My Minecraft Clone: Storytelling, Innate Aptitude and A Flag To Start With

Okay. I just don’t have the brains to get around Tessellating Quads and Perlin Noise and other wonderful game development understandings.

A few weeks back I looked around at 3d Engines and came across Panda3d. In a swirl of intensity I got a demo to the point of .. A square block moving about on top of other square blocks.

Huzzah for the world!

It came to me that I probably don’t have the quickness of understanding OR the time to be intensely single-focussed (that’s a decision, not an excuse) to get any further with any great speed.


Here’s my brief. It’s a game I think would rock the world. Because it has it’s roots deeply embedded in Minecraft (mega shouts out to @notch). And because it’s quite different.

It all starts with a flag.

You begin the game in a world of forests. There are hills and valleys and mountains in the distance. Random-generated, this is important

And the only piece of equipment, the only thing you have is a Flag.

“What is so special about a flag?” I hear an eager 14-year old reader ask.


This game, this Minecraft clone, is all about YOU.

A flag has two singular (can’t be both) purposes.

1. Either you place the flag, or 2. You keep the flag on your person.

Placing the Flag

Placing the flag would instantly create a circular-ish ring around it’s location. Here I was envisaging a kind of Settlers (the old versions) or Civilisation mechanic.

This is your Kingdom.

And in this you have made your first choice. To be the sovereign of a Kingdom. To care for the kingdom (or not). To nourish it (or not).

Keeping the Flag

Deciding to keep the flag means you have chosen the lone wolf, the brave sell-sword, like Drizzt first out in the above ground world, seeking a place, a name, a cause.

The flag gives you strength and ability in some form. Depending on what RPG mechanics are put into the game

And so you journey about the game-world without a fixed abode, but far stronger (and it would grow with you, not a static effect) than if you had placed the flag.

Random Story-Telling

I haven’t yet worked out exactly how this would roll. But first thoughts are that with either path chosen you would have quests. Random within themselves, but also chained in various instances. So a quest could have a number of linked quests (because the randomness is placed upon the group, not the single quest).

BUT .. If you do choose to Keep the Flag there would be an over-arching story. Something about a growing evil.

In fact (making this up as I go, as you can see) keeping or placing the flag wouldn’t change that. A growing evil is in the land.

Innate Aptitude

One really cool (but untested) mechanic I wanted to try out was this.

Your character is generated with an innate aptitude towards a randomly selected Skill Set.

That means you start the game and you are good at something, but you don’t know what.

It could be building things, or mining things, or killing things. It could be that you find Treasures (another single mechanic) better than usual, or that you have much more influence over the people than usual.


Which reminds me of one of the things that sparked me on this journey.

Playing Minecraft (single-player) I was really, REALLY, lonely. At heart I’m a single-player junkie.

So the world would be populated with non-playing characters. Some would be merchants. Others would come to your kingdom, or be Friended (like a Facebook or Twitter mechanic) if you’re going the Lone Wolf journey. Not exactly sure how to get around that as a Lone Wolf you could at any time place your flag


Treasures would be chests or other stashes that you can find. They have to be found. They might be linked to a quest, or a character (eg a Dragon’s hoard), but they are found.


And there you have it. The beginnings of what I think would be an awesome game.

Thanks for reading.

Once I teach my brood to code I’ll have a team to make this game and many more. Mwhahahaha, the Family Business!

Today’s Story-Tellers Never Seem To Get Christianity Right

Eric Liddell My Dad’s a preacher. He’s been a minister of the Presy Church since around the time I was born. He’s a strong man, meek and humble, preaching the Word of God in and out of season, faithfully toiling in a parish as an under-shepherd, pointing people to Jesus.

He doesn’t take the name of the Lord in vain, either out of hand or when something horrific happens. He’s not a fool given to asking awkward questions. He’s faithful to his wife. And he doesn’t go through “crises” of MY FAITH, because he knows the truth of the matter, that his faith is not his own, but a gift from the Lord Almighty.

To me, because I grew up knowing him, grew up under his teaching and instruction, THAT is the character of the Christian.

I have rarely, if ever, seen this accurately represented in today’s story-telling. None of my favourite tv shows, books, movies, have someone like Dad.

We love Bones. It’s a great show, full of surprising gentleness and love. But last Sunday night’s episode really got me thinking. The show centered around the writer’s understanding of faith, demons, God .. And it all came to a crux at the end, when the two leads are talking about faith, and how MY FAITH has taken a beating, but it will grow back.

Mine. My. I.

This is the problem.

The majority of today’s story-tellers just don’t understand Christianity. It’s not Roman Catholicism. As my good friend Dave said just now, it’s far easier to convince people of Roman Catholicism because it’s all about what we can do. We can go to the priest, said to be the intercessor to God. We can grab our beads and pray to God or Mary or a Saint. We We We WE WE ME I …

This is not Christianity.

Where is Jesus? Where is His death and resurrection? Where is salvation? Sanctification? Where is Repentance and Belief? Jesus, the Christ, the one and only Son of God .. He is our mediator, our intercessor. He is the way. The truth. The life. You might know those words off-hand, but they are the absolute reality.

I get it. This is much harder for our broken selves to take on board. We have to come to Jesus as we are, knowing that there is nothing we can do to gain salvation. Nothing. Knowing that everything we are is broken and deserving of hell and all that stuff which noone really likes to talk about, or they like to talk about it too much.

I’m not ranting about this. Not much. For the writers, the story-tellers, of the world to really draw the true character of a Christian, they would have to understanding the Gospel. And well, it doesn’t seem like most folks do. Or if they do, they don’t like it and don’t want to write characters like that.

Please don’t hear me wrong. I’m not talking about how awesome Christians are, how “better than thou” and all that. If you think that, then it’s another error. The Christian has full awareness of their broken state before the Almighty, their utter UTTER dependence on the Mercy and Grace of God Almighty.

What I am saying is,

I wish there were a few more stories written today that had a proper understanding of what it means to be saved by Grace, Jesus as King and Lord.

Just a wish. Nothing more.