Classics #3: How Minecraft Became my Motivator


To a degree, games can play a role on behavior. And recently that game has been Minecraft. When I wrote this, I had completed a couple of business cards for a friend of mind, from sketch to completion in a weekend’s time. I like games that make me think and this one definitely help get the juices flowing.


What is Minecraft?

A survival game where players are plopped into a expansive computer generated landscape where they are forced to create a shelter during the night and survive. From there, the possibilities with the game are endless and thus is part of the allure of Minecraft. You make Minecraft and therefore, Minecraft has you.


What did I learn from Minecraft that could relate to my design thinking?


“Prototype, prototype, prototype”

 “We need to get out of the forest .” Both Jon and I appeared in a dense pine forest next to a base our friend Tanya had built. “A place where we have a good vantage point and resources.” The result was a structure dubbed ‘The Compound’ built high and large on the server’s desert. The Compound however started out looking nothing like it did in its last iterations. In fact, it was nothing more than a pathetic little hole in the desert with lots of torches to wade offer enemies.

And this is the end result.

So not all that impressive, but it's all our own :P


Oh and our cute little Mushroom house. :)

Lesson: Quick prototyping inhibits the ‘lizard brain’ from taking control. Think quick on your feet or you’ll be incessantly blown up by creepers. Have an idea? Run with it. Make the fixes along the way and in the end, it might look as impressive as the Compound. And as this 99% article points out, “trial and error is an essential part of any creative’s life.”


 “Create simple objective for projects and revisit them regularly”

Always learn to start small. Avoid the “blue sky paralysis.” Also, smaller ideas tend to be the easiest to execute and understand when working with a team. When we were trying to decide what the next course of action was for an abandoned mineshaft, simple objectives were easier to digest and therefore action is more likely to follow.

Lesson: Breaking down an overwhelming project or tasks into manageable pieces is a great and foolproof principle. Especially when your goal is find diamond ore. Lots and lots of diamond ore. 

“The minute that we lose momentum, we lose the thread.”

Take frequent breaks and step away from your work. Mandatory, if you’re frustrated and that diamond ore hasn’t been found after day three. I don’t know how many times Jon either fell into lava or I fell off a ledge trying to excavate the coveted ore. There was lots of cursing, and hurt feelings.

Lesson: Learn to know when to walk away and when it’s time to get back to it. Never lose that momentum because it’s harder to get started all over again than it is to keep going.  

“Don’t hold back. When it comes to creative execution, the key is to get moving, and keep moving. “

Always, always, always.


If you’re not working towards what you love NOW, don’t let that discourage you. Keep the end in mind.

Most of our server’s projects are a collaboration so I may not always be working on something that I like. That’s ok. I’m still planning what I want to do on the side and one day, my Minecraft dream of making a semi-replica of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon may come true.  

Lesson: Keep your resolve and hold on tight to your dream. This is going to be one rocky ride. 


And that ended my Minecraft filled Thanksgiving weekend.
Oh and thanks, Mojang, for designing such an awesome game. And for giving this one aspiring designer some needed push to get her ACTUAL work done.
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