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Video: A fireside chat with Minecraft creator Notch Exclusive

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]
March 15, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

Chris Hecker (SpyParty) asks Mojang's Markus Persson about the creation and growth of Minecraft and about his personal and professional growth alongside the game in an intimate, virtual fireside chat from GDC 2012, now free courtesy of the GDC Vault.

Over the hour-long Q&A, Persson tackles balancing realism and abstraction in Minecraft, his approach to designing mechanics on a large-scale first, and the importance of maintaining a consistent theme. Persson also addresses piracy, which he views opportunistically.

Session Name: A Fireside Chat with Markus 'Notch' Persson

Speaker(s): Markus Persson, Chris Hecker

Company Name(s): Mojang, definition six, inc.

Track / Format: Game Design

Overview:Okay, so there won't be a real fire. However, there will be an HDTV on stage showing a video of a fire, along with some in-depth discussion of Minecraft the game, Minecraft the phenomenon, games and game design both indie and not, and any other interesting topics into which we meander. There will be a Q&A throughout, however the Q's are going to be solicited over twitter sometime in February, so we can choose the best and most thought-provoking questions in advance.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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Michael Joseph
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Good interview.

If you want to skip the Minecraft player/fan centric questions, click on the "Can you still find the fun in your game?" chapter in the video sidebar to get to the more general game design/programming series of questions and answers.

I think it will be interesting to see how Mojang's next creation turns out. There's this vibe floating about that has people wondering whether Notch just got insanely lucky or whether he just has a talent for recognizing and building game systems that are inherently fun for broad audiences. Because let's face it, a lot of people played Infiniminer and Dwarf Fortress, but none of those players created Minecraft.

It's probably been asked before but I've never read the answer, but I would've liked to have known in this interview more about what Markus Persson's mindset was like during the early development of Minecraft. Had he contemplated failure? Was their self doubt? Did he have a backup plan? What did his family think about quiting his job to make games? Why Minecraft and not some other game idea? Has he had any other game ideas that he felt compelled to make that struck him in the same way as Minecraft?