who makes sweeping generalizations of all Europeans.

    • Beelzebud says:

      We all know that Europeans are altruistic saints, that would never make sweeping generalizations about Americans!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “Zug Zug, ready to work” is not something I associate with Notch.

    • JYzer says:

      “He’s a typical Euro-peon”

      Are you from eastern Somalia? Because you sound like a right Punt.

    • The Tupper says:

      Any chance we could have a moratorium on the word ‘douchebag’ around here? I think it’s vile.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Butthurt Yogscast fanboy is butthurt.

    • Wulf says:

      You are all such shining examples of humanity.

      Your parents must be so, so proud.

      (Barring the three before me, whose posts weren’t here when I made that comment.)

    • theleif says:

      @Beelzebud
      If by Americans you mean anyone living in north or south america, then no, you wouldn’t.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    I still get the feeling that Notch wasn’t ready for Minecraft to become a “real game” instead of just a quick-to-finish game/prototype… when it inflated to 2+ years of work it was just “too much” to get his head round.

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      I agree – Given the ‘feature creep’ where he kept adding new ideas and changing things around, I’d imagine the code is a bit of a mess by now.

      The RPG system and multiplayer, in particular, are things that should have been planned for from the start since they relate to almost everything else.

    • Wulf says:

      Two things.

      1. Quantify “real game”.
      2. Explain the importance of a “real game.”

      Rationalisation:

      The qualities of a “real game” are subjective, so therefore it may well have been a “real game” to the people whom enjoyed it before you realised it was a game. Furthermore, even if we accept that it isn’t a “real game,” then we must examine the importance of ‘gamification.’

      By this, I imply that not all entertainment mediums need to meet a personal, subjective quota for being a ‘game’ in order to be entertaining. I would argue that To the Moon is as far away from standard gamification as any game could be, and yet it was the game I enjoyed most this year, of all the games released. This includes Portal 2 (which I loved dearly).

      Minecraft was what it was, and Notch did well with it. That’s my opinion.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t really question the “game-ness” of Minecraft at the point where he started selling it, or the point it is at now. But clearly he expected more from the product since he called it Alpha, then Beta. It then took him 2+ years to reach “release”. By Notch’s own definitions, he felt it was 2+ years until it reached “game”, rather than just “work in progress”.

      His stuff from the time-limited competitions is much more “complete”, even if they contain less, as they have set limits, and fill the space in between. “Do this” and he’s done it.

      I suppose it was the fact that he was his own boss, without any outside limitation or instructed goals, that lead him to the somewhat unfocused development schedule. At the very least he got stuck between the monotony from over-familiarisation with the same project for 2 years, and the continuing desire to add more “new & shiney” stuff (those 24hr comps are “done” whether you finished it or not)

  18. Urthman says:

    It really sucks that, because Minecraft was made by one guy, all the internet’s opinions about the game get focused on that one guy.

    Imagine if there was just one guy who’s name was cursed and whose “work ethic” (WTF?) people felt they had the right to an opinion about every time they didn’t like something in Skyrim or GTA or Starcraft. I’d quit that job so fast.

    I’ve often wished we could just talk about Minecraft the way we talk about other games: this is great in Minecraft, this part of Minecraft sucks, instead of making it about Notch all the time. Maybe we can do that now, since Jeb is more of an employee than the creator god of this world we love so much.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Don’t forget that most of the people commenting about “work ethic” are people who are shirking work to comment on the internet. That’s the best part.

    • Beelzebud says:

      Well, if Notch didn’t want to be the face of Minecraft, he sure went about it all wrong. He put himself out there, much like a celebrity. I’m sure it was fun in the beginning, but then people started acting like customers.

    • The Tupper says:

      With reference to what Beelzebud says: here in the UK, I think that’s now to be known as the ‘Paul McMullan defence’.

    • Wulf says:

      I think that this is looking at this sideways.

      There are a lot of things in Minecraft I don’t like, and there are many things which I feel that are improved by mods. However, I don’t go up to Notch and use every slur under the sun to insult him, personally. It’s the sheer hate he received that was baffling.

      I mean, I really have a strong distaste for that Zeschuk guy at Bioware and his pro-WoW opinions, I’ll poke fun at him whenever I like, but I’m never, ever going to level slurs at him. I’m never going to tell him why he’s a failure. I’m never going to imply that he should go lie down and die somewhere.

      Having negative criticisms and just being completely hateful are two different things.

      There are artists who’re often met with negative criticisms on the sites I visit, sometimes they even poke fun at each other over stuff that they need to get better at. But they accept these as truths, so it’s okay, and they move on. It’s not a big deal. There’s no out and out hate there.

      But it seems like so many people hate Notch, and tell this to him frequently.

  19. Urthman says:

    In addition to all the new stuff they added, Mojang re-worked the terrain and biome generating code. They took it in a good direction, making biomes larger and more varied, but stopped tweaking it too soon and in it’s current state the world generation is not as good as the original. The swamps in particular are a very stark, artificially-bordered blight on the landscape (often discoloring half of a tree), and hardcoded so that texture packs can’t fix them.

    The worst part is that Jeb made some comments about further changes to the terrain-generation code needing to be “backwards compatible” which makes me worry they’re going to leave it in this half-finished state. Which would be a terrible, terrible shame, because I think the amazing terrain and cavern generating system is Notch’s #1 most brilliant accomplishment with Minecraft. It makes me sad to see him deface it with this last minute fiddling and then walk away.

    • Beelzebud says:

      Yeah he really should have finished the terrain before the 1.0 release. I remember that being the top priority over the summer, and then it just kept getting pushed back. It’s really hard to invest much time in a map, when you know the terrain will be tweaked yet again.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Backwards compatibility is going to be a problem now it’s “released”. They simply can’t say “Beta can break things sometimes” anymore.

      Any game-patch, of any game, which irrevocably breaks a player’s progress/effort is always big news compared to other bugs/improvements.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Backwards compatibility is going to be a problem now it’s “released”. They simply can’t say “Beta can break things sometimes” anymore.

      They could (and might) say instead “this is an indie game and we’re not professionals”.

      In the grand scheme of things I highly doubt the content/polish/frequency of patches is going to improve meaningfully now that the game is at v1.0. A lot of the stuff I saw during development wasn’t simply a Beta game being a Beta, it was just Mojang being Mojang. If Jeb can bring more structure into the content/polish/frequency of updates that’ll be quite neat and I might do a happy dance, considering how the past 6+ months everything about Minecraft is all over the place and strangely lacking in focus despite being a sandbox game.

  20. kikito says:

    So now he’ll concentrate on

    IF YOU ARE BETHESDA’S LAWYER YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO READ THIS

    scrolls

    END OF ANTI-LAWYER SECTION

    right?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Scrolls is Jahkob’s game and Notch does not work on it.

  21. TheGameSquid says:

    I bought Minecraft a couple of weeks ago because now that it finally hit “1.0″, and I honestly don’t know what to think of this.

    I’m currently really enjoying the game A LOT. I might want to add that I’m not a very creative player. I always loved LEGO but I was basically a kid that built geometrical shapes all the game. It was more about precise building than creativity. To me, this is an indication that there is plenty of “game” in Minecraft already, despite what so many people are saying.

    On the other hand, there is still so much that feels half-assed. One of the biggest flaws to me is the lack of Mod support. This has been promised for such a long time, and despite having a colossal modding community, it’s still not here. Multiplayer still seems like a buggy mess, without a proper server browser even. There are so much unpolished bugs left. NPCs serve no purpose except to scare you (I built my house in the middle of an NPC village and I tore down all their buildings after a while because they annoyed me). And when he started to get so many preorders, I simply should have switched over to C++. The Java build was a nice prototype, but as an actual 20€ product it’s a joke. It feels like the game has just hit Beta.

    So in that way, it seems like an extremely cheap move. Baron Von Notchenstein said he would stick to Minecraft as his main project when Scrolls was “announced”. Now he decided he wanted to get out and called the game 1.0 and started charging more money from me. He even left for the US the day it was released, not caring about all the latest bugs he had introduced. As a developer you should be ready to serve the customer at launch.

    So I think this is, for him as a person, a very weak choice. He is simply backing away from a HUGE project and is basically telling 4 million people that he doesn’t want to polish it further. “Thank you for the money, but I’m currently bored with it. Bye!”

    I’m not saying this Jens guy is incompetent, but he’s basically going to be mingling with another man’s brainchild. Does he have the same ideals? What is he going to introduce? Is he knowledgeable enough about the code (which is most likely shit) to actually introduce new features or fix old problems? Isn’t HE working on Scrolls as well?

    At this point, I think they owe it to their paying customers to create some sort of Battle Plan. What to they plan to introduce/fix next? What can we expect?

    We can only hope that this Jens is a slightly more structured and, perhaps, more serious developer.

    • GrandmaFunk says:

      “He even left for the US the day it was released…”

      to attend…the launch party?

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Which is my point. He shouldn’t be partying. He should have been making sure the release of the “completed” game went smoothly. You can’t just drop customer support on launch day. I understand his desire to take a break, but this was a little extreme.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t think you can really deny a game a launch party… but the game should really feel finished if you’re going to do such a thing.

      He can go along, not work on the game, etc, but it’s like celebrating your exam results before you’ve even sat the exam if the game isn’t really that finished. It just becomes an arbitrary party, rather than anything really meaningful.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, there are definitely things in Minecraft that feel half-arsed and need to be fixed up, I agree. But you have to balance that out. They’ve done a lot of good, too, as has been mentioned above. And then you have to separate that out from the people who’re using Minecraft just as an excuse for hate-speech.

      If you have honest to goodness criticisms about Minecraft, that’s fine. Keep it to that, that’s fine.

  22. cheesetruncheon says:

    Minecraft is like buying a Lego city in a box, only half of the pieces are gone.

    Then you have to go and harvest the needed Lego pieces from other sets your mates own, sure you can make your Lego city, but it will take a lot of time, a fair few friends and you’ll feel a bit ripped off in the end.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      What.

      That’s a pretty crap analogy, there.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve done exactly this in my youth and in Minecraft.

      Yet I’ve never felt ripped-off.

      Maybe you have to be a bit creatively challenged to feel ripped-off, since you can’t make stuff yourself? I don’t know. Or perhaps the feeling ripped-off part comes from not understanding that Minecraft is a sandbox for creatively inclined people. So I suppose I might be able to see that… but I didn’t feel ripped-off, personally.

      I feel it might be a little half-arsed in places, but…

      I paid $10 for Minecraft.
      I pay $60 for mainstream games.

      I’m more bothered by the latter being half-arsed than the former.

    • Matt says:

      The game is selling for 27 bucks now, so your “$10 vs $60″ comparison is a tad less than relevant to newcomers.

    • cheesetruncheon says:

      I became disenfranchised the moment notch decided he could forsake all of his new customers and his promises all for a little bit more cash, you know the first time he rather arbitrarily increased the price.

      as for how much you’re spending on games, that’s your decision, I usually wait for my games or find the cheapest deal, and usually then they have an actual game too.

      As for not being ‘creative’ I’m a graphic design student, so you’re probably right and I probably am creatively burnt out.

      I’m not trying to detract from other people’s experience, I was just trying to give a fairer more expanded and metaphorical take on the ‘lol minecraft iz legos’ argument.

      I mean I enjoyed it when I imagined what it could have been,when I saw the shiny picture on the box, the problem is to get it anywhere near the standard Notch promised, the standard review sites are telling us it is, it involves hunting down a lot of mods (extra Lego pieces if you will) as well as a circle of friends willing to take part.

      There’re a vast number of indie games trying new things at less than £16.99 too, that you can get on steam sale for like £2, that’s about the same as it costs me when I have a pasty and a sausage roll at Greggs.

      Just my Two Cents though.

  23. MattM says:

    Perhaps the new person will go back and try to improve some old stuff. I have been hoping for a less monotonous faster form of mining. Perhaps once you have a descent set up, explosive based mining could be more efficient. It would also be helpful when you are trying to clear away a hill.
    I would also really like a higher ceiling to be put into the game, you can do it with mods, but those are always breaking with updates. I wanted to build a sky scraper and was only a little way up when I hit the top of the map.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Jens is not a ‘new person’ though. He’s been a key part of Minecraft development and design for quite a time now. Wolves was him, and he implemented pistons too. He’s also been doing most of the bug fixing.

  24. LuciusAxelrod says:

    Thank goodness. In the past, it seems like a lot of features were added half-implemented. For example, for quite a long time you could harvest milk from cows with a bucket, but there was no way to use that milk or even get it out of the bucket (esentially destroying a useful tool). When they added additional types of trees, there did not add new ways to grow those trees aside from getting one in a newly generated chunk (the old and new trees dropped saplings that would only grow into the old type of tree).
    Thankfully, most of the half-complete features have since been completed. I hope that with Jeb in charge, he will lead us into a new era of completness (even if it means fewer new features).

    • Josh W says:

      That’s a great idea, a good way to distinguish himself without getting too much flak, just tighten up some of the missing parts, make the game seem more full, along the lines of what’s already there.

      Then, after a nice tame sensible release of his own, he can start sticking in more of his own ideas.

  25. Artist says:

    “I’d always imagined that NPCs would be one of the things that Mojang focused on before release, since there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for their inclusion, both internally and from players. It’s also a feature that could change the feel of the game quite dramatically and it will be one of the areas to receive attention sooner rather than later according to Notch.”

    Those who watch the development of MC closely know that NPC would low down MC to a crawl. No wonder they couldnt add them before Minecon… They should rather focus on multithreading or -processing before they add more have-baked crap! =)

  26. Hastur says:

    I play Minecraft with my kids, 6 and 3, and it’s a blast. The youngest is totally into waterfalls, he sees a big cliff and he wants water streaming down it, so we put waterfalls everywhere. The bigger one likes pumpkin collecting.

    It’s been a terrific experience, because it’s one of the few games where they can say the weird things that kids say, and we can conceivably make it happen together.

  27. Dorako says:

    Well, I don’t know how this will affect the game. I hope Notch goes on to make other great things, although I unfortunately must admit I haven’t the slightest interest in Scrolls. Regardless, I hope good things unto all.