Post news RSS Interview(s) with Notch!

In the spirit of the awards, and coincidentally the season, I asked the minecraft communities of ModDB and from the #Minecraft IRC for questions for Notch. I was.....Overwhelmed. I could only pick 5 from each, and had 2 reserved for myself, so I'm really sorry if I didn't pick your question! So, here is how my interview thing with notch went!

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In the spirit of the awards, and coincidentally the season, I asked the minecraft communities of ModDB and from the #Minecraft IRC for questions for Notch.

I was.....Overwhelmed. I could only pick 5 from each, and had 2 reserved for myself, so I'm really sorry if I didn't pick your question!

So, here is how my interview thing with notch went!


"How does world generation work in detail (all the way down to the noise functions used)?" ~Yourself

Well, this is horribly technical.. But you asked for it!

Land height and "noisiness" are controlled by two 2d perlin noise maps. Individual block formation is made up off two linearly interpolated 3d perlin noises, scaled by the noisiness and offset by the height, interpolated via a third 3d perlin noise. The interpolation between the two final ones is a non-linear function with a sudden cut-off to encourage cliff sides.

Humidity and temperature is controlled by two simplex noise functions based of the level seed. A look-up table is used to find the biome for a region depending on the humidity and temperature. The noisiness and land height in the terrain pass is also affected by the biomes.

Once the basic terrain shape is in place, features like dirt, sand and stone are added, then caves are carved and other features get added randomly. Trees tend to come in clusters. Most of this is all affected by the biomes, but there's more work to be done.


"Do you have any particular coding habits you find notable?" ~Scarecrow

I always try to get something out on the screen as quickly as possible.
If I can play around with it and test it, it's much easier to know if I'm doing the right thing or not. I try to avoid writing code I might not end up using.


"Will NPCs or a bartering system ever be implemented?" ~Secretagentman

I'm not sure! Maybe! If so, it will probably be a very simplistic bartering system, much like the table based one in Dungeon Master 2.
I think a hands-on direct in-game system like that adds more to the game than another pop-up window.


"How did your family and parents-in-law react to Minecraft's stunning popularity and you getting big-ass rich with it?" ~Quatroking

I haven't noticed a big change at all, actually.
I think they also saw it happen slowly and kind of got used to it in the same pace as me.


"How do you feel about the fanbase that has grown around Minecraft, honestly? Don't you grow tired of having some of them complain about nearly anything?" ~Archbishop

The fanbase is a huge reason why I enjoy working on Minecraft. They're extremely creative and vocal, and I enjoy hearing their honest opinions.

Since there's so many fans now, there's bound to be at least a few people that don't like a recent change or how I've done something, and those tend to be quite vocal. I try to just stay focused on the goal.


"Do you plan to add a herobrine-like entity into Minecraft? Or are we not going to see any creepy stalkers into minecraft?" ~Kizzycocoa

I think I waited too long to add it, it wouldn't be as funny if I added it now.
If something like that makes it into the game, it should be just a few days after the rumour starts spreading.


"Do you plan to restart Seecret Friday Updates?" ~Landmine752

We haven't decided yet exactly how to deal with releases after beta. There will be a larger focus on internal testing, so weekly Friday updates might not be optimal.

My gut feeling is that the time of the Seecret Friday Updates might be over, unfortunately. That doesn't mean I won't keep adding huge new features, though.


"Will you add game-types for MP? for example, a zombie mode where one player starts as zombie and kills a player. then, that player becomes zombie etc. etc?" ~Blackop

There will be an official full modding API sometime during beta, and you will be able to make mods like that with the API.
We will provide a few mods ourself, and hopefully perhaps integrate some popular mods into the core game somehow.


"Will you add locks we can use on chests and doors that require a password (primarily for multiplayer)?" ~Croco15

Yes, I will. It's likely they will have a four-character password, so you build a locked door and enter a code for it, then when you craft a key, you give it the same code, and it will unlock that door.
So you COULD name your chest "GOLD", but that probably will get cracked pretty fast.


"Will you add a dye-system for cloth? Would be neat to have." ~Deliphin11

Yes, definitely! I might even get that in before Beta.


"Will you implement a LAN version of a SMP server, or something similar in that regard?" ~Riccars

You already can run the server in an offline LAN by playing around in the settings.


"When will you add a modding API? it seems odd that community input that adds/fixes things has a bad stigma." ~Kizzycocoa

During beta. Mods are awesome, but the current situation isn't optimal at all.. Sorry!

Now, Sigma also set up a previous interview which was never posted, so I will take this opportunity and post the second interview here! So, you can all have two interviews for one!

IndieDB: How, Why, And when did you get started on making games?

When I was seven years old, my parents bought a Commodore 128. My father was very interested in the technical side of it, and bought newspaper sized magazines about it. Some of these magazines contained source code listings for small games and such, and I started entering those.

After a while, I realized that the weird behaviour that happened when I put in the wrong numbers probably meant something, and within two years, I had made my first own silly text adventure game from scratch. I was about eight years old when I did.

IndieDB: Where did you get your inspiration from? How did the idea for the game take form?

I had been playing, and failing at, Dwarf Fortress for a few weeks, and thought it was a really interesting genre, combining a complex, like you'd see in a roguelike, with micromanagement, like in more strategic games. I had also been playing quite a lot of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and even Locomotion, and thought that combining the simple to use interface of the Chris Sawyer games with the fantasy world simulation bits of Dwarf Fortress could make for a really interesting game.

After a couple of days of work, I had a fairly well functioning opengl accelerated isometric rendering engine that felt like a mix between RollerCoaster Tycoon and Dungeon Keeper. [ you can see some pictures in this blog post: ]

I was playing around with some first person view hacks when I found Infiniminer via the Tigsource forums, and I immediately fell in love with the rendering style. It meant changing the game from a strategic game into a first person game, but I felt I could still keep the resource management and micromanagement, so I started over from scratch.

Just a few days later, the very first version of Minecraft was born.

IndieDB: Did all your ideas so far made it? Or did you need to scrap some ideas because the proved to be to difficult to implement?

The only things that's really gotten cut because of difficulty are infinite height levels, and moveable large areas of blocks, which could be used to build elevators or fully customized boats.

The way water works at the moment isn't perfect either, but finding a good local model of water has proven extremely difficult, especially when I want to allow both waterfalls and plenty of player control over it.

IndieDB: How important is communication with the community? How do you handle it?

Communicating with the community is extremely important. Not only is it good for the product because I get instant feedback on everything I add, it also leads to a more personal experience for both me and the players. I know how they feel, and they know how I feel.

I tend to do most of my communication via my personal blog (which is almost exclusively about Minecraft these days), or via Twitter. I used to be on IRC a lot, but sadly there's just too many people asking me questions when I go on there.

My email account has gotten to be a huge time-sink, so I tend to not use it as much except for important matters like payment problems and such.

Another great way of learning what players do is to watch youtube videos or live streams of people playing the game. It's like free play-testing where I can see exactly what they do.

IndieDB: Are you planning on letting the players make MODs for Minecraft?

Server mods, definitely, but I'm a bit more cautious about adding singleplayer mods. It's likely that the singleplayer mode will actually be running a stripped down server in the future for multi-threading purposes, so the Mods should start working in singleplayer when I do.

For the mods, I will expose a java API where people can intercept events and trigger new ones, like reloading areas of a map or spawning NPC mobs.

IndieDB: Do you have some educational insight or tips to share?

I don't have much of a formal education. Personally, I think it's more important that you're interested in learning how something actually works than having sat down for five years and heard people tell you how stuff works. What happens when those five years are over and new things are invented? If you know how to teach yourself, you're set.

But combining the two, so you both get a proper education, AND you're genuinely interested, is probably the fastest way to get good at your craft, plus it gives you some actual paperwork that you can show prospective employers.

IndieDB: 1 line of free speech, GO!!

The Internet is the single greatest invention in the history of mankind, and it will change everything. It's bigger than the wheel. It's bigger than print. It's even bigger than language itself.

It doesn't matter that it's full of trolls and arguments, it's still the best thing that has ever happened. Network neutrality is very important, and so are privacy issues and online rights.

I urge people to read up on the issues and make their opinions heard, regardless of what they are. We're on the brink of something awesome here, let's not start it with a repeat of the dark ages.

So, that's the interviews! I want to personally add, Minecraft's cake will be revealed soon!
A lot of speculation about flavour is going around. I will try my best to dispel that, lets say, 2 days before the awards? I will try, at least. ^^

I want to thank everyone for their questions! Remember to vote for Minecraft! every vote is another swirl in the Minecraft mixing bowl, and as such, another step towards cake in Minecraft!

Croco15 - - 1,240 comments

Cool interview! Now I'm really excited for the beta!

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Skylar15 - - 265 comments

Same here :D I cant wait for a Zombie Survival game mode for SMP (But there will probably be 3 of them 1.Mob Zombies 2. Player zombies and 3.Both :D)

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galdor - - 96 comments

i want to make custom boats now that really work :D

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raymix - - 50 comments

nice reading

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SteveZombie - - 3,730 comments

First the news about Killing Floor/TF2, and now all this. This is a great day.

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P4TRICK - - 526 comments

...a more advanced system like a .."wired" you can put things functional together..and make them work together

etc. a motor, wheels..seats etc. so you can build something on a platform..and then make it a car!! :D would be nice so you could make more unique things..etc. making your own door, but i don't know if you can go so much into these things when its a "squaregame" xD

..but i still love it..there is not two houses that is like each other..!! ..and all servers are different!!

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MrTambourineMan - - 717 comments

Excellent interview, we want moooooore!

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xXMaNiAcXx - - 4,807 comments

Good to see that Notch plans lots of things for us and I think he liked to see that his community really loves him ^-^

Also, we are getting cake soon :3

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Nebcake - - 443 comments

Well it looks like herobrine will always live in our hearts, and nightmares.

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Arxae - - 717 comments

Ah yes, my long lost interview :p no time to format it into a article and such xD but happy to see it lives on :D

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DR-Jeckle - - 1,023 comments

Notch You Lied! Minecraft Ia CLEARLY The Best Invention!

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Guest - - 699,823 comments

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