Screenwriting & Minecraft

February 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

Screenwriting & Minecraft | Screenwriting Blog | Mojang Minecraft


I read IGN a lot.  I visit the site multiple times a day for movie, television and video game news.  When you visit the largest gaming site on the net as often as I do, big stories like Minecraft don’t go unnoticed.  I just never took the time to really find out what this indie game was all about.  Now it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

Minecraft is essentially a giant sandbox.  A massive world that allows you to create virtually anything you can think of.  Your character is essentially thrust into a unique world with nothing. You must rush to gather resources, create shelters and survive the onslaught of monsters that await you when the sun goes down. After a few days in the game, you can branch out and begin collecting better materials and creating better structures.   It’s pretty much limitless.

Confused?  Here is the intro video from the official Minecraft site:

The more you play, the more rare types of materials you find and the more ‘things’ you can create.  Feel like exploring enormous caves?  Go for it.  Is it your goal to create huge towers?  Why not?  Did you decide to create a bridge that links the towers and a water slide that leads into the caves?  Of course you can.

Curious as to what is possible when you really dive into a game like Minecraft?  Check these creations out:

The only limit truly is your imagination.  Sound familiar?

Before I get into screenwriting, I’d like to first make mention of the inspirational story behind the phenomenon known as Minecraft.  The game was created by Markus Alexej Persson or Notch as he’s commonly referred to.  He’s a talented and passionate game designer who had an idea and got to work.  The game is a massive achievement and has taken the gaming world by storm.  Notch is a superstar now and the development world is eagerly awaiting his company Mojang’s next project.

Read this for more on Minecraft’s development.

Notch had a vision, executed that vision and found an audience who adores his work.  That level of commitment and dedication is universally inspiring to anyone looking to start a new creative project.  Personally, his story inspires me as a screenwriter.


Screenwriting & Minecraft | Screenwriting Blog | Mojang Minecraft

When I’m developing a story, I can’t just sit at a table and spit out a treatment.  I need something to do while I think.  Eventually I need a quiet place to work but in the early stages I like to have something to do.  Obviously, I can’t do anything that requires a ton of brain power because that would be counter productive.

Normally, I think about stories while I’m being active.  I play basketball, I swim, I go to the gym or I take my dog for a walk.  But sometimes, I rely on video games.  Again that sounds counter productive but it has to be a specific type of game.  For me, the all time champ is Sim City.  It’s an open world that allows you to do whatever you want.  I used to play Sim City all the time with a notepad close by.

Minecraft takes all the things I love about Sim City to the next level.  I’m not limited to buildings and roads anymore.  I can build absolutely anything I want as long as I’ve gathered the resources to pull it off.  The resource gathering is monotonous, repetitive and takes forever which is perfect for brainstorming screenplay ideas.  I’ve spent hours demolishing mountains and digging in caves while thinking about new screenplays.

It’s just me, an empty cave and a blank page.


Every time I launch Minecraft, I set it up on one monitor.  On the other, I alternate between Microsoft Word for story notes & Final Draft for screenwriting.  Typically on the left, I’d be creating a tower because I felt like it.  On the right, I’d be typing notes about new characters and story points.  The system works perfectly…

Except, I don’t play Minecraft anymore.

Why?  Because I’m actually writing now.  I don’t need my latest brainstorming device anymore.  I’m sure when it’s time to begin a new tale, I’ll jump back into my Minecraft world but right now, I’m focused on the story the game helped me create.  It’s a strange relationship.  I’m absolutely addicted to the game but I never play it unless there is a story problem or scene I want to work out.  Thankfully, there are always new screenplays to write and there will always be giant structures to create in the process.

What do you do when you develop screenplays?

XTRA | Top 10 Cinematic Game Studios

Why I Play Minecraft | A fantastic post on IGN

Screenwriting & Minecraft | Screenwriting Blog | Mojang Minecraft