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Can Minecraft Change the Gaming Industry? 255

An anonymous reader writes "Is Minecraft really changing the gaming industry fundamentally? This author certainly thinks so, and even goes so far as to consider Minecraft's world manipulation a paradigm shift along the lines of 3D-gaming during the early '90s. 'Every block in the game is available to pick up and reallocate. We can tear down and build up. The neat thing is that future games does not need to be as liberal, but they will need to consider how they can make the environment a hell of a lot more manipulable. Now, this is quite a bit too simplified and the vast majority of games must not feature a shovel worthy of digging to the center of the earth, but giving the user power over everyday things (still in game worlds) will be a worthy challenge to consider.'" Minecraft may give us power over everyday things in the real world, too.
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Can Minecraft Change the Gaming Industry?

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  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:44AM (#36773144)

    If you want stuff blowing up realistically (i.e. destructible environment), you have to simulate it offline, as it's really computation intensive. So it will be "scripted". Minecraft can only get away with it because everything is a cube. Also I don't expect a sudden surge in cubic 3d games. Minecraft is a one time wonder, and it could be only pulled of by an independent developer.

  • I'm unconvinced... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:45AM (#36773150) Journal
    While I have nothing against Minecraft as a game, the level of world manipulation isn't just some incidental feature that the gaming industry Must Take Note Of.

    The level of world manipulation is pretty much what makes the game what it is; but also makes the game weird and idiosyncratic in ways that wouldn't obviously transfer very well to other sorts of games. Anybody remember 'Red Faction', that old FPS with the zOMG Destructable Environments!!! It sucked. Faced with the fact that they'd either have to break environmental destructability at certain plot-points, or just have players nibbling in a straight line through the level, the environmental destructability was reduced to little more than window dressing.

    Really, in any game that isn't largely about metagaming emergent behavior in the game's rules(y hello thar, Dwarf Fortress, we were just talking about your much shallower and more popular kid cousin...), being capriciously arbitrarily limited sucks("Why can I pick up some books and not others?" "Oh, because some books are 'Quest Items', and you need to collect 143 of them; but the art team couldn't be bothered to actually model the rest, so all non-quest bookshelves are just textured rectangles.") but world manipulability beyond a certain level is useful pretty much exclusively for breaking the game's mechanics(acceptable in singleplay, if not obviously worth the tradeoff in developer effort, pure death in multiplay, unless you are the griefer who is currently grinning in anticipation...)
  • by Gideon Wells ( 1412675 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:45AM (#36773152)

    Stigler's Law variant.

    Friendster -> MySpace -> FaceBook. It ain't Friendster or MySpace that is plastered on dang near every website and being visited by the U.S. president. It doesn't matter who did it first.

  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:48AM (#36773166)

    It barely works in Minecraft. Yeah, it can make for a pretty cliff, waterfall, cave basin, forest, etc. but it's still an empty world that relies entirely on the player to populate and to differentiate from every other area that was randomly generated as well.

    Minecraft, as it is, no more a game than a set of legos is a game. It's neat. It's fun. It allows impressive works of creativity, but is it a game like Mario? No. World of Warcraft? Halo? Need for Speed? Madden? Amnesia? You could make it a platformer but what's the point when you can just build/dig to where you need to go? Where can Minecraft go as far as game opportunities go? Considering how deep it is now, it would be better off as a platforming game set inside a computer so you can dick around with redstone because that's the only deep thing about Minecraft right now.

    Some mods do better but in the end, it's still lego pieces. Here's short list of ones that I feel really expand upon the game:
    Better Than Wolves []
    Industrialcraft []

    And there's tons more that increase variety of mobs, items, terrain and foliage.

  • No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:54AM (#36773192) Journal

    There have been construction games before, the Sim series comes to mind. Transport Tycoon. Granted these games had more of a goal in their world construction but still.

    It is like saying that since Up! was such a succesfull movie, every movie must now be 3D rendered. Or indeed that since Terry Pratchett made a hit by not using chapters, books no longer should have chapters.

    Stop saying "X is good, everything should be X". Secret sauce on a McBurger is great so they should put it on EVERYTHING.

    And as for adjustable, the world is very square in minecraft, should every game have this simpistic view?

    For that matter, do I really want a totally user transformable multiplayer game for every game type? Forget teamkillers now you get people bricking their team in.

    The author needs to get out of 10yr old mode, things can be different from each other. I know that is a hard concept but someday you will realize that the A-team is NOT the answer to entertainment you once thought it was.

  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:02AM (#36773230)

    "Every single game for the last 20 years has claimed "destructible environments" "

    Don't forget non-linear gameplay. Which in practice means there's some variety in the order you play linear subplots. Until we got a human level AI a computer cannot create a compelling story, so you have to put up with the pre-baked ones. (Or go full sandbox like multiplayer FPS/RTS games.)

  • by daid303 ( 843777 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:09AM (#36773252)

    And still, Red Faction was blowing holes in walls in 2001.

    I say Terraria is the better game, even with it's 2D nature. Because it contains a lot more stuff to do.
    And building/mining isn't new. Look up "Clonk", it's going strong all the way back to the 486 era, and it has a lot more features then minecraft. It's only not 3D.

    The only wonder about Minecraft is the sudden amount of attention it got. It got lucky, that's all.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:23AM (#36773328)

    It is like saying that since Up! was such a succesfull movie, every movie must now be 3D rendered. Or indeed that since Terry Pratchett made a hit by not using chapters, books no longer should have chapters.

    You forget the Zeroth Amendment of the US Constitution: If some is good, more is better.

    What Minecraft could really teach the industry is "don't get so big that every game has development costs the size of the national debt of a small country: then you can afford to take risks instead of playing safe and re-creating the last game with better graphics".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:31AM (#36773354) DRM to fuck the legitimate consumers over...

    When Steam requires a server checkin, it's called DRM. When Minecraft does it, it's called No DRM. Go figure.

  • Batshit Boring (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:43AM (#36773404)

    Minecraft is quite simply batshit boring.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaqenn ( 996058 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @10:04AM (#36774674)
    The correct answer is Yes, but not for the reason stated in the article.

    Minecraft is a huge moment in the gaming industry because it demonstrated that Gamers are interested in being shown a tech demo that's fun, and paying for the tech demo now in return for a full game later.

    This is huge, because if a game developer takes money from a publisher there's a conflict between 'Make a profit on that loan' and 'Make the best game possible'. If a game developer takes money from a gamer, their interests are aligned to 'Make the best game possible.'
  • Re:Game? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @12:52PM (#36776746)

    None of which is really very game-like. There's no objective. No goals. No "winning" condition. What game elements there are (mobs, weapons) are really just bolted on. I got to the point in Minecraft where I simply turn off mobs. They were nothing more than an annoyance.

    Your critique is almost exactly the same one Will Wright received from game execs when he proposed "Sim City".

    Some people don't need to be guided and have their hands-held through from the beginning to the end of an experience. Sometimes the experience is what matters more than the existence of a winning condition. If you've put months, or even a year or more into a Minecraft world - who cares if the game has an end? (Though Notch is thinking about putting in one anyway to placate people who aren't satisfied)

    Minecraft is the natural extension of the legacy beginning with playing in the sandbox, building things with LEGO, and burning through an entire night on Sim City.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler