Stolen Pixels #234: Digdigdig

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Oct 12, 2010

Filed under: Column 120 comments

Everyone makes jokes about how addictive their favorite game is. Which is fine. 90% of humor is about looking at the truth from unexpected angles. Here is that joke again, for Minecraft. I know I actually made the joke recently, about Chime. I’m actually sorry I did that, because that fling with Chime was nothing compared to Minecraft.

How do we measure the addictiveness of games? Maybe we need some sort of unit of measure. Like pong.

Pong has 1 pong worth of addiction strength.

Space invaders has an addictive rating of 10 pong.

Your average browser game has between 10 and 100 pong of addictiveness.

Tetris is a kilopong.

Chime is a few kilopong.

Starcraft is a megapong.

World of Warcraft is about 10 megapong.

Minecraft may be the first game that scores a gigapong. (Perhaps Dwarf Fortress took that honor. I wisely avoided DF.)


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120 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #234: Digdigdig

  1. Pumpkinetics says:

    The problem is you can’t degenerate into “craft” puns as easily as “chime” puns. Sure, you could craft a crafty pun but any craft would be easily craftable, until you craft a craft craft for craft craft craft craft craft craft craft craft.

  2. Gavin says:

    Dude… I’ve been wondering when you were going to notice Minecraft. I take it you’ve seen the minecraft subreddit: . Basically anything new that happens/is discovered appears there. It helps you stay addicted even when you’re not playing….

  3. Primogenitor says:

    *cough* “Tetris has is a kilopong.”? *cough*

  4. Jarenth says:

    This comic somewhat hits home for me because in the one weekend Minecraft was free, I started out poking around and ended up digging a stairwell to the center of the world.

    Located inside a scenic mountain fortress.

    With a cactus farm, grass farm, and greenhouse balcony slash waterfall.

    1. acronix says:

      I started with a tower to the top of the world. Then I made another.Now there´s a tower that touches and surpasses the clouds in each cardinal direction…

      …and in between.

      1. Sumanai says:

        I make one block wide towers with a torch at each side at every few levels and a ladder at one near any location that I want to find. Limited burn-time torches will ruin this. Ruin I tell you! Ruin! Ruiin!

        1. Guus says:

          Were it not for the fact that all torches will be changed into lanterns when the update comes it would indeed ruin your towers.

          1. Sumanai says:

            By “this” I meant my habit of making said towers, not the towers themselves (thankfully). And while lanterns will be available they’ll most likely be more work, so wasting them on said towers is a bad idea. After all the whole reason for the towers is that they’re relatively fast and easy to build.

            1. Neil Polenske says:

              Actually the lanterns are a very good idea…IF they require cobblestone (what you get after breaking up natural stone) to create. It wouldn’t make much sense, but it WOULD be a nice way to get rid of access cobblestone, which is far and away the most excessive manufactured block you’ll collect. I’ve currently filled up two double sized storage cases with this stuph alone.

              Also: I’m currently working my way down a 9×9 grid mine shaft to hit the bottom, which also extends all the way to the top of a mountain whose peak breaches the cloud line. I found out about a neat idea through a youtube minecraft let’s play to create a glass roof and floors for the hole to the top of the mountain, allowing sunlight to shine all the way down to the bottom while I’m working. Still haven’t reached the unbreakable level and I’ve found precious few minerals on the way down, and no caverns whatsoever, which is all kinds of frustrating cause there’s all kinds of natural caverns on the other side of the valley I’m in.

              1. Jarenth says:

                One of the reasons I dug a stairwell to the bottom of the world was to get a hole to the Void there. Which I’ve now taken to referring to as ‘garbage chute’.

              2. Dank says:

                I’ve been working on a 10×10 mineshaft near my spawn with the intent of mining all the way to bedrock – about 30 blocks down I heard a lot of mob noises, and discovered cobblestone on the other side of a coal pocket. To my surprise, not just one dungeon, but a siamese dungeon – skeleton dungeon and zombie dungeon joined together.

                It took a great deal of effort to clear, but I have placed torches around the spawners to immobilize them. My next plan is to build a spawn trap that encompasses both dungeons, so that I will have a near infinite supply of both arrows and feathers. Extreme archery, here I come!

              3. Sumanai says:

                I didn’t say the lanterns themselves are a bad idea, but that using my way of navigating with them is. If only because lanterns will most likely use iron and I never have enough of it.

            2. Jarenth says:

              The point remains that Minecraft is a bad idea because it’s the biggest timesink ever devised.

              Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Alpha Centauri game to get back to.

  5. HerrSchmidt says:

    There are Units for just about anything right now. I do endorse this idea of a unit of game… not addiction, enthusiasm mayhaps? After all, certain games hold much more cling over time, while some games are enjoyable for a few hours and then forgotten.

    Other notable proposed unit names could include:
    – Quarters <– does anyone even remember paying so little for so much?
    – Kongs <– Man vs CPU natch.
    – Continues
    – Invaders
    – Contras <– Also a unit for difficulty
    – Jousts <– used as a ratio as it was more of a competitive game

    bit/s <– as a unit of game complexity versus time played ie, a NES Mario game being say rather high due to it's low bits versus how long it was played. Or for a unit of a game's Size versus time played. Either works. Though the latter would likely be bytes/s…

    1. Hal says:

      How about clonks? As in, your parents/spouse/roommates have to clonk you on the head this many times to get your attention away from the game.

      1. Kdansky says:

        Funnily, there was a hugely addictive indie game called “Clonk” about ten years ago. I would rate it at a handful of megapongs.

        1. Jarenth says:

          Still going, into edition 4 or 5, I think.

          The addictiveness of Clonk depends very much on how many people you play it with, your mindset, and how much joy you derived from seeing little people level up and gain amazing new abilities.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Aside from free games like dwarf fortress and I wanna be the guy,I dont think there is a game today that can even reach 1 contra.Which is kind of sad.

      1. krellen says:

        Contra wasn’t that hard. I had several friends that, any two of us together, could get through it without using the Konami code.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Precisely the point.The games of old were over 1 contra.Games of today cant even reach 0.5 contras.

          1. Nick Bell says:

            Which, to this gamer, is a good thing. I do not brutally hard games. I didn’t find Contra to be that fun, even with the Konami code. I like my games to be a source relaxation, not a level of work and stress onto of the work and stress I get at my job.

            1. swimon says:

              I agree. I don’t usually enjoy the difficulty of hard games (there are exceptions) but difficulty has often ruined story based games for me. When a game gets hard enough it just gets tedious but if you don’t finish the game you can’t see the ending :/. So I love the fact that there are no hard games ^^

          2. Klay F. says:

            Meanwhile, the Kaizo Mario ROMhack would rate about a Gigacontra.

  6. Torolf says:

    I don’t know; minecraft kind of sounds like a stripped down version of Dwarf Fortress. Is there anyone who’s played and enjoyed both? I love Dwarf Fortress.

    1. Zagzag says:

      I also think that it seems like DF Lite, but I don’t have enough experience of Minecraft to be sure.

    2. toasty says:

      Its like dwarf fortress, but its easier and thus, imo, more fun.

    3. Halfling says:

      Mincraft is nothing compared to the pure majesty and beauty of Dwarf Fortress. Also no true dwarf goes out and lives on its own, unless if it insane. So Minecraft is a watered down game about a false dwarf. I scoff at its pathetic attempts to be as good as Dwarf Fortress.

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:

        Ye behold. If you can draw more people under Amok’s wise guidance of cats, exploding booze and getting interrupted because of !clowns!, I say do it. Even if it means handing over a simplified, but still entertaining, game to the Heathens.

        Dwarf Fortress is eternal. It can wait a lifetime for people to be ready to accept Amok in their heart and start screaming at their own pixelized dorfs.

      2. Scourge says:

        I just imagined… Dwarf Fortress meets Mine craft…

        Dwarf Fortress adventure mode would be equal to Minecraft normal play mode.. Oh gods… Oh gods!

        It would be more addicting than WoW!

        1. Eggbert says:

          Stop it. Right now. They’re listening. And if they hear about this, they’ll use it to consume all of our free time!

          1. Scourge says:

            To late my friend. I am already imagining it and from there it is just a short step to the first concept, like the battle system or a physic system, and from there… Its.. to late.. go on without me! I am lost! *cough*

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              This a recurring theme in minecraft forums, that these two developers should partner. And yes, Minecraft is nowhere near the complexity of DF. You have to remember though that this is still a very early version, it’ll probably gain in complexity even if it’ll never exactly reach the level of sheer hostility towards the player that DF seethes with.

              1. Ethan says:

                I’m sorry, would you call Dwarf Fortress a polished product? According to Toady’s version, he is only a third of the way complete with his game!

        2. Kyte says:

          I personally believe that Minecraft would make an excellent front-end for DF Adventure mode.

        3. LafinJack says:

          You had better not look at this Dwarf Fortress to Minecraft converter:

      3. Klay F. says:

        Would it be better if it had Elephants that trampled you? What about if you automatically committed suicide after a few hours from depression?

      4. Ethan says:

        or it is a challenge game… and even then, the one dwarf has to lock the others out and wait for them to be eaten by elephants, which I suppose is pretty insane.

    4. SatansBestBuddy says:

      Minecraft isn’t that much like Dwarf Fortress, actually.

      For one thing, when you make a tower, you can look up to admire it when you’re done.

      1. Halfling says:

        What false dwarf would look to the sky. His eyes should be forever cast downward to the Earth!

    5. Kdansky says:

      I have played quite a bit of DF. I am pretty sure my biggest two forts got to nearly 200 inhabitants, one had a huge magma industry, and I’ve had a few more in the 50-100 range.

      I have also spent more than a bit of time in minecraft.

      Minecraft is superior, because it is a game, and not an excel sheet with thumb screws for controls. If DF had a proper interface, it would be the more interesting game, but Minecraft takes the cake by actually trying to be a game, and not a flight simulator.

      And there is already a program that can import DF levels into MC.

      1. thebigJ_A says:

        Honestly, I think they are two totally different things.

        To simplify it ridiculously,

        Minecraft = Lego

        DF = those little green army men, or maybe an ant-farm… or maybe little green army men in an ant-farm you added lego stu…

        ok, new analogy:

        Minecraft can be described easily.

        DF cannot.

        I love them both. :)

    6. Dys says:

      The main distinction I can see between MC and DF is the interface.

      MC is first person and allows you to do everything you want to do with fairly obvious controls.

      DF isn’t, and doesn’t. The flipside is that DF has a far broader range of things you can do.

      The one thing I do wish MC had which DF does well is a fluids system, but I’m well aware that running water in DF hurts my cpu something fierce.

    7. Mindstar says:

      No, Minecraft is more a stripped down version of Wurm online ;-)

      But wurm online is waaaay more complete than Minecraft (at least as minecraft stands now). It has hundreds of recipes like this one and you need to do stuff to raise your skills, which affects your success rate, which allows you to do better stuff… and combat against wild animals/goblins/etc is HARD. oh and you need to eat to keep up your strength… and yes, there are recipes for cooking too :-)

  7. acronix says:

    So, if we get a thousand copies of pong running at once, do we equal Minecraft adictiveness?

    1. Jarenth says:

      If Minecraft is a gigapong, you’d need a billion copies of pong to equal it.

      That said, I theorize the pong scale may be logarithmic instead of linear.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        meaning you need like… nah, that doesn’t work. You can have Minecraft as the 9 to Pong’s 1 on a logarithmic scale, though.

  8. Theodolus says:

    Yes, Dwarf Fortress was the first to take that honor. I just started playing Minecraft yesterday and can say that this takes second place in my book.

    The only problem with it at this stage is that, while you can easily build all sorts of crazy things, that’s really all there seems to be to it. DF on the other hand allows you to actively create and manage an entire fortress inhabited by crazy dwarfs.

    At some point I’ll need to play around with the tool that allows you to import Dwarf Fortress maps into Minecraft…

  9. SolkaTruesilver says:

    To be honest, an integration of Dwarf Fortress designs into Minecraft would create a Pong Singularity that risk destroying civilization.

    Yet, we wouldn’t worry about it. We would just all die of playing Dwarf Fortresscraft nonstop or smooching robots of Lucy Liu until the aliens invade.

    1. Jarenth says:

      I am completely in favour of what shall henceforth be known as plan Go Out With A Thud.

  10. Deoxy says:

    I haven’t played Minecraft, but I did some research on it, and it looks like a much nicer graphical front end to an noticeably simplified version of Dwarf Fortress.

    And yes, by that metric, I would say that Minecraft, at least at this stage, takes second to Dwarf Fortress, probably by a significant margin.

    (As an example, building a tower to the sky, even several of them, is obscenely, ridiculously tame compared to some of the megaprojects undertaken in Dwarf Fortress – an actual, working calculator, complete with display, is probably the most impressive in terms of sheer complexity – that is to say, essentially replicating a very simple computer chip, with multiple logic gates, etc. Yes, that’s at least as crazy as it sounds.)

    Skipping Dwarf Fortress was wise of you, Shamus.

    That said, Minecraft is clearly, far and away, the more accessible of the two. The DF “learning curve” is pretty much a vertical line taller than most people have ever been, anywhere in their whole lives.

      1. Deoxy says:

        Hmm, no video that I could find at the link, but yeah, pretty spiffy. Sounds like Minecraft has added more DF functionality that I realized. Nifty.

      2. FatPope says:


        I scoff at your petty calculator:

        1. Neil Polenske says:

          When he talks about adding RAM and turning into and honest-to-God computer, my head kinda went *pop*.

          1. FatPope says:

            Yeah, then he starts talking about actually adding a compiler! Insane stuff

    1. Factoid says:

      I think the minecraft game is pretty horrendous in terms of learning curve as well. It DESPERATELY needs an in-game crafting catalog. There is no reason I should have to visit a wiki just to learn to play a game.

      I know it’s not even beta yet…but come on…this HAS to be a feature before the “final” release.

      1. Sumanai says:

        Notch has mentioned an idea about a crafting “tree” in-game in one of his blog posts. Early stuff is shown from the start (e.g. workshop), and when you do those you “unlock” (a how-to is revealed for the) later ones.

      1. Ixidane says:

        Er, sorry. That link didn’t show up because I dumb.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And in previous topic people are saying how getting a high score of bajillion points in a flash game is insane.Ha!

  11. Factoid says:

    I fully endorse the Pong as an addiction unit. Pong is probably about the least addictive game in the world. I have never once played it for more than 5 consecutive minutes.

    This makes it a logical choice to be the base unit of addictiveness, that way nothing can go below 1 unit.

    1. Jon Ericson says:

      Surely you were born in the ’80s. ;-)

      But I must say that as soon as my friend down the street got a 2800, we gave up Pong for Space Invaders, Breakout and Indy 500. I suppose the lesson is we need at least a few years to measure the addictiveness of any particular game.

  12. WWWebb says:

    He would have mentioned Civ, but he’s too busy playing it to do the calculations.

  13. Nick C says:

    Note: Minecraft is nothing like Dwarf Fortress. Minecraft is a cross between Daggerfall and Legos. Yeah…it’s THAT good.

    1. Deoxy says:

      The interface looks a bit like Daggerfall, yes, but a huge amount of the actual gameplay seems to have come nearly directly from Dwarf Fortress.

      1. Nick C says:

        I have to disagree. You “build” things in both games, but Minecraft is more about pioneering an infinite virtual world, while DF is more about building a virtual society.

        1. SolkaTruesilver says:

          Actually, DF is aboute building a virtual society WHILE pionnering a map and discovering what are its secrets. Be them volcanoes, adamantium, Fun stuff, goblins.

          And off course, does Minecrafts gives you the pleasure of crushing/boiling/grinding/exploding/burning elves?

          1. confanity says:

            I have to agree with Nick on this one: Minecraft strikes me, from what I’ve seen, as the most awesome lego set ever. I guess there’s a version with monsters that you have to prepare for; that’s the one that costs money? But it looks more friendly and more accessible than DF, even if you have a graphical tileset for the latter, and is far more focused on the building angle. In DF you can focus on the building, but you can also focus on exploration or various industries or on building the most highly polished cadre of hyper-elite soldiers ever to be incapacitated by a lack of beer.

            1. Ian says:

              It’s silly but the paid version of minecraft is almost nothing like the free version any more.

    2. Caffiene says:

      For the inspirations for Minecraft, check out the interview with Notch on Bytejacker at Revision 3.

      He explains that the concept started as “Dwarf Fortress with a more accessible interface”, then the idea of a Dungeon Keeper style “possess monster” mode was added, and then he took the graphic style of Infiniminer.

      So, at least originally, it was intended to be similar to DF.

  14. Gamercow says:

    Civ is a Petapong. It is the only game I have failed a class because I skipped too many of them, and that was Civ 2.

    1. Matt K says:

      I had to uninstall Civ 4 yesterday because I lost track of time pretty much everyday last week before bed and so I was increadibly unproductive at work. Damn you steam and your $10 sales.

  15. Traska says:

    There is no game more deserving of the false title “addictive” than Master Of Orion II. I picked it up on GOG (because, hey, $4 and it works with Win7). I can still lose entire hours (I don’t mean I play it for an hour, I mean I look up and go “Holy crap, it’s 10?!”)

    1. Robyrt says:

      See, that’s why it’s called “addictive” instead of “engaging.” If it can have significant adverse effects on real life, that’s generally a problem.

      I never used to be addicted to video games until this year. The rest of life has not been going so well for me, so I retreated into a narcotic haze of grinding and Gamefly. When I first installed Minecraft, I looked up and it was 2:30 AM and I suddenly realized I was hungry for dinner.

    2. Deoxy says:

      I got MoO II for free back in college (in the box and everything, in the mail – a promo for some kind of multi-player service that died years ago now). That was the gold standard of addictiveness for me, right up until Dwarf Fortress…. now, nothing else even rates on the scale.

  16. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Minecraft is, in my eyes, nothing like Dwarf Fortress.

    DF is a medieval version of Simcity crossed with the Sims, namely in that you order your sims/dwarves to dig into the mountain to build the underground city, and you have to manage everything from what jobs they do to what they eat and drink.

    MC is a virtual game of Legos with survival/horror thrown in; being trapped in the bowels of the earth, rapidly running out of resources while you try to find your way out while hearing the groans of the unseen undead is exactly as frightening as every other horror game wants to be.

    They cross over, sure, because they are both very much sandbox games where you can mold every single square of the world into whatever shape you wish and that the only real objective you’re ever given is to have fun, but beyond that the basic foundation of how they are played is radically different.

    At least with Minecraft, you only need to visit the wiki when you’re just starting out so you can figure out the basics of the crafting system (the game isn’t done yet anyway, and Notch has stated he’s adding a way to do that in game), whereas with Dwarf Fortress the wiki is basically side by side with the game for the first three or so failed fortress attempts. (you can only lose in DF, the question is how long it takes before you do)

    1. HeroOfHyla says:

      You speak the truth! Before I played Minecraft I was hesitant because I thought it was a dumbed-down DF, but now that I’ve been playing it for a few months, I realize how different they really are.

      1. thebigJ_A says:

        Minecraft actually got me into DF. I had DF on my hard drive forever, but I was too intimidated.

        I played minecraft for a few weeks, and it gave me the urge to try DF. I got the Lazy Newb Pack, which has everything a lazy newb needs, and watched some videos. It took about a week (and I mean a solid week of really applying myself) to get the basics down to where I understand how it works and can build a functioning early fort. Now, I’m learning the more advanced stuff as I go (the wiki open at all times) and loving every minute of it.

        If you’ve got, say, a week or so’s worth of nights to kill, I recommend it. The main thing is learning the needlessly clunky UI. Once you get past that, it’s all just one step at a time.

        1. HeroOfHyla says:

          I had to stop playing Dwarf Fortress once the 2010 updates starting coming out, because they were inexplicably extremely slow, even on my awesome gaming PC.
          It’s nigh-unrunnable on my laptop (which can run stuff like left4dead on medium setting).

          1. Dys says:

            I stopped playing DF at about the same time, but mainly because I realised that Toady hates me, and seems dedicated to replacing everything with something completely different the moment I feel comfortable with it.

  17. Pickly says:

    Since civ is a bit more, I’d also through in “jabm” as a unit, for “just a bit more” as a measure of either addictiveness, or a closely related idea.

    1. Jarenth says:

      I propose the ‘Just One More Turn (JOMT) instead. It could describe a given person’s tendency to continue playing games when engaging in other activities would be (objectively) a better idea.

      I define the JOMT as the quotient of
      – the square root of the game’s addictiveness in pong (as highly addicting games are easier to get lost in) and
      – the amount of turns this person would keep playing the game (the game in question needs to be discretized to individual ‘turns’ or ‘games’ for this to work; for games that can’t fit into this mold, minutes can be used instead).

      So, a person scoring one JOMT would continue playing Pong for one more game beyond the ideal quitting time, or Tetris for about thirty-two games. Following this formula, a one-JOMT would continue playing Minecraft for…

      …carry the five…

      …three years. Give or take.

      It might take a while for the next Spoiler Warning to show up.

      1. Pickly says:

        I think of it as “jabm” just to keep it clear that this involves non-turn based games as well, but an quite familiar with the “just one more turn” wording as well.

        If only they set the game up so that I could build that building, research that technology, and conquer that city on the same turn instead of 2-3 apart. :)

  18. kikito says:

    … mmm must I infer that Samus has finally obtained Starcraft II (^_^)?
    … Or is he talking about Brood War (T_T)?

    I really NEED you to comment on those porno dialogues, man. And there’s also lots of material for comics there.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I think he was talking about the original.Starcraft 2 surely is a gigapong.And civilization series varies between 100 megapong and 10 gigapong.

      1. Dys says:

        Given that both Starcrafts have made me quit in disgust (from sp), I dispute this.

  19. Mari says:

    Here’s my problem, which is mostly Shamus’ fault. I recently (ok, this weekend) gave up the Zynga games. I don’t mean “Haven’t played in a couple of days and now my crops are all withered” I mean “removed the apps and then blocked them.” Partly it was due to frustration over buggy games and the increasing pressure from the devs to “feed beg” rather than just playing the damn game.

    But partly it was due to Baldur’s Gate. Because – y’know, just Baldur’s Gate. And if I ever get over the BG, I have Planescape: Torment waiting in the wings, bought and installed but not played. And then in a couple of years when I’m done with those I just picked up Icewind Dale. And, of course, Guild Wars 2 may or may not come out this or next year and I’m already excited about it. And now Shamus is feeding me Chime and Minecraft. And Civ V when it reaches a finished (patched) state.

    Can you actually overdose on video games? Because I think I’m in danger of doing so. At this point I’m just hoping that WoW never goes free to play because I might as well just trade in my task chair for a recliner and install a fridge and loo next to me. I never knew what an addictive personality I have.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well icewind dale will be a breeze for you compared to the rest.It really isnt that special.The others….well,it was nice knowing you.

    2. confanity says:

      Quitting “the Zynga games” strikes be as being like quitting cigarettes to take up crack cocaine. The intensity of the experience can’t even compare when you’re looking at quality titles like Planescape or the Civ series. (My entry drug, by the way, was Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.)

      1. FatPope says:

        I still maintain Alpha Centauri was the best Civ-like game. Civ 3, 4 and 5 just haven’t really done anything for me to be honest. I mean I played them and they were decent enough but I’ve never felt the way about them that I did about the earlier titles.

        Nothing worthwhile seems to really be added any more, while small (yet important) things are often taken away.

        1. SolkaTruesilver says:

          You have to try Fall From Heaven, mate.

          It will shatter some of your conviction about how good a 4X game can be.

      2. Mari says:

        It’s all replays for me. I’ve been playing Civ since Civ 1. I played Baldur’s Gate regularly until I got Windows XP and it wouldn’t run properly anymore. Same for the rest. And now that I’m running a 64-bit OS I couldn’t even INSTALL most of them. GOG is restarting my addiction.

        And you might be surprised how addictive those Zynga games can become, at least the few I played. I had spreadsheets for them. I mean, ok, it was very LIGHT on strategy, but if you set your own goals they could be strategy games. Now they’re “beg for crap from your friends” games, but it used to be possible to play those things without posting a single thing or letting anybody who didn’t play know that you were playing.

        And for the record, the most addictive one for me was FrontierVille, brought to you by Brian Reynolds of Sid Meier’s Colonization,Civ II, Alpha Centauri, and Gettysburg fame. Nope, I’m not kidding even a little bit.

        1. FatPope says:

          As we speak I have just finished installing both Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2. I’m running Windows 7 64 bit and they seem to both be working fine with absolutely no tweaking. In fact, putting on compatibility mode seems to actually cause it to stop working.

          I’m planning to combine the two games using Tutu so I can play BG1 using the BG2 engine. Anyone recommend any other mods before I start?

  20. Dev Null says:

    I’m actually a bit confused. I played a Minecraft alpha/beta a couple of years ago(? give-or-take) and all you could do was place and remove blocks. It was kind of cute, but essentially computerised LEGOs; I lost interest. Whats all this about crafting and zombies and stuff?

    1. Kyte says:

      A year is a long time. The guy added much stuff. Starting with crafting and critters, yes.

      1. Jarenth says:

        Also: zombies.

    2. thebigJ_A says:

      The free version is very stripped down. It is exactly as you describe.

      It’s the real version that everyone is getting addicted to.

    3. HeroOfHyla says:

      Now, instead of being able to add and remove blocks at will, you start out with nothing, and have to fend for yourself. You gather wood to make tools, gather stone, then iron ore, then diamond to make better tools. You use coal to create torches, smelt materials, and cook food. At night and in dark caves there are creepers (explody things), zombies (punchy things), skeletons (archery things), and spiders (jumpy things) trying to kill you.

      There’s a pretty complex crafting tree, and it’s all fabulous.

  21. Vegedus says:

    I’m guessing the crafting and zombies and stuff is in the paid version, because the demo seems to be just setting and destroying blocks, and while there was something tantalizing the moment I reached the sky on my tower made of glass, it doesn’t quite sell me.

    1. Caffiene says:

      Yeah, its just (mostly) in the paid version.

      For a slight taste of the idea, try
      Its not the same as the paid, but it includes monsters and collecting resources as you mine them. As I understand it, the paid version adds detail to when monsters spawn, and allows you to combine the resources you mine to create crafted items.

  22. kmc says:

    Addiction story: for context, I tend to be an MMO-er; my WoW main has all top-level gear, my other 5 80s are mid-level geared, I’ve maxed out crafting on all toons–generally, I get hooked. I admit it. That being said, I have never quite felt the addictive pull like I do with Minecraft. I might think about WoW during the day, and sometimes I even think about it a lot if I have a particular goal in mind. With Minecraft, though, the first night I slept after playing it, and for the next two nights, I didn’t sleep well because every time I’d fall asleep, my brain would start running through different possible scenarios and trying to solve them, and I actually would have the same dream a few times in a row until I’d figure out a way to fix the problem. I built whole caverns and castles in my head every night. That’s how bad it is. You know the first Penny Arcade, when Gabe has the “I might be in trouble” moment? I felt that moment, viscerally. If WoW is crack, Minecraft is heroin.

  23. Neil Polenske says:

    The timing of this game sucks too, cause I JUST bought Mass Effect 2 and now that game aint gonna be touched for a few months AT LEAST.

  24. Adamantyr says:

    Minecraft is awesome. And it is not like Dwarf Fortress, except in this:
    – Both were created by single developers/designers
    – Both focus on sandbox play and construction, with a focus on mining

    That being said, as far as gameplay goes:

    Dwarf Fortress is strategic, Minecraft is tactical.

    Dwarf Fortress is, as someone above said, like the Sims. You don’t directly control any of your units, you just direct things like a manager. If you manage incorrectly, tasks don’t get done, or get done too slowly. The fact that day and night are abstracted out of DF is a good sign that it’s much more a top-down driven game.

    Minecraft is much more immersive than Dwarf Fortress. You can pretend to be the leader dwarf in DF, but in Minecraft, YOU are your avatar. And you craft things, it’s you doing it with your own hands. To use the same descriptive above, it’s a bottom-up driven game. You cut down a tree, make some tools, dig out some stone to build a house, and so on.

    Of the two, Minecraft has the greater potential to hit the mainstream vibe. DF will always be a niche game, albeit a good one, and I’ll support both over any big AAA title any day.

    1. Deoxy says:

      There actually is a single-person mode in DF. In fact, you can visit your abandoned fortresses, even. (That’s actually common thing to do: make a fortress, craft some awesome weapons, abandon, and come GET those weapons with your adventurer).

      You can’t do a lot of the construction things, just yet, but it’s there.

  25. Aldowyn says:

    I can’t compare it to DF, and haven’t even played Alpha, but Classic is cool. I’m on the Team9000 gaming server, and if you haven’t been there, it’s incredible. Sprites galore. It may have been the one that was mentioned with all the pokemon, actually.

    It’s just building, but building with others as judges and inspiration >>>> by yourself.

  26. Gamedragon says:

    Minecraft trivia.
    Minecraft was originally to be a dwarf fortress clone rendered from an isometric perspective.
    I can’t use exact words but the gist of the idea was that if you removed some of the complexity from dwarf fortress you’d end up with something pleasantly complicated and fun.
    Sort of a middle ground between DF and dungeon keeper.
    Pretty much that got as far as adding the direct control option.

    On the subject of DF, I didn’t get dwarf fortress when I played it. the manuals were dry, sometimes ambiguous reading and the interface made me give up from information overload before I could figure out how to do anything.
    Pretty much went splat on the learning curve.

    1. Deoxy says:

      That’s normal… because the learning “curve” is a vertical wall.

  27. Adamantyr says:

    The interface and learning curve are the big hits against Dwarf Fortress. I’ve also noticed that Tarn Adams has a real propensity to add complexity for no other reason to just have it.

    Case in point, his last major update introduced a huge load of minor detail elements, like the exact appearance of each dwarf, complex wounding, etc. But game play was essentially the same, and in some cases, his widespread changes broke several elements, like fishing and farming. (Adding of subterranean features, though, was a big plus.)

    Another factor is that Tarn insists on working alone. While I can readily agree with him that turning a project into a “group” effort can mean losing control, I’d also say that modern development has too many specializations for one person. I have a developer friend who’s frustrated that DF has no support for 64-bit or multi-core processors, for example. And the time between releases is getting longer and longer as the game gets more complicated as well. He’s been in Alpha for six years!

    Compare this to Notch, who’s starting his own game company and actively looking for people to help him with Minecraft. And he’s progressed into Alpha from prior releases, and is dedicated to releasing the Beta this year. (I’ve heard October, I have my doubts.)

    1. confanity says:

      I’m not sure it really would be a good idea to have other people working on the project along with Tarn Adams, really. At this point anybody who added anything would have to be deeply intimate with how the program works, and how the programming language he invented to write it in works, and all the people working on the project would have be be almost perfectly in tune with each other. From one angle it really sounds like you’re saying, “Gee, it’s taking Rowling a really long time to release new updates to Harry Potter; shouldn’t we have a team working on that?” Not farming out parts of the project isn’t just about control; it’s about keeping it from becoming schizophrenic.

      That said, Adams has incorporated elements from some of the mods developed by the community, so clearly it’s not a matter of his stubbornness so much as his desire for creative focus.

      I’m also not sure what you mean about releases becoming less frequent. Just this fall there’ve been half a dozen releases at the .0x level; almost too fast if you ask me. And of course the game being in alpha for six years means nothing. You might be arguing that the beta release is less frequent than the alpha was; that’s true but trivially so. Doesn’t it just mean that, instead of piling on needless complexity, he’s been working toward a predetermined goal this whole time?

      1. thebigJ_A says:

        Besides, the guy is making DF for his own enjoyment. It can be in “alpha” forever for all he cares.

        The fact that we all happen to also love his personal labor of love is great, but secondary.

        Also, releases are not getting further apart.

    2. Deoxy says:

      Releases are definitely not getting further apart. You can look at the release history for that, and really, there was one LONG lag (the 40d version, when I started, was very stable and playable and lasted a LONG time, for an alpha) while he rewrote a major piece of the game, but that’s it.

  28. Neil Polenske says:

    Finally hit the bottom tonight. Nuthing. What the shit man! I’ve gone down deeper than Dolly Sharp and for what? Couple of spots of coal and less than a dozen blocks of iron out of the entire venture.

    1. Another Scott says:

      Look around, you were probably just unlucky… Speaking of which, if you come across some light-blue “water” do not try to swim in it; it is actually the sky! (It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes the bottom of the map leaves a spot open)

      I had to learn that the HARD way… I was carrying a lot MORE than coal at the time too!

      @[email protected]

  29. Jjkaybomb says:

    The joke in the comic kind’ve reminded me of Penny Arcade’s…
    “What is this silly, popular nonsense?
    I am GODKING of my domain!”
    Not displayed: stepping outside and immidiatly dying a silent creeper death

  30. Wouter Lievens says:

    You *avoided* Dwarf Fortress? Have you no soul??

    1. SolkaTruesilver says:

      He has no time.

      Which is almost as worst.

  31. MadHiro says:

    It seems to me that Minecraft is very similar to a less massive A Tale in the Desert with zombies added. Resource gathering, tech tree, world manipulation. One of my favorite parts of ATitD was the pollution modeling in the Telling I played. When the big smelters came online for the first time, no one really knew that they dumped severe nastiness in to the ground water. Agriculture became much, much harder. Then people scrambled to put together laws regulating where they could be built.

    1. Shamus says:

      Those guys are near me. Note to self: Send resume.

      1. Deoxy says:

        Cool! I love that your blog can help you out on this.

      2. MadHiro says:

        Please, please, please get a job with them. Tell them that I’ll start playing again if they hire you. I’m sure regaining one lapsed subscriber will do the trick.

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