Minecraft’s Jens Bergensten Talks Updates, Mods, and Pig Latin (INTERVIEW)
Since taking over the reins of Minecraft last december, Mojang’s Jens Bergensten has had a lot on his plate. In the short time since becoming the game‘s lead developer, they’ve rolled out new features for creative mode, new server settings (level-type, spawn-npcs, generate-structures), a brand new worldtype called Superflat, and even the introduction of fictional languages (bringing the total number of translated languages to 56). And this is only the tip of a very big, and blocky, iceberg.
Fortunately for us, busy or not, Jens made himself available to interview, and we took full advantage. We talked about splash texts, the spam filter, whether or not we’ll get more fictional languages, and most importantly, his favorite Minecraft mods.
GAMEFRONT: About the decision to include fictional languages in the latest version of Minecraft (Klingon, Pirate, Elvish), What went into their selection?
JENS: The translations are made by the community, so I’ve added the languages the community has requested.
GF: Are there plans for more, like Pig Latin?
J: Not sure about Pig Latin, but the recent requests have been about Latin (not really fictional, but still), L33TSP34K and Esperanto.
GF: Are there any plans to fix the splash text issue; they don’t translate, so even if you’re playing in, say Arabic, splash texts appear in English.
J: No. The splash texts are jokes and quotes, and some of them can’t be translated to other languages.
GF: About Superflat. It’s hilarious, and hilariously difficult, but why did you add it?
J: It was added mainly as an option for multiplayer servers running in creative mode. Some people are trying to challenge themselves and play it in hardcore, but that is not what I intended
GF: Is it intended as the first of many new worldtypes?
J: Yes, more world types will be added when I have time to work on them.
GF: How have things changed at Mojang and on Minecraft with Notch’s recent change of job?
J: So far I haven’t noticed that much of a difference. The company is quickly growing (two more people were hired last week), which probably has a larger effect than Notch working on new games. The biggest difference is that the whole company used to have daily meetings, but now each project has its own meeting.
GF: Three new settings have been added to server properties. How did feedback from the players influence what to add?
J: I don’t really remember which three properties that are the latest ones… I usually add properties when the game mode or world generator changes, so that servers have the same options as the single-player version, or when there is an optional optimization for servers. Sometimes I add properties (such as rcon and gs4) by requests from server hosting companies.
GF: Does Mojang plan to establish a regular schedule for updates? For people who run servers, particularly modding servers, an inconsistent update schedule makes
it a bit tough to stay fully up to date.
J: Not really. The next update will always come “when it’s ready,” but we could try to offer a better heads-up, since we usually know if the “next snapshot” is an official update.
GF: How does Mojang feel about mod communities like Bukkit?
J: They are doing awesome stuff!
GF: What are some of your personal favorite Minecraft mods?
J: Tale of Kingdoms is really cool.
GF: Have you incorporated ideas into the main game that originated in the modding
GF: About the change to SMP servers in which non-ops are kicked out if they spam in chat. It’s a small thing, but nice. How did this feature come about?
J: It was added because there was a griefer client-side mod that allowed you to spam the chat very easily. The mod also had a “disconnect spam” option, which was also fixed (I hope).
GF: How does the feature determine spam?
J: The spam filter simply has a value that is increased every time you write something, and decreased gradually over time. If the value exceeds a threshold, it means your chat-per-time value is too big, and you are kicked.
New worldtypes, a better update notification system and L33TSP34K. That’s a lot to chew on, even if Jens was his usual coy self. We’ll obviously be keeping our eyes and ears on things to see how they pan out. In the meantime, we have a suggestion: someone out in Minecraft land should really consider translating Snoop Dogg speak. Minecriznaft needs to happen.
Need more Minecraft? Make sure to check out the new season of The Minecraft Show.