- My son is 7. We bought iPad edition first, shelled some more for PC edition last month, and I'm sure I'll be forced to buy more in the future if MS puts a price tag on it.
- I spend a fair amount of time during weekends for deciphering the modding world, trying to find something called CraftBukkit, learning to mod, finding launchers, finding maps shown on some Youtube video etc. because the son is mad about it. BUT, he's spending hours trying to learn JS (ScriptCraft on Bukkit) just to make an exploding arrow. I truly believe this is analogous to C64 days back then.
- School started today, he's moved to another school this year. The first thing he asked to his news friends was about Minecraft. Then he advertised how PC version is superior to the one on iPad.
- My 2 yo daughter knows what Minecraft is, tells she'll play Minecraft when she grows up.
- While we were shopping for school supplies last week, saw two people asking for Minecraft licensed school bags for their kids.
- We live in Turkey.
I think that's an interesting quote to understand both the generational appeal of Minecraft and why the deal makes sense.
Continuing the lego comparison, Lego was recently valued at ~$15b (2) and I think that also demonstrates the potential here.
Lego mastered the IP licensing biz (lego star wars, batman), merchandising (theme parks, etc), distribution (market specific sets etc).
I'm almost surprised that Disney wasn't the acquirer but I imagine that with a corporate profiteer behind Mojang we'll see significant expansion of the brand.
I think Minecraft goes beyond digital lego though. There are many little pieces of minecraft's design which came together to make a game better than one would expect. I honestly wonder how many of those choices were intentionally done by Notch, and how many were arbitrary choices which happened to be right.
The reality is that Minecraft's explosive popularity is the result of a perfect storm of all kinds of fickle conditions. It doesn't mean that Notch made the "right" arbitrary choices, as some posters in this thread have intimated; it just means that the choices he made didn't preclude the other externalities from converging.
I think the two biggest factors in Minecraft's success were a) notch's responsiveness and availability to the community on reddit and twitter and b) Mojang's decision to have the game ported to Xbox. Neither of these have much to do with the specific design decisions in Minecraft itself (many of which were frankly terrible and are still only gradually being reversed).
The Xbox is now the Minecraft machine, it has no other uses.
TO mod Minecraft you have to:-
i) find the right mod - it has to be for the correct version of Minecraft
ii) Locate the Minecraft jar; expand it.
iii) Copy the mod into the correct folder
iv) Delete a file (if you haven't already)
vii) do all this again for the next mod you want to apply
A better mod interface would be lovely.
I don't teach them Minecraft. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I should. But then, I really don't need to. The kids that want to, seem to have no problems at all figuring out the seven steps you just posted. They use a combination of youtube videos/tutorials, persistence, and if all else fails, reading the docs/wiki. What I help them with is basic computer literacy (I can read English faster, and know my way around the OS, file system, zip/jar files, etcetera, quicker). I'm just a catalyst in that sense. In fact I know very little about Minecraft at all (I think I know slightly more about modding the game than actually playing it).
The kids that have a drive to figure this out (and some are as young as 7 years old, incredible), also happen to be the same ones that will want to learn other types of programming such as shell scripting (or .bat/VBS programming, depending on the OS), relatively advanced Gamemaker stuff, things like that. They also like explaining these things to the other kids (which we try to encourage).
For that reason, and that reason alone, I do ban Minecraft in certain circumstances. I only allow it if they're actually modding stuff instead of just playing. They only get to play games the second half of the day (if they want), otherwise they have to do something more creative on the computers (or go play somewhere else). This limitation is because I've found, by experience and experiment--not just because I want to believe this is the case--that there are many kids who have talents to do truly amazing things on the computer at a young age, and that it really helps them if they're not surrounded by peers simply playing games on those same computers (peers that have other, non-computer-related talents, but just happen to like playing video games, become a distraction). Of course they have to test their mods in a real life network setting later on, which makes it even cooler :)
 okay, there is one other reason. you may be familiar with applications such as TeamSpeak or Ventrilo. Kids like to use a similar voice-based, wireless communication protocol known as "shouting across the room".
Some kids circumvent this by watching YouTube videos of games instead ... but usually not for too long, because they quickly realize there's so much other interesting stuff to do. I sometimes feel I should regulate this watching of videos too, but it never really got to a point where it was that bad. There's also a social aspect to it, when there's five kids watching a video of a cat doing something silly. Plus, observing what they like to watch helps me connect to their world a bit better. It also makes me understand the more inane and stupid parts of YouTube better. In particular those ultra-cheesy MineCraft music videos, with the over-autotuned voices, superhappy melodies about mining stuff and creepers. On the one hand it's a terrible musical equivalent of HFCS, on the other hand, the sheer exuberance and happiness that radiates from it makes me remember, I loved to listen to Happy Hardcore when I was young :) :)
I don't regulate their general "screen time" (how long they are at a computer), although a few of the parents do tell their kids they don't want them the entire day in the computer area. Surprisingly, those kids take care of that request fairly good by themselves, partially because there's more than enough other fun and interesting things to do, partially because there's something about how the place is run, giving the kids some responsibilities, positive attitudes, that just makes them really well-behaved.
Other tech CEOs limit at 30 minutes screen time per day for their kids.
CEO's also don't have to use iPad's and TV as cheap babysitters.
Haha, this made me laugh. I think it's great that you have that perspective!
I don't help my Son much in getting mods and stuff. So, he does whatever he can. That puts some sort of a break.
1) Download the MinecraftForge Installer and run it.
2) Find the right mods you want.
3) Copy the mod into the correct folder.
4) Change configuration (if you want)
Furthermore, you can use various launchers such as the Feed The Beast launcher where you download the launcher, run it, pick a pack that it'll download and then run with a very low chance (< 1%) of there being problems. Oh, and you can also join servers that are configured to that modpack too without doing anything.
Installing a mod is generally: extract rar to game folder. Step two is play the game.
These design decisions could have been lucky, but I think it really takes a person who "gets it" like Notch, who spent years up to that point thinking about and building games to internalize what makes a game fun, and turn it into something that comes together like Minecraft.
The basic idea is the product being worked on in Douglas Coupland's Microserfs released in 1995 (Blockland launched 2004, Minecraft 2011).
As you say, it's the design and execution.
I wonder if they're concerned that it might cannibalise their existing product sales? The Lego games on consoles already are not about building, they're just platformers. To build a Minecraft equivalent for Lego, you'd need to give out a lot of bricks/options and that'd work against the current default with Lego which involves buying more and more sets.
Building 3D models with contemporary computer interfaces is clumsy and the really powerful tools for it are also clearly tools. Using them is work, not play.
Minecraft takes this building of 3D models and simplifies it, making it suitable for play.
Part of that is certainly putting that building in an alive and big world with rules and limits. That way the play isn’t happening in some sterile environment. That also provides jumping off points for creativity. Whoever plays doesn’t have to come up with everything on their own. There are already elements all around that are starting points. (Lego does much the same with their play sets. Coming up with something completely new is often hard, so they provide a whole world as a guideline and starting point.)
However, another big part is creating completely new tools for building 3D models. Those tools are much less powerful than what you can find in any 3D modelling program, but they are also much, much simpler to use – both because they have a real world analog (Lego and all other building blocks), but also because of their large scale. Computer interfaces are still clumsy, so to make building fun (enough) and not too boring picking an appropriate scale was very important, I think. And that 1m scale of Minecraft (blocks are one cubic meter, two block high corridors are high enough for the player to walk through) just works very well for that.
I don’t think Lego’s scale would. It‘s too detailed, too small.
Mojang? Too small to care about. The parents seem to know that; at least I haven't heard about any multi-million dollar lawsuits revolving around MineCraft's chat, for instance.
I really wonder what Microsoft is going to do about this.
Even though it probably happened by accident, Minecraft is pretty kid safe.
Likewise, chat can lead to bad interactions. "Where do you live?" and "Are you a girl?" type questions. I haven't observed this, but the possibility remains. We've has serious talks with our son about this kind of thing.
I'm not paranoid, but forewarned is forearmed.
I'd been dubious prior to letting him try them out. It's hard for kids to be safe about downloading things.
Kids need to be able to tinker with computers, and that includes both downloading malware and cleaning the machine including possibly reinstalling it from the ground up. That's how people grow their digital immune system that helps them navigate technology landscape safely.
Constantly fixing everything for our kids will lead to another generation of computer illiterates. This article covers this topic pretty well:
Which is, frankly, an absurd demand.
Mojang should have a mod API, but that won't do diddly squat to improve saftey. Don't execute code if you don't want that code to run.
Yeah, that worked great
Regardless did you even bother looking at the documentation of SecurityManager? That would be a disaster to try and support. It can't clamp down per-library, it's all about current thread. Mods run in the same thread, they have to. So now you're suggesting that every. single. call into or out of a mod is guarded manually by updates to a permission manager that you are preventing the mod from modifying via reflection through... magic? Yeah, there's no way in hell that would ever work.
You might argue that HTML is not a general purpose language, and that is exactly true. That's what makes it easier to sandbox.
Neither applies in the slightest to the Java VM or Minecraft mods which, by definition, occupy the same process space with the same permissions as Minecraft itself. It is not a web browser, it does not have process sandboxing, it does not have a seperate VM specifically for mods, etc...
That's exactly a point I wanted to make. See https://www.usenix.org/legacy/publications/login/2011-12/ope... and http://langsec.org/papers/langsec-tr.pdf
If that would be too much time, use the FTB launcher; the modpacks there should be about as safe as it gets.
Or, hell, use my modpack at http://madoka.brage.info/, though that's pretty much just TPPI anyway. I'm a random internet person on hacker news; you know you can trust me.
What's "flattened"? Like you stomped on it?
Grats on raising another dumb user.
I'm reminded of a refrain that seems to be going around recently: the computer revolution is just getting started.
When people today talk of how computers can empower change, often they're thinking about getting better taxi service. In reality, there are entire cultures that have yet to fully engage in the revolution. With Turkey in particular, I am so excited by the possibilities. Turks have such a natural hacker-mindset, it's just that thus far it's been mostly limited to "real-world" hacking. Imagine what can happen when a population that is naturally curious and creative is given tools to effect great change.
At the same time, for this reason I'm wary of Microsoft as the buyer. In many parts of the world, Microsoft successfully monopolized business and personal computing, but even at their highest height they never fully monopolized developer mindshare. Contrastingly, Turkey's developer community was effectively "colonized" by Microsoft such that, if you were a programmer in Turkey it was just assumed that you worked with Microsoft technologies. That is starting to change...and I wonder if that doesn't cause Microsoft some small amount of concern.
I think it's not an exaggeration to say that how Microsoft serves as steward of the Minecraft community will be telling as to whether they've changed their ways, and are willing to be participants in a larger community, or whether they remain the Microsoft of old.
And just like you, I spent enormous amount of time learning about Minecraft mods.
BTW, I live in Serbia.
It pretty much sums up why we've banned Minecraft from our house.
EDIT, To clarify:
I fully encourage them to learn to code. We let them use Scratch and write love2d games.
I've banned it from our house because we want them to build real things that they can actually use. We want them to learn how to build furniture and tree houses and real circuits.
I banned it because we want them to live in the real world.
Don't be shy, downvote me if you disagree. It helps me to know just how far off my perspective on life is from that of the average HN visitor. Which in turns helps me to know whether I should just reading/writing comments.
1) Your first edit makes it sound like you value hardware over software. I don't think that is your intent, but it confused me for a bit.
2) The implied definition of "the real world" scares me. It seems to be a common cultural thread. It creates instances like this, where parents dismiss interactions in video games as less real than those in flesh and blood. But, in its extremes, it also creates a culture where threatening someone on social media or in game chat is ok, because "it is not real". It creates a weird dichotomy where making a new friend at a bar is somehow better than making a friend online. A lot of pop culture media is currently struggling with the narrow pre-internet definition of the real world. I think that this is going to be an ongoing issue as our lives become more digital.
3) Based on your other comments below, it sounds like, if you had been my parents, you would have banned everything I loved for my entire childhood. My childhood was defined by a series of obsessions up until I graduated high school. A large portion of my early life can be summed up by Legos, Power Rangers, GI Joe, Sonic the Hedgehog, Scooby Doo, Dragon Ball Z, anime, and live theater (think Shakespeare). None of those things have any direct real world application, but they did give me a series of common frameworks for social interaction. "Oh you liked Scooby Doo when you were a kid? Me too!"
4) Based on Edit 2, I would downvote you, but I don't think that is the purpose of downvoting. I don't favor downvoting items that are adding to a discussion just because I disagree with them. Instead downvotes should be reserved for posts that are off topic (to the point of attempting to derail a discussion), incendiary, etc.
2) I used that phrase out of habit. I meant the physical world as opposed to the virtual world. But even though they're both "real", there are very important differences.
3) Yeah, I probably would have.
4) The fact that there is no official clear purpose for downvoting implies it's up to the community to decide. Which is actually a really cool social experiment on their end, but in practice it's just utterly stupid, and I'm really sick of it.
Responses to your responses:
1 and 2) I guess I'm trying to say that maybe the differences do not matter as much as you think they do. The virtual world is encroaching on the physical world more and more, but in the same way, our lives are sliding into the virtual just as much. Not only does this seem to be inevitable to me, but it also seems like a positive development.
3) I would certainly be a different person! I don't think we can really know which approach was better, but I know that I am enjoying life as I am. I fear that less freedom as a child would have turned me into a bitter, broken adult.
5) It is a cool social experiment! I'm not sick of it though :-)
I might not respond again for a while. There is work to be done!
(edited for formatting)
Not surprising, given the # of downvotes I'm getting on here all the time.
Perhaps it's time I break up with HN.
I second this, I find sdegutis's comments to be very useful, if only to provide a fresh (and entirely valid) perspective. Contrast is so so needed in our community...
The result of downvoting is not simply a karma thing. It actually effects visibility of comments. Downvoted comments do not get any discussion.
Therefore, writing a comment that gets downvoted is a one-way communication channel. There's no benefit in it for me when there is no discussion.
My time is too precious to give away for free. Your time is too precious to waste reading downvoted comments.
So it's in everyone's best interest for people who don't share popular opinion to stop commenting.
That includes me.
I'm saving my downvotes for those who are rude or insulting to others.
1. State your disagreement and justify it with religious reasons. Good luck avoiding downvotes.
2. State your disagreement without justifying your reasoning. This comes across as over-assuming and somewhat rude. Also, many people recognize your username and fill in the blanks.
For you, the only way to win is not to play.
Please do stick around. I do not downvote things I disagree with, not if they're written in the measured and sensible manner that you do it. Many people on HN are like that. Instead they will reply (as they have done here in this thread) with polite replies explaining their own viewpoints.
The only reason to leave is if you actually don't care about reading those.
I find that deeply disturbing.
Your choice to ban a fun relaxing game because your children enjoyed it is as weird to me as people who ban rock music because SATANIC SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES or people who ban Elvis Presley because JUNGLE MUSIC or the Scottish cult who banned calculators not because they wanted to improve mental math but because SATAN TALKS TO YOU THROUGH SCREENS.
Children have obsessions - see lists of dinosaurs for one example. And of course they're competive - "zx spectrum is much better than vic 20". It's probably a good idea to remind them that they're not infallible and to encourage a few other interests.
But, your children your choice, I guess.
My problem isn't so much that digital devices can't be used creatively (we know they can), just that they are too easy for kids to slip into deep passive consumption modes (like say TV).
Instead of blocking off the computer entirely, why don't you instead limit what they can do on it? No, or very limited website access; very few AAA-type games, more sandbox-type games, etc.
Yes, we impose our values on them. I call that "responsible parenting".
And maybe when many disagree with a post it would actually promote this post because it would be good for discussion.
This means I can spend all my spare time playing with my kids or reading books.
With computers, kids wall themselves from a lot of other activities like: riding a bike (ours sit in the garage for weeks), going to the library, meeting with friends IRL, painting, playing music - any and all of a 100 things we did as we grew up.
IRL interaction forces them to get out of their bubble. They shouldn't learn to run away from things they don't like so early in life.
It's not necessarily entirely bad to restrict what your children can do, since it encourages them to find ways to disregard your rules. My childhood was basically 10 or so years of a sort of cold-war escalation between myself and my controlling parents; the end result was me being independent by 17 and a skilled enough programmer to get into and work my way through university by the time I was 19. Controlling parents lit a fire under my ass; it gave me a reason to seize control of my life.
In case anybody is wondering, my relationship with my parents improved when I moved out. We now have a healthy respect for each other as adults.
I also became very independent very early on, because my parents were open with me about the things they did to take care of themselves as adults (they shared finances and budgeting, and included my sister and I in decisions about things like banking, insurance, major purchases, etc), so I knew how to be an adult.
Who knows, maybe this just shows that no matter what parents do, kids figure it out :D
But they are. There's a lot less bandwidth in online interactions and it's harder to communicate subtle nuances. I'm sure it's more comfortable for borderline autistics when everything communicated is explicit, but it's not necessarily better for their development.
In fact, I think that's why I ended up being a software engineer, and why I love what I do; it may have been something that I loved and enjoyed as a kid, but I did stacks of other activities too so I made an informed choice when I was older. It also helped developed crucial social skills by doing other social activities, and has really helped my career in doing so.
The other girl can have her iPad in her room and yet choose to draw, make art, come and speak with us (parents) and still finishes her homework.
So, you see, some kids can't resist the temptation. Other kids can balance them out.
In this, my video game experiences were almost always more positive than things in the real world (class projects, sports, ...).
When I was a child, my parents banned reading (I kid you not) for mostly the same reasons.
It was horrible; and not in a "now I'm older I appreciate it" way. Creativity, thinking, and passion is not something to lightly try to eradicate from a child.
I will not downvote you, but your post made me sad, and relive a terrible part of my childhood.
Contrast that with the time I let them play Minecraft for a single month, for only a few hours a day, and only a few days a week. For the entire month and a few following months, it was practically the only thing that ever came out of any of their mouths.
I hope your children quickly learn the lesson I did: Never tell your parents anything - especially about things they enjoy. Parents cannot be trusted and any situation will be made worse if their parents know about it.
I was responding to what stuck out to me the most in his comment:
> because the son is mad about it.
> School started today, he's moved to another school this year. The first thing he asked to his news friends was about Minecraft. Then he advertised how PC version is superior to the one on iPad.
> My 2 yo daughter knows what Minecraft is, tells she'll play Minecraft when she grows up.
These stuck out because our children had similar signs of unhealthy obsession. (So did my wife and I for a while.)
I suppose I don't totally understand your decision. If your children were equally as engrossed in a popular and technical school sport or club, would you disenroll them from it and cut them off from their peers? Have you found that your children having deep, socially enhancing interests and being willing and able to learn new or advanced concepts to be mutually exclusive?
Things like this can be important to kids, so if you're willing to give it another chance (since it sounds like you enjoyed it, too), I would try incorporating principles of analog circuits into labs for your kids to do in Minecraft, then design a project with them using what they've learned to see if it works the same way in the game as it does in the physical world.
(I haven't played Minecraft, so I don't know that this is possible, but from what I've heard about it, it seems plausible.)
A few months back, I wanted to see what the story was with Minecraft, and I had a 16-hour trip. So I got a copy for my Android tablet and played it basically every moment I was able. My whole body ached from the weird position I had to take on the plane to be able to play, but I kept going. When I got home, I deleted it from my tablet. It was too addictive for me.
I'm sure there are some people who can play it in moderation, but I'm sure not one of them. It's an amazing game, but like you I value getting things done in the real world.
When I was at high school age, after changing school, the first thing my new classmates asked me was which soccer club I was a fan of. I find this to be worse (obsessing about clubs) than talking about something like minecraft.
Most people here probably have an unhealthy obsession with computers and they're going much further in life than people with no hobbies who spend their spare time watching TV
But one is often crazy about the things one love; and it seems harsh to ban something they love. I won't argue you might need to restrict it, but is it really harmful to let them have it a bit? Do you really think harm can come of it? I'm genuinely curious about your answer to this last question.
Let me relate my experience: I used to obsess about a few video games when I was a kid. I don't talked to my parents about it, but then your kids are homeschooled, so I guess they must talk to you more than I did to my parents. I remember spending whole afternoons doing build orders for strategy games. Nothing bad ever came of it. Later, I ceased obsessing so much about video games, which became for of a brain-dead leisure activity; but the obsessive behavior carried over to other topics and I think it helps with my work (I'm doing a PhD). I would in fact be more worried about kids who never learn to go in depth into a topic than about those who take the dive easily.
But contrast playing legos with friends, or playing a ball game, or building sand castles. Those are active, creative and they can be social.
Now, I'd consider a mix of activites to be acceptable; a ban may not be my choice. But I understand it.
EDIT to add even more courtesy.
Another alternative I never see mentioned is Meccano (http://www.meccano.com): a bit more advanced than regular Lego and plenty of bits and pieces to tinker with :)
Needless to say, attempting to ban the game from my life was unsuccessful, even with scorched earth policies like physically cutting internet cables. Meanwhile, I firmly credit my time on this game as the kindling to my career as a developer. A point which (along with making more at 23 than he did at 45) I take great pleasure in reminding my father of whenever the opportunity arises.
Here's to hoping your kid grows up and finds an annoying and creative way to say "I was right, you were wrong, check out this pile of cash I got"
We'll see how it works out, but I'm hopeful.
It seems that your entire decision to ban Minecraft stems from your impression that they're "too obsessed" with it and that they shouldn't be spending so much time on something that they are clearly passionate about (studies and research show that passion generates the best workers and innovators!)...
I raise my children based on my own judgments of what's best for them. And I use my own God-given intelligence and experience to form those judgments.
So no, I will not agree with you. If you do not agree to disagree, then that's your choice. But disagreement doesn't require both parties' content.
So you refuse to acknowledge that you might be lacking in knowledge and experience in some critical aspects of your childrens' education. And/or you refuse to accept that the conclusions you reach with your limited knowledge, alone, one single human out of billions, might be erroneous and cause harm to your children. And/or you refuse to accept that there might be others out there with more knowledge and experience than you on certain topics. And/or you think God will make everything okay just because you have faith, and the fact that people get raped and killed every day despite their faith does not sway you.
I think that, right there, is the source of your problems.
I pity your children for having you for a parent. For having someone like you be in control of their lives.
I also was forbidden to choose my own books as well, which resulted me giving up reading. Because I wasn't able to buy any, and I didn't want all that crap they were giving.
I only hope you are doing right things for the right reasons, unlike my parents.
That being said, the amount of positive coming from their involvement in the game is incredible. Doing any large project requires considerable planning and imagination. "Survival Mode" requires resource management. They develop these skills by doing instead of sitting in a classroom and hearing about them. They read about it because they want to, boosting their reading skills. The run through the whole social scientific process in an authentic way (as opposed to the multi-step process taught in schools). And they even use it as an anchor to discuss other things. My five year old was confused about the word "chest" being used as "things that stores", then the eight year old says, "you know, Chest, like in Minecraft!" Five year old instantly understands. Thats just one example..it happens all the time.
I'm more concerned about what affect this has on my kids, not how much it drains me (they always drain me, that won't change).
> That being said, the amount of positive coming from their involvement in the game is incredible. Doing any large project requires considerable planning and imagination. "Survival Mode" requires resource management. They develop these skills by doing instead of sitting in a classroom and hearing about them. They read about it because they want to, boosting their reading skills. The run through the whole social scientific process in an authentic way (as opposed to the multi-step process taught in schools). And they even use it as an anchor to discuss other things. My five year old was confused about the word "chest" being used as "things that stores", then the eight year old says, "you know, Chest, like in Minecraft!" Five year old instantly understands. Thats just one example..it happens all the time.
Our kids are homeschooled, so I understand the benefit of ad-hoc learning. But I won't make that into an excuse to let them obsess over a video game for months at a time.
I would much rather they learn the same skills by building real things in real life. The benefit is that they can actually use these things.
For example, we are teaching them how to garden. They will get to eat the fruits of their labor. They helped me actually chop down a few of our trees, and they helped me saw them into firewood.
Having done these things with them, and seeing opportunities for even more fun activities, I just can't see Minecraft as anything more than escaping the real world for no sensible reason.
Just sharing my anecdotes, not trying to change opinions. I'm sure there's some actual research out there on the topic.
*time played, game modes, who/where they play, etc.
Now it all makes sense. You're fitting right into the home-schooling parent stereotype.
Many people who homeschool do so for religious reasons. The (comparative) isolation from their peers, combined with the tighter control they have over their children's experiences, makes it possible for them to "force" their children to believe in their religion.
Many don't object to this because of the religion itself; it's the fact that the parents are "abusing" their power to keep their kids from making their own choices.
Also, this isn't really a stereotype, but phrases like "eating the fruits of their labor" sound almost Amish. They homeschool, too.
You also sound negatively biased against parents handing down core values and religious beliefs to their children.
We'll have to disagree about both of these. And anything that stems from them.
Which, in our case, probably means this discussion should politely end here.
I hope your kids just turn out to be fine with it. You are betting on them that they are just like you.
I hope that the ones that get badly affected by your good intension can forgive you (for your strong believes)
> I hope your kids just turn out to be fine with it. You are betting on them that they are just like you.
I trust they see and will always see that I'm doing my best.
> I hope that the ones that get badly affected by your good intension can forgive you (for your strong believes)
I trust that there is nothing to forgive, and that these hypothetical "bad effects" are all in your own worrying mind.
I hope that a long going process may start running in you mind based on this/your HN experience.
(poor kids, can't play games ;)
We could tell.
Its important to note the vast majority of lets play type videos are mom approved. Almost all of them. But once in awhile one comes up in rotation that's PG-13 or worse rating wrt language or behavior (serial killing in game pigs while making cop killer jokes and then uploading it anyway, wtf is wrong with you, boy?) (and edited to emphasize, the "big name" video guys are virtually all "mom-approved" the worst behavior and language is usually some goofball one off not a semi-pro show host wanna be)
Unless kids have dramatically changed in the last decade or two I know he's heard worse on the playground, its not the end of the world. Its better than watching TV, for example.
I imagine it comes from a line of thinking where the parent worries if their kids becomes too focused on one particular thing and spends too much time either doing it, talking about it, or thinking about. The parents may worry that their child's interests are not well-rounded enough. Perhaps "Minecraft time" is taking away from outdoor time, or music time, or sports time, etc.
A total ban seems harsh, but perhaps the child's interest is bordering on addiction and this an attempt to solve that problem (again, I'm not endorsing this, just trying to reason through it).
I know my parents were very unhappy with the amount of time that I would spend playing video games. They often called it an "addiction" and from an adult's point of view they may have been right. Personally, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with a child or adolescent immersing themselves in something for a period of time, as long as it's temporary. As an adult now, I certainly don't spend much time playing video games anymore and I see many facets of my life where that time investment as a child has paid off, but I can see where my parents' worries (even if misplaced) were coming from.
I would rather they learn how to build actual things that they can use. I'd love for them to learn how to build a real circuit or a real tree house, whatever.
I would rather them live in the real world.
Part of learning how to build something is being able to visualize it, prototype it, and understand the key principles.
Professional electrical engineers don't always begin by building physical circuits. They sometimes begin by laying them out in software, refining them in software, and then eventually printing a usable version.
MineCraft is a great way to explore the idea of building. So is lego, and construction kits of various sizes.
I mean, my day job consists 100% of putting the right numbers in the right places in a completely virtual system that is entirely meaningless in the real world, that I cannot interact with and cannot use. These numbers don't do anything, they don't change anything, and they certainly won't build a treehouse I can go hide in when my parents get overbearing and obsessively controlling.
However... my day job consists of managing an entire Enterprise Resource Planning system, and the numbers I put in the right place are the resources of this company. The right numbers mean that people looking at them later on will get the right parts at the right time, and build things faster, and eventually clients will have their product on time and at best quality. The wrong numbers... well, 2+ year late deliveries and 2-million-dollar penalties are called "getting off easy" here.
So you see, your idea of what is imagination and useless, and what is "real world" and practical, definitely isn't relevant to the problem. The real question here is: Comparing between a childhood with minecraft, and a childhood without minecraft, which childhood will produce the more happy and productive and overall enriched humans later? And that's not a question about what you, as a parent, consider to be Real World™ or Imagination™. It's a question about what skills and what abilities and what methods of thinking the children will grow up with, and how they will apply and be able to use those abilities later in life.
The problem is about losing yourself to a video game for months on end, even having it take over the other parts of your life when you're not playing it.
Sure you can understand how different these things are? The first one is perfectly fine, the second one is really unhealthy.
I could use a script for this, and a variable. Here, let me try:
>The problem is about losing yourself to a job for months on end, even having it take over the other parts of your life when you're not doing it.
> The problem is about losing yourself to military training for months on end, even having it take over the other parts of your life when you're not doing it.
> The problem is about losing yourself to a scientific research project for months on end, even having it take over the other parts of your life when you're not working on it.
> The problem is about losing yourself to [INSERT MANY OTHER PERFECTLY HEALTHY THINGS] for months on end, even having it take over the other parts of your life when you're not [INSERT ACTIVIVTY VERB] it.
The root of the problem is that you single-mindedly see "video games" as something unhealthy to focus on, without any evidence that it even is unhealthy at all!
Where have you heard that video games are unhealthy? Was there any research done? Did you perform long-term experiments? How large was the sample size? What control groups were there?
In short, YOU KNOW NOTHING, and are doing this based entirely on your general impression that video games taking over one's life is more unhealthy than having something else (like school, or work, or surviving in the jungle, or building a tree house) occupy your thoughts.
I have plenty of evidence. I just haven't felt particularly compelled to spend my precious time conveying it to admittedly skeptical strangers online.
> Where have you heard that video games are unhealthy? Was there any research done? Did you perform long-term experiments? How large was the sample size? What control groups were there?
Contrary to popular belief, not all wisdom is obtained using the scientific method.
> In short, YOU KNOW NOTHING
I'm not sure why you feel you have the context to make such a bold claim, based on a few comments I posted to an internet forum.
But at least this demonstrates to me that your only goal is to talk and not to listen. In which case, this isn't a balanced discussion, and I'm out.
I've banned "Real Life" for my parents because that's all they ever talk about, all day, non-stop, whenever I'm nearby, for years. To this day they still talk about my "Real Life" and compare it to theirs and play "different Real Life" imagination games with eachother.
I would rather they learn how to do important things where they use their time and mental energy effectively. I'd love for them to learn how to imagine and design and have a project come to life, and see all the steps going from nothing to a completely realized construction, from idea to reality, whatever.
I would rather they don't waste their time hammering away at mind-numbing "day jobs" where they are bogged down by having to do all the manual steps and take care of every little detail and do all the menial work.
I would rather they develop their mental abilities rather than spend all that time repeating trivial actions (like all the repetitive, non-mind-enriching wood chopping required before you can even consider talking about building a tree house in "Real Life").
What I'm trying to say:
There are many advantages to being immersed in something "that isn't the real world", and avoiding menial, repetitive, dumb, costly labor and trial-and-error are some of them.
What you're doing with your ban is simply imposing your view of the world onto them, without having any sort of context as to what their lives will be like in the future with or without this ban, and without even the context of their own minds and what minecraft truly gives them.
The reason it's all they were / are talking about is that it's a whole environment to them, and if they still talk about it it's because they still have things within that environment to talk about.
It's also important to realize that specific skills taught in childhood are almost never as important as general abilities and methodology (except for certain basic required skills like walking, eating, etc.). Learning how to analyze the flaws in a design or creation and how to come up with a more elegant, time/resource-saving solution in general is going to help your children much more over the course of their lives than learning how to specifically arrange planks of wood together so that their floor is straight and solid.
To be completely honest, I think you're making a life-changing mistake by micromanaging your children's time and activities this way. Yes, your role as parent is to guide and educate. You should inform them of dangers, and consequences, and problems, of things they want to do or are doing or are interested about. You should take action whenever it is clear and without doubt that not taking action would lead them to harm... and explain what you did and why to them later! And by later, I mean the next day, not "when you're grown up". However, the key thing to keep in mind is that each time you impose a practical rule that you came up with, you unwillingly make them more like a clone of yourself. You force their actions, and thereby their thoughts, closer to yours, while hampering their own ability to learn about the world for themselves.
My recommendation: Talk with your children about why they like minecraft, what they do in minecraft, and why you think they shouldn't spend so much time in it. And then, most importantly, listen and understand what they have to say about it. Do not dismiss their thoughts. Do not come up with reasons why their arguments are invalid, or assume you have a better picture of the situation than they do. Think about it this way: They have two fully-functional brains, and both of their brains were thinking about this issue way more than you for way longer than you did. Are you ready to claim that whatever short time you've taken to consider the issue before banning minecraft is all you need to overrule two other human beings?
You're telling your daughters, indirectly, that you can make a better decision by thinking for a few days than they can possibly make after months of being fully involved in the subject?
Because this is what they will learn. They will learn that their parent has taken decisions and imposed rules that change their lives because said parent thought about it for a little while and came up with this idea, without asking them. They will learn that you think you know best, at all times, and that you think they are incompetent, and that you think they are incapable of thinking for themselves.
At worst, they may even think themselves incapable of thinking for themselves, and give up trying, and become faceless sponges absorbing whatever your education gives them, without any more personal growth or exploration of their own.
The least you could do is acknowledge his point.
Do you say the same about the "real world" in regards to programming? Is writing software, web pages, etc. not "real world" enough for you?
Question: Are they nearly as enthusiastic about building "real" circuits?
It's a virtual world. Our kids were not at all thinking about the Java bytecode that went into running it, or the x86_64 machine code that ran the JVM, etc.
> Question: Are they nearly as enthusiastic about building "real" circuits?
My 10-yo son was thoroughly loving the electronics kit we bought, making LEDs light up in different patterns depending on which SPST switch you pressed.
And...so? Why is it a bad thing to be able to work at a higher level of abstraction?
Moreover, there's less exposure to solder vapors, no chance of burning, and an ability to undo/redo, not to mention show it off to their friends or to you in a "cool" way.
Imagine how much your son might like it if you were to let him wire up more than LEDs, and instead do things like create a castle or amusement park or train system controlled with in-minecraft circuits.
where I work, they let children work with soldering irons too, and at first I very much wondered about the safety of this.
turns out, soldering irons aren't all that hot to do serious damage. the worst they can generally do is a minor first-degree burn wound and a seriously valuable learning experience.
what remains is a chance of fire hazard if they forget to switch things off. this obviously is a parent/teacher's responsibility.
(btw I agree with your general point, this is just an addition, from experience)
 unless you poke them in the eye, but there are a lot of objects you shouldn't poke in someone's eye.
 it takes some effort to get a second degree burn from a soldering iron, it can be done in theory, by accident, I've never seen it.
i am a professional programmer, and see programming time as productive because it is akin to circuit-building, engineering, etc. Even video game CREATION can be that way. But playing them..... I do it, but it is the worst bit of myself -- pretty much total rubbish lazy brain stimulation, on par with TV re-runs
even if it involves stimulating puzzles you are still marching through a virtual "to do" list. in a way it can be less stimulating than TV, in that there is often no human element to consider that may trip your mind up. nothing more to think about than the task.
i've been back into gaming for about 6 months, since work really burns me out & i cant always be active at night but im definitely not proud of it, even tho i play puzzle games. if you could just play Portal 2, Braid, w/e for a day or so then walk away it would be fine. But your brain starts getting rewired with habit.
If a parent can spare their kid from that mental monotony, why not?
You claimed that one reason you wanted to prevent your children from playing a game was their "obsession".
Children sometimes develop strong attachments to items of clothing. If a child developed a stron attachment to a jumper would you prevent them wearing it? Why is an obsession about an item of clothing different from enjoying a game?
I've prevented one of my children from wearing a favourite jumper (well, hoodie), either because it needed washing or was inappropriate. He likes to wear his hood up all the time and I require him to take it down rather than indulge his desire to not confront his surroundings - namely communicate with other people. He is like I was, afraid to initiate communication and willing to 'hide' to avoid it. But I was always far more fulfilled when I was unable to avoid other people and "forced" to make the effort to communicate; it seems the same with him.
Someone said 'call obsession "passion" and see how it fits now'. Would you call staying up all night, missing work, feeling terrible, ruining your sleep patterns "passion". That's more akin to addiction: I've been on a Minecraft binge recently. My analysis is that it allows me to escape the real world and control my interactions; it's definitely escapism for me. Yes, Minecraft has a lot of potential educational value but I'm very cautious as my personal history with computer games - and other things - has been one of unhealthy obsession.
Veg out with the computer? Well I'll allow that for a short time but to me real world interaction is also far more valuable; I can appreciate the position that sdegustis appears to be presenting. I'll let my kids play for an extended time on the computer/console with a friend, for example, but not by themselves.
It's interesting that the reactions here are similar to the reactions we had when we quit having a television. We have reneged, we now have non-broadcast TV: in part I see that as a failure.
I notice you've set noprocrast on ... a little like denying a child a favourite thing for a while ...?!
/slightly drunken early morning comment
Lack of energy and focus in our parenting.
Probably some social pressure is in there too; certainly being able to talk to people about something in the mass media eases social interactions.
Childcare availability - we don't live near family that could watch the kids whilst we go out. Also passively consuming is easier than actively participating; general poor motivation [on my part].
That would be my surface analysis.
Sweaters don't do this. Minecraft has.
This is pretty amazing since most games and software are pirated.
Of course, people can and do pirate it, but it has a fantastic sell-through that no other game has achieved outside first world.
The popularity among 5-15 year olds is very high.
Keep in mind that Russians has much lower income than Western Europeans.
He learned about it all by himself around the age of 7 I think, and then started pestering me to buy. I acquiesced. First on iPad, then Mac, and then the XBox.
This game changed my view about games. I don't worry that he is wasting time on it. He seems to learn a lot constantly by playing this game. Everything else he has learned about computers & internet is through Minecraft.
He even got me to build a server so we both could play on a private server. I've played once and then stopped.
He watches videos on YouTube and learns a lot. Now at 9, he wants to build a YouTube channel that has millions of subscribers. When I told him I have 4 subscribers on my YouTube channel, you gave me a pathetic look :)..
(Oh, and she has a cuddly creeper that goes "ssssss-BANG!" when you squeeze it.)
With this deal it is even better suited.
Personally I feel this makes (much) more sense than instagram, these guys have a very loyal following, a tremendously strong product and actually make money.
Congratulations to everybody on the selling side in this deal, too bad it had to be Microsoft but with amounts like that there are not too many companies on the acquiring side.
Does anyone know if this was stock / cash / a mix?
edit: this Microsoft - Mojang deal will do more to get people into (games) programming than a million $ adspend by codecademy would
edit2: right now (16:43 my time) microjang.com is still free
Wonder how long it will take before that is a registered domain.
edit: microjang.com is now no longer free.
Microjang Development (DR is US)
PO Box 100439
NY, NY 10163-4668
US (UNITED STATES)
The terms seem pretty generous, though, a completely clean buyout with no requirement that the principals stay for even a little bit.
Now we're starting to talk about mods or being able to write mods for Minecraft some day. As this young, enthusiastic population of users grows up, they will have a lot of buying power and interest in things like the customizations and programming aspects of the game.
It is also a thrill for me, as a parent, to be able to see their young imaginations manifest in a 3D space which I can explore and interact with.
They're missing a huge market... children's birthday party crap.
Stock wouldn't be bad though.
I think it doesn't matter that much. Microsoft stock is notoriously stable for tech stocks, so the difference between an all cash deal and an all stock deal wouldn't be too big after, say, a year or something.
Notch also probably wasn't too pressured to make the sale, so the terms would be understandably in his favor.
If an opportunity to re-invest came along in that window then you'd miss out, microsoft stock is relatively stable but has seen both 'up', 'down' and 'neutral' years where up and down were on the order of 20 to 30%.
On top of that, cash is king, simply put: there is absolutely no uncertainty at all.
Given the option between x in cash and x in stock or a mix or stock and cash you should always go for the cash.
And something a bit less than x is probably still preferable in cash.
I want to do business against you. :P
2009 was only 5 years ago. Money markets nearly crashed, banks went bankrupt, the Fed printed enormous amounts of money, and BTC was invented. With $2.5 billion on the table, I'd first hire a team of lawyers and accountants, and maybe some lobbyists too... then I'd let MS know how I want to receive the rest of the money.
Because currency values don't fluctuate at all...
Centi can designate 100 of something or one-hundredth of something.
"One centillion is a number, which is equal to either 10^303 or 10^600, depending on the system used."
Principles were already gone. Notch never really worked on the game anymore. He stayed around because they wanted him to.
I don't think there's the revenue growth potential in Minecraft like there is in Instagram. On the other hand, Mojang made $330 million in revenue and $129 million in profit last year. They can probably hold on to those margins because their sales system doesn't share revenues with retailers or distributors (or Valve, Google, or Apple for that matter).
The interesting question is whether Minecraft has legs to continue selling for ten or twenty more years. I think it might. I know lots of parents that don't let their kids play video games except for Minecraft. When I pick my kids up from school, I always see a handful of kids wearing Minecraft shirts and carrying Minecraft lunch boxes. It could become like Lego--a toy that's viewed as educational and beneficial by parents.
If I was Microsoft, I'd do two things: First, I'd work on performance and clean up the presentation a bit, especially on the loading screens and menus. Second, I'd roll out a service to make it easy for parents to set up a locked-down server for their kids. You wouldn't believe the number of parents who have asked me for help in setting up a Minecraft server for their kid and his/her friends. I finally stopped showing them because it's too complicated for them to keep running. A service that cost $4.95/month and was reputable, simple, and secure could make a killing.
The margin is interesting, because Mojang supposedly paid Notch personally another ~$129m in licensing fees.
If he has managed to sell the company and will still collect such large licensing fees, he's laughing all the way to the bank. If he sells whatever rights he is licensing to Mojang/Microsoft first, however, then their margin will leap up as their expenses are, in reality, a lot less than they seem due to this arrangement.
I do agree about improving performance and presentation within the game though. My understanding is that there is a lot of room for improvement.
edit: downvoted already, new record.
At least I didn't suggest that Microsoft would now have to re-write minecraft in C# rather than in the Java that they love so much there.
With all due respect, I don't find it particularly relevant what one guy said 6 years ago. I don't care whether he created HN or not. He's no longer an active participant.
I reserve downvotes for rudeness and demonstrably wrong/misleading comments.
Personally, I use upvotes to reward new knowledge or an interesting argument in a comment, I don't upvote every comment I agree with, and downvote only if the comment is offensive.
I believe this to be a mythology that "everyone knows is true" although it isn't.
For similar examples, MMORPG players are all 13 year old boys, FPS players in general are all 13 year old boys, there is a perfect 1:1 mapping between WWII FPS and gaming in general...
I'll admit in public to relax I'll log in with my son and we'll work on the big base and rail system. Better than watching TV together. I find rail work to be relaxing exactly like working on a model railroad (obviously you need railcraft mod for this). I like building vast chemical refineries, like a fully automated system where you dump ore blocks in one side, all mixed together, and via AE and IC2 and compactsolars and all that, ingots of metal eventually plop out the other end. I also like multifarming and setting up automated ethanol plants.
From talking to other parents its very fight club where the first rule is we don't talk about it. Kind of like how legos seem to get played with by dad as much as kids, unofficially, although its a kids toy. Like many I have tried to sneak a lego imperial star destroyer past the wife "for the kids", unsuccessfully. Lego seems very expensive compared to when I was a kid...
Well, yes, I'd expect parents and teachers to talk largely about < 16 year olds.
Of course this is all anecdotal.
It's a small sample size, but I think Minecraft is destined to be a kids' game with a minority of adult enthusiasts. (That's not necessarily bad--Lego and Pokemon fit that description, too.)
If MS can nurture the hackers and enable them to create and maybe even monetize their hacks, then it should be possible to keep a core set of fans well into adulthood.
If they have a solid idea of how they want to use the IP, it makes sense. It also comes with a massive risk though - it will be very easy for them to "be the guys who ruined Minecraft".
I imagine it will need to be something like "stay very hands-off for a significant amount of time to prove that they didnt in fact ruin it" followed by some way of turning it into a link in and value add for their existing products rather than something that they sell expansions/new stand-alones for.
Something like Minecraft being the Tetris/Solitaire of the 2010s or so? It comes pre-loaded with their OS's, create a great experience on surface tablets etc, trying to turn it into "the new Microsoft gives you cool stuff and makes it open for everyone" to position Microsoft as the open alternative to the more closed environments of Google and Apple?
I dont see how the purchase makes sense from a money-making point of view today - the Mojang crew hasn't proven they can do repeated success with new IPs, but I could totally see it making sense from a holistic point of view - successful integration of Minecraft in the Microsoft universe could add significant value to Microsoft as a whole.
Even if they do nothing else.
Minecraft makes a crazy amount of revenue at present without very much effort being put into monetization. If MS did nothing other than to offer paid high quality hosting and other basic features they'd bring in even more revenue. If they developed the game more thoroughly, came out with a sequel, more merch, etc, they'd be rolling in cash.
The most popular version of Minecraft in terms of raw sales is the Pocket Edition which is Android and iOS only, so I suspect MS is seeing an opportunity there.
Repeating the success of minecraft is nigh impossible, it was the confluence of several factors at the right place and the right time. The best that can be hoped for is good stewardship of the minecraft community and client. Unfortunately this isn't the way microsoft thinks about games or products(see halo), expect a Minecraft 2: Creepers Return, Minecraft 3: the Blockening, etc... They didn't spend 2.5 Billion to steward a community.
How long before they port it to C#?
They won't. They'll just take the C++ ports that already exist (Xbox, mobile) and port that to desktops. Or rewrite the whole thing in C++. While C# is MS' baby, it makes no sense to write a 3D game in it (and for everyone who thinks Unity is C# - it isn't - Mono is just used for scripting).
There is quite good reasons not to do everything in C++ if game designers are involved. Unity uses C# for scripting; only the inner graphics engine need be native.
On the contrary, Minecraft is very heavy on the CPU and would benefit from running on native code rather than a managed bytecode based virtual machine environment.
It isn't heavy duty graphics, so you don't need a super strong GPU (it's still quite heavy), but Minecraft is very CPU and memory intensive. Graphics can be fast regardless of the programming language if you unload things to the GPU, but Minecraft requires a lot of CPU side work to prepare the voxel graphics (ie. building GPU vertex buffers, etc from the voxel octree in CPU/main memory).
There are huge potential performance benefits of rewriting it in native code. I don't think that will happen, though.
Here's a recent interesting article about optimizing visibility and minimizing overdraw, in particular for mobile "chunker" (aka. "tile deferred") GPUs. In the end it improves performance but at the cost of even more CPU work.
Moving to C++ is always a PITA, I hope this isn't an optimization made so early, especially when there are other things to do.
You use scripting languages to save dev time - Microsoft can just throw more devs at it. They spent 2.5 billion on it - labour is cheap at that scale...
There is a reason why kids prefer lego batman and lego starwars to real batman and starwars.
There is no way Microsoft will let it run like that. They bought it because they have plans for it and those plans will likely collide with the interests of the community. Microsoft is big in the gaming console business and struggling in the mobile market. It seems likely that they'll try to use Minecraft to push those markets.
Even if they won't do it immediately I suspect that they'll eventually make Minecraft exclusive to Xbox and mobile. Meanwhile they'll drop or decrease support for systems they don't like, like GNU/Linux, Playstations, etc. Maybe this will be part of a rewrite or a new huge upgrade (which I guess we can call "Downloadable Content" or whatever it is called in the XBox universe from now on).
And Microsoft will put their game guys in charge of it. And those guys speak a different language than Mojang. They don't care about indie and close community. They care about downloadable content and making new sellable releases every 12-24 month.
I have. Granted it was around 5 years ago so things have probably changed, but it was around the time they were launching the XBox arcade dev kit and they seemed very genuinely interested in indie dev and supporting communities.
Meat Boy certainly seemed to come about in that kind of positive environment.
Not saying that I'm 100% confident that MS won't mess up Minecraft. I've never played it, but have always enjoyed following Notch and his epic trip with Minecraft as I was once a starry eyed indie game dev. I also have a young child who I know will be into it. Everything I've read seems like Minecraft totally failed to learn from id software and valve when it comes to modding. And still Minecraft mods are massive.
It blows my mind. It also makes me think that MS would have to try REALLY REALLY hard to mess it up. If Minecraft has been a success with all the hurdles so far, I figure it is basically an unstoppable cultural entity now.
I have played it but I'm not really a Minecraft person myself. However as far as I know the modding situation isn't that bad because the Minecraft jar can be easily decompiled. The problem is only the lack of a stable API (which seems to be in development though) which means updates can break mods and other mods can break mods. There also doesn't seem to be an official loader or mod list. Thus people are forced to deal with obscure websites and obscure mod makers.
Mojang is not putting any artificial hurdles in the way of modding. Something which I highly doubt would have ever been possible if it had been a Microsoft company.
>There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android
> How long before they port it to C#?
I beat you there by a while :)
You mean Minecraft.NET Pro?
I take it that is in the hypothetical sense or are you capable of closing $2.5 B deals by your lonesome?
> Microsoft - Mojang deal will do more to get people into (games) programming than a million $ adspend by codecademy would
Definitely. And it will get more developers into the MS ecosystem than any Microsoft Certification tests would.