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Marsh Davies
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Marsh Davies

Meet the Villagers in Minecraft

Who hangs out at the hamlet?

We added them in 2011, but in the beginning they were completely useless - you couldn’t trade with them, they didn’t have any sound effects or anything. Their only purpose was to live in the villages. We discussed a lot about what they would do - we knew we wanted trading, but we weren’t sure about what would happen with the village itself. Would the player do quests around the village? Would it expand? We decided in the end that, once the player arrives in the world, it’s up to the player to build things. So, we decided to have a system where, if a player improves a village, then it would expand in population. But we found that it was very computationally expensive to evaluate what constituted a house. So we made the simplest solution: if you have a door and an inside and outside, then that counts as a house. The problem is that people now just make these rows of doors just to increase the village! So we had to balance the game depending on that.
Jens Bergensten
It was really difficult to make a system in which you knew what items were for sale, what they cost and how much you had paid for it. The villagers weren’t going to talk and it felt out of keeping with the rest of the game to use a lot of onscreen text to describe each transaction. We did some experiments with thoughts bubbles, but it didn’t look good. So in the end, after I’d been lead on Minecraft for a year, we just decided to add an interface instead.
Jens Bergensten

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