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Logo made by u/Dam0x12 on reddit

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About:

This is a theoretical minecraft update formed to be like any update Mojang would put out. The focus of the update was to fix problems with and upgrade the current end dimension. I also had a presentation and discussion with Mojangs Brandon "Kingbdogz" Pearce about it.

Details:

Roles:
System designer, Pixel Artist, Narrative

Time:
10 weeks, April - June 2021
 
Team size:
1, Solo project
 
Tools:
Vanilla Minecraft, Photoshop, Google Sheets
 
Workspace:
Offline (since solo) with online presentation

My Contributions

Systems Design

Art

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Narrative

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World generation Structure
Blocks
Items
Biomes

Mobs
Structures

Block Textures
Mobs Concept Art
Minecraft In-game Concepts

Story based on
existing elements

 

Creating a foundation

Setting a goal

I started the project by setting some goals since it was totally open-ended. The goals were important because they would guide my design.

Some goals I set during the project were: Designing with “The Power of Play” in mind, using player archetypes as pillars for designs and creating things for areas that I feel are lacking in fun.

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A lot of same

Finding inspiration

I felt like the End dimension was the perfect place to update. To me it’s the one area in Minecraft that is currently lacking in a lot of potential fun. And as such the perfect place where I could accomplish my goals.

But I wanted it to still remain the End that Minecraft players are familiar with. So I went in and played the game again to find inspiration. During this playthrough I decided to use two existing aspects of the game to act as pillars for my design; the Endermen and End poem.

Creating a story

The most intriguing part of the End poem to me is the idea of higher beings. Combining this with the identity of the Endermen created my story; the story of a race who left their world to ruin.

The End inhabitants were called the Starmen and they were very intelligent. Using their technology and how they started the corruption of the End gave me a lot of ideas for how to create systems that felt native to the end dimension.

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Corruption transition
Corruption transition

How the different level of corruption changes the biome

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Biome overall structure
Biome overall structure

How biome borders will be set on a larger scale

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Corruption transition
Corruption transition

How the different level of corruption changes the biome

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Biome structure

I wanted to play around a bit more with the “void taking over”-concept and came up with a structure that incorporated the aspect of corruption. This created a progressive structure based on how much corruption the area had accumulated.

This created a nice way of showing how pollution can affect the world. It also diversified the end dimension which made it instantly more fun to explore, something that is lacking at the moment.

 

Concepts, Concepts, Concepts!

Creating the master sheet

In the beginning it was a bit hard to figure out the workflow for designing. But after some trial and error I found that using excel sheets was the way to go.

It made it easy to track all the attributes like blast resistance for blocks, if items are stackable, or how much HP mobs have. It also made it easy to change and compare them to existing objects so that I could make them unique but reasonable.

Blocks
Blocks

Some different blocks, like wood and flowers

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Ruined End city
Ruined End city

The original end cities that the Starmen built. Current end cities are newly built by the Starmen that remained.

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Dusk tree
Dusk tree

A dusk tree, it's the non-corrupt version. The withered version is the current chorus plants.

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Blocks
Blocks

Some different blocks, like wood and flowers

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Creating biome, blocks, items, mobs... Theoretically

Once I had the sheet I just started to design. I had 4 main player archetypes I wanted to create things for: “Survivalist”, “Animal Lover”, “Builder” and “Redstone Engineer”.

In the end I managed to design a total of 12 biomes, 67 blocks, 6 items, 7 mobs and 11 structures. And I believe that these combined would create fun systems that would enhance these players’ ways to create fun.

Pictures of some of the concepts

Here is some of my favorite concepts

Starmen

The highly intelligent species “Starmen” long ago transcended their minds into a higher plane and left their empty bodies behind (Endermen). This event made their dimension corrupt, and the void started to consume everything.

But not all Starmen wanted to transcend and those who stayed behind are the humanoid creatures the player can interact with. This will give more depth to players who want to explore Minecraft's secrets as it expands the story of one of Minecraft's most intriguing mobs, the Endermen.

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A Starmen Lab room

Dawn Forest
Dawn Forest

The non corrupt version of the Dawn Forest

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Corrupt Dawn Forest
Corrupt Dawn Forest

The corrupt version of the Dawn Forest

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End Ocean Wastes
End Ocean Wastes

The wastest version of the End Ocean

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Dawn Forest
Dawn Forest

The non corrupt version of the Dawn Forest

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Dusk and Dawn forest

The Ends two forest types. They contrast each other with the Dusk forest being very tall and open, while the Dawn forest is dense and short. The withered dusk trees are also a redesign of chorus trees.

With these forests a total of 6 new wood types will be added as both of them can be corrupt. These new woods have completely new colors and with the corrupt once a lot of new gradients can be achieved, which is perfect for the builder archetype.

Experience Ore

In a game called Minecraft, there sure is no one who mines in the end dimension. And this is something I wanted to fix. Adding this rare ore combined with adding common Redstone ore to the floating islands creates new ways of mining. Perfect for the Survivalist archetype.

Experience ore acts as the Starmens main energy source for experimentation combined with redstone. This gives a lot of subtle storytelling in how the ancient Starmen civilization used to work in the structures left behind.

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When connected they can be further customized. The concept is made by u/knucklesthedead on reddit

Home marker and Animal home connector

One aspect that I dislike about having wolves and cats is that they have only two modes. The player either takes them with them everywhere risking them dying or make them sit in your home forever.

But your tamed animal would feel more alive by connecting them to your home through the home marker and animal home connector. When connected the player can set their pet to a few modes, including a roam around house mode, a guard mode and a rest mode. Perfect for the "animal lover".

 

Creating visual concepts

In-game Concepts

After creating my theoretical concepts I also wanted to create some visual concepts. My first idea was to build some in vanilla Minecraft. I built up all the biomes and structures in the way I imagined them using the blocks that were the closest fit.

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Resource Pack to clarify
World concepts

But this wasn’t enough to give the world the feeling I wanted to convey, so I decided to create a resource pack where I would change some textures of the blocks to more closely resemble my ideas.

Using photoshop I created 27 new textures that more closely matched my ideas. And this definitely made the concept feel more like the world I imagined. I also got to change some code to try and change some entity textures (the bell).

Concept art

For the mobs and items I didn’t have time to create textures or properly implement them. So instead I tried to do some simple concept art to convey their story.

I’m definitely no artist, but I think they convey how they would interact somewhat and I’m happy with them.

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This is a Mooscoob (Underwater cow)

 

What I'm proud of:

Using Mojang's design philosophies well

It was a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to make this project work and what structure to use. But thinking about Mojang’s design philosophies gave me a nice direction to head in.

I also feel like I managed to use them well, managing to create things for every player archetype I set out to design towards. Although I had the hardest time designing for the Redstone engineer, I managed to use player input from the r/minecraftsuggestions subreddit to find inspiration on what could be created.

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I had the opportunity to talk to Agnes and Patrick during this event and this is where I got to learn a lot about Mojangs design philosophies

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Using existing systems and expanding them

I tried to use the current end dimension as much as possible and I think I managed to create some really great concepts with them.

The Starmen being the “Original” Endermen, using the void as the basis for the story and using chorus trees as the basis for the Dusk trees was really insightful and a fun way to design. I really enjoyed it!

Creating a well rounded concept

As I tried to design for a lot of different archetypes I also got to try to think about Minecraft from other players' perspectives in a fun way. And I think this really made it so that my Ender Update design got really well-rounded overall with a lot of different ways to interact with the games pre-existing systems.

Logo made by u/Dam0x12 on reddit

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