Learning and Clubs

Learning and Clubs

I received a really awesome email after Monday’s podcast, and I talk about it on today’s episode. I also get my Mister Rogers on, talk about getting involved, and play Negentropy by Plagiatus.


  1. Seeing as I’m particularly invested in puzzle maps, I thought I’d finally contribute to the conversation 🙂

    Well, unlike yourself, I love puzzle maps. If done correctly, they give you a very basic premise, imply a complicated predicament, require a simple solution and reward you with a strong feeling of accomplishment. Negentropy is exactly that. It gives you the basic mechanics and slowly gives you tricky situations where the answer only requires a few mouse-clicks. Not only that, but there’s a good mix between level difficulty and non-linear progression. So, the levels get harder over time, but some levels can be quickly solved by some and require a lot of thought for others. This balance is a nice way to keep challenging the player but not feel pressured every single step of the way.

    However, there’s a problem with some puzzle maps and games, including Negentropy and some of my maps too. That is, if there are only a limited number of possible moves the player can do, then the game/map is subdued to the problem of ‘luck’. If one is struggling with a level so much, they could just go through every single possible move and hope for a different outcome. This can be okay, and in fact, I don’t think there should be an infinite amount of moves in a level, or even a very high amount for that matter. But, since Negentropy works on a grid-based mechanic, sometimes a player can get lucky spamming moves, and that is not rewarding.

    It’s not a big issue, but it’s still something I try to keep in mind. At a basic level, the puzzle could be a simple as picking one of four options, in which case, this problem is present. In other cases, where one of a thousand options is the correct solution, and there isn’t a deductive argument for the player to make, this problem is also present. There should be a nice middle-ground where it is possible to go through every option in a reasonable amount of time but also where there is a feeling of accomplishment, and not a sense of luck.

    As you said though, this map has a quick-reset system, so the problem isn’t as significant. It’s still something some map makers just don’t understand and subsequently confuse their definition of a puzzle.

    I’ve tried to keep thoughts to myself lately because of how the internet can be, but I thought I should contribute to a topic on puzzle maps 🙂

    1. I like to define going through every single possible move as “brute-forcing” your way through a puzzle. Essentially, brute-forcing means giving up on the game as it was designed. I don’t want to break down your comment too much, as I think it’s brilliantly written. I appreciate you for taking the time to write out. I hope people take notice of this.

  2. Ok so I’ve caught up on Green Mug now and I can tell you I am really enjoying the upbeat and positive approach you take to assessing and informing the creative community.

    For the past few years I have been fascinated by Minecraft as an educational platform for gamification of learning. I watch and listen for approaches that use the platform in new an interesting ways. I also like that the ‘game’ is a cheap 3D visualisation tool. I use @codewarrior0’s MCEdit, to develop procedural generators that make anything from skyscraper cities, gigantic Death Stars, to unique sailing ships.

    What concerns me now is that Mojang are limiting the creative options available to artists and developers based on the what the ‘intent’ of the creative talent is, and whether there is a funding source for their work. While not directly affected, I have many friends who are impacted even though their work with the platform can be considered a significant contribution to the community, and to Realms content..

    I applaud Mojang for protecting the integrity of their intellectual property. I do not appreciate the devastation that blocking financial sponsorship of artistic activities will have. If Mojang provided a channel to permit licensing arrangements for custom maps then this wouldn’t be such an issue. From experience I can tell you that the channel for pursuing licensing discussions does not work. Requests placed from September 2015 remain unresponded now 9 months later.

    As a group map makers have often pointed out the shortcomings in the game that limit our creative freedom. I believe we should tackle the recent brand guideline change in a similar way: head on with absolute clarity on what is acceptable to ensure a stable development practice is available for the highest quality maps and related content.

    1. ^_^ Thanks for taking the time to get caught up. I’ve been waiting to hear about you think about the podcast for a couple of weeks now. I’m happy you’re enjoying it!

      I am heavily affected by the corporate guideline changes. I’m also behind Mojang protecting their IP, but I’d love to see some better structure be put in place concernig pursuing licenses as you described. I’ve said it a few times, but the reality is…freelancers have to go back to working for YouTubers and streamers, which can be very challenging. The best contracts I’ve ever worked on were provided by art and educational institutes. I can only hope this happens in the future, and I’m curious to see how you will approach this.

  3. Ah, Negentropy! Nice to see that map picking up steam. I played an early beta version of it a long time ago, quite enjoyed it. If you like it, I think you might like a similar map I made awhile ago by the name of The Present Factory. The only real minecraft mechanic that I carried over was pistons, the rest is all done through command blocks.

    I think the new format for the w-eek-enders forever club will be a lot easier to handle. More time to play and review the maps is always good.

    Last time I can remember someone making me feel good about the thing I was doing is probably the first really big test of the CTF I’m working on. That project took a very long time for the build team to develop, and I added the mechanics in order for the map to see actual use (since its originally intended destination, playmindcrack, is no longer a thing). It was great to see decently large groups of people fighting in this map that had been trapped in limbo for three years.

    1. That’s an amazing story! I can’t wait to play it when I get some stable internet. Also, I should go back and play The Present Factory…I think I must’ve missed it. Hmm…

  4. The last time someone made me feel good was when I released a map and boy do I miss it. I feel like i’m unproductive now and lethargic.. I need my fix… It’s been too long..

    1. I know the feeling. I was stuck in a similar slump. It seems that to me the only thing that can really get me out of it is someone telling me to go and make a map for an overall goal that will benefit people other than myself. For present factory, it was to help Nate out with his holiday special. For the desert map, it is to make sure the efforts of the builders wasn’t done in vain. So, if making a map for yourself isn’t enough motivation, here’s one for you: Make one for us. The w-eek-enders forever club. Even if we don’t play it on the show, we can play it and enjoy it and review it.

  5. Hey Moesh,
    I just learned that you made these podcasts and I though I’d step by. And whyt do I find? A podcast on my map. 😀

    Thank you for your kind words on that.
    I’m more and more trying to use Minecraft as a gameengine and less as a game itself. And the App Negentropy (Yes, it’s an App for Android and iOS) was giving me exactely what i needed for that. A well rounded puzzlegame, with a very nice learning curve, indroduction of new mechanics, etc. that I felt comfortable enough (both on my knowledge of said game as well as the technical ideas of how) to recreate it in minecraft.
    And I’d love to work more in this direction. Using Minecraft as a gameengine to create, design and maybe publish my own games in. Commands and Resourcepacks have come such a long way and have so much potential if you dare to break up the “minecraft”-iness with its basic ways of creating a minigame (combat with a twist, parcour, survival, find stuff – that right there is basically 90% of all the maps out there) and go all out to create something new, something basically like never before. And there is a lot one could do, if we are willing to forget about Minecraft the game and think about Minecraft the game engine.

    Keep it up,

    P.S: You didn’t say either of these words the way i would say them – but it got closer than most other people do. 😉

    1. I just wanted to add, that JesperTheEnd keeps on surprising me what he uses minecraft for. One of the best examples on how to make Minecraft a Game Engine.

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