Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How Minecraft Was Born

Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson excerpt their new book, Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything:

Even before Minecraft was shown to the public, Markus had made a couple of important decisions that would have a huge influence on the game’s continued development. First, he wanted to document the development openly and in continuous dialogue with players, both his semiprofessional colleagues at TIGSource and any others who might be interested. Markus updated his blog often with information about changes in Minecraft and his thoughts about the game’s future. He invited everyone who played the game to give him comments and suggestions for improvements. In addition to that, he released updates often, in accordance with the Swedish saying “hellre än bra” (meaning someone who prefers spontaneity over perfection). As soon as a new function or bug-fix was in place, he made it available via his site, asking players for help in testing and improving it.

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Usage note: “hellre än bra” translates into “[intensely] rather than well”. A very common usage is “to sing rather than well” - meaning that the amount of effort you put into singing is more dedicated to making sure people know that you are in fact singing than it is to making sure you are singing well.

The US gadget community has a few very good writers swimming in a sea of chaff. Similarly, Sweden has a history of very good gaming writers having prominent placement in popular magazines, capable of dissecting games and looking at them from different angles, taking in cultural and historical context, making judgements that piss their own readers off and so on. I may be overselling it, but I was shocked when I read my first international gaming magazines, wondering when the hell the actual journalism would come into it, and I’m still wondering what all the loudmouth trigger-happy dickishness is about for many current channels. That said, Daniel and Linus are not gaming writers, but I’ve read enough by them over the years to know that this will be well written.

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