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I'm Leaving Mojang (notch.net)
1252 points by UnfalseDesign on Sept 15, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 418 comments

This whole Minecraft thing has been very interesting to follow. I tried the game a few times and it's not really for me but everything around Notch's story is interesting (I bet their going to make a movie about this at some point). Not everyone can be an entrepreneur and I feel that in this case (on a different scale of course), we basically watched a plausible version of how Apple could have gotten started if there was only a Wozniak but no Jobs.

I'm sure there are many here that dream of having their idea be a huge success but aren't really interested in becoming the next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg. They just want to cash out so that they can have their financial freedom and then go out of the limelight and back to doing the same things they enjoy but without having to constantly worry about job security and putting food on the table. Notch achieved this in the most spectacular way possible and I think he handled it perfectly.

I think the analogy to Wozniak is great. I remember an article some months ago in which he basically said the same: He wants to tinker and hack.

I remember watching some parts of notch's livestreams. I loved the enthusiasm he had. He was a bit like a young boy, trying things, throwing some away, creating games. I'm happy for his decision.

I see the echos of that enthusiasm in my daughters when they build in their Minecraft worlds. Notch's sense of wonder and joy of creating has been spread to millions.

It's unfortunate that all our greed and crazy fandom keep scaring the great minds away from continuing to push us all forward.

Come on, it's the entertainment industry. You don't see greed and crazy fandom pushing away fundamentally important people like Vint Cerf, since their work isn't related to entertainment.

Wozniak was unusual in that his story wasn't entertainmnet-related, but most of these "I can't handle the public's demands for my attention" stories come from the entertainment industry.

I see what you are saying, there are many smart, if not brilliant people out there. Woz is able to "think different."

Unfortunately, Vint Cerf is not close to being a billionaire. Our economic system doesn't award brilliance, it doesn't award productivity, it awards the ability to convince other people to give them more money. I'm not saying that that's totally bad, just that the money chasers scare away some great minds.

I think it's less the greed and crazy fandom and more a new generation of people that feel they are entitled to everything and anything they want and if they don't get it, start an online witch hunt.

There are numerous examples of this in the past 6 months and in Notch's case, it happened with EULA and 3rd party server support.

A community that supports this sort of behavior wouldn't have my support either. I don't blame him.

> a new generation of people that feel they are entitled to everything and anything they want and if they don't get it, start an online witch hunt

Is it really fair to characterize this of a specific generation?

> “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” — Socrates

This is just what happens when you sell 54 million copies of your product. Granted, I'm not exactly entrenched in the Minecraft community, but I'm guessing it's just the usual case where the vocal minority start getting uppity. Whenever you have a group that large, there will be some bad apples.

Not that I'm disagreeing with you, however. There comes a point when the amount of vitriol you're receiving isn't worth the success.

No, its just that a really small minority has the chance to be absurdly vocal on the internet.

> …in Notch's case, it happened with EULA and 3rd party server support.

What, you don't think that people who have paid for a game client and server have the right to run that client and server? That's Freedom 0, and it's fundamental. Attempting to violate it with any sort of EULA is simply wrong.

Yeah, exactly. Dealing with social media as a divisive personality is exhaustive - either you completely shut it off and let some underpaid underdealing deal with it, or you will get horrendously burnt out by all the negativity.

I hope he will produce another master work, but either way, I wish him a very happy life with all the money he earned.

> If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

This is the part of the post that bothers me, especially in the context of 0x10c which seemed to follow that exact track. Its his life obviously, I just wonder what awesome stuff won't be made because Minecraft made him wealthy enough that he didn't need to worry about being productive anymore.

I don't think "so wealthy he doesn't need to be productive" is what happened. Rather the horrific experience of having indie game fans obsess over him made him determined never to do anything that would draw their attention again.

If this analogy is so good, and I'm not doubting it, then is MSFT like adding Jobs to Minecraft? Will we see a small successful company become a dominant global technology/gaming company?

> there are many here that dream of having their idea be a huge success but aren't really interested in becoming the next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg.

I think it's more than you think. I think Notch expressed clearly that he did not expect nor want his project to become a big hit. He may have been flattered for a while but he now sees it clearly: success is shit, big success is a shitstorm.

The exact opposite of the entrepreneur spirit. I think pg may have overlooked this side of the hackerhood.

I think what pg might have overlooked, looking back at his old essays, is that hackers of old, driven by their love for their work turned into paper-toiler entrepreneurs today. There is nothing precluding a hacker from leveraging the economy to scale up his favourite hack (which I believe pg's early essays were about) or, as Notch did, just to secure himself a peaceful and secure environment to continue his hacking without having to worry about things like food, health and shelter. But that is a different type of hacker than the ones that are attracted to the startup scene nowdays.

I guess part of the reason I feel the word "hacker" lost its meaning today is the rise of paper-toilet hackers (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8319102).

yes. just right.

Of course, it being a big hit is what gives him enough money that he now can live comfortably while working on whatever the hell he wants without worrying about making money.

I'm not critisizing him, I'm glad he has that opportunity, and I'm glad he's recognized what opportunity he wants (which is apparently NOT the opportunity to try and make even more money).

But it's a bit more complicated than "success is shit", success is what's allowed him to ignore success from here on out, without having to worry about a roof over his head, health care, etc.

He's Swedish. He didn't need to strike it rich to escape worries about a roof over his head and health care.

Yes. Other commentators here assume he was starving and is now rich, which should be an improvement. But maybe he was not starving, maybe he already had a roof and some food, either from some previous work, or from goverment, or from his family.

Maybe, probably, he was already able to hack things he liked without worrying too much about survival: he actually did I guess, when he started Minecraft.

The problem is that he got an offer he could not refuse (as in The Godfather)...

You only get unemployment benefits it you are enrolled in a job seeking plan. So while you may not need to worry about becoming homeless, getting unemployment benefits is an entirely different predicament than what Notch is in now.

There might be a different documentary/biopic/film, but there is currently Minecraft: The Story of Mojang[1]. It only really covers the first year, however.

1: http://www.2playerproductions.com/projects/minecraft

"I'm sure there are many here that dream of having their idea be a huge success [...]"

In the broader picture, I am struggling to understand some of the opinions of this story out there, particularly on HN. What I mean is, I suspect that a majority of us dream of this type of success. We dream of connecting our creative force with financial success, especially when that success would free us to work on practically anything that we wanted. I would say that a lot of us dream of being able to lead entirely self-directed lives that financial freedom can afford.

Therefore, why is it bemoaned when we see the very success that we dream of unfold for someone else? Why are there suddenly opinions of, "Well, I can't believe Notch would work on something that he would abandon?" Or, "Notch should spend his money this way or that way."

It just feels, well, extremely egotistical. Who is anyone to call out how someone else should spend their money, enjoy their time... live their life?

A similar situation happened with Dong Nguyen. He essentially tapped into the modern-day equivalent of Pac-Man Fever. In the 80s, it swept the world, to the tune of billions of dollars. It was the highest-grossing arcade game ever produced. People simply loved the game, and they couldn't get enough of clearing boards of dots, power-pellets and ghosts.

In a similar way, Flappy Bird took very simple game-play, and combined it with a simple challenge. This is, of course, not the first game to do this, but it took off. The power of the Internet has made Nguyen's name known, and quite sadly in some circles, despised for his financial success, when how much he was making on ad revenue was revealed. Or, with comments like those found in this piece [1], its intellectual lamenting with, "[...] I begrudge a society that would turn it into a phenomenon."

I suspect that the author would have said the same about Pac-Man.

I really feel for Notch, Dong Nguyen and those creatives of the world that worked to bring a dream to reality, only to have this happen to them. I'm reminded of a phrase from the song Limelight [2] ...

Cast in this unlikely role

Ill-equipped to act

With insufficient tact

One must put up barriers

To keep oneself intact

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/02/03/flappy-bir...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKpn0esJ73w

Skip forward a few tracks:

Quiet in conscience, calm in their right; confident their ways are best. [1]

> I would say that a lot of us dream of being able to lead entirely self-directed lives that financial freedom can afford. Therefore, why is it bemoaned when we see the very success that we dream of unfold for someone else?

A lot of us do share that dream, but many feel most alive when they're part of a group movement. There's a little of each in everyone, but it's easy to understand how those who lean strongly to one side or the other might not be able to see through the eyes of folks across the gap. I think that, for the most part, any backlash against Notch isn't fueled by jealousy from those who aspire to the position he's reached; rather, it's from a sense of betrayal and abandonment from people whose core values are loyalty and unity.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHH17-cMOu0

"I really feel for Notch"

I don't. He cashed in and, well somehow wants the sympathy of free & open-source wish-keepers.

He's in the money; and that was his choice.

I don't think he wants sympathy, that's not how I read this at all. I think he wants freedom, and he is not asking for it but simply stating for the record how he is going about this.

One of the thing's I admire about Notch's communication is that it always comes off as sincere and matter of fact. I think that is admirable in the face of the reality one faces in becoming internet-famous.

The internet has a big problem with mob-mentality entitlement. People jumping up to call Notch a hypocrite for going back on his word, or otherwise critiquing every little move he makes really don't have a leg to stand on. I mean sure everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the actual power that these people deserve to have over Notch is infinitesimal; it's just noise on the internet with no significance. Look at it this way, if suddenly 10 million people started scrutinizing what you were up to, I'm sure they'd have a lot of complaints, but what do you owe to them?

Perhaps it's that Notch invited the entitlement with an explicit promise ? http://web.archive.org/web/20100301103851/http://www.minecra...

Included there is a dedication to (eventually) make the work open-source or public domain, and to contribute to it so long as people are paying. Those promises drove MindCraft praise, good will, and adoption. Do you think asking someone to keep these promises, the ones that drove adoption (and hence his current good fortune) is... entitlement?

Yes, yes I do. The fact that you see his future plans as some kind of ironclad contract is precisely the problem. Minecraft did not explode because of these promises, it succeeded because of the reality on the ground as a fun game.

Notch gave the world a fun game, you gave him a small purchase price in order to enjoy it, end of transaction. The fact that he published thoughts and future plans does indenture him as your eternal entertainment provider. He should be free to leave daily development and do with his creation as he will, including deciding to do something differently than he originally envisioned. This is his prerogative as creator. To all the people who claim their participation "made" the success of Minecraft, I say bullshit, you are playing a fucking game.

You know what's a lot worse for humanity? When Twitter decided to be a media company instead of an infrastructure company. That also pissed off a lot of people who "made" the success of the company. But you know what? Same deal. It's their prerogative. You can cry and gnash your teeth, and of course you are entitled to your opinion, but the value of all those opinions? Farts in the wind.

Or as Neil Gaiman would have said it:

Notch isn't your bitch.


The repeated use of the verb "will" definitely tricked me into believing it was a verbal contract, not just fuzzy plans (and I still believe he meant it as a contract).

I personally don't care, bought Minecraft, enjoyed it and moved along as I realized the modding system would never see the light... but I definitely understand why people feel disappointed.

A blog post is neither "verbal" nor a "contract", no matter how many times the word "will" is used.

> A blog post is neither "verbal"

A blog post is -- if, as most are, it is composed of words -- verbal. Its not "oral", but those two don't mean the same thing.

Don't be obtuse. The phrase "verbal contract" is specifically oral contract.

Quoting Wikipedia:

"The term verbal contract is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for oral contract. However, a verbal contract is one that is agreed to using words, either written or spoken, as opposed to an implied contract."

It's funny how GP is heavily downvoted even though he's right. Downvoters (which I assume you're one of) didn't even check their facts.

Sometimes HN sucks.

Even wikipedia says you shouldn't use them as a reference.

Can you find any example of usage of "verbal contract" to mean anything other than "spoken contract"?

> Can you find any example of usage of "verbal contract" to mean anything other than "spoken contract"?


Contrary to common wisdom, an informal exchange of promises can still be binding and legally as valid as a written contract. A spoken contract is often called an "oral contract", not a "verbal contract." A verbal contract is simply a contract that uses words. All oral contracts and written contracts are verbal contracts. Contracts that are created without the use of words are called "non-verbal, non-oral contracts" or "a contract implied by the acts of the parties."

So, that's clearly saying that people use "verbal contract" to mean "spoken contract" - it's not an example of someone using the term "verbal contract" to mean "written contract".

> it's not an example of someone using the term "verbal contract" to mean "written contract".

A verbal contract is simply a contract that uses words.

How is that not an example of a use of "verbal contract" to mean a category which includes both written and oral contracts?

Don't be obtuse ;)

Since you're the one claiming "verbal" equals "oral", you're the one who's supposed to do the research. Wikipedia has a citation on that specific paragraph and there are lots of results in Google. Do your homework before your claims.

But anyways, "verbum, verbi" means "word" in Latin while "os, oris" means "mouth". That should be a clue.

"Verbal contract" always refers to spoken contracts!

This is about usage, not definition. To interrupt a hrwad with a pointless aside in a snarky manner about a common (mis)use of "verbal" deserves a downvote.

Your inability to find an example of someone using "verbal contract" to mean "written contract" has been noted. :p

> Your inability to find an example of someone using "verbal contract" to mean "written contract" has been noted. :p

Did you even search Google? Do your homework!


here's one. Oh wait, they're using verbal to talk about oral contracts.


here's another. oh wait! they're doing the same.


Here's one from a national UK newspaper. They're using verbal to mean oral.

Here's another UK newspaper: http://careers.theguardian.com/careers-blog/contracts-employ...

And again, they carefully use written to mean written and verbal to mean spoken.

The first two pages of my Google search failed to show anyone using "verbal contract" to mean "written contract" - and it's pretty obvious why. A written contract is just a contract, or if you really need to specify whether it's written or spoken you'd be obtuse to use the word "verbal" to describe a written contract.

Perhaps it's a US / UK thing?

EDIT: put more smilies in.

That wasn't a blog post. It was an About page for a product. It's essentially the product's description.

Quoting the page you just linked: "Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source. "

Sales are not dying and minimum time did not passed. It does not even look like the sales will die soon. He was thinking about releasing the game when the game is dead and abandoned by gamers. Even if you take the above as a promise, the initial condition is not met and there is no requirement on him to do anything.

I don't see that he, personally, has to contribute free expansions, it's enough if Mojang does. A lot of people seem to be assuming that purchase by MS means the end of mods and the start of paid expansion packs. Is there definite evidence for this claim, or is it just speculation?

As for releasing it as open source, I went to your link and it says 'Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.' How do you know he has gone back on this promise, as I have not seen any statement to the contrary so far?

Your claims of entitlement seem to rest on unproven assumptions. Is there some evidence out there you could link to, for those of us who don't follow the company/product closely?

What he actually said is worth quoting:

Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.

Given that sales are still growing, I don't think you can even hold that against him.

He also said:

I'm going to have to include some way of winning the game

That never happened, either. Intentions change, and you don't see people judging him on that.

Your sense of entitlement is why corporations now include "forward looking statement" disclaimers.

If you kill the ender dragon you get a credits screen. Does that not count as winning?

Yeah, maybe I guess..

But it's not really the point of the game is it?

It can be, if you want it to - that's the whole point. Much like there are people who play WoW to accumulate gold, or PvP rankings, or raid success, or epic gear, or a working guild, or to craft all of the recipes, or something else I've not encountered.

The fascinating thing to me is that WoW's success was predicated on keeping people playing by paying content creators to come up with new goals for players to strive for, but minecraft demonstrates that people are more than capable of creating their own goals and successes within a sufficiently open ended game. For me, it was a lava moat. Then a pitched roof. Then a farm. Then a railway that took hours to build (and didn't go anywhere useful in retrospect). Then... etc

Would Minecraft be in better hands if Notch open-sourced it instead of selling it to Microsoft?

Maybe but is it really a fair question?

Notch wasn't the only owner. In fact, he owns less than 50% and they have 40+ employees.


Open sourcing it would likely screw his co-founders, employees with stock options, etc. compared to the size of this deal.

Tbh, I'd be happier if he donated 10% of his earnings from this sale to Open Source projects and feeding people. Rather than, y'know, having gone the route you suggested. He also seems like the kind of guy that would.

He said he'd open source it, but it never happened. I think this pre-dates Mojang, but I'm not certain about the exact timing.


I think you are ignoring the condition on that sentence.

"Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source."

Sales will, at some point, start dying. He has, as far as I can tell, relinquished control of the source in a manner that will forbid him from open sourcing the game at that point.

You think it's reasonable that he should continue at the helm of Mojang and retain control of Minecraft IP until what exactly? 10 years pass and the brand (which Minecraft has become) finally fades in popularity?

So he can release it as open source, to make good on what? Some "About" page he wrote fucking 4 years ago when Minecraft was nothing but a PC indie sleeper hit?

Get real.

So what? He should screw his business partners out of 2 billion so he could keep a promise from years ago when he had no clue how this would go?

Especially a promise to a community that throws him under the bus whenever something happens they don't like (even if he isn't involved)?

I don't think that is reasonable.

I agree. That's why I don't recommend ever open-sourcing any software with commercial possibilities. You'd be throwing money away.

Right. He never thought he was going to make the current juggernaut. He thought it was going to be yet another moderately popular project with a limited duration and impact.

He didn't really.

"Once sales start dying...as some kind of open source".

Dunno, he would have to be a strong man to donate that much to open source after all the hate vomited his way about it.

I somehow suspect he might give money to something else in the end.

Why would open sourcing it screw his co-founders? You can open source the code, interact with the community and improve Minecraft, while still selling the game. You don't have to open source the artwork and assets.

Piracy is not an argument in this, because pirating Minecraft for single player has always been and will always be piss easy, and multiplayer will still be impossible.

Microsoft wouldn't pay $2 billion if he open sourced it. So they'd get a smaller payout.

"we basically watched a plausible version of how Apple could have gotten started if there was only a Wozniak but no Jobs."

Nailed it.

For my kids sake, I hope they take a little while before they turn Minecraft into a FPS on Xboxlive.


Its such a lame end for "the story of Mojang". Let's see how long it takes for the word "mojang" to be forgotten. Lego is still called Lego, and Pixar still hasn't yielded its name to Disney (they sortof managed to coexist) to take just two examples.

The sad thing about Mojang is people are inspired by "vision". Money ? sure, we all want to earn as much as we can... But when did money give anybody any inspiration.

Is it just me, or do you think that Nintendo acquiring a company like Mojang seems more appropriate? I shudder at the thought of Microsoft stripping Minecraft of its creative and inspiring qualities and turning it into a simple FPS.

I just hope he didn't make a mistake by posting what he did, when he did. Rest assured there are clauses in the purchase agreement that cover anything that might lower the value of the business... such as announcing that you're jumping ship before the ink is dry.

If nothing else, he's got to be leaving an astonishing amount of cash behind. These agreements always come with long vesting periods ("golden handcuffs").

Notch didn't make his blog post until well after the official Mojang post (which he obviously did not write, and which announced the founders were leaving) went up.

Also, Mojang as a whole went almost dead silent between the time the WSJ article hit and today. Even routine twitter interaction that had nothing to do with the deal was greatly curbed. Somebody was making sure nobody said a word until they were allowed to.

And I'm sure Notch has an expensive lawyer telling him what he's allowed to do and when. He could certainly afford it even before this deal, and there are signs that he's had skilled legal advice in the past (e.g. the licensing of Minecraft to Mojang rather than outright transfer).

Woz doesn't stir up drama on Twitter every time someone in his industry does something he doesn't like. Notch sorta does (cf. "I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.").

(For the record, I think most of his opinions are great opinions.)

I'm open to the idea that people can change their minds, or that the circumstances might be different, or that he felt he couldn't do the job anymore, or didn't fit in, or whatever else. But the fact remains that this sale runs in direct opposition to basically everything he's ever said in public. Now, maybe he doesn't want to live a life where what he says "in public" has some kind of significance apart from what he just says in general. That seems to be the case - it's his prerogative and if he thinks that's what best for him I'm sure he's right. But people are still going to call him a hypocrite, and that's the price he's going to have to pay.

And that's the part that makes me a little sad. I like Minecraft, but not so much that I'm going to be heartbroken when Microsoft inevitably ruins it. But I did find myself in agreement with Notch on a lot of things, and I was glad that he was able to do what he did and be outspoken about things he thought were important, etc etc. And with this sale, we also lose that. Oh well.

Yea but Woz isn't contributing technically anymore

Is notch? I was under the impression that notch has not worked on any real production code in a long time. I was always under the impression that he is not "technically" that good and the original minecraft code was very inefficient but I could be wrong.

Every time game programmers get called out for writing bad game code i get a bit angry. Games are a very convoluted thing to have to express in a procedural fashion.

Have you ever looked at a hello world opengl program in java that includes textures and bump mapping and light source stuff? Its a mess.

Also being highly productive has bugger all to do with writing "good code". Almost no code gets the job done.

I've written plenty of stuff that is "bad code" that runs faster (in a world were speed is important) and makes more money than the elegantly designed frameworks i've built.

I would go so far as to say good code is contradictory to highly productive solutions that get the job done. Indeed i know one large firm that employs and spends millions trying to find the best c++ programmers they can.

All they do is sit all day arguing about the best way to do things. Chatting to them in the pub they guess they write about 1000 lines of code a year that gets into production.

> Not everyone can be an entrepreneur

can't you have a company by hiring someone to lead instead of you, only giving him directions ? I mean couldn't mojang become some sort of game development laboratory instead ?

for example google throws money they get from advertising at other experiments, I'm really dreaming of doing that for game development.

Such a reaction is borderline ridiculous and coward. Others like Wozniack are mature and strong enough and are definitely able to sustain a business well. Several levels apart!

>As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments.

It has always amazed me how down to earth Notch is. Now, he's going to be a billionaire doing little game jams. It's hard to believe and quite awesome. It's like Bruce Wayne deciding to spend the rest of his life playing with legos.

>It's like Bruce Wayne deciding to spend the rest of his life playing with legos.

I like this image. Bruce Wayne's character in batman is always thinking big. He tries to push things in the direction he thinks is right. The idea that someone would have all the power and decide to play with toys makes me worry about the rest of us. I would like to see people like Notch (creative, thoughtful people) having a say in what the future holds. However, it seems inevitable that after a certain point, you have to choose between living the life you want or ceeding at least some of your time to the whims of the masses of the public.

Someone else mentioned Jobs and Wozniak - Notch feels like Wozniak and Mojang has no Jobs. How can we keep the Wozniaks and Notchs of the world involved in making decisions in a way that keeps them happy? We don't want to have to choose between scale and creativity.

Bruce Wayne's character in batman is always thinking big. He tries to push things in the direction he thinks is right.

No, Bruce Wayne is incredibly myopic. If you have billions of dollars and you want to fight crime, the last thing you should be doing is developing fancy equipment so that you can personally go after criminals one by one. If Bruce Wayne truly wanted to use his money to reduce crime, he would be donating it to preschools and after-school sports programs.

Getting off-topic of course, but the key insight here is that Bruce Wayne does NOT really want to 'reduce crime'.

Instead, he wants to take revenge on criminals, like the criminals who killed his parents. 'reduce crime' isn't the same as 'fight crime', he requires the FIGHT part, and the revenge part.

Yeah, that makes him somewhat less sympathetic, but isn't that what everyone likes about batman these days, the darkness?

Yep. See Watchmen (the book, not the movie) for an extended look into what kind of batshit people would ever want to be a "superhero".

> If Bruce Wayne truly wanted to use his money to reduce crime, he would be donating it to preschools and after-school sports programs.

To be fair, Bruce Wayne does, in most versions of the Batman stories, incredibly vast amounts of local charity of that type (and others), as well as personally going after criminals one by one, and there's probably limited capacity to productively absorb those funds (Wayne's pump-priming charity would probably also be increasing that capacity and enabling Wayne to shift more money into those approaches productively, were it not for the fact that it is somewhat counteracted by the rather extraordinary frequency of supervillian-initiated civic destruction in Gotham, which probably has a negative impact on capacity-development efforts.)

So we could say that Bruce Wayne knows well how to purchase fuzzies and utilons separately [0]. He spends a lot of his resources to help effectively by donating to local charities, and he gets the fun and good feelings from helping people by chasing criminals himself as Batman.

[0] - http://lesswrong.com/lw/6z/purchase_fuzzies_and_utilons_sepa...

I wouldn't say that. After a certain amount of charity work is done, the Batman work gets to be as effective on a per-dollar basis by reducing crime through the method of intimidation.

Mark Zuckerberg tried just dumping money into a school system. Didn't work because the school system was itself corrupt

Exactly this. That money is already done and gone, with little to no benefit to the children themselves. Such a shame.

Batman's superpower is literally class inequality and money.

He's not called the "Dark Knight" without reason.

And removing lead paint and lead from automobile exhaust and putting more cops with better technology on the street and funding abortions and birth control and funding internet pornography and keeping funding prisons to criminals in there longer.

Well stated.

> I would like to see people like Notch (creative, thoughtful people) having a say in what the future holds.

I don't. I have absolutely nothing against Notch, in fact I have the deepest respect for the guy as a hacker and as a person with, clearly, a lot of personal integrity. However he says quite clearly himself he's just interested in tinkering. Minecraft wasn't a deeply though out, perfectly executed, planned exercise in mass market game publishing. It was an entirely accidental result of pretty much randomly hacking ideas together. He had absolutely no idea what the future held for Minecraft when he produced it. Expecting him to have any deep insights into 'what the future holds' is projecting attributes and expectations on to him that I don't think he'd welcome.

> It was an entirely accidental result of pretty much randomly hacking ideas together. He had absolutely no idea what the future held for Minecraft when he produced it.

That the game became a financial success is indeed somewhat accidental. But that the game was fun was certainly not. Since Notch was "just tinkering", he optimized for a fun and interesting game, not for a profitable game.

I think this is the distinction aeturnum had in mind and I agree with him. We need Notches, Wozniaks and Musks to have more say in where the future goes, because they care primarily about the problems they're solving, and not about the money they're getting.

> That the game became a financial success is indeed somewhat accidental. But that the game was fun was certainly not

Yeah, it's amazing to me how many people who even play Minecraft and enjoy it don't understand this. The default state for games is not fun, and it's an incredibly deliberate (and usually difficult) process to get them there.

> How can we keep the Wozniaks and Notchs of the world involved in making decisions in a way that keeps them happy?

I think you come up with a publishing model. E.g., you front them money, provide staff, orchestrate delivery/maintenance, handle legal issues, but otherwise you leave the creative control in the hands of the author. This has worked in movies, music, literature, etc. The key is that creative control can never be challenged by business priorities (and if it is, the author needs to be able to take their IP and find another publisher).

Edit to add: at a certain point, a project ends and people like Notch need to move on to actually contribute (to society). No one complains when bands switch labels or directors stop making sequels.

He's 35 and totally burnt out. Give him time, hopefully he'll do something ambitious.

How is what he's doing not ambitious? I really don't understand the majority of comments in this thread.

He's taking the exploration path, instead of iterating on something which has already proved successful.

I can't wait to see what Notch does next.

I think notch summed up what we're all focusing on here:

>If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

He doesn't want you (or anyone) excited about what he's doing. He doesn't want people to like what he creates - he wants people to like the process of creation. The product is much less interesting to him.

Many people here are working towards the sort of success Notch achieved. Strangers everywhere enthusiastically adopted his creation. His considered reaction is to cut all ties to what he made. He's been to the top of the mountain and he thinks the mountain sucks.

Now, that's fine. It's his thing, he can do whatever he wants with it. I'm not of the school that thinks he "owes" anything to anyone. But I think we should all worry a little about this as a 'case study.' Notch did a good job keeping minecraft on track. Some people might quibble over its direction over the years, but ultimately it's continued to be updated be extremely popular. But, even with massive financial success, near universal acclaim, abundant funding and total creative freedom - he decided he would rather build toy games on his own. Maybe that's just how Notch is, and it doesn't say anything about how we've organized the industry most of us are a part of, but I think it probably says /a little/ about the industry.

Notch had (nearly) every advantage a creator could have if they wanted to take a small project and scale it up into something else. He decided to walk away - I just think we should examine the forces that led him to sell Mojang. We may find we're focusing on the wrong things in our own attempts to make ourselves happy.

> He doesn't want you (or anyone) excited about what he's doing. He doesn't want people to like what he creates

I don't think that's what he's saying at all. He's simply saying the spotlight makes it difficult for him to stay sane (see first and last paragraph) and he doesn't want to be pushed into roles he's not (e.g. CEO, entrepreneur). He wants to be himself without all the issues that come with fame (see the video he linked).

> he wants people to like the process of creation. The product is much less interesting to him.

He likes the process of creation, but he doesn't necessarily want others to like it too.

> Many people here are working towards the sort of success Notch achieved.

That's the big difference. They are working towards this sort of success, Notch was not -- it just sort of happened (see first paragraph).

> Notch did a good job keeping minecraft on track

Yes, ultimately he's responsible for that, but there are others that deserve at least as much credit as Notch for keeping it on track.

> But, even with massive financial success, near universal acclaim, abundant funding and total creative freedom - he decided he would rather build toy games on his own

This isn't surprising. Many of us would only be able to do what we really wanted with the freedom that comes from (financial) success.

> Notch had (nearly) every advantage a creator could have if they wanted to take a small project and scale it up into something else.

And he still has those advantages should he wish to do that.

It's like a guy that got lucky and rich and never has to work a day in his life anymore retiring early and doing what he likes to do.

I'll be honest, I'm bitter and jealous, :(

He comes across as a great guy, that made something great - so it seems that he deserves this, so why be bitter about it?

Sure, I envy his success and would like to make something great that will leave its mark on the world, too. I haven't, yet, but if anything, I'm inspired - and been so way before he sold his company.

Well, at least you're honest.

I never considered Bruce Wayne much of a tinkerer. More like Tony Stark playing with Legos.

Or just more like Tony Stark from IM1/IM2 movies, period. He has a lot of money, but he basically outsourced every day-to-day company decision making somewhere else (up to making his secretary a CEO) just so that he could do what he really loves, i.e. high-tech tinkering and saving the day (and drunk parties).

Tony Stark? You mean Elon Musk, right?

Or Steve Jobs.

There was a school of thought that the only reason that Steve Jobs liked being CEO of Apple was so that he could build the products he wanted, how he wanted, without anyone else telling him what he could and couldn't do. He basically created a role where he was a Product Manager with near unlimited resources who didn't have to answer to anyone else.

"It's like Bruce Wayne deciding to spend the rest of his life playing with legos."

Better than dressing up in a gimp suit, and liable to get fewer people killed.

I think that's exactly why he's not going to get what he wants. He's not going to have a normal life with the comforting blanket of anonymity again.

> 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, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world.

I think that's the essence of being a real game developer.

It's sad that Notch feels this way, I think the majority of old school games guys and girls were just like that.

Since it's become a big business with huge studios and ridiculous budgets the market has been spoiled. But Notch/Mojang and team have shown that there is still a place for great indie games and bootstrappers.

And I actually believe him that this deal is not about the money. Projects like these can become albatrosses.

> I think that's the essence of being a real game developer.

I think that's the eseence of being a real X, X = insert whatever you claim to be in.

In my mind I divide companies (and professionals) by whether their occupation is an instrumental or terminal goal. As an example, advancing rocketry and electrifying transport to advance humanity is a terminal goal for Elon Musk. I.e he cares about that and works on Tesla and SpaceX to achieve that. Contrast with most of companies, that do what they do as an instrument to get money. Such company, for which i.e. making cars is an instrumental goal would gladly switch to producing toilet paper if it was a more profitable sector. I like to refer to such a company as "toilet-paper company".

For an example that would likely appeal to the audience here, toilet-paper companies are common in start-up world nowadays. That new SaaS business that tells you (i.e. lies) how it cares about users and solving their problems, while the founders are planning on getting acquired by Google/Amazon/etc. and dumping the product (aka. exit) - that is a paper-toilet startup. Whatever sells.

What's the value I find by dividing companies by whether their work is terminal or instrumental for them? For one, I tend to trust former much more than the latter, because I expect that they'll optimize their product primarily for solving the stated problems and not primarily for selling ability.

So basically, Notch doesn't want to be a paper-toilet game developer; he wants to make games.

> In my mind I divide companies (and professionals) by whether their occupation is an instrumental or terminal goal.

That's a super good observation, thank you. It instantly explains why I have such a loathing for some companies and people and others I feel only pride. Wow. Never ever thought about it that way.

I suspect this may also help you to pick out good founders from an investors point of view and good co-founders from a founders point of view.

> It instantly explains why I have such a loathing for some companies and people and others I feel only pride.

I completely agree with this. It's basically optimizing for getting rich instead of optimizing for happiness. Many entrepreneurs make decisions (i.e. run their businesses) with the main focus being amassing money and getting rich. These are the ones that we find ourselves loathing so much. Whereas other founders make decisions with the main focus being happiness and passion for their work. These are the ones we admire.

I'm reminded of the _Nicomachean Ethics_, which, if I recall accurately, begins with an analysis of what you're calling instrumental activities vs terminal, in order to show that the end goal of any activity is happiness, which is not instrumental for any other purpose.

I'm not trying to go too deep into philosophy with this concept. I guess one could present a convincing argument that there are no real terminal goals, or that the real terminal goal is happiness, or something like that.

From the practical perspective though, people seem to have a limited capability for introspection. Maybe for Musk solving the big problems/retiring on Mars is only instrumental to feeling righteous, which is only instrumental to being happy, etc. but humans don't usually introspect that deep. The recursion stops somewhere around the moment where you feel you care about something for the sake of that something. That's what I meant by terminal goals here.

It's a good insight, but the repeated typo "paper-toilet" (incorrect, but interesting image) instead of "toilet-paper" (correct) made it difficult for me to understand on the first read. It's both here and in the post that links to this.

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm past the edit window, so I can't fix that :(.

It must have come out from the fact that in my native tongue toilet paper is "papier toaletowy"; the same two things but in different order. Therefore my mind didn't spot it on re-reading. I'll be more careful in the future.

You got it right 50/50. Switching languages frequently is much harder than just knowing how to speak/write multiple languages.

While i agree it has to be noted that Musk also did instrumental stuff (paypal) to be able to do the work he does now.

>I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world.

>I think that's the essence of being a real game developer.

Really? (to be read with the least amount of snark possible)

I think most game developers have the same sort of mindsets as other people in creative fields, and while the objective is to make great games, most developers seem to have that little twinkle in their eye, the 'what if my game suddenly becomes huge' thought stuck in their head, and ultimately to change the world at least a little.

If you look at people like Jonathan Blow or Phil Fish (who unfortunately needs to hide himself from the world after being constantly attacked), they all seem to have this objective of creating experiences to share with the world.

(There are examples of people who do develop games much like others write their diaries,in a very personal fashion, but I think the majority are out to create hits)

Phil Fish "needs" to hide because he's an asshole who, amongst many other things, successfully bullied a sexual assault victim into apologizing for talking about the fact that he'd been sexually assaulted.

Edit: and even then he doesn't have to hide from the internet except to avoid the flamefests he keeps actively starting, fueling, and turning into Twitter pileons against people he dislikes if he doesn't.

This comment is rude but the basic idea is right. Phil Fish and social media is a combination that does not work. He gets into massive nasty arguments. There's no connection to the game he made/makes.

And yeah I've seen the video about him becoming a symbol, which is terrible and all but still not a consequence of his creative output.

Stupid “Gamergate” conspiracies on HN. What is wrong with you? Why are you posing this here?!

It's the ideal, maybe; most 'real' game developers would love to be able to do whatever they want like Notch can, but run into practical problems like making money. Notch / Mojang got lucky, being one of the first 'building' games of its kind and the first majorly successful crowdsourced games. Nowadays, there's dozens of game developers that want to follow in his footsteps, but the competition in the crowdsourced world is just huge, so a lot will never get to a level where they can make a living out of doing what they love to do.

You mention it being a big business and all, but like you say yourself, thanks to Notch / Mojang, the rise of crowdsourcing and self-publishing thanks to platforms like Steam, indie game developers have a lot more opportunities than Notch/Mojang did back when he started out with Minecraft.

Is the market spoiled? I no gaming historian but I have been playing games since Atari. There's games along the way that have stuck with me,...pitfall, super mario bros., nhl hockey 93 (i know, super rando list). But I also add to that list Fallout 3. If you correct for better underlying hardware, I feel that games are just as good as ever. I don't have the same fascination with games I had as a child but I can still get sucked in. And aren't there still indie games coming out with some amount of fanfare, like Fez and Super Meat Boy?

There are loads of great games that come out all the time now, people just forget about bad games of the past.

And the "worst" games that we see now are at best mediocre if they were coming out 2 generations ago. The bar has gotten higher because so many high-quality games have been released

It's easy to forget about the bad games. I always think of the snes/n64 as some golden era where all games were great, but when I go to used game stores I remember that it's not true. There are a handful of great games from every era, and hundreds of forgettable ones.

> It's easy to forget about the bad games.

I will never forget RISE OF THE ROBOTS.

Preposterous. If it wasn't about the money, could have gone open-source at any time with the same effect/relief. Of course its about the $2B

Just because money isn't a priority for you, it doesn't mean you'll refuse it. He got the best of both worlds by letting other people run the business to focus on what he really wanted (indie dev). Believe me, it's MUCH easier to be creative and work on indie projects when you don't have to worry about your bills and your future...

That is ridiculous. Most people are able to figure out that they are better off with money then without, even if the money are not primary motivation. There is no contradiction in it.

As an indie developer with a normal lifestyle, it probably doesn't matter if you have 10 million in the bank or much, much more. So, it's unlikely to be about the money.

At any point he could have said "I have enough now" and lowered the price of Minecraft to a sustaining level, or made it open source, or just stopped developing it.

I'm glad that you're so up-to-date on the terms of Notch's contracts with Mojang that you can tell us with certainty that at any point he could have altered that relationship and had the public stop associating him with Minecraft's stewardship. It's good to have people in-the-know around.

Note that he's speaking for himself and that he's not the only founder.

he is not an earthworm with one brain cell. Of course, on some level it's about the money to a degree, but I think it's also true that it's not just about the money. It's both about the money and not about the money

If I was already super rich and selling my company I'd still prefer making 10-100 if my peers rich, rather than explain to them why they have to keep their day jobs because I'm convinced it's for a good cause.

The other day there was a post about some Doom map viewer Notch had written in Dart. One of the top comments said something along the lines of "This is why we all need to be rich, so we can work on stuff like this." I thought the comment was so sad because honestly, almost no one is going to benefit from a mostly broken Doom map viewer in Dart that's abandoned after a few days. Same with the numerous games he's started (often with no idea where he's going) and abandoned after a few hours/days. Don't get me wrong, I like watching his coding stream as much as the next person, but compare that to the millions of people who benefitted from the sustained and focused effort on Minecraft.

Notch says:

> If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

So sad. Imagine if Jobs/the PayPal guys/etc had taken this approach after their initial succcess.

Now I'm all for people being free to do what they want and only this guy owns his life and no one is entitled to have him work for them (hat tip Ayn Rand), and obviously this guy has had a bigger impact on the world than I have, but I tend to agree with Immanuel Kant (and Jesus) that we all have a duty to develop and use our talents in a way that benefits humanity and not just indulge ourselves in idle amusement once we're comfortable. And to be honest, this probably applies more to me than to Notch.

From "Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals":

> A third finds in himself a talent which with the help of some culture might make him a useful man in many respects. But he finds himself in comfortable circumstances and prefers to indulge in pleasure rather than to take pains in enlarging and improving his happy natural capacities. He asks, however, whether his maxim of neglect of his natural gifts, besides agreeing with his inclination to indulgence, agrees also with what is called duty. He sees then that a system of nature could indeed subsist with such a universal law although men ... should let their talents rest and resolve to devote their lives merely to idleness, amusement, and propagation of their species- in a word, to enjoyment; but he cannot possibly will that this should be a universal law of nature, or be implanted in us as such by a natural instinct. For, as a rational being, he necessarily wills that his faculties be developed, since they serve him and have been given him, for all sorts of possible purposes.

Minecraft was grown out of the way Notch works.

What you are suggesting is impossible. No one, not even Steve Jobs sits down and says "My life mission is to benefit humanity". This is because we really do not know which efforts will have the largest impact on humanity. You could waste a lifetime trying to make a better battery - but it might never happen.

Or you could hack around on a game and watch it explode and impact millions of lives around the world.

In my opinion the important part is that you are doing something meaningful to you as an individual. If it ends up exploding and benefiting humanity all the better. But the world would be so much better off if we just had everyone doing this.

> No one, not even Steve Jobs sits down and says "My life mission is to benefit humanity".

Musk might be considered a counter-example here. In fact, part of his mission is literally to "make a better battery". Of course in depends on how much you buy into his mythology. Certainly he could have comfortably retired after Paypal though. (Rather than moving on to run two groundbreaking companies - something I'm not sure how one person manages to successfully do.)

I wasn't saying that I think no one should do things that benefit humanity. Rather I was saying that you should only do what is meaningful to you as an individual.

Musk clearly finds what he does meaningful to himself and is not doing something he does not enjoy simply for the greater good of humanity.

Notch did not enjoy being part of something so large. I find it odd to belittle him for choosing the path of doing small things, since that is where something as impactful as Minecraft was created in the first place.

three, actually, if you count solarcity, which is arguably less groundbreaking than the other two.

> Minecraft was grown out of the way Notch works.

I'd say Minecraft was grown in spite of the way Notch works. The way he works has been the bane of a lot of modders, who are (arguably) the reason his game is so successful.

> In my opinion the important part is that you are doing something meaningful to you as an individual. [...] ...the world would be so much better off if we just had everyone doing this.

You can't separate yourself from humanity as a whole. That's like saying your liver should do something meaningful for itself as an organ, and if it ends up helping your body, all the better. We don't work individually. Humans require other humans, and all of our motivations and desires are influenced by this requirement.

Notch may not have begun Minecraft with the larger gaming community in mind, but he certainly continued development in some small part because of it.

I know this is outside the topic, but to critique your analogy - you could spend a lifetime trying to make a better battery, and share the knowledge of 1000 ways to not make a better battery, which is useful in and of itself.

I wasn't trying to imply such a pursuit wouldn't be useful, rather that you should only do it if you find it individually fulfilling and not solely because it might benefit humanity as a whole (because it might not, no one can predict these things).

But of course this is all just a personal opinion and highly subjective.

While we cannot predict the future with perfect certainty statements like: "A better battery will benefit humanity" are safe bets. There are many things that we know with a high degree a certainty will benefit humanity.

And if you find that individually meaningful you should go for it!

Notch however, clearly did not enjoy working on something with so much publicity whether it benefited humanity or not. I don't think we should belittle him for that.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the way he works or toy projects or experimenting or not knowing beforehand what will be successful. I'm just a bit concerned that if he actually takes the attitude of (paraphrased) "if something I do is appealing to many people I'll abandon that and find something nobody cares about," he'll end up shortchanging himself and others. And in fairness to Notch, he probably does mean something more nuanced, transitory, and reasonable.

I think the op just suggests that it would be a pity if Notch killed something he did because it turned popular; not that he should strive to build something popular or benefiting humanity.

> No one, not even Steve Jobs sits down and says "My life mission is to benefit humanity". This is because we really do not know which efforts will have the largest impact on humanity.

Not knowing how to do something doesn't stop me from trying to do it. Why does it stop you?

No one is obligated to make themselves miserable by forcing themselves to assume a role in life that they do not want. It might be debatable if he was some sort of political leader or humanitarian icon or something, of the sort where humanity's misery index actually increases in their absence.

However, for all of his good qualities, like 99.9999% of humanity, Notch is not wired up to be a hugely public figure, who is constantly interacting with the public, and is under continuous scrutiny to make another Minecraft. That's right, for the rest of his career, everything he does will be held up to the yardstick of being "the guy who created Minecraft".

I know, boo hoo and all that, given that he is now possibly a billionaire (on paper at least, and maybe only before taxes, but still!). But that doesn't instantly change his psychology- it doesn't flip any of the axes of whatever his Meyers/Briggs personality type is. If he's not comfortable and not happy being a public figure that everyone stares at waiting for the next Minecraft to pop out, no one should be able to hold that against him. He's not obligated to continue being that guy if it's not who he is.

After a few years out of the limelight, if he wanted to he could be a Mark Shuttleworth kind of guy: someone who struck it big while still young, and decided to invest a chunk of that money (and most or all of his time) to a passion project. I've gotta think that after the Microsoft deal, Notch won't have to work, but maybe in a few years he might decide to reinvolve himself with the community in a role that is a better fit for him. Or not, it's up to him. I would personally like to see some kind of Act 2 from him, because he is clearly a very creative and occasionally inspired person, but I won't hold it against him if doesn't want to.

Oh come on. The reality is that most people who get freak success are very often one-trick ponies. They don't often have a second chapter and some/most of the ones that do, do so only because they are highly driven type-A personalities who thrive on competition, which is the opposite of who Notch is, from what I can tell. Notch probably understands this and pardon me if I don't accept your morality argument over whats essentially a mild distraction (a video game).

With Notch's new found wealth, he could, say, start a charitable foundation or whatever he wants which could impact people a whole hell of a lot more people and in arguably better ways than Minecraft 2: Electric Bugaloo.

I get the impression that Notch may not actually be all that talented. I mean, he's probably more so than the average Joe, but not super exceptionally talented.

It seems like he got lucky, and was good enough to leverage his success into more success and was good enough of a businessman to profit handsomely from the whole thing, but that's about it. I understand that he hasn't done anything on Minecraft in quite a while. His attempts at something new don't seem to have gone anywhere. (That weird space programming game from a while back got a lot of attention but never resulted in anything.)

So, maybe that was it. Notch is a one-hit wonder. And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm sure he's already contributed more to the world than most of us ever will. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we're all losing out on anything significant if he doesn't keep trying to make more big things.

And from the other side of things, it seems like Minecraft came out of one of these ridiculous idle amusements. If you had described Minecraft to people before it was made, they would have thought it was ridiculous. Oh, a volumetric 3D world with a 1990s-era renderer. Great. Sounds about as useful as a Doom map viewer written in Dart. Yet it turned into something huge. So if Notch does have another hit in him, it will probably come about the same way, through more strange messing about.

You may confuse talent with algorithmic or scientific skills. Which, in the case of videogame is just one small part of the whole.

People like notch and other indie developpers are looking for things beyond immediate technical prowess or easy instant fun. They are after something you may call poetry, and how to explore new opportunities created by technology.

In this regard and judging by the large interest of children for minecraft, this man is talented.

I don't confuse talent. I understand that making a video game fun is completely different from raw programming talent or whatever.

But merely looking at what Notch has done, it looks to me like he got lucky rather than having some vast talent for making fun games.

And yet you casually quantify talent as being about making a fun game. There are so many flaws in this line of thinking.

At the top is the idea that if you make a game fun enough it will take off like Minecraft, but virality is not simply a product of fun, there are so many intangibles that go into blockbuster successes, and the people who get really good at wrangling those elements and distilling out a formula are not renowned for their talent (eg. Hollywood blockbusters).

But unpacking further, talent is something that needs to be developed. Natural talent is nothing without practice upon practice. Talent in some area requires years of practice that laymen will never really understand or appreciate. We can all talk casually about various kinds of talent, in programming, in art, in game design, in music, etc, but any kind of serious discussion needs to touch on the nuances of the specific work they are doing. Claiming Nickelback is more talented than Arcade Fire because they've sold more albums is a sure way to kill a conversation about music.

I honestly have no idea what your problem is with my comment anymore. Are you unhappy that I didn't mention the other things needed for success under "talent"?

What do you mean "anymore"? I only responded once.

My problem is simple: you define talent as being "successful" by your opening sentence. From the beginning you question his talent because you haven't seen more successes from him. That's what I'm taking issue with.

Of course I don't want you to define other things needed for success, that's precisely the problem. Success is not a barometer for success, more like a very very loose correlation.

Where did I define talent as being related to success?

I question his talent because I haven't seen anything interesting from him since Minecraft. If he had produced something great that nobody bought, I wouldn't be saying what I'm saying. But he hasn't made anything of interest.

He is talented, at least insofar that he is a great programmer, and has a knack for gameplay mechanics. Just watch his streams or look at this game (even the ludumdare one, they may not be much, but they're slick).

I sure failed to deliver a follow-up to Minecraft, but that was never his goal. He just wants to tinker and have fun, which is also why most of his game projects just stay at the embryonic stage; it seems to burden him greatly to follow up on the ideas, when the initial glee of tinkering with a new idea has worn off.

He's not so much a great programmer as a productive one (not that those are concepts that can't coexist, he just isn't both).

He's very good at taking an idea and making it work, then building new stuff on that, but less so at actually making things robust in an architectural sense. Moving on to the next thing that interests him also doesn't help that.

A lot of the biggest hiccups in Minecraft's stability are more-or-less directly caused by having to work around stuff that was coded in a way that made sense at the time, but gradually fitted less and less well to the game as it now stood.

I'd say at this point a lot of Notch's original code is outright gone, and that's a good thing. His vision is still at the core of it, and that's what he really brought to the project.

What exactly makes you think he's not talented? Because I on the other hand think he's extremely talented. That's the opinion I have based on occasionally watching his streams and reading his writings, not even considering the huge success that Minecraft is.

The fact that he hasn't followed up Minecraft with anything noteworthy despite having plenty of time and way more than enough money, and apparently wanting to build something new and successful with 0x10c.

He has followed it with several noteworthy projects.

People confuse popularity with merit. Things become extremely popular because of chance network effects. Humans are herd animals. You get a big hit if you are lucky enough to start a stampede. (Or if you spend a lot of energy carefully engineering a stampede).

Not getting a stampede doesn't mean you didn't make something amazing.

He did build something new and successful with 0x10c. That demo is amazing. Its a 3d shooter with an awesome laser gun and a _full 80s computer emulated inside of it_. And an abstraction for virtual peripherals, a virtual monitor, and a virtual 3d vector display. Its fucking awesome.

Did he make $100 million selling that? No. Does that mean it isn't awesome? No it absolutely does not. For starters, it was never for sale.

Here is a song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBAtAM7vtgc that is an absolutely horrible parody of itself (intentionally, for comedic effect (we hope)) that was in the top five of the charts for its category. It sold quite a lot of downloads, purchases and products. Incredibly popular. Complete crap.

Judging the merit of something on the basis of how excited the herd gets is completely wrong.

I don't get it. At least two of you have replied as if I based my comment on the lack of any popular followup to Minecraft. What did I say that made you think that?

As a creator, I don't envy Notch. Imagine having the question "will this be another Minecraft?" in the back of your head EVERY TIME you sit down to try and make something. It's the same fear that comes after even a modest Big Success; will my next book beat the big one? Will my next album? It's easy to fall into a hole of just cranking out more of the same - my friend Ursula Vernon, for instance, is on something like her fourteenth book on her successful "Dragonbreath" series of illustrated kids' novels. Or look at how harshly J.K. Rowling's post-Harry Potter books have fared.

You can't always catch lightning in a bottle again. And I don't envy having that hanging over the heads of oh who am I kidding I would totally love to be in the position of potentially disappointing thousands of fans when my next comic doesn't appeal to as many people as my most successful one did.

I think you have to just ignore what people think and do what you do. This seems to be Notch's way of doing it. More power to him, I say.

I'm sure Steve Jobs didn't care what people thought of him either. He just defaulted to "they will love what I do because I will create something great", whereas Notch seems to be more like "people are trouble, so go away." Which would probably be how I'd do it too.

If you're looking for an appropriate timeframe, you have to put his whole career in games in context. The first game he's credited for is Wurm Online, which he worked on between 2003 and 2007. He was also employed by King at least through 2009, when he started on Minecraft.

That is 6 years. Minecraft has been around for 5 years. If we take the premise that Notch comes up with really good ideas once every 6 years he works on games, he'll hit this timeframe next year.

Alternately, the clock might only start from the moment he stopped personally working on Minecraft, which was in November 2011. In that case we will have to wait another 3 years for him to collect ideas.

Is the definition of talent that one does something noteworthy on a regular basis?

I think that Phil Fish video that he linked really hit the nail on the head.

If you wanted to prove someone has talent, you would point to them pushing out noteworthy things on a consistent basis. Sure, someone can be very talented but have only a single thing to their name, but it's just as likely they got lucky.

> If you wanted to prove someone has talent, you would point to them pushing out noteworthy things on a consistent basis.

That's not a very good proof. If anything, that would show that they are productive. "Noteworthy" is very subjective, and it's not a measure of talent, though there can be correlation. If I have a big marketing team, I can make something noteworthy by someone's standards.

> Sure, someone can be very talented but have only a single thing to their name, but it's just as likely they got lucky.

Notch is talented. He got lucky with Minecraft. That doesn't make him any less talented. And now that he's "famous", his odds for being lucky have increased since he now has a bigger audience, more connections, more money - basically more opportunities.

It's only been a few years. Not everyone can churn out smash hits like clockwork, even if they are really talented.

If he ever does create another big game, I'd expect it would be many years down the road, after he's toyed with a lot of ideas and had more than a few false starts.

I don't think it's sad at all. It's great that Notch is doing what makes him happy. And honestly, I think he's much more likely to continue to do things that benefit the world if he follows this intuition rather than feeling duty bound to build things that are as big and impactful as possible.

Honestly I think his is more of an artistic than entrepreneurial mindset. How many artists set out to "change the world" with their art? Not many. But still many do.

At higher state of mind you do things for sack of doing or some intrinsic pleasure or even no purpose at all. G.H Hardy puts this best in his book Mathematician's Apology by describing why mathematicians do math. He mentioned, as a mathematician, he never cared about utility of its work. In fact he avoided anything that he thought could be remotely useful after many centuries. Euclid didn't created Elements to be "useful" in a practice sense. Mountaineers don't climb mountains because it benefits humanity. They climb them because they are there. I'd been kind of person in my early life where everything needed purpose and goals. It took me long time to understand and come to terms with this line of thinking. The reason I call it "higher" state of mind because I think you arrive there when you understand something very intrinsic about universe. I've written tons of code purely for sack of writing with no intent of it ever getting used by anyone. Some people try to explain it by saying that they do it "just for fun" but its akin to explaining quantum mechanics to a pre-schooler by watered down analogies.

> So sad. Imagine if Jobs/the PayPal guys/etc had taken this approach after their initial succcess.

I for one would be happy if paypal didn't exist. However, I like Musk's other companies.

That's kinda the point, Tesla, SolarCity & Space-X just don't exist without Musk's $165m exit from PayPal

I hope he means 'abandoning it to people who will develop it further so more people can enjoy it: I'm not going to deal with that aspect anymore'.

But I could just be optimistic.

There are a lot of artistic types that can't handle fame at all and become very destructive to themselves, others, and their work when they break down. John Campbell of Pictures for Sad Children comes to mind as a particularly compelling example.

I wish I had a pithy explanation as to why this was but I haven't figured it out yet. "some people aren't cut out for fame" doesn't really do it justice, because the problem isn't entirely in the Notch's of the world, but also how we relate to them and how fame is characterized in our culture.

> Don't get me wrong, I like watching his coding stream as much as the next person

Can you please post a link to his streams? I bet it'd be fascinating to watch.

Watching him create a game is unlike any other coding streams I've seen: http://www.twitch.tv/notch, http://www.hitbox.tv/Notch

thanks, guy.

I find it ironic that the laws that allowed Notch to cash out were expressly created to forward the progress of science and arts. Yet we find ourselves at a place where the dream is not to work and perfect craft, but to Get Rich Quick so we can relax for the rest of our lives. I, too, find it sad.

Notch has said that he wants to continue working but that he finds the millstone of Minecraft too weighty.

He is getting away from Minecraft and Mojang precisely so that he can perfect his craft and continue to work.

He's not leaving Mojang so that he can go and kick puppies or club seals. I find the calls on him to do something noble to be deeply unpleasant.

Stress is a bitch. But given some time, he'll get bored and do something with all that money.

Ayn Rand? What good does that kind of stuff do at all anyways? If you want some libertarian ideas, fine, there are countless philosophers out there for you to cite, even Robert Nozick. But Ayn Rand? That's just disgusting beyond belief, seriously.

I'm not sure I would ever agree with the idea that a person owes the world their blood and sweat just by coincidence of being born.

It's sad. But it looks like he simply doesn't have what it takes to be the kind of person we all wish he was. Nobody can't blame him for that. Leading of something big is hard and exhaustive process. Especially for introverts like Notch.

Or perhaps he doesn't WANT to be the kind of person you "we all" wish he was. This idea that people who are good enough at a thing must somehow become a CEO or leader creates a lot of unhappy people. Let the managers manage, and the engineers make things. Don't put pressure on people to do something they don't want just because you want to see what happens.

You just repeated what I have said without disagreeing with me, but somehow you made it sound like you are telling something of the opposite of what I meant.

You said he "doesn't have what it takes" which was what I was disagreeing with - he may very well have what it takes but he's chosen to not pursue that path.

Why should someone self-immolate in the name of a cause to which he disclaims being a leader when he has a chance to sell his for-profit business on optimal terms with no strings and with an immediate ticket to full independence free of the headaches of having to bear entrepreneurial and ideological burdens that he felt himself unfit to carry?

The question answers itself. There is no earthly reason why he should have. None whatever.

Of course, the price of being a cult figure is many who follow you do not really care who you are but care a great deal about who they think you are. If you are a vital symbol for the cause, then all that you do must conform to the symbol or you become a betrayer, a hypocrite, or both. And that is unforgivable.

And so we arrive at the world of caricature where symbols rule the day, even at the expense of facts. Buck and kick all you want, there is no winning in that world once you fail to conform.

That, I think, is the point of this piece. In effect, it says: "You have made me larger than life. Well, I'm not. I am who I am and I love what I do. If you have made me out to be something more, I can't help that. I am just like the rest of you. No more and no less. If you want me to shape my life by what you think, you will be disappointed. I will shape my own life regardless of your expectations."

Who knows if this really is betrayal or hypocrisy? Usually the reality is much more complex than the caricatures make it out to be but no one really knows except those directly connected with the events.

As for me, I have no ideological axe to grind and can simply stand back and say, as many people likely feel, "that is one helluva ride for one so young to make."

I think there are some interesting parallels with J K Rowling. If he releases anything now, it's big news (even Cliffhorse). He might have to start "writing" under a pseudonym just to get any sense of doing something fresh without intense public scrutiny.

There are a lot of parallels with people who got immensely rich while doing what they loved with no specific monetary goal in mind.

I think Notch represents quite well what a lot of us would be like if one of our software got incredibly popular overnight (We're talking worldwide sensation) and we got a massive amount of money out of it (Billions with a B).

Confused, dazed, surprised. "That's quite cool but I never actually meant for that to happen". Try to do good things with the money but end up with responsibilities we don't want regarding the product, the money and ourselves. Not be able to have a private life all of a sudden and wanting out of the drag.

I think it's pretty well known that JK Rowling is a woman. Also, she has recently written some books under the pen name "Robert Galbraith".

Edit: I see above that the poster was referring to Notch. Just a simple case of an unclear antecedent (and being unfamiliar with Notch's and Rowling's recently releases ;) )

Interesting note, if an author uses a pseudonym of a different gender, its appropriate to use that gender of the pseudonym. I find it weird that James Tiptree, Jr. is still a "he" when we've known for decades it was Alice Bradley Sheldon's pen name.

In fact, Tiptree, not Sheldon, has been inducted into the science fiction hall of fame, which is even weirder.

I don't think I've ever met anyone - in real life or in the UK educational system, anyway - who referred to George Eliot as being a "he" without instantly being corrected.

Nah, he's been releasing little side-projects every so often, none of which were seen as the next big thing. Although that space game of his did get a lot of hype, he decided to pull the plug on that one a while ago because it just wasn't going to work (also due to all the pressure from the fans).

0x10c (that space game) would have been incredible if he had completed it. It would be the next step up from Minecraft for kids who liked Minecraft. Can you imagine?

Maybe that's really why he stopped the development.

Technically, Markus "Notch" Persson would need to write under a new pseudonym


I'm saying that he (as in, notch) has parallels to her. Cliffhorse is a game notch wrote, and Rowling already has written under a pseudonym.

"she", btw.

The 'he' refers in Notch in the above comment.

Apologies - me clicking on Chrome while it was hanging caused me to inadvertently downvote you!

Are you saying Notch waited for this big news story to break so that he could quietly announce a gender change without anyone paying too much attention? He should become a politician.

OP was talking about Notch and parallels with JKR, the 'he' is intentional.

This may be a weird reference, but what comes to mind is John Frusciante leaving Red Hot Chili Peppers at the height of their fame. He quit in the middle of the tour after Blood Sugar Sex Magik, after they became unexpectedly huge.

He just wanted to make music and play in small clubs. And he went back to playing guitar by himself and making solo albums. (Also heroin use, but that's a different story).

And he rejoined in '98 or so, had 3 huge hit records, and then left again a few years ago. He made a few more solo albums and experimented with electronic music.

Some people are not cut out for fame. The intrinsic joy of what they do is even more powerful than fame.

I would say most people aren't cut out to get hate from millions of people for stuff they didn't do, and that's basically what being public comes to.

Kurt Cobain comes to mind, too.

Really enjoyed his work with ataxia

For the interested, Notch didn't enter the current Ludum Dare but thousands of mortal coders did, and they'd love you to go play their games!


If only there was an OnLive-like roulette-like way going from one game to another without download and install times, that'd be neat.

If you participated, the rating UI kind of works like that. You can just stick to browser-based games (which is more than 50% of all entries).

That includes me! http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview...

It's a multiplayer html5 game, so drag a friend into it with you :-)

Unrelated, but maybe he did enter, under a different pseudonym; it's what I'd do in his shoes.

He wanted to enter but didn't manage to get any ideas for his game.

Kind of reminds me of something Richard Feynman said:

"Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing - it didn't have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with. When I was in high school, I'd see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and wonder if I could figure out what determines that curve. I found it was rather easy to do. I didn't have to do it; it wasn't important for the future of science; somebody else had already done it. That didn't make any difference. I'd invent things and play with things for my own entertainment."

I think we should take serious stock not only in what Notch is saying here but also his overall success: if you get off making ephemeral photo-sharing apps or a Salesforce clone then keep on trucking otherwise you should ask yourself why you're doing it in the first place.

Are your little projects a ton of fun to work on? Notch makes an all around good argument for pursuing your passion.

This is why we can't have nice things.

I don't know much about Minecraft or whatever issue Notch is referring to in his post. But I'm always struck by how quickly people snap to emotional argument and response, without thinking about the other side of the question, without thinking about how their response will be read or felt by others.

The first step in any dialogue is trying to understand why the other side has said or done what they have, and how that might seem reasonable and right to them. Without that, how do we have any hope of learning anything, or moving to any actual agreement? And yet 98% of what I read presumes that any disagreement must be ignorant, stupid or evil.

I understand many of the reasons why people talk this way, and yes, it's hard to avoid it. But we now have more communication amongst ourselves than at any other time in human history. Maybe it's time to start thinking hard about how each of us can communicate better.

Wouldn't it be great if we could get to a community where some idiosyncratic dude could write a monster hit without feeling himself battered for reasons he can't understand?

The hate weeks ago was about money, basically. Part of EULA that disallowed servers to earn money, but was often ignored. Mojang clarified that that part of EULA is indeed meant as written.

People do not tend to be understanding when it comes to loosing money they wanted/expected.

Moreover, I suspect that managing Minecraft is a lot about merchandize selling, cons organization, making deals with lego and everyone else who want to produce themed items and so on. Not necessary what you want to deal with if you consider yourself gamemaker or programmer.

Remember that the money was necessary in order to pay for the (really quite expensive) servers which people play on. And that Mojang were changing the culture as it has been, and as it has been successful.

It's sad to see the effect this has had on the servers I've played on. And it was all so pointless: at the end of the day, who really cares if players who chuck in $10/month get a free set of diamond armour or a house?

Here's the problematic script:

Little Johnny finds a server that is selling diamond tools for $100 a pop. He says something about how he doesn't know hoe to buy things online, and a nice server admin walks him through "borrowing" his parents credit card and making the purchase. His parents get the bill, hit the ceiling, google "Minecraft", get a number for Mojang, call up, and start screaming at people to refund the money.

It happens. Having a decentralized server system with unregulated "in app purchases" and a very young fan base in a recipe for bad publicity, angry parents, upset kids, and bad vibes all the way around.

Parents should control their children, right? When I was a kid, I wouldn't have dreamed of stealing my folks' credit card—and had I, that would have been their fault for raising me poorly, and my fault for doing it, and the criminals' fault for encouraging me to do it, not some random fourth party's fault for not saying, 'don't do that.'

People should be sane. The right response to a lunatic who blames Mojang for his child's actions is to hang up.

Those servers were going against EULA whole time. And this was not one hidden sentence among twenty pages of legalese in click through license. It business license that lined up pretty clearly how you can and how you can not earn money on Minecraft. Literally nothing changed that day, neither EULA nor the way it is enforced.

Mojang cared somewhat about pricing patterns. It is the same thing as lego consistently refusing adult themes. They have an idea on what the brand should be (e.g. kid friendly or not play to win) and this went against.

Mojang clarifies: EULA is meant as written, nothing changes. Not even enforcement, they were not starting campaign to kill those servers. And everybody looses mind.

I've been involved in the Minecraft community for a long while, but mostly from the sidelines as an observer. it's a nasty community full of more bitter and hateful people than any other community I've ever seen. It doesn't help that many of them are children. I don't blame Notch for wanting out.

> I don't know much about Minecraft or whatever issue Notch is referring to in his post. But I'm always struck by how quickly people snap to emotional argument and response


lol it's almost beautiful, in a way.

> This is why we can't have nice things.

This is a nice thing.

Notch gets the resources and freedom to do what he actually wants to be doing: Exploring and experimenting with game ideas. And Minecraft gets to continue developing as a product people enjoy.

I think it's just simpler than that. The impression I got was not that he left because of hate he was getting, but just because Minecraft got really popular and turned into something much bigger than he expected.

It sounds like he doesn't want to be a part of anything that big - he just wants to have fun hacking on games.

I would guess that the EULA shitstorm has been the last straw.

"I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter...If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately."

I have the utmost respect for notch after reading that.

I think it's sad to write something like that (abandoning something as soon as it seems to gain traction). Isn't that what games are about? Writing great games that a lot of people love to play and talk about? And in the case of Minecraft, hack and mod in unimaginable ways?

Perhaps the joy he derives comes not from the popularity or world-changingness, but rather from the process of creation, or the problems that he gets to solve in interesting ways.

I don't think he'll ever be at a loss for creativity. If he spends the rest of his days streaming (or not streaming!) him coding random small games, or tinkering on a renderer that is never used, I expect that he'll be happy and feel fulfilled.

I don't like his attitude in the public eye but at least he's self aware and not afraid to say it. That does take courage.

Same. He's my type of hacker. The best type.

Basically "I was successful once, it was awful".

Sometimes I wish he would have just stuck with Minecraft as the only developer and stayed away from the spotlight. Plenty of very popular game creators have done so (Icefrog, Toady One).

I really enjoyed the times back when Minecraft was just getting popular and you could tell Notch was adding features that he genuinely enjoyed (Redstone update, for instance). Then he started up a giant company and started assuming responsibility for things like server admins charging money, when he should have sat back and let people do what they want.

More like “I was famous once, it was awful.”

His fame had never much of anything to do with the success of Minecraft. It just came with it and it didn’t really work out. It doesn’t seem like he has a problem with many people playing his game (or making money doing what he loves to do), he has a problem with being famous.

Watch the video he references, it makes many of the same points.

>Basically "I was successful once, it was awful".

This seems to be a theme. The guy who had the frontpage the other day, flappy bird, etc. Must be nice to have the cash entitlements to "keep it real." I can't blame him, I think money just becomes arbitrary numbers after a certain point. Minecraft has probably grown to a point where its just only going to get smaller in the future and in a few years be a fun little nostalgia piece for the tweens today who will be in college, the same way we dusted off the NES when I was in college.

Obviously, there's something about the nerdy personality that wants none of this, but it really makes me wonder about guys like Gates or Carmack or Zuckerberg or Jobs who thrive in these environments. Are they the rare ones or are guys like Notch the outliers?

I don't know that I'd lump Carmack in with the rest of your list. Yes, he is quite financially successful from id, but he never stopped being, first and foremost, a coder who will sometimes just disappear for a few weeks to separate himself from the world and get coding done.

I wouldn't list Jobs either for almost the opposite reason in that while he had a huge impact on the tech industry, he was always a "suit" (even if he didn't wear one).

Good point, but he always came off as a hard-ass to me who liked to get into arguments and thrive on stress. I kinda see him as his own Jobs-Woz combo. I may be misreading him.

Yeah there's a lot of nuance there to be certain. Carmack is at least pretty Randian/Objectivist from what I've seen of his public statements, which deviates quite a bit from the traditional hippie left-leaning coder-type (though of course there are great developers all across the political spectrum).

Icefrog may have stayed away from the spotlight (which is quite impressive), but DOTA has not evolved how you suggested. He is by no means the sole developer, given that Valve is hauling ass behind that as pretty much their flagship game of the decade.

Maybe it's because Valve is near and dear to the gamers, but I think they've been keeping their community happier than if Icefrog was still running this as a solo job on a WC3 mod. I daresay it has been better for the game too.

Wow, Notch is a pretty amazing guy. It's clear he just loves to make games. The post reminds me of Dong Nguyen/Flappy Bird situation. Let the man be.

Now you mention it, it's actually really similar isn't it? I've been following him since I originally bought my alpha version of minecraft and he's always seemed to be the way he portray's himself in this article. A nice genuine guy that just loves hacking away at things.

Looking forward to more Dart programming streams.

I think more and more people should stream like Notch does. It is incredibly entertaining and educating to watch how people write code similar to how people play games.

A great learning opportunity. Different format compared to prepared talks and tutorials. I wish there was a list of people with programming streams that I can just tune in.

He sounds depressed and frustrated. All I see is bad emotions in all that.

With all the money he has, he could at least try to share or expand his passion in some way.

It's true that he's lucky, you sense the modesty, that he doesn't want to be perceived as talented.

But even if that's true, he could at least try a little bit more. I mean he seems content with his work, but if I had such fame, at least I'd try to use it and approach game companies to negotiate deals, and share his vision of gaming.

Hasn't he ever tried to lead some team and get in touch with programmers he likes to do something ? Can't individuals like him hire a manager to do the job and project his vision into something ? I mean aren't there decent people able to know when there's potential, and solve the relational stuff ?

I mean you can't be modest like that all the time. at some point it's grumpiness, not modesty.

I wish there were businessmen able to notice those modest, hard working loners and just get small companies working with them. Not even companies, just small teams and projects. Some coaching. I wonder what's Carmack's story. I'd love to hear about the work stories of those guys, or maybe hear them talk about work politics. Of course they don't want to, because they might be made fun of, but meh.

"...and share his vision of gaming."

I think you may be ascribing meaning to a man with no such vision. He says he just wants to have fun and tinker, not change the world and I think that probably sums up his sentiments pretty well. I myself would love to change the world, I don't think you'd ever hear me speak those words. If you're a like-minded individual then I think it can be hard to put yourself in those shoes. Some people actually are just happy doing what they enjoy.

> He says he just wants to have fun and tinker

Then why no try to promote tinkering ? A game company dedicated to game development in a way he deems fit ?

> Some people actually are just happy doing what they enjoy.

There's always some small thing you wish you could be able to make, some quirky, imaginary idea you want to achieve. When you see what's on the market, you know and wish you could just do better. This kind of mindset enables you to feed your tinkering enjoyment. I mean you don't just spend time programming, your sense of creative smell makes you think about projects.

With the fame and money he has, he might be able to hire people and develop those projects, and if he can't, maybe he could try to make a game company or structure that helps other small developers work on their own ideas and concepts.

Something to counter the corporate, uncreative way AAA games are made.

> Then why no try to promote tinkering ? A game company dedicated to game development in a way he deems fit ?

But why? If he doesn't want to run Mojang, he probably doesn't want to start another game company at the moment.

Can he enjoy tinkering around himself without having to go on some divine mission to spread his ideas and passions around the world?

> some divine mission

you're exaggerating. that's not what I'm saying. maybe he just doesn't really like video games after all, he just like writing lines of code without any interest in the result ?

Why does he keep having small projects though ? I don't understand what's the purpose of keeping it small. Why not hire people and tell them what sort of algorithms he wants ?

Some programmers have a fetish for the code itself, not for the result. Just being proud of "I did it myself". How about making a game that can be enjoyed, that's the only thing I think that really matters I think.

>> He says he just wants to have fun and tinker >Then why no try to promote tinkering ?

"Promoting tinkering" is not "tinkering". That is a distinct passion, which he very well may not have.

when you have a passion, you wish to share it with people who have the same passion.

That's a generalisation that doesn't apply to everybody. SOme people like to share, others don't care to.

Interesting. I don't get this at all from his message (that he is depressed and frustrated). I understand that this is painful for an entrepreneur to read, but Notch doesn't seem interested in using his fame to project his vision, or change the world, or any of this big Jobs-y stuff. He doesn't owe it to anyone, and people have no business telling him to do it or else he's a traitor, or grumpy, or a fake.

It's his life he can do what he wants.

That's obvious, but it's often helpful to hear what other people think you should do with your life. That's true humility, and it can get you out of depression. Not saying I necessarily agree with GP though.

Are you aware of how presumptive and insulting it is to speculate about someone else's life and tell them how they should be living?

It's sad to read that he would abandon something that gets traction. It doesn't really make sense.

For indie game developers, this story is kinda sad, that's all. To see a lone dev exiting through the back door like that, it is kinda discouraging.

Sad for you. Not for him.

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