Friday, June 14, 2013

Minecraft is Writing

Yes, I know Minecraft is a sandbox style game which means that official lore is non-existent and story outside what players make for their own worlds is just unheard of. However there is the option for players to do some writing in game to add lore and character to their own world, whether that’s just so you can have some fun or for something to share with friends is up to you.

Why Write?
There are a few different reasons to do some writing in Minecraft some are practical and some less so. First and foremost would be to communicate information. You see this on multiplayer and PvP servers all the time. When you spawn in there are signs everywhere telling you how to set a home, teleport back to spawn, and buy items as well as what the rules for the community are. Many adventure maps will also use writing to give players valuable information or move the story forward. If you’re on a single player map or maybe a small multiplayer map however, you probably won’t need to communicate so much information and so writing becomes more of a free form because you want to sort of thing. You can write poems, stories, or even basic how-to guides that you can trade with your friends or just keep in a library of sorts. However there’s another good reason to write. Villagers will sometimes trade you 1 emerald for 1 written book meaning that those books you’ve been writing can become profitable. However if you intend to trade them, you may wish to make sure you have a copy outside Minecraft (to copy paste back in later) or make them shorter works as there’s no way to get them back and you wouldn’t want to trade Moby Dick for 1 emerald after having spent several hours transcribing it into your Minecraft world (not that anyone would ever do that, but still).

How to Write
There are a couple different methods for doing some writing in Minecraft and the ones you choose will depend largely upon what you wish to do. First we have the humble sign which can be used to convey basic information in a brief and concise format. If you needed to you could place two signs next to each other and continue on the next sign making ancient ruins with the story of their former occupants a possibility, though this method I can imagine would become irritating rather quickly. Alternatively if you’ve got a great deal to say or are planning on writing a story of some sort you could instead use a book and quill (made by combining a book, ink, and a feather). This will allow you to write up to 50 pages of text and up to 256 characters per page, so while longer books may need to be a series, you can still get a pretty good length story into one of these. As an added bonus you can even copy and paste into a book from an outside text editor, but only if it’s 256 or fewer characters. If you wanted to make a larger message, you could always build each letter out of blocks, but this seems like it might be a bit excessive.


If you’re ready to add some character and lore to your Minecraft world there’s a system for you to do just that and for any who enjoy writing the odd story or two I highly recommend you give it a go in your N3rd C0rn3r.