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I Still Have Minecraft Running 2023-05-17


This post started out as a reply on Mastodon, but it got a little out of hand... so this is what you get.

Back when I was hosting LAN parties, Diablo II was definitely one of the most popular games among our group. Chris was the wanker who liked to find dead companions to loot. That bastard. Anyways, for more than a decade I/we awaited the coming of Diablo III -- little did we know what garbage was in store for us. One day in the mid 2000's a friend at work told me to try Guild Wars. I politely replied by informing him that I appreciated the gesture but would be waiting for Diablo III, because of course nothing could be better than whatever D3 would prove to be. He said he had a few PCs at home, and plenty of Guild Wars accounts for a few of us to try... so I went along with it. Well shit, here we are, almost two decades later and I am still playing Guild Wars.

The problem with Guild Wars however is that the accounts live on Arenanet's servers. And one day they'll turn off those servers, taking everyone's characters and work with them. In fact, NCSoft is sometimes referred to as The MMO Killer. I also liked Dungeon Runners which was one of the MMOs NCSoft shut down (to the huge disappointment of a lot of fans). So... on and off over the years I have looked for games that met the following criteria:

  1. Run on minimal PC hardware
  2. Can't be taken away from me and
  3. I can play for at least another two decades :-)

Minetest is actually about as good as I have found in my search. In fact I have run my own Minetest server on and off for quite a while now. The thing is, even Minetest has its issues. You see, some years ago they made some significant changes to the Minetest code and as a result they went from version 4 to version 5. To be a little more accurate, they went from v0.4.17.1 to v5.0 -- and there was a bunch of drama about switching to a major revision number at the same time. That alone isn't a big deal, but the versions are simply not compatible with each other, so users who upgraded their client couldn't play on servers that had not been upgraded and users who didn't want to do the upgrade couldn't play on newer/upgraded servers. I am pretty sure a user could probably install both versions of the client on the same machine but it did kind of split the userbase anyways.

minetest lava pool A lava pool in Minetest.

So what did I do? Nothing. I kept my old v0.4.17.1 server running and I occasionally play on it. Anyone who wishes to play on it is welcome to, you just have to ask... and understand that the server has the following rules:

  1. Don't be a dick
  2. See Rule #1

It is also probably important to note that Minetest is NOT Minecraft. It does not require Java, and it is not owned by Microsoft (even if the code is hosted on github). Minetest also does not come with any of the stuff that comes with Minecraft. It is essentially just a world generator that has a minimal number of base block types and a game engine that lets you interact with those blocks. A LOT of the content has to be added to Minetest by adding plugins to it. I did NOT try to replicate Minecraft in my game (though other people apparently have). I just made a world that has mostly friendly mobs, fall damage, a nice compass that lets you teleport around, a few extra fancy ores and things you can craft, and that is about it. My game is about making stuff rather than PvP or competition. So if you want to build some blocky looking stuff then see rule #1 and let me know. :-)

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