Friday, October 22, 2010

So, a post about a game

That's a first for this one. I've branched out into film a few times but this really does warrant a mention. Mostly because it's mind-bogglingly, staggeringly retarded.

Surely some of you have heard of the indie game Minecraft. I've been playing it a lot lately and I have to say it is easily one of the greatest games I've played in years.

The brainchild and pet project of Swedish game designer Markus Persson, the best way to describe this game is an exploration game with elements of surival horror, the creative freedom of Lego (actually more creative freedom than Lego, come to think of it) and the best (only?) good thing about the red faction games. If you have the patience, you can essentially remodel the very realistic (if obviously quite blocky) landscape into whatever you want it to be. People have made some truly insane stuff in this indie gem, and as my friends know, I hardly play games at all these days but Minecraft has been sucking up every ounce of my spare time lately.

But you didn't write this article to promote some game, did you??

Well, no, the issue here is that last night I couldn't get onto the goddamn website or get a multiplayer server running because of a DDoS attack on the site.

The folks taking credit for this "co-ordinated attack" are none other than those lovable scamps from 4chan. Apparently, they were sending Markus a 'clear message' that they were unhappy about having to wait for updates for this game and so it would be in their best interests to bombard him with Distributed Denial of Service barrages effectively crippling the site, and in particular sales of the game, for several hours. This would therefore (?) coerce him into working harder on the game and releasing the updates faster.

One theory I heard is that the people from 4chan have nothing to do with this and are simply taking credit for it, and honestly, I am inclined to agree. The reasons I think this is the case are the same reasons this DDoS attack would be a fundamentally stupid thing to do if it were actually a deliberate attack from disgruntled fans:

  • Markus has been mentioning for some time now that he is planning a Hallowe'en update, which will be released on Hallowe'en. If this DDoS attack was really a kick up the arse to get things moving, then good lord, talk about impatience.
  • Updates are, always have been, and always should be a bonus to players. Patches are something we should expect if we pay ninety dollars for a game from a huge studio and our guy falls off his horse and into the ground and dies. But to target an indie developer because he's not catering to his fans fast enough for a ten euro game is just plain moronic.
  • Minecraft is incredibly playable in its current state. I'm going to come out and admit that I played this game before buying it for a few weeks on a friend's account, and only bought it last night (somehow! Moments before the DDoS attack that was apparently supposed to stop people like me from buying it). I was still overwhelmed enough with the quality and excellence of the game to happily fork over ten euros just so I could have my own account. In fact, I mostly did it just to support Markus and the indie scene. I don't care if he's already rich, he fucking deserves it for making a game I love.
  • Murdering Markus' site and cutting off sales is not going to motivate him to make updates for this game. One parallel I read which I found exceedingly hilarious is of a man who breaks his wife's hands and immediately demands her to make him a sandwich. We're lucky Markus isn't less of a man and just packed it in because of the attacks, running away with ten million euros and leaving us with an Alpha that had updates just around the corner.
  • The guy is starting a fucking business. Anyone who has ever had to sit down and fill out a tax return should be able to guess how much work that involves. He's only hiring like, what, five, six people to help him out?? If you can stand the horrifying, ageless wait that it will take for him to get the business shit sorted out I'm sure we will be getting many more updates far more regularly from now on.
I mean, 4chan would take credit for this, wouldn't they? I thought the whole "scientology protest" thing was cute, a bunch of hopeless, friendless basement dwellers at least attempting to do something meaningful with their lives, but actively lashing out against independent game developers in an industry climate where EA absorb franchises like a gelatinous cube and destroys independent game developers who make games like Minecraft out of love in their spare time doesn't even make sense. Who the fuck even knows.


  1. I think there's probably more to the story.

    I checked Encyclopedia Dramatica and they have a whole different side to it.

  2. Interesting - and their long-and-short of it?

  3. I certainly don't agree with the DDoSing, but there are actually two different angles on the updates issue. One angle is that we're paying for the game in its current state, and any future updates are a bonus. The other is that what we are paying for is the final release, and alpha access is the bonus. has changed its description of that a few times, so lots of people have different ideas about what exactly they are owed. Personally I'm happy with the game in its current state, but the fact that it is called "alpha" seems to imply an eventual finished release. When Notch stopped programming for a month or so, some people (who didn't understand what was going on) got worried that the game would disappear.

  4. I suppose I can understand that perspective. Not sure how DDoSing the site would solve the issue though, lol. Just make people feel better that he was running away with less money? In any case Notch is working hard on the game again and now we're in Beta (when really Alpha was more like a Beta save for the then-horrifically glitchy multiplayer).