The origins of Minecraft

While looking through some project folders, I found an old protype of a game that never quite became anything. Kinda.

It was called “RubyDung” (for various reasons), and was supposed to be a base building game inspired by Dwarf Fortress, but with a heavy focus on accessibility. Here are the screenshots from that game:

Around this time, I was also playing around with the idea of making a zombie game with a graphics engine similar to GTA: Chinatown Wars. I made my own fully 3d texture mapper from scratch for the first time in my life (I had only one 2.5d texture mappers up until this point). The idea was kinda vaguely to make a spiritual sequel to Left 4k Dead.
It looked a little something like this:

As the RubyDung engine got more advanced, I started thinking about adding a first person view for following your minions around, kinda like in Dungeon Keeper. It worked ok, but the graphics got very pixellated and distorted, so I left it out.

But then I found Infiniminer. My god, I realized that that was the game I wanted to do. I played it in multiplayer for a while and had a blast, but found it flawed. Building was fun, but there wasn’t enough variation, and the big red/blue blocks were pretty horrible. I thought a fantasy game in that style would work really really well, so I tried to implement a simple first person engine in that style, reusing some art and code (although not as much as you’d think) from RubyDung, and came up with this:

The response was very positive, and I was blown away at how good the framerate, and how well it ran in a browser, so I decided to go for it. I knew I didn’t want the flat sprite look of enemies that Infiniminer had, but I also knew I wasn’t a good enough artist to make anything that looked really good. Additionally, realistic looking models would clash horribly with the terrain.

Then I realized I had already made fairly cool looking player models when i did ZombieTown, so I spend some time porting them to OpenGL, and ended up with this:

And that’s where we are now.

posted 14 years ago