Here’s some things we all can steal from Minecraft game

Besides Notch’s hat, we all can consider stealing some elements that Minecraft is using:

#1 – the art style
Just think about how genius it is. Just blocks! How difficult it is to model bunch of blocks, yet animate them. Super easy. And even if you don’t know how to animate, you can go to a site like FPS creator site, spend a few bucks to a model pack AND (this is important) export only model BONES and ANIMATIONS. Then in your own programming SDK, you can create cubes and attach the cubes to the animated bones.

And voila, you’ve just got animated box man to appear on your screen.

Don’t necessarily steal the idea of “world is made of blocks”, since you can have other shapes too, such as a terrain. Just ensure using blocky style in all the art, and it’ll be consistent.

It doesn’t matter whether you are doing an RPG, FPS, RTS or whatnot – the main idea is that you can steal this simple style and save humongous amount of gold in art assets.

#2 – Actually, that’s it
I see quite zero sense in trying to clone Minecraft. Terraria isn’t Minecraft clone, Terraria just happens to have digging and blocks, but it’s hugely different gaming experience. Cloning Minecraft would mean spending some years building a game where you have blocks that you can use to build anything. But who would buy it? Everybody and their mom already has Minecraft so it’s pretty pointless (unless you target different platforms, then it might have some sense) as there would be zero reason to buy your clone.

I feel that stealing the art style would make tons of sense for lots of indie developers. By using block style to build whatever game they are building, they would make a huge leap in terms of getting game ready faster.

You already doing this?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Don’t get me wrong, there’s several things that can be stolen from Minecraft in terms of development & marketing. By no means I was thinking that the stuff you mentioned wouldn’t be worth stealing.

    My point was that *all* indies can take that blocky graphics and put them in their games.

    Exploration, Grinding or leveling-up, Big-ness, multiplayer, sandobx etc can be okay aspect to steal for some game genres, but not necessary for all.

    I was perhaps thinking more about this than the words of the blog post suggest.

  2. There’s plenty we can steal from Minecraft. It’s incredibly short-sighted to think their retro art is all that’s worthwhile there.

    Try this:
    * Sense of Exploration. You can explore an infinite planet, overworld and underworld. And despite it’s 8-bit-ness, very few other games have made exploration so much fun.
    * Satisfying core loop. Pick, pick, pick, crunch. The block dissolves. Do it again. Not only is mining exploration, the subtle variety on sound effects and the satisfying crunch is almost subliminal in it’s ability to keep us clicking. Diablo taught us the same clickety-clickety-click. But Minecraft does it without killin’ rats.
    * Just enough threat. Creative mode is just legos; but the core game on Normal mode is survival brilliance. Day / night is meaningful, and you learn to fear, loathe, and hate those stupid blocky monsters.
    * A perfect enemy. In a game about building, who’s your real nemesis? The Creeper who not only kills you but blows up the stuff you’ve just put together. Not enough to make you quit. Just enough to make you hate, hate, hate them. It’s rare to find an enemy so well suited for the world.
    * Big-ness.Have you seen the sheer scale of what people are doing? Anyone can quickly make a dirt and log cabin. But seeing people craft entire cities, or Hogwarts, or yes…redstone computers…this is a game of grandiose dreams.
    * Multiplayer. There are a lot of sandbox games. There are few that let you play with friends and help them build, or burn down their houses.
    * Play how I want in my sandbox. How did Minecraft get in the primetime? The same way The Sims became one of (if not THE) best selling franchises of all time. Not only is there a nice compelling game behind the scenes, I can play however I want. I can endlessly explore, I can create simple huts. I can dig big holes, I can hunt monsters, I can sail the oceans, I can farm, I can hunt diamonds, I can build monuments and wonders, I can create interactive machines…so many options, and the right choice is always what you can dream up.

    Amazing game. Please learn more from it than “pixel art”. Geesh. Kids these days.

  3. Could someone tell me how Minecraft got put in the primetime spotlight? All of the sudden, poof, it was there, with millions of users. I understand Paypal did them a service with all that press they got out of it, but then again, there are plenty of great indie games out there. What made Minecraft special – what was the spark (or sparks) that lighted Minecraft’s success?

    Or maybe Minecraft really is such a unique and enjoyable experience that the product really sold itself. Could anyone shed some light on this?


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