integers, doubles, floats and tinys. notch gets technical

For those who don’t know, Markus Persson otherwise known as notch, is the lead developer of minecraft. What originally started as just one man coding in java, has now become a small development team bringing joy to the masses with this popular indie hit from Sweden.

Over at his personal blog on tumbler http://notch.tumblr.com/ notch blogs about some of the technical aspects of the game, most notably why certain bugs would occur in the very unlikely event that a player wanders off extremely far from the starting point, we’re talking stupid amounts of walking here, maybe even a sponsered hike. Anyway, it’s something he doesnt think is at all likely. But the bugs he talks about could happen because of rounding errors. In programming languages, numerical things have limits, like a range from -2147483648 to 2147483647 for a 32bit integer. As you can clearly see this is indeed a huge number, so would be a while before offsets in the world start giving anybody any trouble.

As the world generated is totally random (or as randomas a computer can make it) the chunks of the world that players will know as these massive holes that suddenly appear outside your home, though not for other players on the same server, it seems they appear as normal. These chunks are basically 16*16 square blocks, 128 blocks deep.

Notch also talks about using a noise map for the terrain, but using it slightly differently, my understanding of a noise map is a basic gray scale 2d image that uses white for peaks and black for canyons or whatever. The shade a pixel is determines the height of the terrain. I think he’s using it in a way to determine density, so whats air and whats flat land or hills.

Anyway enough said, head on over to notch’s blog for the real info http://notch.tumblr.com/post/3746989361/terrain-generation-part-1

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