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Minecraft: Adventure Mode Is Very Promising

From idea to half-finished concept

I love world building. Ever since I was a child, I loved building things. I would create toys for myself out of construction paper. I would build structures (with secret passageways) with LEGO blocks. I would draw elaborate maps on grid paper for my own imaginary video games. It is for this reason that I am enamored with the creativity-enabling aspect of Minecraft. The recent Adventure Mode update only makes things better because now I can build an awesome map (in Creative Mode) and then release that map for players to explore in Adventure Mode.

I like world-building and adventure gaming and although Adventure Mode caters to both of my interests, I believe there are more ways which Mojang can improve upon their current designs.

Minecraft: mock-up for keys and doors

Adventure gaming has been, for as long as I can remember, about finding locked doors and scouring the dungeon to find the corresponding keys. In The Legend of Zelda games, the player has to find silver keys to open locked doors and the Boss Key to open the door to the boss’ room. Even in DOOM, the player had to look for the red key to open the red door, the blue key to open the blue door, and the yellow key to open, if I understand this pattern correctly, the rainbow door. Why not add keys and corresponding doors to Minecraft? The player could find a red key, bring it to any red door, and permanently unlock that door (and consume the key in the process). There would of course be more colors available, but attention must be paid to the colorblind players lest they try to bring the red key to the yellow door and wonder why it isn’t opening. Additionally, the key concept could extend to “lock blocks” where inserting the key turns the block on, providing a key-triggered source of redstone power. Currently, a map designer needs to give the player a button, lever, or redstone torch if they want to give players “keys”  for their locks; in adventure mode, errant placement of these items can create a no-win scenario!

On the topic of unlocking doors, another staple of the adventure genre is to lock the player into a room. It’s only after the player defeats the enemies inside the room that the locks disengage. So, another cool addition to Minecraft would be a programmable block. The map designer could insert a number of spawn eggs into the block. Then, the block can either use these eggs as fuel and spawn them (as a monster spawner might), or use the eggs as a filter for the types of mobs that need to die within a radius of the block. In setup A, if I inserted four skeleton eggs, then the block would spawn only four skeletons when the player gets close; when those four skeletons are defeated, the block generates a redstone signal. In setup B, if I inserted four spider eggs, then an outside means of monster spawning would be required—perhaps there are multiple spider spawners to overwhelm the player—but killing a spider within 16 blocks of the sensor would remove an egg; when all the eggs are gone, the block generates a redstone signal. Obviously, these implementations are a bit convoluted, but the idea should be evident.

On the subject of killing monsters, more mob types would be great. It would be great if the iron golem came in sandstone, and if both types could also come in a hostile variety; golems have a lot of health and they hit hard. Combine with the mob sensor, and map designers can create a boss (or mini boss) fight. Another type of mob I’d like to see: something that flies, like a giant bird, bat, or birdosaurus. Lastly, a worm mob would be really cool; I read about a worm on the Minecraft Wiki that creates the vast cave systems we see in-game. It was an obvious fabrication (and a poor attempt at fanfiction to boot), but the idea has fascinated me ever since. What if there was a class of “soft” blocks, like “soft dirt” or “soft stone” that the worm could eat through? Map designers could create tunnels for the worms to carve out, or fill an entire area with it and let the worms shape the environment however they please. It’s a crazy idea, but having the player interact with mobs in a non-aggressive way to progress forward is very interesting.

Hey, speaking of clearing blocks, how about some bombs? These could be crafted from clay, gunpowder, and string. Players could throw them, igniting a short fuse (about the length of TNT, even), and then the bombs would explode, as bombs tend to do. It would create a small (either 3×3 or 4×4) blast useful for creating holes in walls and floors. It would have low power, so only soft earth materials like dirt, sand, gravel, and clay would be affected; but not the “soft blocks” for the tunneling worms. Additionally, “cracked blocks” such as the cracked stone bricks would be susceptible to bombs; “cracked stone” and “cracked sandstone” would also have to be added to round out the aesthetic variety. Like cracked walls in The Legend of Zelda, this would allow map designers to hide things for players to find.

There are alternative methods for enabling the player to open up weak walls, but those typically require that the player be allowed to mine blocks. There are game rules to prevent the player from harvesting the drops, but no filters that let map designers specify which blocks can be destroyed; it’s either all or nothing which is wholly inadequate for just the most basic of puzzle designs.

Light fuse, run away.

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