So for a while now I’ve been writing fairly small programs that will add stuff to Minecraft savefiles. I call them scripts, but you could call them programs, tools, software, or mods. The point is, it does something quickly that would take a long time to do in-game. You can see the specifics on my Minecraft Scrpits page if you like.
I’ve been thinking recently though, about how sometimes things are just too easy. If you could push a button and get a stack of whatever you want, it wouldn’t be as fun as hunting for it. There’s a certain satisfaction to overcoming difficulty, arguably the reason we prefer games to lying on our backs in our free time. Of course, if it’s too hard it’s no fun either. The scripts I write are designed to address the latter. You could build a huge tree, block by block, or you could run the Forester script and spend your time building a tree fort instead. It comes down to a question of what you prefer.
I think one of the reasons that Minecraft is so successful is that it mimics real life, but is also much easier. Want to plant a garden in Minecraft? Click the mouse a couple of times and you’re done! Want to plant a garden in real life? Three hours of hoeing, turning soil, planting, getting dirt in your eyes, and (if you live in an arid environment like I do) watering later and you’ve accomplished the same thing! If you’re doing it for the satisfaction of “planting a garden” then it’s much better in Minecraft. Of course, if you like to eat fresh picked carrots real life wins every time.
So the advantage of Minecraft is it allows us to enact some of the creation, construction, and conquering fantasies that I’m sure plague many of our mowed-back-lawn hearts. I want to build a castle on a mountaintop! Minecraft: possible! Real life: millions of dollars worth of permits, materials, and labor. I want to dig a huge hole and make an underground base! Minecraft: Feasible! Real life: Danger of tunnel collapse, OSHA red tape, water tables, and asphyxiation. I want to build a tree fort in a humongous tree! Minecraft: um… no humongous trees.
So that’s why I write scripts. To set up the environment for great fantasies! I think this kind of thing is extremely healthy. Especially where local regulations and finances don’t allow most of us to do these kinds of things in our back yards.