What if Minecraft was real life

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Zombie, Creeper, Wither, Ghast, Spider, Drowned Man, Boss Monster, the Nether World and the End: I have nothing to do with. Minecraft can be played in different modes, only with "Survival" does the confrontation with beings that threaten you play an important role. In "creative" they just stand, crawl and swear around. A few months ago there was a guy with two llamas on the reins who wants to act, but what should I do with it, I don't have to act: creative mode is a land of milk and honey, so to speak, I have what I need, at least for that what I want in my Minecraft world: building block on block. There are three worlds, the upper world is more than enough for me at the moment; I've already been down in the Nether, it's far less easy to get to the end - but the name is deceptive: In Minecraft there is no end in the sense that you can play the game, the worlds are not levels, but only zones in which there are some things is different than in the other zones. That's it.

You, the world, that is, the playing field, is big, but not infinite. At minus 64 downwards you start to die, you cannot build more than 256 blocks upwards - just keep flying, that's it. Big means, as the Gamepedia says: “A completely explored Minecraft world would roughly require several dozen petabytes of storage space (1 petabyte = 1,000 terabytes = 1,000,000 gigabytes) and would therefore completely fill many thousands of conventional hard drives. The largest single hard drive is currently 14 terabytes (August 2018). " In short: a lot.

And for most of them one world is not enough, one can always enter new ones and thus also create, explore them in all directions and begin to settle in them and oneself. On the one hand the worlds seem almost simple with their pixel appearance and block structure, on the other hand they create themselves anew with every movement into (if only: almost) infinity. The worlds are generated procedurally, according to clear algorithms, the number of elements as well as their combinability is limited. In the worlds one finds biomes, in the upper world there are 16 basic biomes (with variants), but it quickly differentiates from “snowy taiga” to “high birch forest hill”.

Minecraft is an "open world game", originally developed by a single programmer - the Swede Markus Persson, in the scene just: "Notch". Ten years ago, on May 17, 2009, the first version went online. In 2014, the Minecraft company Mojang went to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars. In the meantime, “Notch”, which is now a fan of right-wing conspiracy theories, has been deleted from the game information by Microsoft. As of April this year, the game, which was originally designed for the PC, has been sold 154 million times, and of course there are now versions for all platforms, I only play on my smartphone. If each of the buyers spends just a hundred hours in Minecraft - a conservative estimate, I would say with regard to my lifetime there - the worlds in the Minecraft universe would have existed for around 1.8 million years in the ten years since their creation. The devil knows what has already been built in that time.

"Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures." So it is written on the official website. And so it is. So easy. The worlds that are already there, designed according to random algorithms "finished" with their biomes have a vague earthly sublunar appearance, the sun or a very bright light, angular, of course, goes down and up, the moon or a very weak light, too, at night you can see stars or points of light in the sky or in black. All of this without anything that can ever be clearly assigned geographically to the earth. (One of the official cheats, so to speak, is to set the day permanently. Unofficially, much more is possible, I don't know, and I don't necessarily want to know what's possible.)

The fact that the worlds that are there are "finished" means that if I move to the edges, they will continue to be procedurally generated (for the textures, among other things, with the Perlin noise function, a "fractal noise function", which Ken Perlin developed in 1982 for the film Tron) and then stay as they are. They hold the changes I made in them forever. Blocks that I put stay where they are. It There are, however, moving parts: animals, from ocelots to mushroom cows (don't ask me), the creatures mentioned at the beginning, as well as traders in villages that you come across from time to time (if you are exploring the world, preferably in creative mode: flying) .

The number of elements is manageable: Earth, water, air, fire (= lava), stones, trees, grass, light sources, wool, some, but not too much more, plus all sorts of magical stuff that doesn't interest me. My life in Minecraft is different from the lives of others. As an open world game, it gives players many options. Even the central components can simply be ignored. I'm not just ignoring the magic. What actually defines the game for many also leaves me cold: the adventure. Anyone who falls into the Minecraft world in survival mode usually dies very quickly as a beginner. You have to look for shelter for the night (there is a day-night cycle, day and night each last 20 real-time minutes), otherwise you will kill zombies or other creatures. Building a bed helps: because in this bed you will always be reborn after death. In the creative mode, on the other hand, you are no longer concerned with the annoying dying (unless you dig your way deep down). That takes the tickle away, of course, but I have other things to do.

I build. Stone on stone. I do not do more. You enter this world and you have no plan. The laws of physics apply, or rather: find their virtual equivalent, cum grano salis. Unlike in reality, for example, everything can float here. You can't put your logs (most of them, sand is falling) in the air, but they stay where they are if you destroy what was underneath. Most things float in my world: the theater, the stadium, the cloud palace, the cathedral, the Juliansburg. Of course, there is also the floating forest with the huge chess set in it. And the platform on which I recreated the brutalist Geisel Library, which one only suspects, because around the platform water falls into the sea as a blue curtain. The house-high paintings float above the water, block mosaics, was just one of those ideas. Böcklins Isle of the Dead is not easy to recognize, but Mondrian, second attempt, is made for Minecraft.

 

 

I build. Stone on stone. I just started. Somewhere, every block is pure settlement. Everything else: Trial and madness. You create problems. You orientate yourself and disorient yourself in the virtual three-dimensional, as if it were space. Steep looks from above, weird looks from below, in a flying ride on the carts on their tracks. You come up with ideas. You draft a floor plan. You place one stone, add another. Something's growing up, I'm trying this, looks like shit, trying that, it's better. As quickly as it is set, the block is also destroyed: almost pure virtual magic. In the field of vision at the bottom right, the material in my hand, like the gun in a shooter, I don't see me. A quick tap: where there was nothing, there is now something. Long tapping: where what was, there is now nothing. Sometimes short crumbs and leftovers. You never know where a realism effect is built into the game.

The sounds are part of it. They underline the doing and being in the world. Walls: Tock, tock. The sounds of the animals, parrots in the tree, the mowing of the sheep, the mushroom cow makes moo. (The larger animals look terribly pixelated, but their tones sound familiar.) The clanking shattering of glass, the crackling of the campfire, the patter of the rain, the deep rush of flowing water nearby, the silence. (Water, a thing of its own. You never know where in the game fabrics behave erratically.) The soundscape gives the Minecraft world an audible shape. I could close my eyes, put on headphones if necessary, and still be there wherever I am.

Have an idea: the huge palace, masonry, tapering towards the top, stacked on top of each other. The floor plan is very restless, which has consequences, with consequences, which have consequences. Not for everything, but for the part of the world that I can make. I spent many hours building stones for the outer wall alone. Stupid, repetitive, just for the result: there is now a huge wall with glassless windows in it, was that a good idea? Maybe not necessarily. Too late. Too late. At these points, building in Minecraft, often compared to Lego, is more like knitting. Here and there complicated, but the same thing stitch by stitch for many rows, you can also do useful things at the same time, watch TV series for example, tock, tock.

 

 

Contrary to what it seems at first glance, this type of building has little to do with architecture, at most with architectural fantasy and fantasy architectures. Furnishing the rooms seems to me to be idle. I build houses that no one will ever live in. They are only houses in appearance, more like sculptures. The result is not the result with the first stone, but a still very indefinite telos is set. Something should come of it. What becomes of it doesn't have to mean anything. Maybe it should be beautiful, at least interesting or bizarre, but the journey is also the goal.

When building in Minecraft, I practically dabble in art, when art means creating problems of the form that you don't really have to have and whose solutions no one else needs. Dilette, because creating and solving is really only interesting for me, creating a horizon of problems that does not lack an audience. Because it is not architecture, because there is no real-world benefit or compulsion, because only the rules and options of this world exist, there is only a loose connection to the possibilities that I create when setting and setting and setting and to the possibilities that I myself in this creation at the same time obstruct. Minecraft, for me, is an open world game in which the adventure consists of placing blocks and building and blocking possibilities.

Others do very different things. Invite friends into the game via shared servers, fight, wage wars, kill, let kill and be killed, go in search of unfamiliar biomes, understand the procedurally generated, ever-expanding expanse as an adventure land, build and destroy buildings with TNT. Put Let's Plays on YouTube, create tutorials, because some things - such as the construction of points for the lorry railways with Redstone - are really tricky. Or they tell stories. The minecraft world-famous Paluten has more than three million subscribers with its nonsense in the realm called Freedom, one of those pesky Youtube chatterboxes, virtuoso agile in handling the medium, very down-to-earth in the narrative, and worldbuilding in the sense of fantasy architecture is not particularly ambitious. (The book world was amazed when Paluten's first analog tape with a story from the Minecraft land Freedom was number one on the Spiegel bestseller list for a while. Was panned with a shake of the head.)

I shake with it, but at least I am anything but alone with foregoing action. The main source of Minecraft inspiration was a moderately successful game called Infiniminer. Its programmer Zachary Barth invented the block principle and aesthetics, but two teams competed for resources. One reads that even then the players preferred to build rather than seek competition. One reason for Minecraft's success is probably precisely that the game itself doesn't want anything, at least very little from you. I couldn't do anything for hours or days. It was getting light, it was getting dark. Sometimes it rains too. It's snowing elsewhere. The game doesn't get annoying with scripted narrative elements, there are only the dealers, but they are extremely stupid, cannot and do not want to do anything except exchange. And the zombies, creepers, drowned people, have been devastating since spring (Update 1.14 from April), they are just as stupid.

In general, as long as I don't put animals and other beings in it myself ("spawn"), my world is pretty empty and wonderfully barren. I chose the “peaceful” sub-mode. A strangely rowing turtle here, a tropical fish there, there isn't much more. I could work as a lifter of the world and creator on a small scale, but I do it sparingly, I build my Minecraft world for no one and into nothing. I spent 356 hours in it, says the app log, in six months, mostly on the go, and created great things. A land in which milk and honey do not flow, but lava flows. 356 hours are a lot of time, pleasantly spent pointlessly, they flew by. If you haven't spent hours and hours watching TV series, throw the first block.

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