The history of Minecraft

As part of TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2018, we take a look at the history of Minecraft, from its humble beginnings to being the best selling PC game of all time.

“I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program”

Markus ‘Notch’ Persson

Our story begins back in 2009, when a number of people had some seriously good ideas. One was Zach Barth, now known best as the founder of perennial puzzle innovator Zachtronics, who coded and released multiplayer mineral-em-up Infiniminer over the course of a few months, abandoning the freeware project after its source code was leaked.

Another was Swedish coder Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, just shy of 30, and previously a developer on sandbox MMO Wurm Online. Persson was working in his spare time on a kind of Dungeon Keeper/Dwarf Fortress/Rollercoaster Tycoon combo (as odd as that may sound) named RubyDung.

It begins

Attempting to introduce a first-person view into the game, he was less than satisfied with his results – and then he found Infiniminer.

Zachtronics’ Infiniminer was the inspiration for Minecraft’s blocky structure

“My god,” wrote Persson on his Tumblr, “I realized that that was the game I wanted to do… 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.”

Even his very first version, coded in Java, is immediately identifiable today: even though it wasn’t yet formally named, this was Minecraft.

“The response was very positive,” wrote Notch a few months later, “and I was blown away [by] the framerate, and how well it ran in a browser, so I decided to go for it.”

Pulling in character models from an earlier game idea …read more

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