Notch

GDC 2012 has just kicked off. We're live on the show floor

Owen Hill at

The Games Developers Conference has just begun in San Francisco. Devs from every corner of the industry are congregating to talk about their craft. It’s a very exciting time.

GDC is less console iteration and booth babe than E3. It's more about quiet announcements and candid industry chatter. That said, this year’s show is already shaping up nicely, especially for us PC gamers. We have men on the ground, sniffing out scoops in real-time.

Will Valve open the Pandora’s box that is the Steam Box? What’s the mystery game that EA are due to announce on Tuesday? What will Sid Meier have to say in his keynote speech? Are Hitman Absolution’s crowds extremely good or a bit good? Read on for the highlights.


Watch Notch create a Team Fortress 2 RTS live

Tom Senior at

Notch is currently busy "streaming development of something that probably never will be released at all," which seems a shame, because it's a lovely little Team Fortress 2 RTS. You can watch Noch magically turning numbers and letters into scenes of TF2's eight classes fragging each other in the livestream box above. Don't worry, "Herp Derp Herp Fortress" is only a working title for now. You can suggest some alternative names in the live chat happening alongside the stream on Notch's Twitch TV channel.


LEGO Minecraft available to pre-order. In stores this Summer for $34.99/£34.99

Owen Hill at

LEGO Minecraft's "Micro Worlds" are available for pre-order at Jinx.com right now. The beans have been well and truly spilled at a conference in Denmark this morning. You'll actually get your hands on the sets in the Summer. Until then, reserve your blocks by laying down $34.99/€34.99/£29.99 on the official site. Mojang are donating 1% of the proceeds to charity.

"I played a lot with Lego bricks as a child, and that's influenced how I made games. I prefer games with levels that are modifiable. I don't like static levels." said Notch, speaking at the conference today.

Each "Micro World" is cube-shaped. "Because Minecraft is cubes," says LEGO's Tom Courtney. Each block is represented by a 1x1 LEGO plate with a tile on top. They're not completely square, like in the game, but each "modular vingnette" comes with its own selection of hidden resources, which is canon. Whether you'll be able to melt down four brown blocks to construct a workbench block is yet to be confirmed. Actually, I'll confirm it now: you can't.


Notch calms down internet with facts. Asks it to "stop hyping"

Owen Hill at

"Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen" said Notch a few weeks ago. Yesterday, he offered Tim Schafer 13 million to fund the anticipated sequel, before clarifying his intent. Later in the day, he posted confirmed details on his personal blog.

Even though Notch mentions he and Tim "haven't spoken much," he confirms the high profile pair are planning on meeting at GDC, which happens in a few weeks. He also mentions that the 13 million quoted by Tim was "three times higher" than his original estimate, but that he's still up for fronting the cash. The Minecraft dev says he would be operating purely as an investor, saying "I wouldn't want to have any creative input."


Schafer says Psychonauts 2 will cost $13 million to fund. "Yeah, I can do that," says Notch

Tom Senior at

This fan made film, Inceptionauts, was used by Tim Schafer in meetings with publishers to try and sell the idea of a sequel to Psychonauts. "It's better than any trailer we ever had for the game" Tim Schafer said to Kotaku. But it wasn't enough to persuade any businesses to part with their money, until Notch went onto Twitter last week with a simple message. "Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen."

"I feel like I was being proposed to on the jumbotron at the baseball game." says Schafer, but an offer on Twitter is one thing, a publishing deal is another. A sequel would need to at least match the budget of the original, which cost around $13 million to make. Schafer told Notch how much cash he might need to front production. "As soon as I mentioned the amount of money he said, 'Yeah, I can do that.'"


Tim Schafer says he'd "love to do" Psychonauts 2, Notch offers to fund it

Tom Senior at

Did you love Psychonauts? Have you often wished for a sequel that would continue Raz' adventures? You're not alone. Psychonauts creator, Tim Schafer mentions to Digital Spy that he's pitched Psychonauts 2 several times to different publishers, but "no-one has taken the bait so far."

"I'd love to do that game," he says. "But I'd have to convince someone to just give me a few million dollars, that's all."

A few million dollars? If only there were some sort of successful indie developer. One who loved the original, someone with the kind of dosh to prop up development on a sequel. Perhaps someone with a nice hat and a name that rhymes with "scotch."


Minecraft video shows lovely 3D-printed Minecraft village

Tom Senior at

A little while ago we threw a spotlight on this gorgeous model of a Minecraft village, ported from Minecraft into a CAD program, and then built with a 3D printer. Now, there's a video. A well-placed coin shows just how tiny the model is. It's total dimensions are just 360 x 250 x 60 mm. D'aww.

If only 3D printing wasn't so expensive, we'd find a way to carve a model of the glorious constructions on the PC Gamer server. We could stick some cogs in it, add some tilt-shift and shoot a pretty good reconstruction of the Game of Thrones intro, only with more Nyan cats. The model above was created with the Zprinter 650.

You can find plenty more images of tiny Minecraft worlds on the post apocalyptic research institute flickr account. Here are a few more choice picks from the recently uploaded sets.


Minecraft Lego gets official approval, in development now

Tom Senior at

LEGO are now in the process of developing Minecraft sets to be sold worldwide. Last month Mojang launched a pitch through the LEGO CUSOO site. Pitches that pick up more than ten thousand visitor votes are passed on to the designers and decision makers at LEGO for a closer look. Mashable mention that Minecraft Lego has now received a big fat APPROVED stamp after picking up 10k approvals in two days, a CUSOO record.

Lego say "we are now developing a concept that celebrates the best aspects of building with the LEGO system and in Minecraft and we can’t wait to show it to you — but we aren’t ready just yet." Mojang will receive 1% of any profits gathered by the Lego sets bearing its branding, which they plan to give to charity. It's odd to think that Lego-influenced Minecraft should inspire Lego sets. We caught up with Notch recently to see what he thought. "Yeah, it's weird," he said.


Notch: "It's become hip to pay for indie games"

Owen Hill at

Are Mojang still indie developers? Since Minecraft's inception years ago, Notch's block builder has sold a price-tag-defeating 4,733,940 copies and been awarded 96% in our Minecraft review. An Xbox 360 port is incoming, and the touchy-feely Android/iOS ports are already available. They're even making Minecraft LEGO.

"These days it's become hip to pay for indie games. That's partly down to people charging for it, like with the Humble Indie Bundle, and partly because of Steam doing awesome stuff," Notch told PC Gamer last week.

"I don't think [Mojang] are indie in the sense of how I used to work any more, because we have a payroll to worry about and we need to do stuff to ensure the company lasts," he continued.

"We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games. We make sure me and Jacob are only focusing on game development so the founders are still developing. But as a company, I don't think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it. But in the other sense of indie - as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies - then yeah, we're indie."


Notch: "No sane person can be for SOPA"

Tom Senior at

A growing chorus of developers, publishers and even congressmen are voicing their opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act currently working its way through US Congress. Notch, creator of Minecraft, is one of those people.

Under existing legislation, the creators of copyright-infringing material can be sued by the copyright owners. SOPA would extend this liability to any site that carries the copyright-infringing material as well. If someone posts a film on Youtube, the film company that owns the film could sue Youtube for carrying it. If someone then links to the film on a forum, that would expose the forum provider to court injunctions from the copyright holders as well.

ISPs and search engine companies can gain immunity from prosecution by blocking sites accused of carrying pirated material, and as it's unlikely that Google or Youtube would go to court to defend content creators they're barely associated with, this would likely result in huge amounts of material being taken down based on the mere accusation of an infringement. This would have devastating implications for Minecraft's thriving fan community, the e-sports streaming community, and any forum that posts screenshots or videos. Beyond gaming, it's a scary bill for sites like YouTube and Reddit, too. You can read the bill in full here Read on for Notch's take on the act.


Minecraft review

Jaz McDougall at

Minecraft, as if you’ve never heard of it, as if we haven’t been telling you to play it for years, as if we didn’t already give it Game of the Year in 2010, is a game about building things out of blocks with your friends.

The game world is rendered in cubes, every one of which can be destroyed, stored in your inventory, and placed back down anywhere you like. The map generates more terrain as you explore in a new direction, almost infinitely (you will run out of hard disk space at some point). That terrain is a quilt of discrete environmental regions, or biomes: as you travel, the thick forest you spawned in will give way to veldt or cliffs, or a desert peppered with cacti. You might reach the ocean, or a marsh clogged with exploding monsters and lily pads, or an ice floe leading to a wintry island.


Notch makes Minicraft in 48 hours for Ludum Dare

Tom Senior at

The latest Ludum dare competition challenged developers to create a game in 48 hours based on the theme "Alone." Minecraft creatory Markus 'Notch' Persson has turned in his entry already. It's called Minicraft, a top down, 2D take on Minecraft. You have to roam the world, punching trees, blocks and zombies in your way as you try to find the only other sentient being in the world, the Air Wizard, so you can kill him.


Notch steps down as Minecraft lead designer, plans to start new projects

Tom Senior at

Notch has mentioned on his blog that he'll be handing over the Minecraft design reigns to Jens Bergensten, the Mojang developer who has been working alongside Notch on Minecraft for the last year. "He will have the final say in all design decisions, so he will kinda sorta become my boss," says Notch. "I’ve promised him to not pull rank. ;)"


Team Fortress 2 gives Notch his own hat

Henry Winchester at

When he’s not tweeting, Minecraft developer Markus “Notch” Persson loves to indulge in a little Team Fortress 2, according to his tumblr blog. He was recently invited to take part in the third TF2 Mixup, with famous Team Fortress 2 personalities such as Valve’s Robin Walker and YouTuber Freddie Wong blasting each other to bits.

Notch was enjoying the game, earning the Primeval Warrior medal, when suddenly he was awarded with his very own hat. It resembles Notch's own visage, if it were made in Minecraft and then copied onto a cardboard box, and - so far - he's the only owner. “I am never quitting TF2 again, and you should all go buy it right away,” said Notch. “How much is it, you ask? It’s FREE! YES!”


Minecraft's Notch versus Yogscast: the story so far

Henry Winchester at

Minecon wasn’t quite the Minecraft celebration developer Markuss “Notch” Persson was expecting. In fact, it’s the fallout that followed that’s put it in many gaming sites’ headlines - including Edge’s. It seems Notch and Minecraft-centric video podcast Yogscast had something of a falling out at the show.

Seemingly, it all comes down to Yogscast’s behaviour during Minecon. Notch started subtly without naming names, tweeting: “I'm very sorry about the behavior of the people we won't work with any more. Celebrity or not, you don't f-bomb kids.” This was rapidly followed up with, “Yes, Yogscast.”

Minecraft in insanely big numbers, 241 million logins a month, 11,000 skin downloads a second

Henry Winchester at

If you haven’t got time to watch the 86 minutes of Minecon videos we posted earlier, here’s a brief guide to the kind of numbers involved in Minecraft.net, fresh from GameFront. You might want to prepare your eyes - these are some fairly hefty figures.

There are 241,920,000 logins per month. That’s the equivalent of every person in Indonesia - the fourth most populous country on the planet - logging in.
Some 1,000 people login per hour on average, with 4,000 people logging in per second after the 1.0 launch.
Two billion files have been downloaded by the launcher. Two billion.
In game, 11,000 skins are downloaded per second.

 
At the moment of writing, Minecraft has 16,804,266 registered users. 4,129,151 have bought the full game. It’s a good thing Minecraft doesn’t look like Crysis, as it would have broken the entire internet by now.


Minecon keynote and closing ceremony features Minecraft 1.0 and a marriage proposal

Tom Senior at

http://youtu.be/9f68PFL1N2k

Notch pulled a giant ACTIVATE MINECRAFT lever on stage at Minecon this weekend, finally releasing Minecraft 1.0 into the wild. See that moment in Gamespot's video of the Minecon keynote event. It also features Hat Films' video retrospective, which takes a charming jaunt through Minecraft's journey from a game about placing blocks into the phenomenon it is today full of netherworlds, villages, dragons and amazing multiplayer mega-builds.

The closing ceremony was also filmed by IGN, featuring a great big cheque for the Make a Wish foundation, and a man proposes on-stage 15 minutes in with the words "will you be my pork chop?" Does she say yes? Find out in the video below.


PCG PSA: Minecraft officially out of beta

Nathan Grayson at

Minecraft's been stealing gamers' time and replacing it with pure, unbridled joy for more than two years, but that - as they say - was only a test. Today at Minecon, Notch officially flipped the switch on the full release, showering streamers on an audience that'd probably kill just to touch a person who touched the rim of Notch's hat.

As is only proper for newly launched games, Minecraft is now experiencing customary crippling server troubles due to extreme demand. Aaaaaw, they grow up so fast.


New Minecraft documentary trailer sneak peek—watch Notch code exploding arrows

Evan Lahti at

http://youtu.be/YxH_gmh6euE

Submitted for your delight, an exclusive clip of 2 Player Productions' documentary Minecraft: The Story of Mojang. We're thrilled to share this with you as a part of our special Minecraft episode of PC Gamer Digital, which hit Steam moments ago.

It's really something to see Notch pick Minecraft apart in realtime. It's like seeing the game face-up on a surgeon's table, code exposed through a gaping chest cavity, as the kindest Swede in the world sifts its guts and tries to find a place to fit an organ that spews exploding arrows.

Look forward to the full film in Summer 2012. Follow its progress at 2playerproductions.com or by following the talented team on Twitter.


Minecraft 1.0 strikes gold, is officially complete

Nathan Grayson at

Among other things, Minecraft's won countless awards, moved four million copies, and invented a whole new gaming genre. Pretty good for a game that's not even finished, huh? In a few short (or - depending on the potency of your Minecraft addiction - unbearably long) days, however, the "beta" tag's going into permanent retirement.

Today, Notch tweeted the modern classic's latest milestone: "So, yes, Minecraft has gone gold. :D," he said. That, of course, doesn't mean he'll suddenly stop building new bits onto his block-based masterpiece when the "final" version is released on Friday. There's 1.1 to look forward to, after all. But everyone deserves a chance to pop some champagne and celebrate the fact that their twisted mind gave birth to the most frequent star of my nightmares. So then, next stop? Vegas.