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WOW Inside Minecraft
February 12, 2012 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Within Minecraft’s blocky world, he has spent about 100 hours so far on a re-creation of Azeroth, the enormous setting of Blizzard’s massively multiplayer game, World of Warcraft (WoW). His name is Ramses. Here's an interview he did with Games Beat. You can see his forum posts here. And there are pictures.

"The original goal was just to recreate Kalimdor, which I’ve since completed. I now plan to re-create the other three continents as well. The surface area of Kalimdor is equal to about 35 square kilometers [13.5 square miles], so attempting the conversion without special software could have taken months or even years."
posted by hot_monster (34 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love and admire the dedication to do this, but the old-school Warcraft elitist in me can't help but flinch at the fact that he did the post-Cataclysm world and not the classic one.

That said, the attention to detail is tremendous.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:12 PM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That said, the attention to detail is tremendous.

He wrote a converter for WoW maps to MineCraft maps, and not to belittle that, but there's not really a ton in the way of attention to detail. It reads in one format and spits out another. It's a cool piece of software, but it fundamentally is just a file-format converter.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:49 PM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm actually way, way more impressed by this recent adventure map.

Just the detail of the church, the storytelling, the puzzle design, it's just all around amazing.

Deep Space Turtle Chase is also excellent.

Those are all hand made, though, not just imported from a data file.
posted by empath at 7:50 PM on February 12, 2012


I don't know anything about WoW, but those landscapes are gorgeous.

Also, an obligatory plug for the pseudo-Metafilter server known as Aporkalypse. My current project there is a meticulous recreation of the Overlook Hotel from Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining (screenshot of a work in progress).
posted by crapmatic at 7:51 PM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This perfectly illustrates what makes MineCraft awesome and WoW shitty in comparison. He couldn't have done this in WoW. The ability for users to generate content is an order of magnitude more important than the game aspects of an MMO or MUD. Even when the software is an order of magnitude less sophisticated.
posted by clarknova at 8:01 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


WoW is orders of magnitude more complex, and accordingly vulnerable to user-generated stupidity and malice, than Minecraft. Also, WoW collaborative projects are time-sensitive and dependent on each individual's skill to a much greater degree.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:06 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This perfectly illustrates what makes MineCraft awesome and WoW shitty in comparison. He couldn't have done this in WoW. The ability for users to generate content is an order of magnitude more important than the game aspects of an MMO or MUD. Even when the software is an order of magnitude less sophisticated.

Yeah, and hammers are shit because they can't screw in screws.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:09 PM on February 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


If every online game made user-generated content the focus of play, we'd just end up with a lot of shitty Second Life clones. Fully depending on user-generated narrative that's actually fun to play is about as feasible as lining the shelves in a bookstore with fanfic anthologies.
posted by griphus at 8:14 PM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Or, more succintly: not everyone wants to play with Legos all the time.)
posted by griphus at 8:15 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The isometric view of the full map is amazing.
posted by xiw at 8:21 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something that the makers of City of Heroes found out very, very quickly with their Mission Architect system is that it's very, very hard to allow for user-created content that doesn't get exploited by farmers and power-levelers. People were getting from 1-50 (then the highest level in the game) within a single afternoon.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:45 PM on February 12, 2012


Something that the makers of City of Heroes found out very, very quickly with their Mission Architect system is that it's very, very hard to allow for user-created content that doesn't get exploited by farmers and power-levelers. People were getting from 1-50 (then the highest level in the game) within a single afternoon.

Any game that would be ruined by that is broken anyway. Presumably all those people could get to Level 50 if they quit their jobs and played the game 24-7 for a few weeks. Why should someone willing to do that have an advantage over the sane people who won't?
posted by straight at 9:27 PM on February 12, 2012


Empath, this adventure map is awesome!
posted by sophist at 11:06 PM on February 12, 2012


OK so pardon my ignorance of minecraft....but what exactly can one do in such a place? Now that he has this world, is there anything in it? Characters? Interactions? Tasks to accomplish? Or is it just "cool" that he made such a place. I guess I just don't know what minecraft is all about. Anyone care to educate?
posted by Jibuzaemon at 11:24 PM on February 12, 2012


Minecraft gives you a world made of cubes. The cubes represent different kinds of material and have different properties accordingly. Stone, for example, is hard to break without a pickaxe but protects better against explosions than dirt. If you break a cube, you get a smaller cube that goes in your inventory, and that smaller cube lets you place a regular-sized cube in the world, or you can process it by various means (smelting, combining it with other materials) into new objects.

There's an ostensible endgame which involves finding a portal to The End and slaying a Dragon, but it doesn't really matter. The point of Minecraft is that there's a whole Lego world out there in which you can build awesome things. It's more of a toy than a game.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:35 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fully depending on user-generated narrative that's actually fun to play is about as feasible as lining the shelves in a bookstore with fanfic anthologies.

EVE Online has a very, very strong user-generated narrative. Pretty much everything I do in the game is a direct consequence of player-driven politics. There is a coherent, meaningful political history going back many years.

Of course that is different from player-created environments. I can see how those would be problematic. But player-generated narratives can be pretty great.
posted by ryanrs at 12:41 AM on February 13, 2012


Repetitive, treadmill game play and constantly shifting goalposts to keep users paying subscription. Plot and backstory so laughable that most players don't even know what it is. In a world of over 4 million literally every one of you is The Chosen One. Characters so flat and generic a slang name for them is toons. No strategy to speak of beyond party arrangement during boss fights. Rewards for only the most reflexive, mechanical behavior. A game of the basal ganglia.

Look. I like the cheap escape of a mindless shoot em up or tower defense as much as the next guy. But WoW is barely even eyecandy. If you sunk months to years of your life into it, and hundreds of dollars into the fees, you weren't playing a game, you were emulating a hamster.


EVE Online has a very, very strong user-generated narrative. Pretty much everything I do in the game is a direct consequence of player-driven politics. There is a coherent, meaningful political history going back many years.

Yeah there's a spectrum. MineCraft and SecondLife give users 3D building tools (and even a programming language). EVE and Galaxies let you simulate economy and give you a word you can leave your mark on. Good MUDs give you the chance to tell a detailed story and leave it behind for others. But WoW is the bottom of the barrel. There is zero creative opportunity. You can spend a decade becoming the best player possible, and the moment you log out all that effort vanishes without a ripple.


Yeah, and hammers are shit because they can't screw in screws.

Implying the game lets you build anything at all.
posted by clarknova at 1:09 AM on February 13, 2012


Both WoW and Minecraft and all other multiplayer games (including MetaFilter) allow you to build social experiences and memories. Single-player games (and soloing in either of those) give you memories, which can in turn become social experiences when you tell others about them.

It's all just sitting in front of the computer doing stuff. What matters is whether you're having fun, whether you're providing value to others, and what else in your life this is taking you away from.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:28 AM on February 13, 2012


Yeah, and hammers are shit because they can't screw in screws.

In your analogy, both items are tools. In the thing you quoted, only one was.
posted by DU at 4:56 AM on February 13, 2012


just gotta say that the architecture in empath's link is some of the best I've seen in Minecraft. My jaw literally (yes literally) hit the floor when they walked into the church.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:17 AM on February 13, 2012


PlanetMinecraft is full of stuff to make your head explode, like this project to create a 1:1 scale replica of Beijing City as it looked in 1845.

Or this Empire of the Dragon Mountain map.
posted by straight at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The point of Minecraft is that there's a whole Lego world out there in which you can build awesome things. It's more of a toy than a game.

This is said a lot, but I feel it misses a rather large point. Vanilla MC is a blank canvas, which many people do treat as a game. It's self-directed rather than scripted play, but I don't see that makes it less of a game than, say, Saints Row. What does distinguish it from other "sand-box" games and game platforms is that it is exceptionally easy to both play and to create custom, directed-play experiences. You know, games.

I've fooled around with a lot of game mods over the years---mods, commercial "total conversions", Turing-complete interactive fiction languages complete with sophisticated VMs. The main thing that sets MC apart is how easy it is to create a fun map for someone else to play. The editor is the game. From the time a new player first punches a tree, they are creating a new adventure map. When they make their first jumping puzzle, they've created a simple game. When they fool around with redstone, they're using MC's scripting language.

There's no extra-game programming to master, no vertex editor to download with a strange interface, no compilation and debugging, no graphic resources that need marshaled with helper programs. From a game creation standpoint, it's the difference between interpreted and compiled programming. Creating an adventure map in MC is immediate and immediately playable. It is possible to do "compiled" MC, of which the Deep Space Turtle Chase map is a great example, but many of the most fun and memorable maps are just plain MC.

Minecraft the fusion of open-ended play which can be enjoyed as a game in its own right, and an axiomatic platform, a simple set of rules which players turn into games on their own. It's both a game and a meta-game at the same time. The mind-blowing part is how seamless it is.
posted by bonehead at 8:36 AM on February 13, 2012


My jaw literally (yes literally) hit the floor when they walked into the church.

The puzzles in it are incredibly complex, too... there's a part of the map where you go under the world through all the redstone and it's just mindbogglingly vast...
posted by empath at 8:36 AM on February 13, 2012


Turing-complete interactive fiction languages complete with sophisticated VMs.

I'm actually working on an adventure map right now -- can you tell me more about this?
posted by empath at 8:42 AM on February 13, 2012


The Brass Lantern is a decent place to get started with text adventure games. Inform is an extension of the original Zork engine with a couple of VMs, TADS is another alternative, and, to a lesser extent SCUMM, which is functional but much harder to create content for.
posted by bonehead at 8:54 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, I thought you were talking about ones that were implemented in Minecraft :)
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on February 13, 2012


I'm certain that the Z-code interpreter could be ported to this. I'm faintly surprised no one has done it yet, actually.
posted by bonehead at 9:03 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking something more like this.

I'm not really interested in the technical challenge of doing it in redstone, I'm just trying to figure out how to get more of an interactive story in the map I'm working on.
posted by empath at 9:12 AM on February 13, 2012


The point of Minecraft is that there's a whole Lego world out there in which you can build awesome things. It's more of a toy than a game.

A lot of people say this, and it's obvious that the LEGO-style building is one of the principle draws of Minecraft.

But the single-player survival experience is also surprisingly great if it's the kind of game that interests you. The code for generating terrain and random caverns is the very best I've seen for randomly producing worlds that are beautiful, interesting, and fun to explore (if there's another game that does it better, PLEASE tell me). Even playing on peaceful (no monsters, regenerating health) exploring caverns in search of diamonds and gold is fun and challenging (it's easy to get lost, it's possible to die if you fall too far or into lava).

With the monsters on, you have a fun and fairly unique gameplay mechanic. Light is safety, dark is danger. You're free to move and explore (above ground) by day, but must build / seek shelter at night. Then once you've created some safe territory for yourself, you can try to extend it. Place torches to advance your borders of safety down into a mine. Make sure you don't accidentally miss a dark corner somewhere.

You have lite RPG mechanics where you make swords and weapons and can fight skeletons and zombies and giant spiders (all of which are particularly scary versions of these classic enemies), but you also have a sort of strategy game where you're carving out zones of safety as you explore.

And finally creepers. Monsters that lurk outside doorways or sneak up silently behind you as you're digging or building or exploring and then explode. Few games invent such an original, iconic enemy monster, and Minecraft would have been a triumph for that all by itself.
posted by straight at 10:22 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's easy to get lost

Pro-tip: Always put torches on the right wall. If you need to put a torch on the left side, put it on the ground on the nearest block, instead. When you completely explore a branch, put two torches on the ground so you know not to go that way.

When you want to leave, follow the walls where the torches are on the wall to your left. That will always lead you back to the entrance.

Although I found the biggest damn cave complex I've ever seen last night... two intersecting chasms all the way down to bedrock. I ended up just getting to a dead end and digging my way back up instead of trying to go back through the labyrinth I'd left...

And not a single fucking diamond was found. I'm using Better than Wolves and Buildcraft though, so I was mostly looking for redstone and gold, which I found plenty of.
posted by empath at 10:37 AM on February 13, 2012


It's been a couple of weeks since I've had the time/inclination to play my current world, where I was exploring an underground cave system that included 3 separate chasms, 2 abandoned mines, and lots and lots of twisty passages, dead ends, and vents to the surface. Frankly it was getting too complex for me to handle in terms of having a mental map of how to get where.

On the other hand I do need to finish off my Doom Mountain/Sky Fortress base combo...
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2012


Pro-tip: Always put torches on the right wall

I tend to put torches on the left, because I can remember "left leaving, right returning" when I get cave drunk.
posted by lucidium at 3:34 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tend to put torches on the left, because I can remember "left leaving, right returning" when I get cave drunk.

That's exactly my strategy as well. You can tell when I'm lost in a cave because I'm muttering "Right Light Returning" to myself, over and over again. Needless to say, were there coloured torches available, I'd be using green and red ones to mark my path.
posted by frimble at 7:33 AM on February 14, 2012


Big minecraft news:

They're changing the map format -- doubling the height limit, and increasing the block ids to 4096 (which means up to 4096 different kinds of blocks -- mods are going to crazy with new items now).

They've also completely re-written the AI system.
posted by empath at 7:40 AM on February 14, 2012


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