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Behind the scenes of the development of Minecraft Earth: The impressive experience of AR is a big step towards Mirror World |

Finally, "Minecraft Earth" is registered for closed beta. The impressive project to turn the whole planet into the mining scene can be the first in the world to offer a big "mirror world". How has the experience of expanding reality (AR) underwater been developed over the years in a secret office called a "dungeon" coming to the world? I was behind the scenes of his development.

WIRED (United States)

mining craft


There may be a lot of people who think that Fort Noach eliminates the current gaming industry. But even now, "Minecraft" continues to be a major phenomenon.

The total number of sales has reached 176 million in 10 years since the first edition of the Java Edition, and the number of monthly players that has been growing year on year is now over 90 million. In recent years, 2 million users have been added by China, and their number has increased significantly.

Minecraft can be purchased on 20 platforms, including computers, game consoles, portable devices and VR devices. Clear, endless sand game, live YouTube videos still enjoy hundreds of billions of plays per year.

The world of the two-layer structure created by Minecraft

A major update is made almost every year since 2012 when Mojang developer was acquired by Microsoft. However, there has never been a complete new edition of Minecraft (There was also a "Mincraft: Story Mode" which is a point and click title, and in the spring of 2020, the PC version of the dungeon game search game Minecraft Dungeons is not the only one that none of them brings the experience that is characteristic of the game.

How can we provide a new game that people around the world can play? The answer was to bring the game into the real world.

Microsoft's "Minecraft Earth," announced in May, is an enhanced reality mobile game (AR) that fills the entire planet with blocks. With the already closed beta pre-registration, consumers will soon be able to start their work everywhere – from a table to a sofa. You can also invite your friends to help.

You can change the size of the finished work to full size and go inside. If you go to the outside world and go to a park or other gathering place, you can do a little adventure with yourself or someone else in the area. With elements you can raise the level of the character or make your work even more attractive.

This is a huge project to bring the whole planet to the world of minoxidil therapy. At the same time, this is also a major step towards building a two-tier world where the digital and real overlap that is shared and experienced by many.


From HoloLens to Smartphone

Sachs Persson joined the Minecraft team in 2015. He soon began to think about the possibilities of AR (the person has the same surname as Minecraft developer and co-founder of Moyan, Marcus Notch's face, but no connection).

At that time, Microsoft was developing the HoloLens headset. Pellson, along with his colleagues, helped create a demonstration at HoloLens, setting up the Minecraft village, at a table leading to the building and looking underground. In fact, at that time an attempt was made to do full-scale work at this point, but it was not presented in the demo.

At the office of Mainfraft in Redmond, Washington, someone carried HoloLens and experimented with AR sheep walking from the end of the corridor to the wearer. "Slowly, at a speed no one surprised," says Pellson. It is said that all they wear are so submerged in this world that they give way to AP's sheep without thinking.

Pelson was a pin. At that time HoloLens was imperfect at best. This is an adventurous product, expensive and maneuverable, which requires gestures with finger plugging, is not suitable for Minecraft. But HoloLens brought Minecraft into the real world.

This idea was suspended for a while, as there were still many technical issues. However, a meeting with the United Nations on the idea of ​​using Minecraft to visualize community development will be held on July 17th. As a result, the person started thinking that the smartphone might have been able to deliver true AR experience.

How do you create a technology that does not exist?

The man began discussions with Jens Berggensten, Chief Creative Director of Mojan. Persson travels to Stockholm and tours the city with Bargainsten, moving his smartphone to brainstorming.

The ideals were in their heads. There was the problem of how to implement it.

To allow more than one person to see the same thing in the same place (for example, thoughts about the Minecraft pig standing in front of the fountain), the situation of the pig in the real world must be constant. It should be fixed. This fixed reference point is called "anchor". But then there was no way to create a permanent anchor that started when someone visited a certain place.

"I think the technology companies listed in" Fortune 500 "are usually called:" Have you developed such technology? "But there are no such companies.

After all, they stood up alone.

17 years ago, Michael Michael Willilober, Minecraft's technical supervisor, told Pellson a rumor. Alex Kipman's team, who once ran the development of HoloLens and was currently watching Microsoft's AI boundaries, is trying to solve the problems that Pelson had at the time.

And on January 18, Personal and Cyprian signed cooperative relations. Everyone joins together to work on the task and see what happens.



The secret "dungeon" that was "far away"

Now as a creative director of Minecraft, Pelson took some of his members to a "distant" office in another building.

– It was a pretty secret project. After working for 18 years in MMORPG's "EVE Online," director Tolfi Orapson, who participated in the project in February, said: "There was no window in the room, there was no indication that there was a double guard.

They called the room "The Dungeon". For six to eight months of 18 years, with the exception of members of both teams, The Dungeon was not for those who knew the existence. Of course the goal is "Minecraft Earth".

Smartphones have undergone two major changes since 2015. One is the rising price (which is dissatisfaction). The other is the AR function (the best). Android and iOS already offer powerful AR tools to develop, while computer vision sensors and algorithms on the move enable higher frame rates to be achieved without significant battery consumption.

Minecraft Earth is the technology that squeezes these technologies up to the last minute. I played a bit of the pre-beta version, but every content was an AR experience I've never experienced except with special handsets like HoloLens or Magic Leap.

I tried a "construction mode" and worked with Oraphson et al. As Olafsson placed the building on the table, he could walk around the table to look at the building from all angles and add items from the inventory. Multiplayer architecture is only possible when a friend is at the same place in the real world as a friend and the player must give his friend permission to access his or her architecture.


An image of how a building is produced in multiples. MOJANG PHOTOGRAPHY

Building, playing, adventure

Once the construction is done, you can increase the size to life size, adjust it anywhere you want it, and invite everyone to "play mode". At various locations in the office, I tried to do different things, such as building multiple layers, trying to open the door and closing a man's trap from the block.

In some places there were even fireworks, and it was possible to let them go. All this can only be done by working with your smartphone in the room.

Its appearance and movement were the mines themselves. "There's everything you know about Minecraft," says executive producer Jesse Merriam. "You can do the job of your choice by using Red Stone and the"

Changes made in build mode will be permanent, but not for playback mode. This is one of the tactics to prevent intentional vandalism, sometimes observed even in ordinary mines. (Of course, a friend invited in the Build mode can sneak into the building. "If you're invited, he'll stay that way," says Olafsson.

The collection of resources, another key element of Minecraft, is even wider. This time, with the help of developers, I also tried Minecraft Earth in the center of Redmond. When you launch the application on your smartphone while walking around the city, a map of the area is displayed. This card is a catchy abstract specification that lets you touch different point icons.

Mainfraft land


Everything from tapped items to precious treasures is added to the inventory of the player. You will all need them later. Minecraft Earth does not start with a bag full of resources. The resources are collected by themselves.

If the icons are solid, it is a sign of "adventure". This is a mini game with a duration of about 6 to 8 minutes, which can be played with on-site attendees. Adventures happen actively and are created according to a certain procedure, so you will not repeat the adventures of the same adventure (if you do a reset, so if you do not want to play with anyone You can also catch it only after another person came out).

Some of the adventures are dungeons, and some have peaceful content. The mission to find the treasure is to shoot the skeleton with a bow and arrow, or build something together.

The first entrance to the mirror world

The obvious comparisons in this movie are Niantic Pokemon GO and Harry Potter: Magic Alliance. Both can make the real world a treasure map of adventure and allow the beings of the virtual world to appear in the non-virtual world. However, in these two titles, the AR function is an option only. When the AR function is off, they are essentially based on item information information.

On the other hand, AR is at the core of Minecraft Earth. Moreover, this is not just an AR. This is a permanent AR shared among multiple users. In other words, this may be the world's first major consumer experience, with one foot in the "mirror world".

Related articles: Mirror world: The next big platform created by AR

"The beginning of the beginning was the idea of ​​bringing the minorazism into reality," says Personality. – I do not need such a game. I do not want part of it. I do not want a compromise product. It makes sense to play and if there is a problem that places some limitations or diminishes the scale, the team will work together to solve it.

Also, Minecraft Earth does not use GPS. The alternative is the Azure Spatial Anchor.

This is what creates a huge number of places where players can interact through Open Street Map and Microsoft's huge Azure cloud system (more than 100,000 Seattle seats alone).

It's not only more accurate than GPS, but it can include height and other data, so you can distinguish the pavement and upper floors of the building within the game. Additionally, if the number of time-attending players increases, the accuracy of the data can be further improved by collecting special position information and angle information (both anonymized).

Of course, all this is still under way. The basic game is free and nothing is said about how to make money. It is clear, however, that there will be no way to enter any road box (Nar. Gacha). Even if the theme of the shoe appears, it's minecraft. There is only one way – just "block" this idea.



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