Minecraft The Game, Then and Now – The History On How It All Began

Markus Persson, known also by the online handle "Notch," is an indie game success story like no other. Not only did he create Minecraft, one of the most popular independent titles in gaming history with more than 33 million units shipped worldwide, but he also released it to the general public and then walked away. Lead development was handed off to Persson's friend and fellow developer Jens Bergensten and Mojang -- the Sweden-based studio Persson set up in 2009 to take charge of Minecraft development -- shortly after the game's launch in November of 2011.
Since then, Minecraft has ballooned in popularity, becoming a cornerstone within video gaming's greater assimilation into pop culture. "South Park" featured Minecraft in an episode about the game's addictive nature. And thanks to unbelievably detailed creations ranging from the worlds of "Star Wars," "Star Trek," and "Game of Thrones," the sandbox game has often been compared to a limitless virtual Lego set. Thousands of attendees each year flock to a location of Mojang's choosing for MineCona real-world conference.
All the while, Persson himself became an industry celebrity with a reputation for modesty; his personal site looks nearly identical to that of the very first World Wide Web page. But while he's not working on Minecraft full-time, he is keeping busy: An outspoken critic of major publishers like Electronic Arts , Persson has thrown his weight behind software patent reform, and commands a Twitter audience of 1.56M million. And Mojang, of which 42 percent is owned by Persson's Notch Enterprises, has only 35 employees and yet pulled in an annual revenue of almost $240 million two years ago.

After making roughly $101 million in 2012 alone, Persson half-jokingly told Reddit he might now buy a car. But he also happened to return $3 million in Mojang stock dividends back to its employees.
How It All Began
The original game project that Notch started with was ‘RubyDung’ and it was to be the base for building Minecraft. Indeed, available snapshots of the original game tell it all; the origins of Minecraft are clearly visible and, in fact, the RubyDung screenshots can easily be mistaken for the original version of Minecraft. Some features in the original base game were carried to Minecraft, such as the cobblestone textures and the grass.
Another idea that Notch was toying with around the same time was that of a zombie game for which he developed a 3D texture mapper from the ground up. The zombie game was some kind of sequel to a previous project that Notch had worked on during the Java4k competition for 2009. Although the prototype for the zombie game had no official name, it was referred to as ‘Zombie Town’ in Notch’s 2009 YouTube video about it.
Meanwhile, the RubyDung project continued to advance and the game engine started to take form. Notch’s original idea was to incorporate a first person view to RubyDung and although there was no big issue with the view, it caused a great deal of distortion to the graphics, so it was abandoned.
Right about the same time, Notch became familiar with the Infiniminer game that was to become the ‘prototype’ for Minecraft. After one look at the game, Notch decided that it was what he wanted to build. Although Notch enjoyed playing the multiplayer mode, he realized that the game was laden with flaws.
Notch figured that a similar fantasy game with similar style would be appealing and so he attempted to build a basic first-person engine, keeping the style similar to Infiniminer. He also used similar artwork and tweaked around some of the RubyDung code to come up with a ‘cave game’. Notch created a video demo of the game and posted it to YouTube. Generally, this is recognized as the beginning of Minecraft.
Notch received many positive responses from people who shared a similar vision for Minecraft. Notch posted on Tumblr that the game’s framerate was simply mind blowing and that it ran perfectly in a Web browser. He decided to develop the game and that was how Minecraft begun.
Officially, game development of Minecraft started in May 2009 followed shortly by the first public release and this was greatly different from the majority of other games. The very first version released to the public was 0.0.11a. In the initial version, there was only one mode (creative). Later on, survival mode was included as well. This initial version was posed on Tumblr and it was also available on the Mojang website.
It wasn’t all rosy with Minecraft’s initial version though as there were a couple of notable bugs such as issues with smooth running on Intel hardware as well as a crashing bug on some browser versions, particularly Opera.
The version that followed (0.0.15a) featured multiplayer capability. Notch incorporated the ability of multiple players to play simultaneously via a server. This addition took just a week and a host of other features were added too, such as admin commands, chat, as well as more efficient bandwidth usage.
The inclusion of multiplayer capabilities was fully launched in June 2009 and it is considered a very pivotal point in the history of Minecraft because multiplayer mode has singly contributed the largest portion of the game’s success and populalrity. Notch continued to refine the multiplayer mode through versions 0.0.16a_02 to 0.0.18.a_2. Things like chat-log, IP filtering to block unscrupulous players, and the ability to prevent server flooding, among others.
More importantly, the custom skins feature was also added with the aforementioned
versions and it is now considered a core feature of Minecraft. At the moment, the custom skins feature is one of a handful of features that can be used to personalize the game. Previously, you could only customize your game by moving blocks or by placing them.
So basically, this marks the very first months of what has become an Internet sensation.
  • What Makes Minecraft Popular?
One of the things that make this game appealing is that it allows gamers to do pretty much anything. Yes, you can do just about anything in Minecraft and this partly explains why the game is so addictive. In the original game, a gamer had only a few blocks that they could use to build stuff with. With time, more and more elements were added including features such as lakes, trees, and animals. More elements have been gradually added and the game got more exciting. Block types of rock and wood were also added as well as mobs.  A player accesses game elements via the inventory menu but can get rid of them as they wish. Minecraft is extremely fun to play, another reason that explains why it’s so addictive.

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