FortressCraft Creator: Minecraft Doesn't Focus on Creativity

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FortressCraft Creator: Minecraft Doesn't Focus on Creativity

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Adam Sawkins, the mind behind voxel block-builder FortressCraft, explains why he thinks no one, including Notch, should say he copied Minecraft.

Unless you've been living under a giant grey voxelated rock for the past few years, you've probably heard about indie-gone-rocket ship Minecraft. Without going into the details of the game's various successes for the umpteenth time, let's just say that developer Mojang has made millions upon millions of dollars, and that a hefty percentage of people across the planet are currently too busy building doom castles to even read this post. Up until now, Minecraft has survived primarily as a PC affair, so as the game and its hordes of fans finally prepare an immigration to console-land this Spring, accusatory pointed fingers are starting to land squarely on the platform's current "craft-king," FortressCraft, a voxel building game that's currently the most successful title on XBLIG to date. The game's creator, Adam Sawkins, has been accused of doing little more than crafting a copy-cat cash-in by gamers, critics, and even Mojang, and so has finally decided to speak up to explain why FortressCraft should be judged by its own merits.

"Minecraft is a game about digging out resources, crafting weapons and armor, travelling into the Nether, and killing a dragon," Sawkins said in a recent interview with Eurogamer. "Whilst it lets you be creative, that's never been its main focus. You can spend ages creating amazing things in it, but Minecraft's never been about the creative aspect, any more than GTA is about making sculptures out of buses. Sure, you can do it, but the game doesn't lend itself to that, nor does it help you out."

"FortressCraft, on the other hand," he continues, "has focused almost entirely on the creative aspect." What Sawkins is mainly referring to by the "creative aspect" are the game's exclusive features. Unlike Minecraft, FortressCraft allows players to customize the design of each block, hire minions to help with the grind, and adds what he calls "an elegant copy-and-paste system" that speeds up creation. "Also, c'mon," he adds. "We've got laser guns, factories, and trampolines. What more do you need, a gun that fires shurikens and lighting?"

Still, creating a voxel-style building game with a very similar title just after the sharp incline hit Minecraft's success graph has caused many to dismiss it as a "clone". But truly understanding that term, Sawkins claims, makes all the difference. "A clone, in gaming terms, is a game in the same genre, that shares one or more major features," he explains. "It's not an insult, it's a handy way of describing the basic premise of a game."

"However, it seems that the common-or-garden gamer these days takes the term 'clone' to mean 'carbon-copy'."

But it's not just gamers who call FortressCraft a clone. Even Notch went on record claiming that the game is merely "an obvious attempt to just take something popular and clone it as closely as possible."

"If I was attempting to copy Minecraft," retorts Sawkins, "I wouldn't have wasted my time on the creative aspect, on the shiny new graphics, on forming my own little niche in the game market. I would have just copied the crafting, the shitty melee combat, added in a teleporter to another dimension, stuck in creepers and sheep and, er, cats. But I didn't. I took it in its own direction.

"Mojang needs to realize that they are now the 800lb gorilla of the VoxGame genre; to arrive onto the Xbox and to bad mouth and lie about their competitors puts them firmly into the realms of EA or Activision. Whilst I might complain heavily about Minecraft's horrible combat or broken minecarts, I would never acknowledge it as being anything less than the Indie game that made Indie games cool again."

There seems to be quite a bit of bitterness in the air of late over the idea of "cloning" popular videogames. What do you think, Escapists? Was Sawkins just cashing in on the Minecraft craze, or did he make something legitimately worth being judged by its own merits?

Source: Eurogamer

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That's nice and all, but then why are there torches, grassy dirt blocks, stone, cobblestone and stacked brick surfaces in the screenshot?

This isn't like roguelikes; you can have more than a few possible tiles. Hell, I can tell by looking the differences between a session of NetHack and Rogue more easily than I would Fortresscraft and Minecraft. Short of the Xbox Miis, it looks like a reskin with some bloom.

Sawkins sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder about the whole affair and is in serious denial, stomping his feet and insulting gamers who can see through the facade (Garden veriety gamer, excuse me?). Fuck this guy, i hope his game flops and he gets a clue-by-four wrapped around his ears.

From the start I've always considered FortressCraft a remarkably Game Loft-y thing.

This chap here copied Minecraft after it had gained popularity.

(Yep, Notch copied Infiniminer, but that didn't get any mainstream attention, did it?)

Sounds like someone is a little bitter about Minecraft. He made that much painfully obvious.

If Minecraft was as dedicated to more "game" aspects instead of creative as Sawkins suggest, it would look more like Terraria. He clearly copied a lot of Minecraft including the title. He doesn't have a very stable argument here.

Post redacted. The situation has been cleared up, and he is much more reasonable and understanding than I gave credit for. :)

Ok, imma be just as belligerent.

I'm sorry man, I can't say that Minecraft focusses on creativity... is original... or that FortressCraft is a copy of MineCraft. I can say that it's a blatant expy of the game, released after MineCraft, using the same medium for the same purpose overall, and that it isn't even subtle putting his argument at a severe disadvantage already.

I can say that only a tosser, even one who's only the tosser of poorly constructed clones of popular games in current culture, would answer badmouthing of a game designer they've clearly taken some hints from (in the fact that theres not really any true denial of the being a copy of MineCraft in at least some aspect, being he's still saying that FC is just a MC with some REAL CREATIVITY - really taking the piss out of the gamers who make MC what it is) and, ofc, the fact that the slick graphics which differentiate the titles just look to me like the comparison of Vanilla MC vs. Modded MC.

Hell, MC launched as a Creative mode, didn't it, so it's actually a slight bit to the opposite? I'd personally say that it was a Creative game taken towards Combat/Survival - which can be turned off anyway to bypass stuff such as the shitty combat mechanics - rather than a Combat/Survival game (cough MC) taken towards a Creative game which suffers from the aspects of the medium it has been launched into in addition to those of it's namesake and evident predecessor...

He copied pasted Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress. Yet he expects people to expect its new? It would be different if he innovated something, but he just slapped two games together without regard.

He is a teller of untruths and a charlatan. A charlatan I say!
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Points for the Painkiller reference, but his denial couldn't be anymore obvious if it had tits and was on fire. Creativity is EXACTLY what keeps people coming back to Minecraft

This is ridiculous. Minecraft has always been about being creativ. Just look at all the amazing things people have built, the mods, YouTube channels its spawn and even a song on The Escapist. Any gamer with half a brain will know this guy is just full of BS, trying to put down Minecraft and make his game look better.

I concede Minecraft is no longer about creativity no that the shitty story is shoehorned into the matter. But it was not so when Fortress craft was made. Just admit you got the idea from minecraft, you launched it with the title for publicity, that you did some underhanded things, and let the fanboys wank to that for a week so they can move on.

Okay I'm totally convinced that guy is totally delusional now, in that he either thinks that what he says is actually true, or that he believes that everyone else will believe what he says.

*sniff, sniff* Smell that?, it smells rather funny, I... I think it smells like bullshit.

Was anyone else thinking how that screenshot looked just like Minecraft with Xbox avatars as characters?

Ugh, this guy is in denial. Moreover creativity is why Minecraft made it so big. You can get mods to alter blocks the way you want and honestly there is no driving force propelling you towards the dragon in The End. You can go there if you want or, if you're like me, you could make a world full of castles, flying ships and towns.

But whatever, he'll never get my money.

The answer to both questions is yes. Yes, the guy obviously did it to cash in on the success of minecraft and is a whore. We see that in everything from the name of the game to the way it's advertised. And yes, now that he's done it, his game should be evaluated on its own merits.

And I can tell you, at least from the demo, it blows.

Kwil:
And I can tell you, at least from the demo, it blows.

You should have seen it a week before launch. It barely ran at all.

"What more do you need, a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning?"

Great, first he's stealing the idea of Minecraft, now he's stealing Yahtzee's lines -.-

Ah, of course. How could we be so stupid as think that Minecraft was about building things and being creative? I mean, it has OBVIOUSLY always been about killing that dragon that was only implemented several months ago. It's not like it's had a game-mode called Creative Mode focused entirely on building things for years before that.
And even if creativity wasn't Minecraft's original focus (Which it was, as far as I can tell), it pretty much became it's focus after everyone and their uncle grabbed onto it for being what could best be described as "LEGO: The PC Edition" with added RPG elements.

He goes wrong when he starts saying Minecraft isn't about creativity and his game is. That is just fucking stupid. It's a well documented fact that the whole dragon thing was an afterthought because gamers were whining about there not being a point, so he made an end point.

That said, his game isn't exactly the same, and the whole voxel block mechanic is a whole new genre of games.

What he has to realize is that his game is remarkably similar to Minecraft so there is always going to be a parallel drawn. Notch should not have come out and said that, but Sawkins cannot say his game is different by redefining what Minecraft is.

Saying it isn't a copy doesn't make it true, just look at Zynga. He sounds bitter about Minecrafts popularity if anything.

Perhaps Minecrafts popularity stems from the fact that it's not released exclusively on a proprietary gaming console that not everyone has after Minecrafts release. Didn't think of that did you? Why would I get an Xbox to play fortresscraft when I can get Minecraft for PC. You know, what everyone already has.

DEVELOPER FIIIIGHT
My guess is Notch is gonna win, but this Sawkins guy seems like he'l be an entertaining opponent!

Bullshit bridge rang, they want their troll back.

Seriously, I play Minecraft because it has a dragon-slaying plot? That's flat-out wrong. I play because I can build cool stuff in it, I can be...how should I put it...creative.

Wasnt this the kind of outburst that ended up setting Yahtzee against Amy?

And if its not a Minecraft ripoff hes having a hard time proving it. Citing lasers in his game as a difference? Sounding desperate anyone?

I don't get it. Somewhere (I think on this site) I heard that the team behind behind Fortesscraft asked Notch or Mojang if they could make a Minecraft like game for the xbox and getting the ok from them. And then Notch just blasts them? I don't know how true that situation is but that just seems distasteful.

FortressCraft is obviously heavily inspired by Minecraft. So much you could consider it a ripoff. But Minecraft practically ripped of Infiniminer, so if anyone has something to bitch about, its the former Infiniminer devs.

Minecraft deserves the credit for making the game concept interesting and popular. But Sawkins has a point- he seems to be the better game designer. FortressCraft seems to have a clear focus about what the game is supposed to be, whereas Minecraft has lost itself in a mess of unrelated, half-implemented features.

yeah minecraft doesn't focus on creativity thats why there's no creative mode or anything nope

yeah he's in denial

Fortresscraft, Total Miner, Castle Miner, etc. XBLIG is littered with Minecraft "clones". I'm sure there will be more and more too. At the time Fortresscraft game was released there was no Minecraft on the 360 and no public plans for one. He obviously tried to fill a hole. He should just own it. So he made his own version of Minecraft, with some of his own ideas, for the Xbox360? Big flipping deal. The world continues to turn. Next thing you know, he 'll make a twin stick shooter with zombies and try to claim that his is different from the 270 other twin stick zombie shooters.

Also, at this point, Minecraft is so far removed from what Infiniminer was that calling it a clone is like calling Portal a clone of Doom, since they use the same first person perspective. The guy from Infiniminer should only be mad at himself for not taking the idea far enough.

RT-Medic-with-shotgun:
I concede Minecraft is no longer about creativity no that the shitty story is shoehorned into the matter. But it was not so when Fortress craft was made. Just admit you got the idea from minecraft, you launched it with the title for publicity, that you did some underhanded things, and let the fanboys wank to that for a week so they can move on.

True enough, not like it has a mode or anything for being creative.

What would they even call a mode like that?

Don't really see why this is news, This is obviously just fortresscraft pissing everyone off again to get more publicity.

Ultratwinkie:
He is a teller of untruths and a charlatan. A charlatan I say!
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That is awesome... thank you for posting that.

Also, I found FortressCraft to... ehhh, kinda fun, but nothing I would really spend hours on.

Tiamat666:
FortressCraft is obviously heavily inspired by Minecraft. So much you could consider it a ripoff. But Minecraft practically ripped of Infiniminer, so if anyone has something to bitch about, its the former Infiniminer devs.

Minecraft deserves the credit for making the game concept interesting and popular. But Sawkins has a point- he seems to be the better game designer. FortressCraft seems to have a clear focus about what the game is supposed to be, whereas Minecraft has lost itself in a mess of unrelated, half-implemented features.

FortressCraft is obviously heavily inspired by Minecraft. So much you could consider it a ripoff. But Minecraft practically ripped of Infiniminer, so if anyone has something to bitch about, its the former Infiniminer devs.

Minecraft deserves the credit for making the game concept interesting and popular, but Sawkins has a point- he seems to be the better game designer. FortressCraft seems to have a clear focus about what the game is supposed to be, whereas Minecraft has lost itself in a mess of unrelated, half-implemented features.

There you go, I corrected one minor punctuation mistake in your post.
Now am I:

A) Better at expressing your thoughts than you are.
B) Just able to tack on 15 seconds of effort on, which I wouldn't have done without your effort.

If you answered B, Sawkins is not a better designer, when he didn't design 99% of the game.
If you answered A, you meant B. I should know.

There was a time when an FPS was a 'Doom clone' and an open sandbox game was a 'GTA clone', platformer, 'Mario clone' and the list goes on. it's how gaming evolves, slowly by taking other's concepts and just building off of them, Minecraft itself was inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Infiniminer. In time the voxel based building type game could become its own genre.

All I know, is that Fortresscraft is a shitty minecraft clone that has an elitist creator/community and tries to hide it behind shiny graphics and constant complaining about minecraft, and yet will never get half its success.

Why do I say this you wonder? Unlike Minecraft, which can be gotten anywhere FortressCraft isn't available in many countries such as Australia, thus locking out anyone in those countries who were interested in switching over, and playing something that might be better coded and might have fixed many of minecrafts issues.

Of course, locking out a large chunk of a potential playerbase totally isn't the developers fault, the game only fails because 'all the idiots prefer minecraft.'

theultimateend:

RT-Medic-with-shotgun:
I concede Minecraft is no longer about creativity no that the shitty story is shoehorned into the matter. But it was not so when Fortress craft was made. Just admit you got the idea from minecraft, you launched it with the title for publicity, that you did some underhanded things, and let the fanboys wank to that for a week so they can move on.

True enough, not like it has a mode or anything for being creative.

What would they even call a mode like that?

Still not the main focus of the game. The main focus of the game is killing the enderdragon.

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