Interview with Jon Kagstrom
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mojang's resident AI guru, Jon Kagstrom, to ask some questions about the highly anticipated 1.2 update. Here's what he had to say!
Sach: There have been a lot of features added in recent snapshots (more advanced Testificate behavior, smarter mobs etc) that seem to indicate a wide range of potential for the future of hostile and non-hostile NPCs going forward - what are some of your plans for that?
- Jon: My primary task at the moment is to improve mobs (animals+monsters+npcs) to do that I first move them to a new AI platform. Once a mob has been moved it's really easy to add new behaviors without breaking existing ones. This is when the fun starts. What I find really interesting is emergent behaviors from only a few lines of code. For example the villager children playing tag or the dynamic when zombies break doors and villagers are fleeing in random directions. There is no overhead "invade village behavior" it's all a mixture of smaller reusable behavior modules. Another interesting aspect is the emotional relationship the player builds up with mobs. It's worse to see a villager child being eaten by a zombie than a grown, so you want to protect the little ones. Also I really like small subtle behaviors that doesn't necessarily add something concrete to the game but only atmosphere, like the new Iron Golem giving a rose to the children in a village.
Cats and creepers have an interesting dynamic in regards to how they behave with each other - will there be similar "quirks" or relationships between other NPC/mobs in the future?
- Yes, in the future we will definitely see more mob interactions, not only between the player and the mob but also between mobs, we want the world to feel alive and dynamic. In Minecraft you can basically build anything and I like the idea of having an adapting dynamic population as well. Next step might be some kind of trading with the villagers now that they are getting some life. So you have a good reason to keep them happy by protecting them from monsters. But Jens and I haven't really planned any details yet.
There are now a wide variety of diverse biomes, with the jungle being the most recent addition - and it has biome-specific life! Will there be any alterations going forward for certain biomes to be preferred homes for pigs, cows...even certain monsters?
- Yes probably, nothing is planned but as we update mobs this is considered.
More information on the update will be forthcoming - keep an eye out!
Improved half-blocks? Coming soon!
Pocket Edition - The Saga Continues
Daniel Kaplan took a moment to talk about Pocket Edition recently, showing some love for the incredibly active Korean fan-base of the popular portable title. He went on to say that there are a number of bug fixes in the works, such as continuously burning after respawning (if previously on fire), and the stubbornly unmovable cloth blocks being fixed. Finally, he offers this helpful hint on flying in Creative mode:
Daniel Kaplan said:
A lot of people have reported that you can't fly in Creative which is wrong. First double tap the jump button. Then you double tap up and or down to go up or down Easy as that.
The hit portable sandbox game continues to make huge strides, currently sitting as the #8 top-grossing (earning/selling) app in the US market! Features for Pocket Edition have been released at a steady pace, and we look forward to the next iteration of advancement.
This week, David & Toby cover the bustling world of Minecraft's numerous goings-on, including a look at the recently concluded Mojam event, yesterday's Snapshot (with particular focus on the new Iron Golem) and more - check it out!
I am Sacheverell, and I am not a robot (I swear!). Check the front page for all the latest Minecraft news, videos and more!