MineCon 2011: Interview with Custom Map Makers Prof_Snape and BlameTheController

Minecraft is an amazing sandbox experience, but there comes a point where the player wants more. A person can only mine so many diamonds before it becomes repetitive. That’s where custom map makers come in. They take the world of Minecraft and add stories, puzzles and obstacle courses for a more fulfilling experience. Minecraft’s success is due at least in part, to the endeavors of these tireless creators, who provide free content for the game Mojang developed. I was lucky enough to catch up with two of these map makers during Minecon for a little Q and A.

Prof_Snape is one of the two creators of the Lost custom map, which has been featured on Yogscast. The map is an incredibly detailed recreation of the island depicted on the hit TV show lost. His map has almost 70,000 downloads, which isn’t bad considering it was his first attempt at custom map making. I asked him what editing software he used to make the map. “MC edit and World edit, but it was also a lot of doing it by hand, we would just move forward until the world generates,” responded Prof_Snape. He also mentioned that he has a new map coming out in 2012 that’s top secret. When I prompted him for a hint all he would say was “Uber-Charge.” Could we possibly be seeing some TF2 action in a custom Minecraft map?

I also him what custom map (beside his own) was his favorite to play? His answer was a map that isn’t even out yet. “The absolute best map right now is this map no one has ever played. It’s a replication of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter world. The detail in this map is amazing. I truly believe that it’s the best map in Minecraft and no one has played it.” Apparently Prof_Snape was invited to take a tour of this map while it’s still being built. The guys that are building it are called Media Charts. I looked into this and apparently the guys who made it are using it to remake the Harry Potter movie in Minecraft form. There’s really no way of telling if they’ll open this one up to the public.

I also managed to speak to BlameTheController, he’s the map maker responsible for the custom map “Kingdom of the Sky.” If you’re big into Minecraft and haven’t checked this one out you probably should. He solved the problem of players wandering out of the designated area quite artfully by setting his entire custom map on floating islands. Step off one and the player falls to their death. I asked him how he felt about Mojang starting to add story elements like the Enderdragon which triggers end credits for players who kill it. “I thought the ending was pretty interesting… as far as storyline goes the current 1.0 doesn’t hold a candle to what mapmakers make.” BlametheController thinks one day Mojang will have a fully fleshed out story, but for the moment custom maps are the way to go for players who want some focus to their MineCraft experience.

The problem with custom maps is that anyone can make them and there are more bad ones out there then good ones. BlameTheController had some advice as to how to find good custom maps “Download counts, feedback you see on the forums and how many ‘Let’s Plays’ you see on Youtube.” He has a list containing a whole bunch of great custom maps broken up into categories (parkour, adventure, puzzle etc.) He’s also working on a follow-up to Kingdom of the Sky called “The World Burns,” so keep an eye out for that one if you like challenging custom maps.

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