Clearly, the tree is preparing for a massive assault.
It is the leader of the forest! None of his fellow trees shall go down while hes around! All hail the tree king!! Into battle!!1!
(either that or its just some whacked out terrain generation, like everyone else said)
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Nov 27, 2012Vulcan_Master posted a message on "...But I'm from Planet minecraft..." and other sad stories of those who try to get O.P.edI once had this one guy who said he was from PMC and who paused for like 2 minutes before saying ANYTHING.Posted in: Discussion
It was torture and hilarious humoring him. (He never ended up with op..)
And on our server we just smite anyone who asks for op despite the rules saying "Do not ask for op". It sometimes goes a little like this.
n00b: can i hav op plzzzzzz
Me: /smite n00b
n00b y u smite [email protected]?
Me: The rules say dont ask for op. Read them.
n00b: nu this is bad server u smite me ur mean
Me: Very well.
n00b: u jerk im crying
Me: Not my problem. I punished you accordingly. You didnt even die.
n00b: IM TELLING MY MOM ON U
n00b has left the game
Me: Wow. The idiot..
Oct 31, 2012The cost to repair it would be 40 levels or higher, and they put a level cap so that you wouldnt keep using the same awesome pickaxe over and over again, I would try repairing it with 1 diamond, because I think thats cheaper in levels than 1 whole pickaxe, and at least it would have some more life.Posted in: Survival Mode
I think thats right. (if using 1 more diamond is still too expencive, your pickaxe will stay unrepaired.)
Sep 26, 2012Parts of Wikipedia pages on open ended games(or sandboxes, like minecraft) Exploits, and emergent gameplay, In that order. Bolded words are key to my argument.Posted in: Survival Mode
Open ended games.
A major design challenge is to balance the freedom of an open world with the structure of a dramatic storyline. Since players may perform actions that the game designer did not expect, the game's writers must find creative ways to impose a storyline on the player without interfering with their freedom. As such, games with open worlds will sometimes break the game's story into a series of missions, or have a much simpler storyline altogether. (Like minecraft, whats the storyline?)
Developers may find it difficult to identify and respond to an exploit because a player who discovers a vulnerability in a game may be reluctant to inform the game's developers, in order to continue exploiting. However once developers do find exploits the response may include banning players who took advantage of the exploit, changing the game's rules to combat it, or even embracing the exploit.(Has been done with minecraft many times.) Positive opinion of the exploit can lead to the designers embracing it as emergent gameplay.
In games with complex physics and flexible object interaction it may be possible to complete in-game problems using solutions that the game designers did not foresee. (Not much physics in minecraft, but a lot of ways to form a world.) Deus Ex is often cited as a game responsible for promoting the idea of emergent gameplay, with players developing interesting solutions such as using wall-mounted mines as pitons for climbing walls. (Like using exploding beds to kill a boss like an enderdragon.)
Such emergence may also occur in games through open-ended gameplay and sheer weight of simulated content, in Dwarf Fortress for example. The Nintendo DS game Scribblenauts allows the player to write the name of tens of thousands of nouns within its database to bring that object into a game's level and have it behave realistically within the game's engine; the game challenges the player to find as many ways to complete puzzles or reach a goal by using such objects in any combination, and is considered by its developers 5TH Cell to promote emergent gameplay.
More info and summary: Many open ended world games encourage players to find their own way to do things, and creativity should be an option in all of them, and game devs may also encourage using some oversights.
Minecraft is one of these games, as mainly, the players choose how the standard form of playing is formed. With all kinds of servers avalible. (Look at the poll! People who consider it not an exploit outweigh the rest basically 10 to 1!)
And before you say the enderdragon is the way to "complete" minecraft, thats not the general community of minecraft accepted idea. The game keeps going after it.
It is ultimately the server owner's decision to say if it is "cheating" or not, but i'd be suprised if he and his friend got punished. Vanilla or Bukkit, it doesnt really matter. I wouldnt say its cheating.
That is all.
Edit: I also agree with colorfusion. Telling someone to be fair is one thing, Telling someone to go with everything someone sets for them, and nothing more, essentially putting them devoid of creativity in order to solve anything is another.
Sep 25, 2012I believe that beds exploding, as they were put in the game, is not an exploit. Infact, it sounds harder than killing it with arrows.Posted in: Survival Mode
However, it is an extremely creative way to kill the enderdragon, and not very many people would do it. It was put in the game, we may do with it as we please.
(thats like arguing that pistons were not put in the game for making elevators, and that any piston device put not thought of by mojang is cheating.)
An MMO is a lot different than a sandbox in terms of cheating. As an MMO is less open to.. new possibilitys than a sandbox. And many minecraft players don't consider defeating the enderdragon as an end to the game, just as another task, as the game keeps going. I would be surprised if the server owner didnt allow it, and I would be even more suprised if they got punished for it.
Exploding beds may have been put in the game to prevent people from sleeping in the nether and end, but its like lighting tnt, Its an explosion. Does this mean TNT should not be used in the end?
My two cents.
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Jun 11, 2012Insurrection posted a message on Survival can, and should be, improved (Part 2: Electric Boogaloo)4a: The Terrain and Biomes.Posted in: Survival Mode
The mere idea that a game has actual terrain in it, and not polygons used to form something that looks like terrain is nothing short of astounding. This is something that needs a great amount of props- even if none of it was intentional, the mere idea of it is something that needs much more appreciation amongst... everyone. It really is a great concept. That aside, however, we need to objectively look at Minecraft's terrain generation- and how it can be improved. In order to realize what needs to be improved, of course, we need to understand its flaws.
Firstly, the terrain in Minecraft is reliant upon its biomes- this is something that's loosely based on real life, and is pretty nice, as it separates things out a bit more. Unlike real life, biomes are more "pre-set" than just being the result of something else. Because of this, biomes often feel rather... dull, because a jungle can look a lot like other jungles just with randomized placement. Or, a desert can still look like other deserts, just with different amounts of cacti, hills, etc.
Part of this is due to the fact that there isn't really enough content to work with. There aren't things like different types of sand, or a variation in jungle tree types, or different types of "ground" or etc. The list goes on and on- so ultimately, there won't be all too many variations between biomes of the same type. Sure, hills might look pretty, or there may be the random floating island, or etc- but these again aren't intentional. That's sort've the point when it comes to terrain generation, admittedly. However, the occasional "cool terrain" caused by random generation isn't the only thing that can be done to biomes- there's much, much more that can improve the generation.
Especially when it comes to actually useful things. Right now, a lot of biomes are full of lots and lots of stuff, but most of that stuff isn't all that useful. They don't contain a wide selection of things you can't find in other biomes- at most, they contain around 2-3 things. Even then, the unique things they offer aren't particularly useful still- cocoa for cookies (one of the worst food types), lilypads (no real use outside of allowing the player to walk on it), emerald ore (you can get emerald just by trading), etc.
Most other times, you're just getting more of what can be found in other biomes already- plains just offer more seeds (useless once you get your first wheat farm going), forests/taigas offer more wood (saplings allow you to grow trees almost anywhere), deserts offer more sand (beaches usually give plenty for any regular glass needs), and so on.
The actual terrain generation method has gone through a number of changes- it used to be pretty average (around early alpha and stuff), then it became crazy (alpha through beta), then it became... what it is now (beta 1.8, I think). The current system, though, seems to lack something that made the alpha-beta generation a lot better: its height generation is much less dynamic. Hills basically need to connect to one another through at least one block, by one block now- I'm pretty sure that "prerequisite" for hill generation wasn't there before. Furthermore, there's a set minimum and maximum- before, it was possible to have desert with hills completely on its own. Now, deserts have a technical biome called "desert hills". It's much more... static this way, thus going against the idea of "unintentionally cool things being generated".
This ultimately leads to every biome feeling the same- sure, one set of plains may have a lava pool in it, but that hardly makes up for the lack of dynamics. At best, you get a village, but those aren't terrain- they're structures. Structures and terrain are fundamentally different. Terrain is random, chaotic, and often very dynamic. With structures, you expect symmetry- things are usually more "intentional", and the shapes are (intentionally) repetative. So, villages don't quite make up for the lack of terrain variation (especially not across all biomes).
Still, the idea of a more "systematic" generation of biomes is actually a good thing- the problem is its lack of utilization. Biomes are still chaotically placed, so you have things such as deserts next to taigas, tundras next to jungles, and so on. This is a lot of potential being wasted- you could very easily come up with a flowchart of which biomes should be generated next to eachother, allowing for more organization and sensible placement. This would require a good amount of biomes to be created (Savannas, Subtropical Forests, Bogs, etc), but that's hardly a bad thing.
Speaking of under-utilization, the new-ish height limit of 256 isn't used for terrain generation. At all. There's simply a cut off point at 127- blocks cannot (and thus, will not) generate above this. So you have 129 blocks worth of space simply not being used for anything. The official explanation given is "it gives more breathing room". This is... frustrating, as that's made to appeal to people who make massive structures. Which, it's often best to go to creative mode for that, anyway.
All of these things are elements of terrain generation- and all of them are flawed to some degree. Thus, one can make the fair assessment that terrain generation is flawed (and therefore, should be improved). Even if it's "fine", again, why not make it better?
4b: How to fix it.
Make the biome minimum and maximum height be pseudo-random. By this, I mean add a randomized number between X and Y, then add a static number to it, and get the sum of these two numbers for the minimums and maximums. The random number should be re-made for every individual biome in the world. This allows you control over the height of things, but still allows for dynamic amounts of height- so you'd have generation similar to alpha-beta, but with a lot more control.
Next, there needs to be more variations of the simple stuff- more types of stone, sand, clay, etc. Things like additional trees also helps. Really- even though they're "useless" additions, they don't take much effort, either. With this, make it so that biomes choose which "sub-type" of stone, sand, and/or clay (or other new sub-type blocks) to use, and then it sticks with it consistently. So one desert might be a red sand desert, another could be saffron colored, another the current sand color, etc... this is mostly for aesthetic variation, but that's never a bad thing (so long as actual features are also added)
More importantly, of course, is the useful additions. Things like lilypads, only... actually useful. I don't think I need to explain why it's never a bad thing to have more unique things per biome- this is really something you can almost mindlessly add tons of things to, and as long as they fit the bill (being actually useful), I really can't think of any reason not to have tons of content for this. I've said it before, but I'll say it again- use potion making if you need to. Lilypads, for example, could be used for a "potion of water walking".
They don't need to be only for potion making, of course- really, the possibilities are endless. As long as the content introduced doesn't become "Same thing as other things, but worse", there's really no reason I can see not to add more things. It's not as though it would over-complicate things for the average player, either- you wouldn't be forced to use any of the things introduced. They'd just be there if you wanted more content.
Another important thing to consider, more so than items/blocks offered by a biome, are the actual gameplay mechanics a biome uses. For example, I earlier talked about reducing the maximum light level for spawning mobs- this would already make plains and deserts something unique in terms of gameplay. It also meant forests and jungles would be more dangerous than them. These kinds of things are fantastic- they add extra layers of gameplay, which again, is never a bad thing (as long as it's not forced upon the player). Granted, not EVERY SINGLE BIOME needs to have ~super unique amazing things times a thousand~, either. But it'd be nice if I went to a desert and found a lot more things than just... more of the same stuff I could get in other places, or get better versions of.
As mentioned, one thing about biomes that seems to go ignored is how they generate in relation to one another. You have the system set up for this to work ("Hills" will only generate in their "parent" biome, extremehills edge will only generate outside extremehills, etc), but it's not used at all. First, I suggest introducing a lot more biomes- ones you'd not only find IRL, but would just add to the variation, and (ideally) gameplay. A lot more transition biomes- Savanna (Plains/forests to deserts), Bogs (Swamps to Taigas), Subtropical (Forest to Jungle), and so on. Not only would be they be transitional, but you could add things that are loosely based on IRL- bogs could contain pools of acid (a new liquid type, tons of possible uses), etc.
You can also have more sub-type biomes- biomes that sort of "branch" off the existing ones, but are considered the same for the previously mentioned organization system. Things like a "Wispy forest" with lots of creepy stuff (and spiders), or a "Canyon desert" with lots of hills and ravines, and so on. Again, variation with existing biomes is never a bad thing.
Lastly, the height limit. Just... make more use of it. Extend the "sea level" (thus, cloud level, and everything) to be ~90 blocks instead of 63. 63 is pretty short, to be honest, and doesn't give enough room to make really awesome layered caves. Next, allow things to generate higher. Extremehills need to be renamed to "Mountains", and then be allowed to generate all the way up to a height level of 200 (which, even with the higher sea level, would be higher than existing extreme hills). That leaves 56 blocks to build with, which is plenty. And that's just from the peak! People can still build alongside the mountain and have Dracula style castles if they really want to.
Those are just some ideas, too. Terrain generation, I feel, is one of the most under-utilized aspects of Minecraft- and there's not much of a reason for it. It doesn't force more upon the player. They don't need to learn more things to appreciate variation and content. It's just variation and content- the only people it would possibly annoy are those who literally cannot accept change. But then, why consider those people? Why let them hold back development for something that could be legendary? Again, no reason to.
5a: Lack of Player Character Choices
Currently, the game only contains a very small amount of choices for your player character. You have swords (which are tiered, so there's effectively only one), bows (literally only one), ender pearls, and snowballs (don't do any damage except to 2 mobs in the game, even then not much) for weapons. For armor, you only have whichever tier you have access to, and pumpkins (which only serve an immensely niche purpose). For direct controls, you can only: walk (a given), jump (also a given), sprint (double tapping, which is rather frustrating to use), and sneaking. That's about it.
By any game standards, this is fairly low. There isn't some technical limitation (items actually have more ID numbers than blocks) for why there's a lack of equipment. And there definitely isn't a technical limitation for why there's a lack of player ability (It's not a 2D game, or made in 1998). They just aren't there.
Sure, one can argue "But you can't consider something to be lacking if it never meant to have other things in the first place". Just the same, you could argue "You can't consider anything a flaw, because they wouldn't be there if they weren't meant to be there". I'm pretty sure any reasonable person wouldn't make that second argument (and frankly the first, but hey). The thing is, both of those arguments are virtually the same. You'd basically be saying "Everything that exists is perfectly fine, as they are already there". Just because something exists doesn't mean it can't be better- and it definitely doesn't mean that because it exists, it's good.
With that out of the way, we can then point out that there indeed can be more to this game in terms of player choices- and that something can, indeed, be lacking (even if they were never intended to be included). So first, let's point out what this game lacks- things that would add so much to it in terms of both gameplay, and just general enjoyment.
First off, it lacks equipment choice. Sword, bow, and armor- that's really about it. Ender pearls are just an escape mechanism, and snowballs are way too niche. Just because "it's fine as it is" doesn't mean there can't be more. Especially if none of the extra equipment choices are forced in any way (imagine if snowballs were the only way to kill blazes- that'd be annoying). They'd just offer variation in your approach to things (because ideally, they'd be balanced). Which is important- a game like Minecraft relies almost entirely on user control to do things, yet there's a significant lack of options for literal control over your character.
I can understand not having flying and stuff in survival, of course- it'd be overpowered. So it's not just a lack of control- if you have too much control over what you do, there's no true sense of satisfaction when you overcome the game's challenges. However, when you have too little control over your character, it can be frustrating when you die simply because you couldn't do X thing. It's like really old videogames with clunky controls- the only difference is that Minecraft isn't limited by any hardware or the like.
Especially when you have a mod like Smart Moving. This mod proves that you can very easily make the game much more enjoyable with just a few more additional mechanics. However, it doesn't break the game- sure, a few of the more meta things might be rendered less useful (fences in SMP servers need to be reinforced), but that's going to happen when you introduce new things. Instead of simply plopping certain mechanics into the game, of course, the things it "breaks" can still be overhauled as well. So instead of refusing to put smart moving in "because it breaks fences in SMP", why not make reinforced fences that can't be built over?
Once you instill the idea of "Anything added to player abilities, so long as they're not inherently overpowered, can be aided by editing other things where necessary, especially if it breaks things", you don't have to worry about adding new player abilities and the like. Of course, you shouldn't go overboard- adding too many controls can end up throwing a lot into the face of a player, and frankly I'd probably be annoyed at anything more than Smart Moving. Which, I'd like to say again- Smart Moving is fantastic. It shows precisely how movement can be better.
Anyway, the next point I'd like to cover is equipment. Tiered equipment is a flawed concept for game balance- why use X when Y is the same as X but better? Minecraft isn't TOO bad with this, but wood and gold are effectively useless. Sure, gold mines faster, but diamond is hardly slow- plus, it breaks way quicker, and etc... there could be more uses for gold equipment, yet there isn't.
The same goes for armor- why use leather when I can use iron? Or better yet, why not use armor? Especially if you have a surplus of iron (which really isn't hard to get). Armor gives you tons of defense (up to 80% reduction in damage with full diamond) with no drawback. The only thing it does is add more things you can potentially lose, but that argument extends to anything remotely rare- and rarity is not a balancing factor, so yeah.
In general, the existing weapons and armor don't offer much either- swords hit things and block (despite blocking being pretty meta, given that no mobs have cues for their attacks), and bows... well, bows are alright, but still. Armor just reduces damage- it doesn't offer anything more, nor does it have any other stats that allow the developer to diversify armor types. Again, this is "fine" from the sense that it's a bare minimum, but there can be more.
5b: How to fix it.
Implement Smart Moving. Right away, this adds an extra layer of gameplay- you really feel like you're in the game world. Climbing just makes so much sense. Crawling, swimming (you can swim into 1x1 areas), and so on just... feel right. I can't explain it- just go DL it and play with it for awhile until you're used to the controls. You'll see what I mean. It's a really, really amazing mod and deserves a lot of attention.
With that in place, you have more options for balancing out armor- as I said, armor is a little imbalanced. There's no real reason not to wear armor, and especially no reason to wear lesser armor (like leather). I suggest an "armor weighting" system, where every piece of armor has a variable weight (IE: Iron boots are 3, but leather boots are 1, etc). Straight away, you have two stats now to diversify the existing pool of armor- armor points, and weight. Ideally, things that give more armor points are heavier (for gameplay purposes- not lolrealism).
Next, make armor weight actually do something. First, increase the default sprinting speed- then, have heavier armor reduce your sprinting speed, up until flat out disabling sprinting when using a full set of the heaviest armor (diamond). Then, after certain points of armor weight, some of the smart moving abilities would be disabled- IE: going over a weight of X disables charge jumping, going over a weight of Y disables the ability to climb vines, etc. More and more abilities would be disabled, until you're essentially only able to move like pre-1.8 beta (as in, not able to sprint, etc) at the max possible weight. On another note, inventory/etc shouldn't add to weight- that's just arbitrary and annoying. It should only be for armor, for the sake of gameplay balance- not because of "realism".
With this system, you can apply different weight to different types of armor, and essentially split them into different categories (light, heavy, and in between). Wearing no armor would give the most freedom, leather armor gives a fair amount of freedom but also some armor, gold armor gives a bit more armor with a bit less freedom, chainmail is even more armor but heavier than gold, etc. This would offer a great balance system, honestly.
Another thing that can be added to armor is knockback resistance- right now, you get knocked back the same regardless of the armor you're wearing. I'd expect to be able to hold my ground better if I was wearing a full suit of iron armor- besides, it adds another variable for considering what armor pieces to choose. Again, more choice can only make things more enjoyable.
Furthermore, with these 3 stats, you now have the ability to easily add in unique armors, too- and then reduce/increase any of the 3 stats to balance it out. More balancing factors make it easier to add in unique things, since adding in a new armor that does something special that simply has less armor wouldn't be able to fit within the current armor types under the current system. With weight and knockback resistance, you could make things like a fire-resistant armor that has as much armor as chainmail, but is a bit heavier than chainmail with the same knockback resistance. Things like that are now very easily possible, as they wouldn't be imbalanced to add, and a system would be in place to allow you to easily add them without needing to make up a drawback.
Pretty much the same can be applied to weapons, too- add in attack speed and knockback as stats instead of just damage, and suddenly you have 3 new stats to work out and adjust where necessary. This can be applied to not just new weapons, but material types- gold is slower than iron, but knocks back farther, or something. From there, you can naturally make new weapons with unique secondary abilities (as in, right clicking)- maces that can be charged up for more damage and knockback, spears that can be thrown, etc. New weapons can of course have additional passive abilities, as well- spears can hit farther, battleaxes can cause a "bleed" effect that attracts zombies (someone here suggested this, forgot who, but it's a neat idea) and does slow damage over time, etc.
There's just so many things you can do- and in the end, it's not like you'd have to consider a ton of things just to make sure you pick the "right" weapon- if you don't care, all you need to do is just make a sword still, and it'd still work the same way. You wouldn't even be forced to use the additions in smart moving. Ideally, there wouldn't be mobs that can only be killed by X weapon, or the like- that forces you to carry certain weapons, especially if that mob is common. I'd hate to do that, and while a minor thing, is something that videogames do that's rather annoying (use the green whip to kill this enemy, and the purple whip to kill that one!).
6a: Graphic Design
Graphics in Minecraft is a subject that a lot of people like to bash, but aren't really specific as to why they're bad. I'm not sure if it means that they're so aware of the flaws that they feel other people should too, or that they don't have very good reasons- but either way, there isn't much of a proper deconstruction as to why the graphics are flawed.
Now, before we get started with this section, I need to explain a very fundamental aspect of videogames graphics before I get started- technical graphics are different from graphic design. Technical graphics are the things like texture size, polygon count, shaders, all those things. Technical graphics are often "capped" due to hardware limitations- or else, the game will grind to a halt trying to render things. They're not things that immediately turn into graphics, either- instead, they're things used almost exclusively for graphic design. Graphic design is the actual placement of colors, the artistic overlay over the polygons, the "shape", the overall artistic design, and so on. Think of technical graphics as a lump of clay, and graphic design as the end product. Sure, the graphic design requires a certain amount of technical graphics, but they're still very different aspects.
It's the kind of thing people complain about when they go on about "brown n' bloom" in modern videogames- it's nothing more than a simple bit of technical graphics (shaders, and such) that's simply tacked onto the game. It's also why it's still possible to find older videogames that actually look really good, despite their age- Ecco the Dolphin, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metal Slug, etc. They all employed graphic design- artistic talent that makes use of the hardware and software they're given, and work within their limitations to provide an objectively good looking, unique product.
Minecraft, unlike a lot of older videogames, is limited in quite a different way. Rather than being limited by hardware or software (well, java, but still), it's limited by the fundamental concepts it employs- there's a reason the textures aren't higher than 16x16, as that can cause a fair amount of lag due to rendering every single block you can see individually (at the very least- it usually needs to render more than just that). However, it's not immediately limited by hardware- while Minecraft is now on mobile and 360, those are still ports. At its heart, it's a PC game, and PC consumers have variable hardware specs- which continually improve every year, if not every couple of months.
In the years Minecraft has been in development, hardware averages have improved considerably- however, Minecraft hasn't really done much of anything to even give players more options for a better looking game. The only things that come to mind (I may be skipping over a few things- apologies if I have) is when they implemented smooth lighting (quite a while ago), and the Advanced OpenGL rendering thing (Forgot what this is called... occlusion?). Mojang hasn't really made much of an effort to improve the game's technical graphics. I can understand why- it's not a game for technical graphics at all (although it can always use improvement). However, that's where the other problem comes into play- it severely lacks graphic design. It's been using programmer art even through its official release.
Let's explain what the term "programmer" art means. Programmer art is when the programmers create very simple art for the sole purpose of moving along the development of the actual game engine and game mechanics. This happens because graphic design can take a fairly long time, so waiting for them to work on things can take far too long for any reasonable development time. It's just a temporary thing- they're not meant to be in the actual game itself. They often employ bright colors to make things easy to recognize while hunting down bugs, and ensuring that everything is where it's suppose to be. Afterwards, a graphic design team is meant to apply the actual art to the product.
If you've ever seen someone model something in 3D, they often use temporary textures or even just flat colors. Sometimes, their models will contain multiple colors- this is often to essentially say "This is what this part is going to be, this is what that part is going to be" so that you can apply textures to it appropriately. This is why bright colors are used for programmer art- it allows for a much smoother time for the graphic design team.
However, Minecraft doesn't have a graphic design team- pretty much all of Notch's programmer art is still in the game. Although a few of the textures have been (slowly) changed through the development of the game (Grass, cobblestone, and more recently, gravel), they still don't have a dedicated graphic design person (or team). This is frequently the point that people such as myself mean when we say "The graphics in Minecraft could be better" (assuming it's said that nicely- it usually isn't).
This doesn't extend to just textures, either- the models are all also temporary, or at least were. There was a period of time where someone named "Dock" had actually been working to fix this, but he ended up leaving the team... and the current models just stayed. Again, a few things have been improved (Pig nose, etc), but they're very few and far between- and to be fair, they don't have a dedicated modeler on hand, either.The thing is, Mojang makes a lot of money. And I mean a lot. They're not against the idea of hiring new people to do certain tasks (Dinnerbone, Jon, etc). They're not even against hiring people from the community (*sigh* Minecraftchick, etc...). When it comes to art, though, they seem to actually be content with the programmer art.
This is something that actually angers a lot of people (myself included). And not just dumb people- most of those types only complain about the lack of technical graphics. Mojang has the ability to employ an amazing team of graphic designers to help overhaul the graphic design of the game, yet they don't. There is nothing limiting them- they can still work within the (self-inflicted) limitations of the game. They simply choose not to- either due to laziness, or because they believe it truly is the best it could be. I don't think it's the latter, though- they're not against changing graphics as they see fit (Grass, gravel, pig nose), or even making relatively more advanced graphics and animations (Enderdragon) for new content. Rather than point fingers and name call, let's attempt to figure out what would be the best approach for fixing the flaws in the game.
6b: How to fix it.
At the very least, hire some of the people who have worked on some really good texture packs. If not texture pack artists, then go all the way and hire professional artists. Not to straight up implement the texture packs they've designed, but to help create a generally better looking game. Some of the things in texture packs can be silly- a "creeper" moon, or the like. And that's fine- they're for texture packs. It's just that they shouldn't be put straight into the game, and often times texture packs are really just for preference.Still, this doesn't mean an objectively good looking design can't come about. Frankly, I feel as though the game would do better to really go all the way with the "simple" design idea. Right now, a lot of the textures are actually very "noisy", and honestly look like greatly downscaled textures from other sources. Instead, I suggest going for a more "Wind Waker" approach- intentionally simple graphics with a cel-shaded look (it doesn't actually have to be cel-shaded, but you get the idea).
Grass should be less "noisy", ores should all have different textures, and so on. There's lots of things that would need to be adjusted, and in fact the whole game's looks would require an overhaul to truly match a new artistic direction. But this isn't bad- the game is in need of one. This is one of the perks of having an "always in-development" game- you can do stuff like this. Really, outside of people who would complain about change solely on the basis of it being a change, why not make the game look better? And surely, having an actual art design team come up with a new direction would make things look at least as good as it currently is (at least...). There isn't miuch reason not to overhaul the game's graphics- outside of the subjective viewpoints of some people (but then that's not reason).
More than just textures, models also need an overhaul- along with animations. It can retain a cuboid look (I like this idea, actually), as Dock had shown was possible. However, they really aren't very good looking right now- most of them are awfully low polygon, making it hard to do much in terms of animation (though Smart Moving managed). At the very least, the models should be as good as the Enderdragon's- again, I'm not suggesting that they be akin to Call of Duty or Crysis or whatever. They can still be cuboid, and don't even need to be very high polygon or super realistic to look good- just a bit more detailed than they currently are.
As I also pointed out, there's a lack of choice for higher technical graphics. It can't be that hard to implement an optional water shader, optional realistic shadows, optional higher resolution textures, and so on. I know there's mods already for it, and while they'd probably punch a hole in a system, they should be optional still- so they wouldn't kill my computer. Options like these are great to have- sure, they're aesthetic, but it's not like Mojang lacks the money to hire people. Especially since it'd make the game look objectively better if implemented right (again, no brown n' bloom, please).
If these 3 things (Textures, models, technical graphic options) were implemented, the game could easily look way better. And you wouldn't even need to make it lag more! So it'd definitely work out nicely.
7a: The Community, and Mojang's Consideration of Such
"Oh boy", you say. "This is where I can safely dismiss everything this guy says. Every community sucks. Duh.". The thing is, for one, no- not every community is absolutely terrible. Even then, there are many things about the Minecraft community that can't be disputed- there's a distinctly large amount of people who ignore rules even on the forums (Constant server advertisements in the Survival section, asking for help on things that are already answered in the various support sections, etc). Every community has its idiots, sure, but they all come in different percentages- I can't in all good honesty say that the Minecraft community has a large majority of good, intelligent people in it.
Even THEN, one should be able to ignore stupid people in a community (regardless of the percentage of the community they make up), right? They're not flooding into my singleplayer survival and teabagging people while trying desperately to be considered a "troll" when they're just annoying, or anything. They're "contained", right? They stick to the forums, or their servers, or whatever. They're not breaking down my door and screaming about ponies or regurgitating year old memes in a shrill voice that one can only stand for roughly 1 second before going insane. They're harmless, right?
Well... that's not the problem. The problem is that, even if they're a minority, they are very vocal about their opinions. They outright flood the forums with silly, nonsensical ideas ("crying obsidian armor", "giant creepers", "super TNT", etc). Sometimes, even mods come about from these things- they drown out the good content with their objectively terrible ones. They borderline spam Jeb & co's twitter to get things done in the game that no reasonable person would listen to.
And it works. Mojang's progress on this game has significantly slowed since around Alpha. Content creation has become exceedingly sparse, and often ends up being appeasement (dogs, cats, etc) rather than artistic design. While content has still been created, again- it's very slow. It takes them a long time to add things in for some reason or another- and I don't think it's because they're lazy, or because it's particularly hard. It's because they want to appease their fanbase.
Now, why wouldn't they? It makes them money (to some degree), and unfortunately, everyone likes money. Well... I shouldn't have to explain that doing things solely for the intention of getting more money is an awful thing to do, but more than that, it's actually bad for them in the end. Their content won't be nearly as memorable, and devolves into a "fad". At best, it's senseless pandering when you listen to either the unreasonable majority or the vocal minority- at worst, it causes you to completely lose focus of what allowed you to gain such a following in the first place.
Allow me to direct you to the Japanese animation industry for an example of what I'm talking about- during the 50's, it became a booming market. It lead to the creation of what we now call "anime"- a very artistically diverse industry. Many a fantastic series have come about with insightful, beautiful, and downright amazing elements to them. Critically acclaimed films have also come about, such as Miyazaki's works. However, it also created an insanely faithful fanbase of the industry- commonly known as "otaku". "Otaku" essentially formed a subculture within Japan (and even outside Japan), with an exceedly high dedication to the industry's works.
Over time, however, the animation industry has hit a few "low points"- as any industry does. To keep their numbers (read: profits) high, they sought out their otaku fanbases more and more. They appealed, appeased, and in some cases flat out pandered to them. The term "fanservice" came about to describe this process- sometimes it was in small amounts, sometimes it filled an entire series. Over time, fanservice became more and more common- in fact, nowadays, it's hard to find an anime without some form of fanservice.
This lead to the alienation of many people outside the otaku culture- a culture that wasn't critical whatsoever, and actually are very accepting of what the industry has to offer (most of the time). One would figure "What's wrong with appeasing people who are easy to please?". The thing is, when you do this, you often lose out on a very important aspect of artistic design- criticism.
People who are almost unnaturally accepting of a product will lead the industry that creates said product to be content. They make their money, and they don't have to put much work into their product. When this happens, they often feel they don't need criticism. If it's not intentionally ignored or dismissed, it's often missed due to the outcry of support from the dedicated fanbase they either intentionally or unintentionally created. This outcry drowns out the critical responses from other people- especially in the internet age, where virtually anyone can voice their opinions, thus creating a massive amount of feedback that is virtually impossible to see the entirety of.
This, indeed, happened within the Japanese animation industry. They slowly lowered their average content quality, as they no longer needed to appeal. They had a dedicated fanbase they could appease already. Although the occasional gem surfaced throughout the years, the average quality stagnated a lot- not just in the technical aspect of their products, but in the overall artistic sense. Creativity became the exception instead of the driving force. Because of this, they started to lose general appeal- the majority of people in the world who are aware of anime will dismiss it due to their perception of it being low in quality (regardless of this being true or not).
Unfortunately for the "anime" industry, their viewers actually weren't as easy to please as one might think. Although overly accepting of content they like, over the years they evolved. Some of them simply stopped being otaku- because they either had to commit more time to work (thus lacked the time to watch anime), school (thus lacked time and often money), or they just stopped liking the general content.
What otaku remained, however, continued to become more and more "bloated"- much like a child who had been fed too much candy and became overly obese, the otaku fanbase had wanted more and more of what they were being given. After a point, they simply ignored things that weren't what they liked- they didn't necessarily hate or complain about these things, but they didn't pay any mind, either.
Because of this, the Japanese animation industry had essentially dug itself a hole- and not just through the efforts of one entity, but multiple entities. It would be like if a group of hundreds (thousands, even) people all worked together to dig a massive hole. After some time, some people may have realize the futility of their efforts, and got out before the hole was dug too deeply- others remained too long, and were unable to easily escape from the hole (if not completely incapable). The rest continued to dig.
Not unlike that analogy, the animation industry has taken a sharp decline in its profits- many studios have had to take massive budget cuts, and thus, their animation teams are almost criminally underpaid for the work they put in.
Not unlike THAT analogy, Mojang is also digging itself into a hole. They may be putting in effort, and they may be getting a crowd of people telling them "Keep digging!"- but soon, they'll reach an undesired consequence of continuing to dig.
Remember, Mojang- you never dig straight down.7b: How to fix it.
Stop enabling those people. At the same time, stop digging yourself into the hole that those people keep telling you to dig. At this point, this is strictly directed at Mojang- the community can't fix itself, much like a child constantly being given candy cannot stop itself from eating said candy. Mojang needs to put its foot down in order to prevent Minecraft- a truly amazing concept with amazing potential- from becoming the videogame equivalent of an obese, unhealthy child. Yes, it's that simple- it won't be easy for Mojang, and a lot of people will complain- but it truly is that simple.
To go the extra step, though, you need to actually listen to criticism. You can't just stop progress- you need to work a bit to climb back out of that hole. Communities that are largely critical should be listened to- places like /v/ are great for criticism. Obviously, the stupid ideas there should be just as ignored as any others- but I guarantee you that /v/ will come up with better ideas (in larger amounts) than any communities based around recognition, "+1"ing, or any similar systems.
Other intelligent gaming communities should be considered as well- Something Awful comes to mind. I'm not entirely sure of what their gaming sub-community is like, but from what I've seen, SA is fairly intelligent. At the very least, you'll get a few nice ideas and well written posts without much stupidity to sift through. Again, I'm mostly basing that off of what I've seen from other aspects of Something Awful- but I can't imagine that their videogames part is too horrible.
Outside of those two, I'm sure there are many more areas you can look for criticism- just make sure they're communities that aren't overly accepting of everything (/v/), or are fairly strict in terms of moderation and post content (SA). Or, even better, both.
This section is, honestly, the most important one. If you had to choose one out of 7 of these sections to really listen to, make it this one- it's vitally important for any real progress to be made in Minecraft. None of the previous ideas will be able to be put in without you losing focus on why they'd be good to add. It'll also set the stage for other people to get their ideas through to you- Mojang- and help this game reach its true potential.
If you've read all of this, thank you. I don't know if Mojang has, or ever will, read this- but if they never do, then let this be an eye opener to the kind of content they look over.
FAT's (Frequently Answered Things)
"You keep saying that building is for creative, and that survival isn't meant to be easy. Building isn't just for creative! Creative makes it feel cheap. Right now, survival gives you more of a sense of accomplishment when you build amazing things! If your suggestions were implemented, it'd be too hard to enjoy Minecraft peacefully!"
That's why I suggest creative mode have a lot more options- optional health, optional hunger, etc. Make it possible to have all the features of survival. All of them. As it stands, you basically have it this way in survival, anyway- the peaceful mode button makes it insanely easy, and now with optional cheats... yeah. This way, it'd be virtually the same (the argument of "Play as you want" would strongly apply to creative), but for creative instead of survival.
"I don't really like the Enderman curse idea. It's too annoying."
I already addressed this with an edit, but still, I know. It was just an idea- the core of the idea was that Endermen start to become more hostile after you beat the Enderdragon. How to go about this- like every other suggestion- is open for discussion.
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