Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

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Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by saeTan on 7/29/2011, 11:53 am

Here is his post on the word of notch:

The psychology of the reticle and the feeling of control

This blog post contains extensive spoilers about a new mob in the adventure update. Don’t click “read more” unless you want spoilers!

Fear is one of the easiest emotions to evoke, but doing so in a way that doesn’t frustrate or fatigue the player is more difficult. I find this fascinating. What parts of fear are fun, and what parts aren’t fun?

One of the biggest game design decisions in Minecraft is that all (well, most) negative things that affect the world or the player should happen near the player, and be clear to the player. That’s why creepers only explode near players, and that’s why fires stopped spreading indefinitely. This is somewhat related to my dislike of mazes in game design, where the player has no way of knowing or figuring out before hand what decision is the correct decision. Don’t penalize the player for things they can’t control.

Last weekend, I started working on a new mob because I was frustrated with the slow progress on some town code I was writing, and for some reason I decided to make yet another creepy one. It’s dark, it has long and narrow limbs, moves very slowly, and will pick up blocks and move them around. I wanted this to be a mob you only saw in the distance and a mob you’d be afraid of, but when I playtested it, it mostly felt like a regular zombie. There’s was a distinct mismatch between looking creepy and not actually playing creepy. When I made it move faster towards the player when attacking, and deal more damage, it got more difficult and I started respecting it, but it never felt creepy or scary.

So I thought some about what “creepy” actually is, and it’s more about trying to avoid something from happening than it is about actually having that thing happen. If you know something bad can happen if you do the wrong thing, you will start thinking about your actions, and that might make things more scary.

So I made it passive until you looked straight at it. And that was scary. Suddenly you could walk up to these looking beasts (they’re three meters tall) and watch them as they moved their blocks around, but as soon as you happened to look straight at them, they’d attack. And by “straight at them”, I mean putting the reticle on top of them. You can keep them visible on screen and actually look straight at them in real life, but as soon as your in game character looks straight at them, boom.

Still, that was more scary than creepy. It’s like a jump scare in a movie. You know it might happen at any time, and when it happens you freak out a bit. I wanted something a bit more psychological. So to really drive home the point of looking at them being bad, I made the Endermen freeze and turn towards you when you look at them. As long as you look straight at them, they stand perfectly still and look straight at you. As soon as you look away, they will run (very fast) towards you.

And they teleport. If they’re too far away to reach you in a short period of time, they will teleport about once per second. They try to make sure they always teleport to somewhere you can see, as I don’t want to confuse the player as to what is happening.

When they attack, you know it’s your fault. When you happen to look at one, you can keep looking at it to figure out how to deal with it, but you know it WILL reach you very fast once you stop looking at it.

And that, my friends, is creepy. Possibly too creepy.

Here is where it is: http://notch.tumblr.com/post/8208212863/the-psychology-of-the-reticle-and-the-feeling-of

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by m_park21 on 7/29/2011, 2:51 pm

freaking awesome

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by InvertPanda on 7/29/2011, 2:55 pm

Pretty sure Notch has finally lost his mind.

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by runethief000 on 7/29/2011, 3:37 pm

This is perfect.

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I will be pooping my pants for a while...

Post by tlsorrel on 7/29/2011, 5:09 pm

That's absolutely terrifying.

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by lordgonk on 7/29/2011, 8:22 pm

That's such an evil thing to do to us


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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by madscientist032 on 7/29/2011, 9:48 pm

You have got to be kidding me. This is fine for the adventure update. I really hope he doesn't include the new mob in regular survival. That would drive so many people away (or at least make them put the difficulty level to "peaceful")

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Cierte on 7/29/2011, 10:10 pm

Mad its not that big a deal on survival. just dont look straight at it and it doesnt effect you at all. pretty easy to avoid.

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by WhiteTiger on 7/29/2011, 10:50 pm

Creepy o.o

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Cierte on 7/29/2011, 11:46 pm

could you imagine how crazy awesome it would be if these guys would built. it says they move blocks. what if they placed em and built little forts or homes haha.

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by InvertPanda on 7/29/2011, 11:59 pm

Gonna be extremely pissed off if they start tearing apart my houses haha,

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Leagle on 7/30/2011, 12:22 am

Imagine you are walking trough a deep forest in minecraft and you just crosses one of those guys, and you didn't even notice.
then the next second Boom! a tall skinny black creep behind you!

or like, you made a nice walkway for you house.
and you just walk around the corner and then there is one on the middle of yourwalk way and you are just far enough of him for him to teleport to you.
then you try to quickly turn around and walk straight home, BUT then you just turned around and the he is there, right infront of you. *boo*

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by ChaosTheoryJRH on 7/30/2011, 1:22 am

So when the final version of Minecraft comes out, will it come with diapers and cleaning supplies?

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Cierte on 7/30/2011, 1:25 am

Oh leagle that was awesome! Seriously this is going to be so intense now. i can see a lot more "peaceful" single player maps being played lol

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by BroadStreetBully on 7/30/2011, 1:41 am

I wanna know if these things are gonna be able to take blocks from things.

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Cierte on 7/30/2011, 2:17 am

id like to know the specifics as well

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Adirem on 7/30/2011, 6:03 am

they probably will, as Minecraft doesn't see full buildings, but just sees a pile of blocks. So what ever you build these fellows can take it apart.
but i can't wait to play MC with these creatures around. Like Cierte said, imagine them building forts and houses for them to hide from the sunlight as we're supposed to hide during the night!
but don't be scared kids, just grab a sword and be a man about it, charge them while yelling 'FREEDOM!'

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by mefabe on 7/30/2011, 9:10 am

Yah, what he said!

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by ChaosTheoryJRH on 7/30/2011, 5:40 pm

Adirem wrote:they probably will, as Minecraft doesn't see full buildings, but just sees a pile of blocks. So what ever you build these fellows can take it apart.
but i can't wait to play MC with these creatures around. Like Cierte said, imagine them building forts and houses for them to hide from the sunlight as we're supposed to hide during the night!
but don't be scared kids, just grab a sword and be a man about it, charge them while yelling 'FREEDOM!'

Maybe, but with the way these things are described, all you may be able to get out is a simple FREED...GAAAAH

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Re: Notch on making Minecraft really scary.

Post by Adirem on 7/31/2011, 5:36 am

you know the feeling when a zombie of creeper drops down in front of you from a roof or something? >that< feeling, but these creatures will be doing it deliberately. for you people on TS, it'll be Screamfest 2011!

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