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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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  • Hell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:47AM (#36773162) Homepage

    Every single game for the last 20 years has claimed "destructible environments" (some of them erroneously, with the word "fully" as a prefix). It's the same thing, in essence.

    It's been a want of gamers for decades, since voxels were around at least, and it's never really happened how we expect, despite being promised with every big hit.

    Even Minecraft doesn't have a fully destructible environment - some blocks can't be moved or changed, and there are depth and height limits, not to mention width wrap-arounds through the use on fixed-length int's on map indexes.

    Unfortunately, such a thing would fundamentally change a game. Imagine a 3D FPS. You want to take out the enemy base. Hell, with enough time, you can just move the local mountain across on top of it, or tunnel up into it, or punch a window through the local mountain to make an inaccesible sniper-spot, or literally just flatten the whole place with artillery so you can walk through the ashes and collect all the pickups. It doesn't make for a fun game, necessarily, but it just one of many features that a good games developer can add to a game to make it more interesting. It's the same category as realistic physics, proper ballistics, or better AI teammates. Useful in the right hands, game-ruining in the wrong ones.

    Yes, it would be really cool to have zombie/aliens game where you arrange the furniture to build barricades, but in playability terms it can create a nightmare, especially multiplayer. Hell, people whine that they (or the AI) get stuck on map objects that took years to position in the ideal place - what makes you think a billion random objects that can all move everywhere, combined with overpowered abilities to move the earth, will make it easier to get from A to B?

    The only way to do it is realistically, which is gameplay-hell. If you want a tunnel into the enemy camp, you'll run out of food and die before you get anywhere, the sounds of digging will be heard, you'll kill yourself through exhaustion and you'll have to put the soil somewhere (which will draw attention). And if you don't get caught by the enemy, it'll still take MONTHS to get there.

    (Offtopic: How cool would a well-made free-form Great Escape game be, though?)

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @07:12AM (#36773274) Journal

    p>All we need now is $100 3D printers for home printing!

    Why? How much do you really want to print? At least, right now, how much stuff do you really want to print? is a pretty good workaround to actual ownership of a 3D printer. I suspect it's a lot like photo printing: it will turn out to be a fair bit cheaper not to have the printer at home and just shop out the print jobs to a specialist. At least, for the time being, anyway.

    For instance, if the materials are the larger part of the expense, then the equipment that can produce the thinnest walls will be able to print your 3D art for the least money. But that equipment may cost far in excess of what a $100 printer is capable of, for a long time.

    Regardless, you can be printing stuff right now with one of the many only 3D print jobbers. Shapeways being one which seems to specialize in one-off's which is what hobbyists would be most interested in.

    Stuff that needs to be more durable probably won't be printed on the kinds of materials you can feed into a 3D printer anyway. The machines that handle more durable materials are also going to be more expensive than a RepRap-level 3D printer for a while as well.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.