Unlocking Imagination for World Builders in Minecraft

Unlocking Imagination for World Builders in Minecraft

This comic strip tries to capture a gamer’s imagination in the world of Minecraft. Imagination is one of our greatest gifts that unlocks creativity for us. It enables us to combine ideas and create a whole that’s way more than sum of its parts. We all experience it in very tangible ways everyday, sometimes in the form of intuitive ways to solve problems and sometimes in the form of out-of the box thinking. We have seen that gamers in world builder games like Minecraft just take it to a whole different level.

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Einstein’s space-time physics or Harry Potter series are great examples of what creative imagination can unlock.

The amount of detail and world building that goes into Harry Potter or Tolkien’s books or Minecraft is insane. It all comes out of a creator’s unbridled imagination. If there was a school for game builders to refine their skills and become better creative directors or game producers, Minecraft would be the K12 for it, the whole way from Kindergarten class to the 12th grade. Our interactions and observations of 7000 Minecraft creators through our interactions on our Discord has left us somewhat spellbound.

GPT to Creativity

In 2022, we naturally questioned whether LLMs could bridge the gap between imagination and creativity in Minecraft in a way that Google could not. Our initial work with creators involved crafting plug-ins for them. We did this through extensive plug-in searches and code modifications to unlock the new capabilities that creators desired.

To answer the first question, does Google assist world builders in Minecraft? Indeed, it does, especially in finding plug-ins for their next Minecraft creation. However, can it alter or create new plug-ins at the speed of imagination? Not quite.

Google’s system is based on factual correctness and optimises for speed of finding the most reliable and high authority source of information, in this case plug-ins developed by other people.

But what if creators wanted to create something totally new from imagination within seconds in Minecraft? We started by asking creators what they wanted to create if there was no need to find or build plug-ins on our Discord channel, and this is what they said.

The Profound Insight 🧐

We thought building a Discord Bot should do it and we will move on until a profound insight hit us in one of our creator’s calls. Imagination is fleeting just like dreams are hard to remember.

Gamers and creators can definitely Google and find out ways to convert their creative ideas into a game, but this process is very tedious and often becomes equivalent to:

  • remembering a dream and writing about it from memory
  • converting these imagined game ideas into game objects via plug-ins which are found online or need coding from scratch in Java. We understood that this is the hill that imagination dies on in Minecraft.

We can assert that a significant portion of our dreams decay rapidly, within minutes of waking up. A similar phenomenon occurs with creators' imaginations. Furthermore, adding extra steps to the creative process is like placing additional obstacles on top of fleeting imagination. Here's how asset creation appears today:

Go to a website like gamergeeks.net >> select item >> choose item enchantments and attribute >> generate a command >> apply texture pack manually >> go to server owner and request for OP access >> run the command >> get asset

Go to mid journey and create a Minecraft asset >> convert it to Minecraft texture pack >> apply correct formatting for Minecraft version >> apply enchantments and attributes in configuration files >> get asset

Not the easiest thing to do, right!

Some of the most brilliant creators that we saw in our 7000 strong Discord community have some of the best ideas about creating gameplay with unique worlds, armours, skins or weapons, but they rarely end up creating these as the multi-step process end up killing their creative ideas. Given a free rein they’ll create full fledged economies for their Minecraft servers. We’ll cover these in our upcoming blogs

Identifying Pillars

As you see in the Discord screen above, given a free run, creators will create fantastic things and a large number of them made their requests in language they’d use on iMessage or WhatsApp. This gave birth to the idea of natural language based creation (Pillar 1)

In Minecraft there’s an added complexity of converting these imaginations into plugin requirements and then finding or building(using Java) and installing these plugins on a Minecraft server. We built a system to create directly from game chat (Pillar 2)

We combined Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 and this gave birth to:

Create using Natural language and directly from game chat:

When we started showing it to people some them were amazed and some were underwhelmed, we explored further and understood that the underwhelmed ones thought of this as yet another command to remember, we spent time on Discord calls showing how this works from natural language in game chat where a user needs to remember nothing and that’s how this started catching on in our own gaming community.

But soon gamers started using very interesting prompts like the following.

create sanjivani buiti named golden enchanted apple over powerfull give strength 5and adsorption 5 and insta health 5and fire resistant 5 and resistance 5 for 5mins

Just reading this in first go may or may not give you any unique insight into what’s special about it.

Reflecting on the name and powers of the character gives insights into the creator's imagination. The creator references the Sanjivani Buti, indicating familiarity with the Hindu epic Ramayana. In the Ramayana, God Hanuman fetches this life-saving herb, Sanjivani Buti, for Lord Rama's brother, Lakshman. The request for strength aligns with the tale, as Lord Hanuman lifts an entire mountain to transport the herb.

The creator's request for adsorption and resistance appears to reference elements of Minecraft gameplay, where absorption provides additional health points to the player and resistance reduces incoming damage by 20%. The request for fire resistance also connects back to the Ramayana, recalling the episode where Lord Hanuman's tail is set on fire by Raavana, the antagonist of the tale.

A close look at this prompt, opens up a wealth of possibilities for creating new quests. Ideas include treasure hunts, battles requiring fire protection, and environments where the player must fly through an obstacle course filled with ghast-like mobs in a lava cave. The Netherworld could be an ideal setting for such a quest, where collecting herbs along the way makes sense. We could potentially name it the Sanjivani Buti Quest. All these ideas come from semantically understanding just a single natural language asset prompt!

I believe we're heading towards an exciting future where endless quests explode. As assets are generated, new quests are created and the game continues. The reverse could also be true.

Enjoy this video by our creator which combines the two pillars in a fun way