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C

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Isaac Millican

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of C

Making a Minecraft map that will keep players engaged for long periods of time
So what am I doing?
Minecraft?
Map?
Aims
Minecraft is a lego-like game where players are able to build structures by placing and destroying cubes in a virtual, procedurally generated, infinite landscape.

The game also features a survival mode where player must mine the resources require to build structures. In this mode, monsters come out at night to attack the players.
Very large player made structures are often called "maps".
Maps are often designed with specific rules and gameplay.
Once made, it can be put up for download by the maker. Other players can then play it.
To create a Minecraft map that will keep players engaged for long periods of time.
Create the map
Plan the project
Test the map
Release the map
Research into map making
Research into game development
Planning the project
To ensure that I complete my project on time, I had to have a long term plan, which was drafted at the very start of the project.
To accomplish this, it was necessary to understand what exactly my project will consist of:

What map genre am I making?
How long will it take?
What do I need to do?


Why this project?
I wanted to do make a large map previously. The EPQ was a good chance for me to do it and get something out of it while I'm at it.
The project is a lot of fun.
Game design is an interesting topic that isn't really covered in education.
The project involves some programming which will be helpful for the future
My previous map
It was made as a very large multiplayer map. The final product was to be played between friends. The map was not a success
The key thing I learned from this project was that multiplayer maps are a lot more work than the scope of the EPQ.
I also encountered performance issues on lower end computers. This went on to influence my map theme and style.
The Gantt chart
To monitor my work over a long period of time. I realised it was necessary to develop a method of tracking progress. My supervisor suggested the use of a Gantt chart. So I adapted it with my own minor modifications to suit my needs
As you can see, I introduced colour coding for a clear indication of my project workflow.
Short term progress
To help with achieving the long term goals, I also kept a record of when small tasks in the project was completed.
These short term task was recorded through a simple list containing:

What I did
Date of completion
Research
The research that I had to do in this project can be broken up into three key areas:
Existing maps
Game development
Map making tools
Game development
Koster's theory of fun
Koster described in his book, "A Theory of Fun for Game Design", that fun is created through learning.
This influenced:

The use of jump pads.
The linear branching map style.
The use of traps within the map.
Extra Credits
Extra credits a "video lesson series" that teaches game design concept.
The main influences on my map include:
Giving out pre-crafted items
I left loot in areas where players would not expect me to.
The use of teleporters to allow player choice
Use of teleporters at the base to reduce frustration of dying.
Existing maps
Summary of planning
I had decided on the CTM map genre.
A long-term goal for my project has been created.
I have decided to build around a floating island style to allow low end computers to handle the map
Super Hostile: Waking up
Waking up, created by Vechs was the first CTM map I played. This led to:
My own map contains "easy" areas to give the player some downtime from the action.
Uncharted Territory II
Uncharted Territory II (or UT2) is a CTM map created by map maker "Amlup".
The main influences this map had on me was the building style, which has influenced my own structures.
Also, this map makes extensive use of "void" as a threat, which I thought was overused.
Super Hostile: Inferno Mines
Inferno Mines, made by Vechs, is considered an imbalanced map.
The difficulty was extremely inconsistent.
There was far too much loot in the map.
The use of the "thorn enchantment" was exceptionally annoying.
The use of jumping pads in an area of the map did catch my attention though, and eventually became integrated within own my map.
Map making tools
VoxelSniper
VoxelSniper is a powerful modification to the game that allows placement of large amounts of blocks quickly.
The tool has an extremely useful blend tool which creates very beautiful landscape curves.
Previously, I had never used this tool in map making, so I had to do research and learn about how to use the tool.
World Edit
WorldEdit is a modification to the game, with similar functionality as VoxelSniper. However, WorldEdit is much more suited to working which artificial builds due to its powerful copy/paste tool.
In addition, its built-in "craftscripts" which allows custom scripts to be run, allowed me to create a few scripts to assist with my development. I also used a pre-existing craftscript called "Build Commands".
MCEdit
MCEdit is an external tool that allows editing of very large terrain to be done quickly. It also has a built in "filter" functionality whereby custom scripts can be written in the python programming language to be run by the program.
Another advantage of MCEdit is that it can be ran even when the game is updated, whereas VoxelSniper and WorldEdit cannot.
A disadvantage of the program is that it can be fairly unintuitive and the landscape created is not represented properly by the program.
Issues with the production
Minecraft updates kept breaking my map.
Building terrain and working on the game logic separately
Production
Monster Creation
Creating monsters by hand can take an extremely long time, and is prone to mistakes. To assist with this. I used a collection of MCEdit filters created by "SethBling".
To balance the difficulty of the monsters I created. I had selected participants fight against the monsters and give feedback.
Testing & Release
Redstone logic
Within the game, there exists an item called redstone, often called called redstone wire, which behaves very similar to real world electronics.
By manipulating this mechanic, it is possible to create very complex digital logic.
The diagram to the right is a simple electronic NOT gate implemented using redstone.
Bug Testing
To ensure all the mechanics worked properly I had to test my map with a small group. Notable bugs:
I had forgotten to place the blue wool in the chest.
Some of the teleporters were not synced properly.
The game progression was slightly out of order.
Closed Beta Testing
So in this this stage, I wanted to find out if the map as it is was fun. The testing was done on a small number of selected participants. Their feedback were:
The start needed a sense of direction
The loot was fun to play with
The late game was too difficult
Open beta
The map then went into "open beta". Which means, that things may still change. I recieved a huge amount of feedback in this stage including:
Mirror city was well designed
Hourglass was well designed
The majority of players complemented on my building style. A lot of people liked the aesthetics of mirror city.
The terrain design had mixed reception. Some say that it looked unnatural, and others said that it looked "trippy" but they liked it.
Due to the updates, a lot of modifications I would normally use is unavailable.
These issues meant that I had to push back my intended release date.
At the end of this period, the map had recieved over 500 downloads.
The jump pads were noisy
I have found two resources into game design:
Koster's Theory of Fun for Game Design
Extra Credits

CTM maps
Complete the monument (CTM) maps are maps designed to be similar to playing Minecraft.
The main difference is a goal to work towards, completing the monument.
CTM maps are designed to be very difficult but still be fun to play.
A number of trap designs came from this map.
An area in my map "Heat Drop Fortress" is similar in gameplay to "Hissing Sand"
I used the feedback to adjust the monsters as needed to make them easier.
Project review
Community success
On 25th February, a Reddit post was made to the Minecraft subreddit; it hit the top of the subreddit's front page.
The Reddit post bought in almost 200 downloads within 24 hours of the post being submitted.
The post was a joke about at standard CTM rule, "Survive in anyway you can think of".
Map videos
My map is currently being played through by a small youtuber.
His video content has provided invaluable feedback along with some exposure of the map from his fan base.
Onwards...
I plan to create another map
I plan to take much greater are with the promotion of my project
I am more confident in programming for a practical application.
The project has trained me to ensure deadlines are met.
Full transcript