Notch Yet: 0x10c On Hold, Won’t Release Unless It’s Fun

By Nathan Grayson on April 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Oh, I wonder if this thing has solitaire!

REPORTER: “Mr Notch, you just made several quadrillion dollars and simulated a nigh-infinite terrestrial expanse where nearly anything is possible via the wide-eyed machinations of human ingenuity. What are you going to do now?”

NOTCH: “I’m going to Disneyland space! Only it’s more of a space-themed hacker heaven. But it’s also kinda like Firefly somehow. Or something.”

EVERYONE EVER: “Ooo! Wait, huh?”

Seeing as Minecraft is basically a series of unending, entirely re-moldable Earths, a giant leap into the stars makes sense for Notch, and he’s got some intriguing ideas backing it up. But allow me to echo the confused dog head tilt of everybody else in saying, er, how? How will all those elements fit together? What will I actually be, you know, doing? Turns out, Notch himself is part of that very same everyone, and for now, he’s stumped. As a result, 0x10c‘s frozen in carbonite for the time being, and Notch feels no need to rush its development into high gear.

Speaking with Polygon, Notch was his usual frank self about the whole situation. When asked if there’s a chance the game will never even come out, he replied:

“It depends if it’s just going to be me and I’m going to still feel this kind of weird pressure. It’s not really pressure, it’s just some kind of weird creative block that’s been going on for too long, and [0x10c] is going to be put on ice until we can fix that. I’m very excited about the actual game. We have two prototypes going on now. It’s not really fun yet, but it feels like it could be fun because there’s nothing to do in there yet.”

He added, however, that any sort of release is “a ways off,” though he hopes to bring one other developer aboard to jump start the process. Further, he fielded questions about modding, noting that ox10c – assuming it ever comes to fruition – will eschew proper modding for its own brand of in-game programming.

Somehow. Once again, it’s quite easy to understand why 0x10c’s getting tangled up in the frayed wires of its own ambitions, and Notch’s approach is far preferable to blindly rushing forward. Problem is, he’s one of the few developers who can absolutely afford to do a perfect impression of The Thinker atop his jewel-caked block throne for all of eternity. Bleeding bank accounts and tightened belts certainly aren’t healthy for game development, but the polar opposite means no urgency whatsoever. That said, Notch strikes me as a hard-working guy, so I’m sure he’s toiling away on something. But near-unlimited time and resources often serve as conduits for obsessive perfectionism. Hopefully, then, Notch and 0x10c are able to find a happy medium.

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76 Comments »

  1. ZephaniahGrey says:

    I once had a sculpture professor who liked to say “The job expands to fill the time.” I suppose that holds true with game design too. So I guess we’ll see Notch’s next game in 30 or so years when he starts worrying that his time is running out.

    • crinkles esq. says:

      “Every block of marble has a statue in its depths, and it’s the sculptor’s job to discover what it is.” – Michelangelo

      That being said, I’m not sure why you’d start making a game and not know what sort of game you want to make.

      • Talos says:

        Maybe it’s one of those cases when you think you have a great idea for a game, and when you finally start working on it, you realize there is no actual idea, just some abstract emotion or a feeling you wanted that game to create. With maybe a few obscure keywords like “space game” and “computer programming” attached to it.
        But hey, not saying this is bad, you can come up with gameplay mechanics both before and during development, and maybe it’s somewhat easier to come up with them when you have some prototype to work with, rather than imagining how it would work in your head.

        • Ciergan says:

          It’s almost like Sid Meier’s approach with Civ, Pirates, etc. They’re basically just going for what the theme feels like with some historical detail but there’s more emphasis on abstract mechanics than true simulation. Notch will likely end up with something that’s more comprised of disjointed minigames, which is by no means a bad thing.

        • Somerled says:

          Chris Delay wants to tell you about Subversion.

        • woodsey says:

          Or sometimes I imagine it’s the case of the original objective getting lost amongst all the other ideas you’ve started implementing, at which point you either have to spend time finding it again, or try and see a way for those elements to add up to something else.

          English Lit undergrad, so that’s my excuse whenever an essay goes breasts-upwards.

        • solidsquid says:

          I think that’s pretty much it, he had a solid idea of the features he wanted the game to include and the theme he wanted to go with, but wasn’t entirely sure how all of them would fit together as a game. As a result he now has a working prototype but nothing which would be considered “fun” because it needs to be integrated more and the fun aspects brought out

          To use the marble metaphor others have mentioned, he’s got the prep work done on the marble block and got it delivered to the studio, now he just has to start carving it into a statue

        • Groove says:

          Especially if you’re trying to inovate, it’s really easy to end up in that trap. All too often an amazing idea for an incredible system will be rendered completely useless by the question ‘so what do you do in the game?’ Unless the system is the whole game then it feels like a cool idea with a game tacked on the side.

      • Valvarexart says:

        Fiction writers often do that, so why not game developers?

    • zeroskill says:

      Even though I probably will get a lot of hate for saying this, but I believe Notch is overrated as a game designer. Most of his ideas for Minecraft were borrowed from different games, which he, by the way, admits freely. Notch himself is actually a reasonable guy all things considered. It’s just the public, the games journalists and his fans that somehow place him on a pedestal, because he had a runaway hit with Minecraft.

      Expecting he can recreate what Minecraft did is fairly unreasonable.

      • jalf says:

        Is he a game designer *at all*? He made a big sandbox, it got super popular, yay. He also seems like a cool guy, which is, you know, cool. But there doesn’t seem to have been that much *game design* involved.

        But… I’m not sure I would actually trust him to design a good game.

        • Theon says:

          Notch have actually made innumerable games, mostly released for free after game-jams and small competitions. They ooze of creativity, and to claim that Notch isn’t a game developer is just absurd.

          The main problem with Notch is that, like Molyneux, he might be TOO creative; Which inevitably leads to a sea of promises to drown in. I also think that one of his problems is that he loves to create his fancy ideas on his own, taking suggestions as creative input, but as soon as the project itself becomes a public matter, it applies too much pressure and he loses too much creative independence…and fear -I believe- is what drives him off in the end.

          I hope he can keep his integrity as long as possible when it comes to 0x10c, so we won’t be abandoned mid-ways again.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I don’t see the creativity. Like they posted above, he freely admits that he just squeezed together existing ideas to create Minecraft. Then he let it stagnate and eventually turned over the reigns, and only then did it start getting big updates.
            It’s a fun and interesting game, but not something I’d credit to a “creative” mind. Creative programming perhaps (then again…Java?) but not “creative” in the sense of invention or originality.

            Minecraft was an idea so simple it worked. This space thing sounds similar. One simple (great) idea that isn’t enough to make a game. The idea isn’t as simple as Minecraft’s build anything idea, so it’s obviously harder to make a game fun.

            This “block” that Notch talks about… that’s sort of the opposite of creativity.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Almost everything you can do as a creative person is to some extent borrowed from something else. Creativity consists in picking just the right elements to borrow, changing them, and putting them together in your own way to create something brand new.

            For example, it’s not like J. S. Bach invented the fugue form or the suspended chord or most of the other techniques he used, and a lot of his melodies are borrowed from other sources, but it’s what he did with those elements that makes him one of the greatest composers ever. (Not to compare Notch with Bach in any way, but it’s the same principle.)

          • Tams80 says:

            Creativity is borrowing from existing ideas. You draw on your experiences in order to be creative, those created by other people (or less likely yourself) so therefore must borrow from somewhere.

            For something to be considered creative, the final idea/concept etc. you come up with has to be ‘new’. That doesn’t mean that in order for it to be created other sources than your own haven’t been drawn upon (your imagination is not just your own source; it is influenced by your experiences).

          • Consumatopia says:

            I would put it like this–Notch is a great engineer and businessman. Mincraft is a great game, but it’s not a product of great design–there isn’t one grand plan that justifies every game feature, not one play experience or interepretation that Minecraft is optimized for. And that’s good–that’s what makes Minecraft awesome. But I am a bit worried seeing Notch hold 0x10c up because “it’s not fun yet”–Minecraft is great as a system for facilitating the fun that other people create. It was not, when the first alpha was publically released, a fun game–or any sort of game, really–by itself.

          • mineshaft says:

            @Sparkasaurusmex

            All games are standing on the shoulders of giants (no Legend of Zelda, no Minecraft).

            Minecraft is a witch’s brew of exploration, creativity, and adventure. It’s an addictive spiral upward of you punch, you craft, you harvest, you craft, you build, you craft. It’s all in one package. And it prods you to respond in your own way to the virtual world it plops you in. It has stark beauty and elegance in design.

            It has happened slowly, but now Minecraft is more like a universe of games. There are so many mods you can practically call it a genre. Notch didn’t make a perfect painting, but he did more. He created a painting template. He made all of us into painters. That is super-creative in a literal sense.

            Creativity is not just about invention. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s about editing. And in games it’s about fun. Minecraft is fun in a way that none of its predecessors were. For that, Notch, the editor in chief, deserves all the credit.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        I also think this. Since he earn tons of cash he can afford a proper game designer.

        Warren Spector is free now…

    • PopeRatzo says:

      I always say, “The mind expands to fill the time”.

      • sinister agent says:

        I always say “Excuse me, but are you the arsehole who goes round breaking the locks on pub toilets?”. Just in case, like.

  2. othello says:

    I imagine there must be a lot of pressure to replicate Minecraft’s success.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Maybe he’ll copy the Blizzard/WoW route and make a cheap CCG.

    • Bilateralrope says:

      Is there any pressure he can’t easily ignore ?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I hope he doesn’t get Duke Nukem-itis and turn perfectionism into a hell of unfinished game.

      • woodsey says:

        Pretty sure DNF was the result of an exceptionally lazy group of people.

        • Nim says:

          No, DNF suffered from mismanagement and a lack of direction, not ideas or laziness.

    • BTAxis says:

      You’ve got to bear in mind that most of Minecraft is made by its player base nowadays.

    • Pray For Death says:

      Waiting for lightning to strike again I see.

  3. IgnitingIcarus says:

    Prepare for Firefly to be ruined by hordes of children through memes and regurgitated jokes!

    • frightlever says:

      Fox already ruined it. Button up your brown coat, tie on your wooly hat, set aside your plastic dinosaurs and deal with it, bro. We can get through this.

  4. MuscleHorse says:

    ‘It’s not really fun yet, but it feels like it could be fun because there’s nothing to do in there yet.’

    I think I see the problem.

  5. Bluestar says:

    I just read this sentence as ‘…and Notch feels no need to rush its development into head gear’ as if Notch is some kind of one dimensional hat obsessive.

  6. frightlever says:

    But… but… this is a disaster.Now if he ever releases it the graphics will look out-dated!

  7. SpecimN says:

    “there’s nothing to do in there yet”

    Oh. You mean like Minecraft ?

    • fish99 says:

      Minecraft has more to do than pretty much any game outside of an MMO, and if you include mods it probably tops the MMOs. What it doesn’t have is story or direction and some people are just lost when a game doesn’t have that.

  8. kael13 says:

    I feel like Notch is a one and done kinda guy. How could a game essentially about programming be popular with the screaming masses?

    • Dezmiatu says:

      He’s forced to make this game because of the vocal minority complaining about the limitations of their Minecraft processors.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      That’s kind of what I’m wondering.
      It seems kind of like it’s aiming to be a lo-fi Garry’s Mod in space, but you have to program the majority of your own objects and such rather than pull them from a pool.

    • Reapy says:

      Maybe right, but minecraft didn’t come round by him sitting on his butt doing nothing, he had a string of games before, and one of them hit. In hindsight minecraft seems obviousness, but it wasn’t, was it? Maybe this idea sucks, maybe it’s not fun, or maybe it just has to sit in an existing game to be good, but fun is something you have to try out, very hard to craft it on paper.

      All in all I think notch is a fine person to have hit the indie lotto, he keeps trying to make games, and invests back into the game industry much to all our benefit (aow3).

      He could have flipped the bird and bought a mansion and a yacht and we’d never have heard from him again, instead he’s won his freedom to keep doing game r&d without the pressure to pay the rent.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      He never intended this game to be popular to the masses.

      • skalpadda says:

        This. I see lots of people go “But how will he top Minecraft!?”, but of course he doesn’t have to. They have a small, well funded studio that doesn’t need huge hits to keep going

    • Consumatopia says:

      It’s not a game about programming. It’s a game that has a programmable computer. Non programers can put programs other people write into their computer–just like the masses use computers in the real world.

  9. Tinus says:

    Pulled a Subversion. Let’s hope he can pull a Prison Architect, too. :)

  10. HisDivineOrder says:

    Sounds like he’s falling into the 3dRealms mode.

    If so, then I imagine he’s “working” on games by playing WoW all day and daydreaming about what it’d be like if he was actually coding toward a game for release.

    I suppose he could go off and put his name on some games, saying he produced them. Plus, he could license out the Minecraft franchise to other genres to be made by nobodies with games that mostly suck. Just to get some extra cash to buy gold for his main WoW toon.

    • Nim says:

      There a bip on my “negative emotions” detector.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      I’m utterly baffled by your train of thought. I’d ask where you get any of your ideas about Notch’s work ethic or gaming habits, but in all honestly, I don’t care beyond making fun of them.

      You come across as really suspicious and cynical, if you care about that sort of thing, or didn’t mean to seem like a jerk.

  11. Klydefrog says:

    Can someone who’s better at maths explain this to me: At the end of the Minecraft movie he pronounced the game “10 to the c” (which I assume means 10 to the power c) but this confuses me as the equation is surely 0 times 10 to the c which would equal zero right? “10 to the C” would be 1x10c wouldn’t it? Is this a computing thing rather than a maths thing? Am I being really stupid? Any help would be appreciated…

    • woodsey says:

      I’ve just taken to calling it Zero Existence.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      The 0x in front just means that the number is in base 16.

      • thegooseking says:

        But that would make it 16 to the c.

        • KevinLew says:

          If the game is seriously supposed to be “10 to the C” then they wrote it wrong. The “0x” in front is standard notation for a hexadecimal number. In my office, we would pronounce the number as “ten charlie hex”, or 268 in decimal.

          • thegooseking says:

            It’s not an in-joke. 10 in hex is simply 16 in decimal.

            And you sneakily edited your comment and made me look like a fool :P

          • The Random One says:

            Ten Charlie Hex would be a great name for… well, anything.

    • Shark says:

      I just call it Oxyoc

    • crinkles esq. says:

      ‘c’ also represents the speed of light in a vacuum. So perhaps the game is that you’re on a ship stuck in warp speed and you have to build stuff in order to fix the ship.

      It’s a good thing we have the name to talk about. Clever, that Notch.

  12. Runs With Foxes says:

    Not trying to be a dick or anything, but whatever happened to the news writing rule of thumb that you put the actual NEWS right at the beginning of the article, and extra shit below?

    Why does RPS insist on waffling on so much in every article before revealing the news?

    Do you really think it’s okay to waste 140 words and 3+ paragraphs before getting to the point of the article? Do you have no respect for your readers’ time? Some people might like to read all of it, but sometimes you just want the important information. With RPS’s article I sometimes have to read it two or three times before I understand what the hell you’re talking about because the information is buried midway through the article.

    You can waffle on as much as you want, but please put the actual NEWS first.

    • Low Life says:

      The actual news is presented in the first 10 words of the article.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        “REPORTER: “Mr Notch, you just made several quadrillion dollars and” ??

        Oh I guess you meant the title, huh? I guess that makes it easy to read in an RSS feed, but I’d kinda like to know the detailed reasons Notch gave, which I can’t learn until I’m halfway through the article. The first few paragraphs of this article are self-indulgent nonsense which makes it HARD TO READ. I would have thought any self-respecting writer would make their work EASY to read, wouldn’t you?

    • Gap Gen says:

      There are a bajillion sites that are incredibly boring to read, if you’re looking for that.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Wow, Gap Gen, way to completely miss the point of my comment and ignore everything I actually said. Read and comprehend before you attempt to reply to me.

        • Niko says:

          I like how that sounds.
          “Read and comprehend before you attempt to reply to me”.
          “ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL”.

    • Imperium says:

      It’s purely Nathan’s style. I agree, it’s a bit annoying.

  13. Strangerator says:

    The concept of the game is a bit baffling to me… he’s going from this game that has near-universal appeal to something that is going to involve computer programming? Wouldn’t the market for that be extremely tiny? Is he making an educational tool for aspiring computer science majors?

  14. wererogue says:

    Releasing the early code seemed to be a pretty good way to motivate himself to finish (or at least make a game out of) minecraft. Maybe that’s the sort of step that’s needed – give yourself a reason to make it fun, rather than waiting for it to be fun.

  15. riko2s says:

    0x10c Beta / Alpha Version Has been released !
    You can download the game at:
    0x10chack.com

  16. riko2s says:

    0x10c Beta / Alpha Version Has been released !
    You can download the game at:
    0x10chack.com