BKL and the minecraft effect

January 18, 2013

I am speechless.

Somebody on Hacker News just posted A Minecraft-like Block Based Game Engine Using Three.js, WebGL and Node (badassjs.com).

This is already cool.

But in the comments somebody else promoted BLK – a project from Ben Vanik – a Google employee – who created BKL in his 20% Google spare time.

I set up a server on Amazon EC2, and the t1.micro instance was seconds ago populated by people – building things.

The Minecraft effect is incredible.

[EDIT] link to the main page is here.

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Minecraft Game Server Launcher released

December 11, 2012

As I stated in my previous post I am going to open source the Minecraft Game Server Launcher (MGSL).

And I just did.

Stella Haystacks world on EC2

The MGSL is a python script that can be used to launch a Minecraft server in Amazons EC2 cloud on an Ubuntu server.

The MGSL is dead simply to use: you run ‘python mgsl.py’ once and the server starts and loads the your Minecraft world. You run it again, and your world gets stored in a safe place and the server is terminated.

That’s it

Get it  here:


Tell my if it works for you and what I can do to improve it in the comments.

MGSL (the Minecraft Game Server Launcher)

December 6, 2012

I decided to open source a project that I was working on in my spare time.

The idea behind this concept that I call MGSL (Minecraft Game Server Launcher, in lack of a better name :-) ) is that people don’t need a minecraft server 24/7. What they do need is a very simple mechanism to start and stop a server on Amazon EC2  *plus* an automatic save/load routine.

Under the hood it’s a two applications: the web interface that manages a database (based on web2py) and a python/boto script doing the hard work.
More infos soon.

Minecraft de facto standard of virtual worlds?

September 22, 2012

Yesterday Linden Lab announced the upcoming launch of their new online platform ‘Patterns‘.  I may have written this too often lately in my post but here I go again: ‘does this look familiar?’

According to New World Note‘s Wagner James Au, Notch approves.

To me this is the prove that even Linden Lab feels that Minecraft’s approach of ‘crafting’ things from simple patterns (pun intended) is superior to their uber-complicated client which they never really were able to boil down to the few elements you need to build virtual worlds.

Granted, SL and MC don’t really compare if you look at the details and the overall purpose is different. But in the end of the day it is way easier to simply experience and build in Minecraft.

Also, you can roll your own server which is largely detailed in the Minecraft Wiki. For my own experiments, I wrote a script that starts an Amazon EC2 instance, installs all components required for Minecraft, pulls the latest backup of our favorite world from my Dropbox, and starts – all of this unattended, in one line. I can even start it from a train (I just did). When we don’t need it anymore, we backup the world, save it to the DropBox and terminate the instance. Total cost – a couple of cents. If we only craft at home we can deploy the same thing to our kitchen server at no cost.

So to me Minecraft delivers most aspects that I missed from SL and then some. The few things that I miss in Minecraft to be a virtual world platform are slowly but surely added by Mojang and especially by the community one plugin after another, due to the openness of the server code base.

I really wonder if LindenLab with their current claim (‘Makers of Shared Creative Spaces’) will be achieving the same ease of use at such a competitive pricing plan with Patterns. Since they also ripped the ‘buy beta for less’ business model that Notch established, I’d say there is reason to hope LindenLab will be doing it right this time. Looking at the decline of Second Life – they better be.