Minecraft's unreplicable path to success: UGC brings infinite magic to the game

User Rating: 9 | Minecraft PC

There must be many people around you who know this game, and many people have played it, and even indulge in the magic of this game every day.

The game has had a powerful circle-breaking influence since it was born in 2009. Its magic has conquered many players teenagers and have been playing until they grow up.

As of today, its total sales on various platforms have exceeded 200 million, breaking the historical sales record of "Tetris has dominated the list for 30 years", making it the best-selling video game in history.

The reason why "Minecraft" can achieve such a great success is inseparable from its Sandboxie design attribute and powerful UGC function.

The introduction of Sandboxie's Game categories and the reasons for its rise

"Sandboxie" means to play with sand freely. In addition to people who live by the sea can often go to the beach, people with children in many families in the United States will make a big Sandboxie in the yard, allowing them to build castles and dig tunnels Sandboxie. Use your imagination to make all kinds of things to play.

Now many playgrounds, and even shopping malls have this kind of sandboxie, children in sandboxie often play for a whole day, can completely lose track of time.

In fact, it is not necessarily sand, which child does not like to play with building blocks and build Lego?

All these toys that support free construction can be collectively referred to as sandboxie's gameplay.

Sandboxie games, in the game field, generally refer to the types of games that allow players to change or even create the game world as freely as sand.

It is often easy to confuse the concept of "open world" with "sandboxie". Generally speaking, we limit the definition of "open world" to: the gameplay process is non-linear, giving players a high degree of freedom, and the map is huge. There are many random emergencies and so on.

Only the game which takes "changing, influencing or creating the world or even the way of playing" as the core play can be called "sandboxie game" in a narrow sense.

"Minecraft" also has a strong open-world attribute, so it is sometimes called "open world sandboxie game", but games such as GTA and Assassin Creed are more suitable to be defined as "open world game" than sandboxie game.

Why did sandboxie play games rise?

Speaking of this issue, I would particularly like to share the views of a French scholar Roger Caillois on games. In his book Man, Play, and Games published in 1958, he thought that games are divided into goal-oriented (Ludus) and free-play (Paidia), and all games are between these two directions.

Among them, free play (Paidia) is often embodied in children's play, while goal-oriented (Ludus) is often reflected in adult games or sports competitions.

Looking back at the whole history of the development of video games, most traditional games are basically designed from adults' perspective (Ludus), probably because the game designers are adults, and they all want to pour their ideas into the game. Therefore, the design challenges and process experience guided by rules have become the main theme of electronic games.

Players are also used to following the process set by the game designer to achieve goals, get rewards, and finally complete the game to win.

However, game designers are precisely the most creative and unruly people in the world. Designers like Darvid Jones jump out to think about problems and try to put game design back to the origin of human nature, analyzing "Why did everyone like to play with sand when they were young?"

They found an enigmatic pursuit of unfettered creative fun at the bottom of human nature (as long as a convenient environment and tools are provided, everyone can become a game designer).

In Animal Crossing, players create their own needs to meet the highest level of self-fulfillment needs. The pleasure that users enjoy "when they indulge in the fun they create" may be far greater than "the fun you give them to behave according to your design."

In addition to the players' self-creation, there is another crucial factor in the popularity of sandboxie's games, That is, UGC.

Compared with PGC, which is created by professional producers, what is the value of UGC?

UGC may not be easy to guarantee the quality of the content, but it is often easier to increase the game's playability and longevity.

The most crucial feature of Sandboxie games is that they give full play to the active role created by users and stimulate the UGC content in the game.

And UGC does not have to be realized through sandboxie's playing method. For example, many games open the editor for designing and making games to users, or open part of the source code and editing functions, so that users can create the so-called Mod module and let them modify the designed games to a certain extent. This is also a way to support UGC.

When it comes to UGC's value, we have to mention an old problem that has plagued the game industry, that is, the contradiction between content production and consumption.

Most game designers always hope that "players are willing to indulge in their own games and play them for as long as possible (especially for free online games, only if they keep players in the game long enough to have the opportunity to make some players more willing to pay.)

However, players will find ways to speed up their game process in order to experience more game content more quickly, but the more efficient the game process is, the faster the game content will be consumed, and eventually the game life will be quickly shortened.

In the face of this problem, how to deal with it?

The traditional solution is mainly PvP (cooperation and confrontation between players, rather than relying entirely on players' interaction with "officially designed content". Typical examples are all kinds of competitive games. ).

The other is to "increase randomness". The typical representative is the highly replayable Roguelike game, which combines a variety of random variables to make each game experience different.

The third most commonly used method is UGC.

From the perspective of playability value and game lifespan, the UGC mechanism's effect is the most obvious.

In fact, from the essence of understanding: PvP and randomness are using a set of mechanisms to allow players to generate their own content.

Furthermore, the really most powerful UGC mechanism is to allow players to participate in the creation of more game mechanisms and ways of playing.

In this kind of game, those top creative players can consistently produce new game content and provide other players with experience. The content of such a game can be endless, and its life naturally has no end.

In such a background environment, the game world has produced two of the most potent world-class Sandboxie game.

Why is "Minecraft" successful?

It sounds like as long as we design a box for players to play with sand.

Even the game's content left to the players themselves, which seems to be easy.

Why is it that for so many years after the invention of video games, only "Minecraft" has achieved such a crushing success?

Moreover, when "Minecraft" was first born, it was created by a talented otaku in Sweden. It was not developed by a team of hundreds of people and a mass production of hundreds of millions of dollars.

What is so magical about it?

I summed up its three core success points:

1. The most classic abstraction of the real world

First of all, "Minecraft" is the first product to simulate and abstract the whole real world with voxel squares.

The so-called voxel, intuitive understanding is to use the stacked form of small squares to show a variety of three-dimensional shapes; the most intuitive is that we often see "various shapes made of Lego bricks".

It creates a way to simulate the real world in the world of video games by stacking squares, allowing players to build and experience at will.

It is incredibly recognizable (if you search the video of the game on the Internet, you will recognize it at a glance, and it will be easy to remember).

Although Minecraft is not the first game to try to build the world in the form of squares, it is definitely the first game to carry forward this design.

Because it historically integrates several vital points:

1. It uses a pure 3D form of expression to simulate the real world more.

2. It completely abandons the idea of "using this tool to build its own game world", but gives the lead completely to the players, and only provides "the expression scheme of the abstract world".

3. It perfectly adds the design of square "combination" and "logical" box. The combination of infinitely possible cube elements realizes "the core law of the whole real world is completely abstracted by cube elements".

It is worth mentioning that the primary users of "Minecraft" are young, but its original authors did not specifically target young users when they made the game, but purely realized such an essential and powerful function.

This is precisely the formation of a great attraction to younger users. Why?

Experts on children's psychology know that "every child is born with a strong desire to explore the real world, but they are unable to understand overly complex things at first, and they prefer to use 'abstract and simplified models' to understand the world."

This is why children like to watch solid-color pictures and animations, abstract color blocks and lines, etc.

Minecraft simplifies the simulation of the external structure of the world in the way of stacking squares and simplifies the laws of the world in the way of combination of elements: the relationship between the building and synthesis of various materials in the Minecraft is intuitive.

For example, if you cut down trees, you can get pieces of wood; pieces of wood can be made into boards; coal and sticks can be made into torches, and so on.

As we said earlier, everyone has an innate desire to create and share.

For such a voxel design, anyone can start to create the world immediately without guidance, only intuitively, according to their most basic understanding of the world.

It is as natural and straightforward as a child's touch-screen the first time he touches a smartphone.

Children like to build blocks and play with Lego, but these toys do not provide utterly unlimited module and combination space.

If you get the "Minecraft", you will instantly unlock the infinite Lego blocks!

The map can also be generated automatically through the program. You only need to modify it on the automatically generated map. You don't have to build it from scratch.

Imagine "how attractive it is to children!"

Okay, this is the first core point, the most classic abstraction of the real world.

2. The perfect combination of creative tools and game experience

]The second core point is that so far, Minecraft is still almost the only Sandboxie game that makes the creative process ultimately part of the game itself.

In general, if a game wants to support the UGC function, it is often necessary to provide users with an editor tool. Even if players do not need to learn to program themselves, users must at least learn to use these independent editor tools in order to complete the creation.

But "Minecraft" is almost always an expansion of Sandboxie's offline building block -- players can create and modify it directly in the game world with the most straightforward intuition, and basically don't need to switch to any independent game editor.

Creating itself is the process of playing games, and the two experiences are entirely seamless.

This allows any player to enter the game, without any novice tutorials or professional knowledge, to enjoy the fun of free creation immediately.

Traditionally, when defining a game, we often have to set enough exciting background stories in the game, give players clear goals, etc.

However, in the aimless game of Sandboxie, the player is no longer playing the hero of "some magnificent world" or "some epic story" created by the designer, and the player is not playing a "world of other designers", but everyone's "own world".

In fact, players will not really play the game aimlessly; players will spontaneously burst out wonderful stories (survival, construction, discovery, adventure, etc. All these seemingly disorganized game experiences, in fact, players are writing their own stories).

After all, no story moves us more efficiently than our own.

Like the name of the game "Minecraft", players can really create a "virtual world that is entirely their own and can simulate most of the elements in the real world". They are experiencing a different life with the virtual world they have created.

This kind of fun is unmatched by other games.

3. Enjoyed the biggest dividend in the era of video sharing

The third core point of the popularity of "Minecraft" is that it has successfully caught up with the times' good dividend.

One of the most important factors is "the rise of UGC's Internet video".

"Minecraft" has a unique and powerful UGC feature, coupled with the vast majority of its creative content is an intuitive scene architecture.

The display of the work and the viewer's stimulation is intuitive, which greatly stimulates the players' desire to share.

With the rapid improvement of Internet hardware, the cost of network bandwidth has fallen rapidly (Youtube, the most popular UGC sharing video site, broke out around 2010).

At the right time, a large number of users spontaneously shared their exciting creations in Minecraft through Youtube, which sparked the attention of players all over the world.

With almost no competitors, it has set a horror record that nearly half of all game videos on Youtube are related to "Minecraft"!

It is estimated that 1/3 of players found the game on YouTube, and another 1/3 were recommended by their friends, together with other social media and channels that were already popular at that time, it can be said that "Minecraft" is basically a "phenomenal game fueled by video sharing sites, player communities and social media."

The feature that "the creative process of Minecraft is a game experience" also makes it easy for its players to become creators, which plays a vital role in promoting the development of the community.

Among these early users who entered the game, there are also many the best creators.

They formed a community of players' creators, fully unleashed UGC's potential, and created a high-quality community with enormous resources, tutorials, quality works, anchors, and so on.

Through their creation of high-quality content, shared with more ordinary players, continue to produce word-of-mouth and brand influence, promote the virtuous flywheel cycle, and build a strong barrier for it.

This kind of influence also makes the users of Minecraft not only stay in the lower age group and expand to the whole age group of players!

But those who want to re-enter the market of other Sandboxie games, no longer have such a strong free dividend, need to spend more promotion costs and incubation costs to promote the player community, naturally much harder.

In my opinion, "Minecraft" is no longer a game!

It has become a tool, a symbol, a brand, a platform! !

Even it itself is a medium, a community! ! !

This community of countless players and the content they create are organically combined to form a complete "Minecraft".

Its original creator can only be regarded as its sponsor, and the players are its real creator!