Minecraft Sounds' Surprising Origins Revealed In New Podcast

Minecraft's original sound designer, C418, appeared on the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz.

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Anyone who plays Minecraft knows how unique the game's music and sound design is. Now, a new episode of the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz reveals the origins of some of the game's most iconic noises, and you can listen to it right here.

On the podcast, host Dallas Taylor speaks with original Minecraft sound designer and composer Daniel Rosenfeld--better known by fans as C418--about how he got involved with Minecraft to begin with, what he was thinking when he composed the game's music, and how many of the sound effects were created.

According to C418, Minecraft's piano-heavy score was unique among indie games at the time, which mostly featured chiptunes-style music. But the composer was inspired by an obscure game called Dwarf Fortress, a game with upbeat flamenco-style music that contrasted with its simple visuals. So he went with something melancholy and orchestral for Minecraft.

"I wanted to have something that at first sight doesn't make sense for the visuals, that kind of makes people stop in their tracks and go, 'Why is this music the way it is? Why is it so sad? What is going on here?'" the composer says.

C418 also discussed why Minecraft's music plays at seemingly random intervals, unlike in most video games, which typically tailor the music based on a player's location and/or activities. In Minecraft, it was too difficult to determine what a player was doing at any given time. Instead, the haunting music arrives unpredictably, often making mundane moments feel significant.

The podcast also delves into the origins of Minecraft's various sound effects. For example, when tasked with designing a noise for the game's spiders, C418 manipulated the sound from a garden hose to imitate real-life camel spiders. The sound designer even revealed the origin of Minecraft's sought-after music discs, treasure items you can find around the game world and insert into jukeboxes to play songs. He originally wanted those record players to appear randomly out in the world; players would find them while exploring in caves, drawn by music that would get louder as they grew closer.

There are many more secrets and interesting tidbits for Minecraft fans in the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast episode. Luckily, you can listen to the rest right here.

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