Recently the Humble Bundle website have run a promotion allowing its patrons to take part in a strange scheme. It worked like this – you pay whatever you want (as usual) but instead of getting some indie games you got to watch Notch and Friends (totally a TV show I would pitch by the way) code a game in a weekend, from scratch (and you get the source code) there where also two teams of Mojang ‘buddies’ (other indie developers) making games.
As both a supporter of Indie games and a financial Hobo I donated the lowly amount of $5 to the project and watched with great glee as the team coded and chatted (and threw stuff at each other). Eventually I downloaded a rather ropey Alpha build of a game where lots of identical ‘brown things’ run about the screen and one ‘brown thing’ could shoot the other ‘Brown things’
I was confused by the Alpha and a little worried that the team that brought me Minecraft was about to let me down. I was unable to watch the code warriors do battle for most of Sunday as my real life got in the way of my desire to watch the Indie equivalent of Big Brother.
This morning, the moment I got chance I downloaded the most recent build (final build?) simply called ‘Mojam.exe’ – I was amazed. In a weekend the team had created something that sits firmly in the middle of Gauntlet and Dungeons of Dredmor. Is it a game I will sink hours into? No, but it is fun and exciting and an example of just how talented these people are. It is also the foundation for a much bigger game if the team decided to go further with it.
The way that Mojang conduct business is just inspiring – the twitter feed alone would be the board meetings of other companies. This Mojam stunt has raised money for charity, promoted Mojang as a company and reminded us all that Mojang are very talented people who are showing the industry a better way to make games.
There is another game (a unity based title) ready to play as part of the Mojam promotion (not tried that one yet) as well as another promised very soon.
If i was asked on Thursday who the most important man in gaming was then I would have said Mr Gabe ‘Valve’ Newell was the man to point at but after this weekends stunt I think Notch maybe the bearded master of the industry.