Hi! I'm the guy who created the first version of Minecraft in June 2009. I worked on it alone up until late 2010 when we started Mojang, and I finally left the lead developer position in December of 2011. I enjoy house music and programming, and my favorite color is purple. Ask me anything!

If you happen to have some money, you can donate it to the EFF and help make the world a better place!


edit: The AMA is over! Thanks for all your questions!

Comments: 5535 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

SethBling1326 karma

There are now dozens, maybe hundreds of people making a living from Minecraft's secondary market, via YouTube etc. What do you think of this secondary market? Do you have any insights on how the secondary market and Minecraft's market have interacted with and fed each other?

A side note, thank you for enabling me to have one of the best jobs in the world!

xNotch1056 karma

It's all kinda emerged organically. There's probably a lot more we could do to support it more, so we'll probably look more into that in the future. We've recently started partnering up with cool iOS apps by giving them more exposure and letting them brand themselves "official" in exchange for bags of money.

mollstam1223 karma

What is the name of your beard?

xNotch1525 karma

Steve?

TwirledOriole900 karma

And just out of curiosity, what gender is it?

xNotch1616 karma

Extremely male.

Dinnerbone958 karma

What's your best knock knock joke?

xNotch2047 karma

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Jason.

Jason who?

Please unlock the door, Mom, you need to take your medicine.

wolfvision577 karma

alzheimer's?

xNotch1282 karma

yeah. It's sad. :(

Zarutian839 karma

Someone had to ask so why not why me: Why Java?

Btw, I am addicted to Minecraft. Keep up the good work ;-)

xNotch874 karma

I had been working primarily in Actionscript 3 and Java for five years when I started work on Minecraft, and chose the language I felt most comfortable with.

Specifically, my favorite tool in Java is hot code swapping in debug mode, meaning I can edit the code while the game is running and immediately see the results in the running game. This is SUPER GREAT for rapid tweaking.

Java is not the fastest language out there, but I doubt I would've finished Minecraft if I did it in a language I enjoyed less, so I'm happy with the choice.

Of course, when it came to putting the game on other platforms, we had to port large portions of the codebase, once for mobile phones and then we had help from 4j to port it for XBLA.

Eiyeron257 karma

Just how do you enlable correctly hot-swapping in eclipse? I ever wanted to know since the Prelude of the chambered live

xNotch528 karma

Run the program in debug mode, edit the code and save. It does NOT work for stuff that changes the class structure, but it does work for code within methods. Code is only swapped out when the thread enters the method, so a while(true) loop will never get swapped out.

ZedHeadEd731 karma

If you dont mind me asking, do you still play minecraft for fun?

xNotch1538 karma

Unfortunately not. I used to play it quite a lot and find minor things to tweak, and now that I'm trying to stay out of development of it, the temptation to start "suggesting" things to Jeb is too strong.

Besides, TF2.

MarioBGE761 karma

Heh, I recently joined a random tf2 server with you playing on it and damn, you're good. Also, thank you for creating Minecraft. :)

xNotch814 karma

Haha, thank you!

KillaMarci675 karma

  1. Seeing as the YouTube community boosted Minecraft so much, do you watch any Minecraft YouTubers yourself regularly?

  2. Has any big company ever tried to 'buy' Minecraft away from you or buy Mojang entirely?

  3. Is it true that you got bored of Minecraft and that's why you left the lead developer position? If so, do you still get the urge to do some Minecraft coding now and then?

xNotch844 karma

  1. Yes, but I usually gravitate to their non-minecraft videos. Watching videos of Minecraft can feel weird after a while.

  2. Yes, we said no.

  3. I didn't really get bored, I just wanted to move on to other things. I don't get the urges to go back any more, but about a month after I left, I missed it a lot. I tried not to let Jens know that, though. ;)

SuperAccordionDude626 karma

What do you think about the latest updates of Minecraft? Are they still true to your vision of the game?

xNotch839 karma

Other than a few minor things, they're exactly in line with my vision. The adventure mode stuff is looking amazing, and the way the team managed to FINALLY properly split client from server is wonderful for the game.

Jens told me some of his plans for 1.4 and beyond, and hopefully it will allow for more competitive gameplay, something I've always wanted to see.

[deleted]387 karma

what are the minor things?

xNotch827 karma

They're adding MORE half blocks!! And the script block? Feels impure. Stuff like that.

ChaosRegiert615 karma

Since you are going to be flooded with questions .. and right now I don't have anything to ask that others won't also ask hundreds of times ..

I'd love to hear your favorite anecdote about minecraft or the development of minecraft. What is the story that you like to tell people - if there is nothing asked in particular, but some kind of entertaining story expected. At parties. Or at the bus station, whatever.

I just started recently, love the game. Thank you!

xNotch1097 karma

The most fun I've ever had playing the game was back before infinite worlds when water had a constant volume. I joined some random server and kinda emergently just started to build a castle with a few people. I built some pretty good looking stables, then we got started on the moat and accidentally flooded it too early.
In an attempt to get rid of the water, I dug down and fell into a cave, which proceeded to get flooded as well.

It was not a pretty castle.

collinl520 karma

Did you put creepers in just to teach me the lessons of loss my parents failed to teach me?

xNotch890 karma

Sure, why not.

supercalu516 karma

Where did you get the idea for the way villagers look?

xNotch762 karma

They're inspired by the shop keepers in Dungeon Master 2.

SoModest495 karma

GOOD THING IM ON REDDIT AT 6 IN THE MORNING. I GET TO ASK NOTCH A QUESTION.

First of all. Thank you. If you didnt come along and make such an amazing game, hire amazing people at mojang, and be amazing overall... I can honestly say the gaming industry would be very different. And lacking.

Next, how did you feel when you passed the torch to Jens? Did you feel sad? Happy?

xNotch415 karma

<3

I felt happy when I handed over Minecraft. Jens's vision for Minecraft is amazingly similar to my own. I missed it a month later, but I feel good about it now.

[deleted]493 karma

[deleted]

xNotch759 karma

None. I think they find it amusing.

They're great guys, by the way. They've been working as lawyers for game devs for many years and have lots of connections, and they like unconventional ways to resolve issues.

sroag558 karma

like quake?

xNotch570 karma

Yeah, they liked the idea, but informed me it was unlikely they'd accept.

daesoph483 karma

How much have you actually worked on 0x10c?

xNotch593 karma

I've spent a lot of time on the DCPU specification and implementation, and fleshing out the game world, trying to come up with fun scenarios that I want happen in the game.

Actual GAME content, not much at all. I did some live streamed development, and felt a constant pressure to move ahead fast, which built more hype that I intended, and made me feel like I was rushing the game.

Now I'm working slower on it until after PAX when I can recruit some other devs internally to help out, and I'm trying to talk less about it. My public enthusiasm for it builds way more hype than I want it to.

SirHephaestus472 karma

Hi Notch, I was wondering, what do you do at home when you're not working?

xNotch1705 karma

I refresh reddit over and over and over, in like four different windows.

Searge462 karma

What is your personal opinion about the MCP project and it's ability to decompile the game and make the source code kind of available to everyone?

And how much do you think the fact that modding is made easy by systems like bukkit and MCP (and the number of available mods) affects the sales of Minecraft.

xNotch727 karma

Personally, I used to feel threatened by it as I felt it challenged my "vision", but on the other hand I also know how wonderful mods are for games. We decided to just let it happen, and I'm very happy we did. Mods are a huge reason of what Minecraft is.

DaUltraMarine453 karma

Seeing as all the other Mojangstas were asked the same question, here it is. You are stranded on an island. You may teleport one other Mojang employee against their will to help you survive. Who is it and why?

xNotch728 karma

Wow, I doubt anyone would be happy with me summoning. The most useful one might possibly be Daniel Frisk. He's buff, and knows a lot about a lot of stuff, so he might be able to identify edible plants and stuff.

tomutwit429 karma

What are your opinions on Evil Minecraft?

Do you think such things as Bukkit have made the Minecraft brand as strong as it is?

Do you like how Jeb and Dinnerbone have made the enchanting part of the game easier in 1.3?

If you had never accidentally made a creeper what would you have done instead?

xNotch637 karma

I have no opinion of Evil Minecraft other than to think the devs can be rude sometimes. The mod itself seems fun.

Mods such as Bukkit have been HUGELY beneficial for Minecraft. We hired the Bukkit team because of how obviously talented they are.

No, I want enchanting to be more difficult. ;) But I don't tell them that.

I have NO idea what I would've made instead of the creeper. It was a lucky coincidence.

Evil_Notch860 karma

I'm sorry for anytime we've been rude to you or anyone else.

xNotch809 karma

And I'm sorry for all my short replies and grumpy mood.

<3

[deleted]421 karma

When is the minecraft documentary (by 2 player productions) going to be finished?

xNotch438 karma

I think it is finished?

Darth_Starkiller192 karma

Release?

xNotch336 karma

I have no idea. They're probably too busy with the Double Fine stuff to actually DELIVER. ;)

Speed_Racist256382 karma

When did you suddenly realize, "Gee willikers, this game is getting pretty popular"

xNotch678 karma

Every day.

Rand0mLife369 karma

There was an article awhile ago where you noted that you fear that you "peaked too early" and will be chasing Minecraft's success from now on.

Do you still feel that way?

Thank you for taking the time.

xNotch1000 karma

I came to accept that I will never repeat the success of Minecraft. I chose to instead focus on making more games that I personally enjoy, and living up to that is much easier.

xPaw367 karma

Thank you for everything you've done, Markus!

xNotch381 karma

You're welcome! Thanks for saying that, made me happy to read. :)

Davincivik359 karma

What happened to the fish? It was a great idea in my opinion.

xNotch563 karma

Oh yeah, the fish!

VvJajavV350 karma

Do you plan on doing a sale on Minecraft sometime? How about a summer sale?

xNotch649 karma

Sure.

[deleted]341 karma

Do you use shampoo or shower-gel for your beard?!

xNotch1008 karma

Sometimes. I used conditioner once, and it was glorious.

Wazupmaster298 karma

Do you prefer a sword or a bow?

xNotch595 karma

Bow. In pretty much any game where the bow is an option, I will go for the bow, even if it sucks.

[deleted]292 karma

if you were able to create a game console, what would be the main feature?

xNotch913 karma

Laser turrets.

[deleted]291 karma

[deleted]

xNotch413 karma

I am super excited about it! Looks like a game I'd really enjoy.

A_British_Gentleman256 karma

  1. How much input do you have for future developments of Minecraft?

  2. Do you find that people expect another game as popular as minecraft from Mojang?

  3. What do you think the future holds for Minecraft? (For example a more advanced game engine maybe?)

  4. Any news on Minecon 2012?

EDIT: 5. Have mods influenced Minecraft's development? Did you ever imagine mods like Tekkit could work in Minecraft?

xNotch375 karma

  1. I'm only involved in broad company affecting strategy decisions.

  2. If people are expecting that, they will be disappointed. Minecraft is a once in a million fluke.

  3. I have NO idea at this point! Sales keep going up all the time, and there's an infinite amount of stuff we could do. Hopefully modding will become easier soon, too.

  4. Not yet. We've filmed an announcement video, but can't post it yet as we're waiting for a contract from the location.

  5. I didn't let myself get too influenced by mods, but Jens has been more open to it. Pistons, smooth lighting, and probably a few other things were all mods at first.

SexyToby255 karma

What happens if someone steals your hat? Or if a bird poops on it. Do you have to walk around all naked, or do you have an extra hat?

xNotch470 karma

I do wear other clothes..

BluShine226 karma

But how do you put them on without a hat!?

xNotch578 karma

Osmosis.

mcpower_253 karma

How do you like your steak?

xNotch503 karma

Medium rare and with plenty of fat. A well aged entrecĂ´te is the best cut.

BR3TON232 karma

Have you gotten to the point now where your sick of Minecraft? Do you keep an eye on whats get added / changed in the game?

xNotch397 karma

I don't really play it, but I find the community awesome. I watch livestreams, read this reddit, and interact over twitter. I am very much looking forward to MineCon where I can meet more fans and some of the community stars again. :D

Jrrj15223 karma

If there was one thing you could go back and changed in development what would it be?

xNotch377 karma

I wouldn't have added half blocks. If we wanted double the resolution on blocks, the game should've been designed for that instead of adding weirdly hackish "half size blocks". They were intended as simple stairs early on, but once we added proper stairs they were totally redundant.

TinBryn221 karma

Is there any story behind your nickname?

xNotch388 karma

I chose it myself. I used to have a horrible one, and needed to change it, so I did. I wrote down a bunch of possible nicknames on a piece of paper and decided on Notch. Single syllable, sounds friendly, and used to be somewhat unique.

These days, it's taken everywhere, so I have to go for xNotch or similar. Predictably, it's getting increasingly hard to get xNotch too.

Darth_Starkiller239 karma

And what was it?

xNotch560 karma

haha no

Shady7s215 karma

Hey Notch! Kind of a pretty big question, but I have been wanting to ask you forever, but I have never been able to really get it to you! Hopefully you can answer!

I am wondering, did you have a planned end for the game? I believe when you left the lead developer position, was when the End was released (Correct me if I am wrong :o). Was this your ending of Minecraft, and you gave it over to Jeb to further add to the game? Basically what I am asking is did you have a set End to the game from day 1, like adding Endermen, and the Dragon, or was it an update to update sort of thing?

Another question (If you have time to answer!); Did the players influence how the game was developed? I am interested in the Update-to-Update style that Minecraft has, so I am wondering if how players react to that update kind of determines the next update, or what will be added in future updates, or was it like I said above, you had a sort of set thing?

Hopefully my questions are not too long, or too confusing! It is 4:30AM, and I have stayed up all night just to ask you this! Before I go, I just want to thank you for creating this game. It has really dove deep into my creativity, which I greatly thank you for!

xNotch297 karma

Before it had the end, I always felt like it was an incomplete game. I know a lot of devs don't agree with me, but a game without a game is just a toy. Without a climax, it becomes Sim City where you play until you get bored instead of playing until you beat it.
Sure, I don't really believe anyone STOPS playing after killing the ender dragon, but it still feels more like a complete package to me now.

Without the players, I wouldn't have worked on Minecraft for as long as I did! I tried not to get too affected on big design decisions, but having feedback is extremely valuable. It's the reason we have ladders and creative mode now.

TheFriikinDuck208 karma

What inspired you to create Minecraft?

How long did it take to release the first ever version of Minecraft?

How did the Mojang team first form?

I'd love to say thank you for doing this. I love the game! Sorry if any of these questions have been asked and answered before. Thank you in advance if you reply <3

xNotch309 karma

I started working on an isometric resource management game inspired by Dwarf Fortress, with an interface meant to be as easy to use as the Rollercoaster Tycoon one. I was playing around with a first person mode for walking around in your settlement, but all the textures got very blurry and ugly. I saw Infiniminer and realized how cool low res textures could look if you just turned off the blur.

The first released version was like a week of work. I got the character models from another game I had been working on (it was going to be a game similar to Chinatown Wars, except in a town infested by zombies).

I asked Jakob if he wanted to start a larger company with me, he quit his job, we hired Daniel, then recruited Carl to be the CEO. Soon after that, we hired JunkBoy and Jens, and things kept growing from there.

Symianx207 karma

How big do you want mojang to become?

xNotch375 karma

Originally, eight people. Right now, perhaps 35?

Ym4n201 karma

How do you feel as one of the most popular and admired game developers of these days?

xNotch375 karma

Feels weird, man. I wish I could focus more on the positive feedback, but whenever there's any negative comments, I take it too hard.

Meeting fans in real life is wonderful! It makes me feel like I managed to do something that others actually enjoy, and that's a very satisfying feeling. I always try to take time to talk to people who recognize me.

[deleted]201 karma

Where did you learn programming and game design?? I want to go into the field and was also looking for advice maybe.

xNotch316 karma

My dad bought a Commodore 128 when I was seven years old, and I wrote my first extremely bad text adventure game a year or so later. I haven't had any proper education in any of these areas and kinda just taught myself.

Playing a lot of games have been key to starting to kinda maybe understand game design.

doersino186 karma

What kind of future do you see for the (indie) gaming industry? What's going to change during, say, the next 10 years?

xNotch322 karma

I hope we can keep a lot of open and free platforms around. If Microsoft decides to lock down Windows 8, it would be very very bad for Indie games and competition in general.

If we can keep open platforms around, there's going to be a lot of very interesting games in ten years, mixed in with the huge AAA games that we all love.

Helzibah167 karma

I just want to say a big 'Thank You!' to all the mods for organising these AMAs, I know redstonehelper especially has been instrumental in making stuff like this happen.

Hey Notch, what do you think about more capes?

People like redstonehelper do a huge amount of work for the community, between moderating this subreddit and posting all those awesome, really useful changelogs (even more here!)... he even helps with redstone sometimes, if you're lucky.

redstonehelper: the caped crusader we need!

(and also aperson, Nikondork, BEP, Skuld, Buttsicles and the lovely moderator-bot...)

xNotch332 karma

Jens had some interesting ideas for capes. I'll let him announce it, if we do it that way.

And yeah, redstonehelper = <3

tapplewhack163 karma

  1. What are your plans for Mojang for the long term? I know you've started work on some new games, but I'm talking big here. Will you always maintain your "indie" status?

  2. Where did the idea of having "updates" come from? When I first bought Minecraft, I knew it was in Alpha and that there would be a full game someday, but I was really excited when I found out that the game was updated regularly and new content would be coming in constantly.

  3. Does the Xbox version of Minecraft mean that you will be developing more Xbox games?

  4. Speaking of Xbox, what's your relationship with Microsoft like as far as the Marketplace and selling the game?

  5. You've lived a lot of peoples' dreams as a developer. How does it feel to start out as an indie developer and move up to your current status, and especially so fast? How did it feel when Minecraft started going viral?

  6. I've seen lots of charitable acts on your part (Doctors Without Borders, Humble Indie Bundle, to name a few. *editing to add the EFF to the list. I didn't even notice!). Is that something that's important to you? Have you ever thought of helping others develop their games and getting them up to the same status as you (although I really don't think that's possible)?

  7. Sorry for so many questions. Last but not least, could you please say the words "tapplewhack is a pretty cool guy" so I can quote you in the future? I know it seems silly after so many "important" questions, but hey, who can resist?

xNotch261 karma

  1. Stay indie, make fun games that we like playing.

  2. Mostly out of the game having almost endless potential in stuff it could let the player do, combined with the game always having being developed that way. When I started it, a large inspiration for the model was roguelikes, that keep getting updates forever.

  3. I have no idea. If it fits the platform.

  4. They like us a lot.

  5. It feels very strange, but I'm starting to slowly catch up to the emotions. My life's changed, but I'm still the same guy at my core.

  6. Charity is a great way to give something back after reaching success. I'm looking into doing more charity in the future, probably in the area of online and software freedom, as that's something I know a little bit about.

  7. Tapplewhack is a pretty cool guy.

therealdilbertfan139 karma

Hello from a member of the 0x10c forums. We've been making some great stuff, but we would love some updates on the status of the game- what are you working on, etc.

xNotch206 karma

Honestly, development speed has been very slow due to a combination of personal shit going on, and a lot of professional backlog stuff that I needed to sort out. I've intentionally avoided to talk too much about what's going on to avoid building more hype, which just adds pressure.

What I can say is that ever since we cancelled the secret Rex Kwon Do project, there are a couple of resources I might be able to internally recruit after PAX.

-Rez-131 karma

When you imagine what Minecraft will be like at version 2.0... What do you see?

xNotch257 karma

NO idea. Hopefully competitive gameplay.

clouddecim122 karma

What is the story behind the End Poem? I'm very curious about your thoughts making it! EDIT: removed unnecessary spoiler code

xNotch209 karma

I wanted an ending that felt unexpected, and that tried to encapsulate some of my feelings about the game. I spoke with Julian Gough, and he agreed to write it.

The final quote was added by me, and claims to be by Mark Twain, but I later found out it's not by him. We should change that attribution.

DarksideScrolls121 karma

Do you (or anyone from the Mojang team) play Minecraft in your free time? Does anyone use texture packs?

xNotch174 karma

I don't, any more, and I've never used texture packs. I know a few people in the office plays it in their free time.

juhap115 karma

What subreddits do you subscribe to?

Now that Jeb is lead dev of MC, do you do any Minecraft development, pitch-in ideas or help with the coding?

xNotch242 karma

I used to subscribe to a lot, but recently unsubbed all the meme-filled once. They were taking up all my time. I kinda miss them..

fuckulolgg58 karma

You aren't missing out on much. Which communities did Minecraft originally become popular, and which community did you first share it with?

xNotch94 karma

It started with tigsource where I first talked about it, then 4chan, somethingawful, a few others that I can't remember right now.

xNotch111 karma

Ok, fun times are over, going back to drinking coffee now.

libelle15692 karma

If you could make a game without the limits that time, technology and reality place upon development what would it be? I would probably make the fantasy world from Ender's Game.

xNotch194 karma

With infinitely fast computers, I'd make game that simulated tiny individual grains of different materials, kinda like a Minecraft taken to the extreme.

scottyourban66 karma

What is your favorite game?

Have you ever played any custom maps, such as Vechs?

How often do you play your own game, on a weekly average?

Also, just wanted to say, I love the work, keep up what you do.

xNotch100 karma

I usually say Dungeon Master 2. But there are more. TF2, Doom 2, Fez, Devil May Cry 3, Spelunky, Civ4.. the list goes on.

I don't play the game very much at all these days. I played some puzzle maps back in the day, and it's the reason I'm so excited about adventure mode.

Foyfighter50 karma

What if your favorite nerdy tv show?

xNotch207 karma

IT Crowd

ihahp18 karma

Notch, while I love MC I often wonder if, due to the open development format you've taken, the game caters too much to popular opinion, and is less about your vision for the game.

For example, you cited dwarf fortress as an early influence, but the game has clearly expanded most in the lego/tycoon sandbox area. You've also nuked features announced on twitter before ever releasing them, based on user feedback.

Do you feel MC's development philosophy has reduced your role as "visionary" for the game?

In general I'd love to hear your thoughts on the pros/cons of developing MC in an open style.

PS I love Minecraft and what you've done for indie games. You've created a new genre of game, and in 2012 that's the rarest of the rare. Hats off to you.

xNotch33 karma

I think oppositely that all the user feedback has shaped Minecraft into a better game. Sure, some things in there are only in to cater to the community (creative mode), but a surprisingly huge amount of the content fits my idea of the game.

It was never meant to be a "serious" game, except perhaps for the very first isometric view versions.