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Magogan

Did I really remake Minecraft?

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7 hours ago, Magogan said:

The thing is, I can't change much. I worked on this for 5 years and already managed to include a lot of features that you will never have in Minecraft. I just can't do more than this as a single person with almost no money (relatively speaking).  What else can I do? I honestly don't know. I need to make money soon, so there is not much time left.

Games with blocky graphics the way you've implemented them feel like a minecraft clone, no matter what features you include.

It isn't a matter of saying "This isn't Minecraft because Minecraft doesn't have X".  These comparisons don't work that way.

Instead, consider if you were looking at the game from across a crowded room, looking only at the game for a moment. If you glanced at the distant screen, the immediate assumption would be "they're playing Minecraft". It has a similar visual and motion style.

 

You've made visual design decisions that make it look like a minecraft clone, even if the gameplay features are different.  You need to change the visual design if you don't want it to look like a clone.  Get rid of the characters made out of low-resolution blocks, and get rid of the block-based environment.  As long as you have those the game will immediately call up Minecraft or Minecraft clones.

You can still go with a blocky 80's visual style without looking like Minecraft, but you cannot stick with the cube-based characters if you want to break the association.

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But that's stupid. Why should I not be allowed to use cubes, just because Minecraft used them? Is it really that big of a problem if my game somewhat looks like Minecraft?

I won't change the cubes. They will stay. It took me years to optimize that so you can have cubes that are half the size (0.5m) of the Minecraft cubes. That really changes a lot: No more jumping up a single block, a more detailed world, ...

Plus the higher mountains, they can actually be a kilometer high. I really like the mountain ranges that are possible without the 256 block height limit.

All those things you will never see in Minecraft. I just don't know how to make people see that instead of "it's just Minecraft".

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1 hour ago, Magogan said:

Is it really that big of a problem if my game somewhat looks like Minecraft? I won't change the cubes. They will stay.  ... cubes that are half the size (0.5m) of the Minecraft cubes. That really changes a lot: No more jumping up a single block, a more detailed world,

Then you will remain classified as a Minecraft clone.

It sounds like you know this already.  You compare your program against Minecraft in almost all the posts. It is like Minecraft except units are half height, it is like Minecraft except textures are different, it is like Minecraft except it has different creatures.

That is only a problem if being considered a Minecraft clone is an issue.  If people (like potential funding sources) are willing to fund a Minecraft clone then you'll be fine getting funding. If people aren't willing to support it because there are so many minecraft clones out there, then they wont'.

This is not unique to Minecraft, by the way.  It is done for a huge number of major games. Many platformers are considered Mario clones, falling block games are Tetris clones, word games are Scrabble clones or Boggle clones, bouncing ball games are Breakout clones or Arkanoid clones, text based dungeons are Rogue-likes, and so on. 

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I'm looking at the screenshots and it's quite a beautiful and vast world you got. That's a lot of cubes and this technically quite impressive to me. To be less Minecraft-y, you could:

  • Make the cubes flexible / bendable to add curved surfaces to make the world look more realistic (that's the route I took and taking again), but then you may have to change the name since it's no longer cubes technically.
  • Make the cubes even smaller. Like 1/4th of the Minecraft size. It may just fool the eye.
  • Use fewer colors in textures. If you remove the basic primary colors and reduce the overall number of colors you use (stick to maximum 2-3 different distinct colors per scene), it will look more realistic and less Minecraft.

Again, your voxel worlds look nearly realistic, and that is very cool. More power to you!

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It really doesn't take much similarity for the human mind to associate things together, the mind looks for patterns. It's just what we do as a species.

A previous version of my game before moving to unreal engine 4 looked like this:

Even then multiple people said "it looks like minecraft" just because everything was cubes or square edges.

Moving to ue4 introduced a completely different lighting scheme, more normal maps and sharper shadows which then shed that stigma, at no time since has anyone said it looks like minecraft any more.

Perhaps similar may work for you? It's worth pointing out that world's in no man's sky are voxel based just like in Minecraft, and some physics and rendering quirks hide that very well.

Hope this helps!

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Posted (edited)

I actually would like to use normal maps, but I can't create them. I had someone create one for a single block (a type of planks), but that's it. It looks cool and I'll add them for the other blocks as well as soon as I have the money to pay someone for that.

Smaller cubes than 0.5m are not possible without a level of detail system. It's also not good for building, it takes longer and it makes it harder because you can add more detail.

I guess I'll focus on the cool stuff - I just added a pirate treasure quest today. A pirate captain on a ship (to which you are sent by another quest) drops a treasure map and it starts a quest that leads you to two palms where the treasure is buried. That sounds pretty trivial, but believe me, it is not. There are more than 10,000 lines of code involved in the generation of the landscape and quests in total.

I even wrote a little poem:

Those who seek to get their hands
On what lies buried in the sands
Dig below the crossing palms
And you will hold the treasure in your arms.

I guess all those little details are important, I wish I had more time for them.

Edited by Magogan

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One more thing. Can the textures be stretched over more than one cube? In Minecraft, they can't be. So If they can be, that definitely helps.

1 hour ago, Magogan said:

Smaller cubes than 0.5m are not possible without a level of detail system. It's also not good for building, it takes longer and it makes it harder because you can add more detail.

My voxel engine and games have the same issue, and here is what I plan on doing about it: first, I design something in large cubes, then I press a command and the whole voxel chunk is split into even smaller cubes (half the size), then I work on the detail. This does automatically make the chunk take up 8 times as much memory, but I still plan on trying this. I also plan on adding being able to put different-size voxel chunks together, for staircases and furniture or other detail.

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That does not solve any of the problems. My game already uses basically the maximum memory it can use on modern systems. Each block takes up 4 bytes of space only (unless it contains a model like a chair or grass). In graphics memory, each combined block (can be up to 128x128x128 blocks in size) uses 64 bytes.

Unless you display only larger blocks in distant chunks, which may not look good (see Stellar Overload for example), it won't be playable on modern computers.

Stretching textures over multiple blocks creates a lot of problems with windows, logs, etc. Their textures can't be stretched over multiple blocks, unless you use a system like the connected textures used in some Minecraft mods.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Magogan said:

Stretching textures over multiple blocks creates a lot of problems with windows, logs, etc. Their textures can't be stretched over multiple blocks, unless you use a system like the connected textures used in some Minecraft mods.

Just divide the texture coordinates by a factor so instead of from 0 to 1 they're 0.1 to .2 (if your cubemap size is 10), etc. Here is an implementation.

Edited by VoxycDev

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Are we talking about RAM or VRAM? However, for me as a newby in voxel rendering it sounds really unoptimized and having a texture shifted along different blocks is just a thing of the texcoord mapping isn't it? I mean placing a block, look at the block arround in certain range (like 9x9 blocks) and adjust the texcoord so that they fit to 1/3th of the texture on each block shouldn't be that performance impacting 🤷‍♂️

However, I also thought of a Minecraft Clon looking at the screenshots and your descriptions, just mentioned multiple times. I think the best option is to change your look, adjust your shaders a little more and the general art-style via textures. This is your best bet to be unique to other games; the art-style of your game changes nearly anything about the first impressions.

Anyways, nice job!

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