computer games games design

Telling stories with Minecraft and GitHub

Minecraft is great. But it has one major problem: the narrative of each world is destroyed as it is created. Unless you work hard to do otherwise, the history of your relationship with the world is lost very rapidly. There’s no strata, no wearing, no signs of your involvement – just a too-clean result.

I found myself often deliberately “preserving” key moments in my worlds, such as:

  1. never alter the place I spent the very first night, except enough to allow a tunnel out into whatever larger base/home I turned it into
  2. as much as possible, build structures WITH the landscape instead of AGAINST it; the contours of my buildings, roads, railways are very little altered from the land that they’re build on / in / around / underneath / through
  3. mine and house entrances made as subtle as possible; e.g. all-glass exits from the water that are almost invisible from a distance, but glow slightly blue at night

So, here’s an experiment: a playthrough of Minecraft, but doing frequent git-checkins (approx once a day/night) to this github project.

I don’t even know if it’ll work; in theory it should – I’m versioning the Save directory for a single world – but I haven’t tried importing it to a new PC / install of Minecraft yet.

Feel free to try it – checkout the first checkin, see if you can load the world (NB: the save-directory is named “versioned” on my copy of Minecraft; you might need to name the containing folder the same).

Then try using git to advance through the different checkins, and see if you can view the world as I explore and modify it…