Interview with Notch - Creator of Minecraft

Uploaded by webhallenevent on 28.10.2010

My name is Markus Persson and I've created Minecraft,
a game that has recieved quite alot of publicity in the Swedish press lately.
It has sold quite alot aswell.
That's an understatement..
How did you begin to take an interest in programming?
Well, it started when I was seven and moved from Edsbyn to Stockholm.
My father bought a Commodore 128
and we started subscribing to a Swedish computer magazine that published code listings
Through making mistakes when I was entering the code I realized that you could change stuff in the programs
so I started playing around with that.That's how I discovered programming.
From that point on I'm pretty much self-taught.
From that point on I'm pretty much self-taught.
Can you recall the first game you made?
It was probably a year after I started coding, I created a very simple text adventure
had to enter the correct phrase to get to the next frame
failure to do so would kill you or send you off a cliff or something.
What was the game called?
I don't think it had a name. I know there were indians in it though.
I see, so I guess we'll never get ahold of it?
Nah, I didn't know how to save stuff back then so I guess it was a transient art form.
What inspired you to create Minecraft?
I wanted to make a game that I figured would take about six months to a year.
Just a smaller project to if it was possible to make money as a solo developer
The original plan was to make a game that was a hybrid between Dwarf Fortress and Rollercoaster Tycoon
RTS elements like gathering resources, chopping wood and building houses etc.
When I started playing around with the first person view Minecraft started taking form
All in all it took about a weak to form the idea.
The graphics are obviously retro inspired, pixel art-ish.
Was this always the plan or were they just placeholder graphics that you decided to hang on to?
When I started out with the isometric view the resolution was quite low
so when I started playing around with the first person view the graphics were pretty blurry
Then I stumbled over another game called Infiniminer, which is graphically similiar to Minecraft
where the textures became pixellated rather than blurry when zoomed in
I thought it looked great and I figured "I could do that", ", that's kind of my limit as far as artistic skills go
An added bonus is the fact that it lower the system requirements.
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
The game was originally titled "Cave Game" or something like that, just as a working title
Then I started talking on IRC with a couple of other developers and we started mindstorming.
Someone suggested "Minecraft", mostly as a joke in referenece to Warcraft etc.
But I thought it sounded pretty good so I decided to use it.
Have you played Warcraft or StarCraft?
I've played both of them. I like WarCraft better than StarCraft
I'm not to keen on science fiction games for some reason.
I never realized that the game would become so big
I hoped to be able to make an ok salary enough to live on and save money for the next game
That was kind of my goal and what I hoped for.
Things turned out differently though, you just have to go with the flow I guess.
When did you realize that you had something special going on?
It was right after christmas last year when the sales numbers were becoming pretty big
At that time I was working part-time on the game
but I realized I should start working on it full-time
I didn't make the switch until June though
What did it feel like?
"Wow", I mean, it felt pretty cool.
I didn't really know how the sales numbers would progress, there weren't really any games to compare with, was it just a fad?
I couldn't be sure. It has grown since then, but I couldn't know that back then.
So it took me a while to take the step to doing it full time. The fact that the game had potential was really cool.
I think it's pretty easy to get started (with Minecraft). There are some problems when you start that need polishing, but once you get going it's pretty self-sustaining
Every experience is unique since the world is randomly generated, so I think It's quite fun to talk about which helps spreading it word to mouth.
I also think I got lucky with the timing.
Indie games started becoming more "legit" just before I started selling Minecraft.
From what I've heard, you're investing a big part of the money you have made into your new studio, Mojang Specifications..
Well, that was the original plan, but right now it looks as though we're gonna be able to finance it on future profits from Minecraft.
Aha, I didn't know that. Could you tell us more about the future plans for Mojang?
We'll start out with about six employees somewhere in november or december.
No contracts have been written yet, but we'll get to that this week.
We'll be developing two games. I'll be working on Minecraft, together with a few other people.
A guy called Jakob is going to be developing another game.
original plan was for me and him to develop that game together, as a side project.
But when Minecraft started growing I decided I could form a studio.
Our main focus now is to complete these two games when we've done that we might start working on a third game together.
Can you tell us anything about the game Jakob is developing?
Nah I don't think...
Not even a hint?
Well, I guess it's leaning more towards strategy and board games. It's not really similiar to Minecraft.
How do you see Minecraft, as a game and as a community, growing over the coming year?
I'll add modding support during the beta, to allow users to create server mods
The plan is to help people upload and share mods.
I also think that competitive multiplayer, like CTF or castle defence-mods, are going to grow.
Since we're implementing modding support, it's all up to the community to decide where they want to take it.
I really hope the adventure part of the game is going to grow, I'd like to see people create challenges, like mazes etc.
which they share with the community.
Can you tell us anything about the upcoming Halloween update?
One of the "problems" today is travelling, it takes a long time to move around in the world.
I had an idea about an alternate universe
where if you travelled one meter it would translate to one hundred meters in the "real world"
alternate universe is going to be some kind of scary Hell-dimension with lava and dangerous monsters
It's going to be a very dangerous place to go to
That's the primary change, building portals and travelling to another world.
Other than that I'll do minor bug fixing and other smaller features.
Instead of updating often I'll make a big batch update, since I spend alot of time in meetings to get the company going etc.
Any info on the new block types?
There are six new block types, five of them with unique properties. They are all pretty simple. For example, all of the stone in the new dimension will burn continuously if set of fire.
The stone is also very brittle, so it will behave in a different manner.
Then there's luminous blocks that never fade, which I'm sure people will like.
Which are your top three games of all time?
It feels like I give different answers everytime I get that question.
Dungeon Master 2 is a great first person RPG. Not alot of people have played it, but it's really well polished and the game design is great.
Ancient Domains of Mystery, I don't think alot of people have played that one either. It's similiar to Nethack, but with more action.
Half Life is grotesquely good. The first and the second one are probably on par with each other.
While we're on the subject, you visited Valve not too long ago, could you tell us about that?
It was really nice. They put me in first class and flew me over to have dinner and show me around the office and chat etc.
The reason they wanted me to come over was to try to recruit me.
But you turned them down.
Well, I told them beforehand actually. They want you to come work there, but I like Sweden too much. You never know though, maybe in the future. It was definitely an inspiring meeting.
Do you ever play console games?
I play everything I guess, board games, I used to play pen & paper RPGs but it's not as fun now that you're an adult.
So, time for our last question. Are there any plans on making a boxed version of Minecraft?
I really hope so. I buy alot of collector's editions of games I like, usually through Webhallen as a matter of fact. I really hope we can do something like that. I remember buying the Ultima games and recieving cloth maps and stuff like that, I love it.
Any shoutouts, perhaps for the Webhallen customers?
Like "Buy Minecraft"?
Well... *try* Minecraft, and buy it if you feel like it.
Thanks for your time. Thank you.