Date: December 5, 2017, 7:30 pm
Location: Danbury Hospital Creasy Auditorium
Presenters: Drew and Thomas Kwashnak
Minecraft is the most popular computer game in history, yet the basic game has no structure, no story, and no objective. And I wonder why I’m not a gamer! What makes Minecraft cool is that everything the player sees on the screen, the environment (world), comes from an initial seed (string of ASCII characters) entered when starting the game, so at the most basic level, game play is in a seemingly “random” world. Minecraft was originally developed by Markus Persson, a Swedish game designer, in 2009. His company, Mojang (Swedish for “gadget”) was acquired by Microsoft in 2014. Game software for all platforms is available on the Minecraft website. I found basic information on Wikipedia and by searching on YouTube.
The play environment is a 3-D “sandbox” world made of blocks. The player’s view is created on the fly as the player (or players) moves through the environment. The speed of game play is set at the start along with a degree of difficulty. There are several modes of play. “Survival” is typical where you must find (mine) resources which can be “crafted” into tools. Other resources include food which seems to come raw and is best when cooked, which naturally involves other resources, all of which you must find, mine and craft into whatever you need. In survival mode, you are trying not to die. The world alternates between daytime and night, which is when the bad creatures appear.
Other play modes include “Creative” where you can fly and have unlimited resources which would be handy if you want to, for example, build a large dwelling. “Hardcore” is played at the most difficult level and when you die, you’re done.
If you sense that I’m unfamiliar with all this, you are correct. Multiplayer is available thru player-hosted or commercial servers. Playing with (or against?) other players seems to be the key to the game’s commercial success. The game is available on just about any platform imaginable, including Linux, Windows, and Mac, plus every current game console. A pocket edition allows play on every “device” from iOS to Windows Phone! Versions for virtual reality platforms are starting to appear. Servers offer a play to build and store “ready to play” worlds (realms) where players can return and continue play where they left off.
In their presentation, Thomas and Drew Kwashnak will start with some history of the game and then explain and demonstrate basic game play for people like me who have never played. After the break, Thomas will show us environments on the Mineplex server where he plays with his friends. The more I read and explore Minecraft, the more complex the game becomes. This complexity seems to come from a simple set of initial rules that allows for creativity at all levels of the game.
Drew Kwashnak and son Thomas will team up as our presenters. Thomas is a sophomore at Pomperaugh High School and was introduced to Minecraft years ago by a friend. Since then he has created and maintains his own Minecraft server that he and his friends play on, and posts YouTube videos of his Redstone and super-fast piston doors. He is into gaming, technology, math and art and has taken classes in (computer) Game Design, Computer Animation and Computer Design in High School. He hopes to go into Game Design when he graduates.
Drew has been involved with DACS previously as Linux Workshop leader and on the Board of Directors. Along the way, he has written a number of DACS.doc newsletter articles and over the years has participated in several General Meeting presentations. At home he has set up and runs a couple of Linux servers, including the initial setup of the Minecraft server Thomas manages, and tinkers with whatever computers come his way.