Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Minetest

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burli
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Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Minetest

by burli » Fri Jun 21, 2019 17:43

I happened to find the game Minetest. It looks like Minecraft, only free. I installed the game without reading the information on the website, just like everybody else does, and started it.

So I create a new world, wonder about the different map generators, choose one more or less randomly and start the game.

Snow...

I go in one direction, always further and further. The landscape hardly changes. I go on. A forest! Maybe something more interesting will come. No, afterwards again only snow. Little vegetation, no animals, no life.

I decide to mine wood and go to the next cave to get coal for torches. I go deeper and deeper, but I find nothing but coal.

I fall down a few blocks and lose a few hearts, but I have nothing to eat to heal myself. Is there anything edible around here?

I'll keep digging for a while, but I can't find anything but coal. After losing a few more hearts I decide to go back upstairs and look for something edible. When I reach the top there is still snow everywhere.

After another 10 uneventful minutes I finish the game and delete it. What a crap


This or similar could be the case for a new player who is playing minetest for the first time. I've played games like this myself. I'm spawning in a snow biome and even after a long search I couldn't find anything else.

If you don't know or understand the concept of Minetest, it quickly becomes boring and you lose the desire. And even if you know the concept it can be difficult to find a suitable game or to find mods and make your own game out of it.

Even if he manages to install other games via ContenDB, he won't find much information about these games and will quickly lose interest because he doesn't even know what the games are about. What is the goal of the game?

Minetest lacks two important things for beginners: a simple start that is fun and a detailed guide if you want more. And not only for MTG but also for subgames, at least for the important ones.

I was busy for a while and had no time for minetest. Now I took the time to check out the latest version. I honestly expected more.

That was my impression after a long absence. Are there any plans to change that?
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Red_King_Cyclops » Fri Jun 21, 2019 17:50

Although Minetest was made to be an engine for mods, you make a good point. Maybe Minetest needs a story or another default game for beginners.

A good place to look for inspiration to improve Minetest is its old rival, Minecraft. Here is one of Minecraft's most sophisticated maps, but Minetest could support a much better game, mod, or map.
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by TumeniNodes » Fri Jun 21, 2019 18:34

ITB was a nice and refreshing move, and done very well.
But what I feel would bring a boost, is a game/s involving two players which they have to work together to complete maps and includes mechanics and even bows (used to hit an unreachable button, etc..

Also some adventure-like games with increasing difficulty and a final "boss"-like challenge at the end.
As well as an ability to teleport to other worlds within the game structure. One world could be all grasslands, another all winter themed etc, and some other funky types of worlds which one needs to go to in order, and complete tasks and obtain specific items or resources, etc..

But it takes small teams of people or even just one very dedicated developer to accomplish these things, and for someone to break from the typical "game" structure people seem to be stuck on (which is to closely mimic MTG itself.) which I feel is a bad approach from the start for any new "game" development using the Minetest engine.
Mining and crafting gets old quick
MTG was meant as an example of what can be done... not something to adhere to.

The biggest thing missing, is immersive game play
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by burli » Fri Jun 21, 2019 19:20

It's not my point to add subgames. The discussion about additional subgames is as old as Minetest itself.

The problem for new players is to find information. Information about minetest itself, MTG or about subgames is often hard to find, unordered, outdated or not available at all.

New players who try Minetest for the first time without knowing what MTG is will soon be disappointed. But that can't be solved by including a few subgames. Especially if there is too little information about the subgames, their rules and goals

What might be helpful is a kind of demo map. A pre-defined map, where a player spawns at a defined point and on which there might already be a few structures like a simple house and a mine. I don't mean the tutorial subgame (that is strange), but a map generated with v7 or another mapgen, which was built on normally.

It's annoying when you start a new game and end up in a huge ice area, which has often happened to me. The first contact should be in a nice green forest biome. I found a nice map with a dungeon near the spawn point, a forest biome, a jungle biome and an ocean

Something like this

screenshot_20190621_210329.jpg
(108.16 KiB) Not downloaded yet


instead of this

screenshot_20190621_105402.jpg
(48.54 KiB) Not downloaded yet
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Fixer » Fri Jun 21, 2019 19:31

Big problem in MTG is lack of mobs in it, add even a few and that will completely change the feel of the game.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by sorcerykid » Sat Jun 22, 2019 02:37

Isn't it ironic that in that topic about banning forks of Minetest from the server list, one of the supposed criteria is those forks that don't "feel" like traditional Minetest. Yet clearly most users probably agree that vanilla Minetest Game is bland, boring, unoriginal, and uninspiring. So what do people propose doing? They want to eliminate servers that try to push the envelope and distance themselves from the stereotypical look and feel of Minetest. Yep, real logical :)
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Robsoie » Sat Jun 22, 2019 08:59

burli wrote:It's not my point to add subgames. The discussion about additional subgames is as old as Minetest itself.

The problem for new players is to find information. Information about minetest itself, MTG or about subgames is often hard to find, unordered, outdated or not available at all.


But the thing is that most people that download a game just wants to play, they're not interested in searching the net for informations about it, they're not interested in reading documents about its concept or vision, they're not interested in checking existing mods or subgames they could download, they just want to play a game.

And in the end we're back to the actual problem : the game that comes with Minetest in minetest_game and it's bare bone in comparison to other games in the same genre.
Meaning you can tell people as much as you want "but you can download a subgame", but most people aren't going to spend time to check which subgames is compatible 100% with the current version of Minetest, which subgame isn't very bugged or crashy.
They will just go play something else.

Wants people to download Minetest and stick with it : have a game they enjoy to play in it by default, not "but you can download a subgame"
minetest_game should only be a secondary game in the menu, not the default game with a Minetest download, it's not what will get people hooked.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Linuxdirk » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:03

Robsoie wrote:[…] you can tell people as much as you want "but you can download a subgame", but most people [won’t] They will just go play something else. […] minetest_game should only be a secondary game in the menu, not the default game with a Minetest download, it's not what will get people hooked.

This is painfully true and sad at the same time.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by rubenwardy » Sun Jun 23, 2019 02:30

A week ago, I added a discussion point to the next core dev meeting to work out what is needed to get mobs into MTG. Perhaps it would be good to have a forum thread about this first, to guide discussion

You can see the meeting notes here: http://dev.minetest.net/Meetings
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by duane » Sun Jun 23, 2019 03:57

rubenwardy wrote:A week ago, I added a discussion point to the next core dev meeting to work out what is needed to get mobs into MTG.


You must be a glutton for punishment. : )
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Red_King_Cyclops » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:37

rubenwardy wrote:A week ago, I added a discussion point to the next core dev meeting to work out what is needed to get mobs into MTG. Perhaps it would be good to have a forum thread about this first, to guide discussion

You can see the meeting notes here: http://dev.minetest.net/Meetings

MTG used to have rats, oerkkis, and dungeon masters. Would they be added back into the default game if it would be decided to add mobs to MTG?
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Termos » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:20

rubenwardy wrote:A week ago, I added a discussion point to the next core dev meeting to work out what is needed to get mobs into MTG.

Fixing collision detection could be a good start.
e.g. this, this or maybe this

burli wrote:After another 10 uneventful minutes I finish the game and delete it.

Goes without saying that out of the box MT doesn't offer much as a single player game experience. But it makes a great programming game, advertising it as such for the time being might turn out to be beneficial.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by burli » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:19

Termos wrote:Goes without saying that out of the box MT doesn't offer much as a single player game experience. But it makes a great programming game, advertising it as such for the time being might turn out to be beneficial.

That's true. But new players could miss this little detail. That is the point
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by texmex » Sun Jun 23, 2019 13:12

burli wrote:
Termos wrote:Goes without saying that out of the box MT doesn't offer much as a single player game experience. But it makes a great programming game, advertising it as such for the time being might turn out to be beneficial.

That's true. But new players could miss this little detail. That is the point

I say remove the minimal game and advertise Minetest Game as the development framework.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by voxelproof » Sun Jun 23, 2019 15:40

TumeniNodes wrote:The biggest thing missing, is immersive game play


Well, immersiveness after all needs some input on a player's part. One should not expect a game developer to do all the work for him :) I've noticed that even some games with pretty mediocre graphics and not very original game mechanics or story line can become immersive and provide great fun if only a player makes some effort to 'suspend his disbelief' and take a role of an in-game character striving consequently to achieve some goal.

Personally I find MTG a great immersive survival game. Using the most extreme tweaking of Valleys I've started my way to the top of a rugged mountain 11300 nodes high (in creative mode with damage enabled). The beginning of the route is at the bottom of a 500 nodes deep massive cave carved in the ocean floor (which is dried out due to lowering the water level to -10000). Going out to the ocean floor, which is at -7300, is a remarkable challenge in itself because of huge overhangs which can be overcome only with ladders. I've tried out this sort of hardcore gaming on a smaller trail and I can honestly say that reaching designated goal brings great immaterial though very real and sensible reward.

However this sort of play isn't certainly for kids and needs certain background of real-life experiences which make immersion much deeper and easier.
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by TumeniNodes » Sun Jun 23, 2019 16:20

burli wrote:The minimal game never made sense to me


I believe the minimal game was pulled from releases with 5.0, or will be.

Admittedly MTG itself, in single player mode will become boring if they are not using it solely to build great structures.
Even to add 2 or 3 types of mobs which pose a challenge to a player while in overland and while underground when trying to collect resources would bring a decent boost.
But mobs should be a feature which can be ticked on/off as the end user desires. As well as the ability to set the spawn rates via a nice and simple GUI
So Formspecs and Mobs seems to be where the highest focus should be for a while, and actively seeking and recruiting devs with experience in these matters. (We have a couple contributors now in these areas but, we are in desperate need of some C++ and GUI people) How do we attract them? aside from sticking our leggies out.

Baby steps and K.I.S.S.

Aside from this, when players join servers and become a part of those communities, they normally have plenty to keep them immersed, as server owners add that by installing the mods which enhance the game to their liking.
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Wuzzy » Sun Jun 23, 2019 17:31

The three biggest problems:
  • Minetest Game
  • No tutorial
  • The main menu

The biggest problem is Minetest Game.

Minetest Game is, at its core, a developer's sandbox for the Minetest core devs. They just put in things when they feel like it, but most changes are relatively minor things.
Minetest Game is very unplayable for complete newcomers without some DEEP research. You just don't know what you're supposed to do. And Minetest Game does not even have a crafting guide. And when you kind of know how to play, you will likely be disappointed by how shallow MTG really is (there's just not much to do). MTG is, essentially, a Big Empty Sandbox.

Yet MTG is still shipped as the default, is still promoted heavily on minetest.net while other games are given a hard time. WHY? This doesn't make any sense to me.

The Content DB is a huge leap forwards nonetheless but I think MTG is still given way too much undue weight on official resources.

It is time to dethrone MTG from being the “default”.

Which game should be next? I don't know, really.

Maybe we should just drop the idea of a default game altogether, until we have a game that really deserves it. Maybe Minetest should be just empty by default and nicely lead the player to the Content tab and show how to install stuff. And on the homepage there could be a section of “showcase” games, a collection of high-quality games.

Keeping MTG as the default and its exclusive promotion is also very damaging to our whole community. It is damaging for developers because all the other game devs are not given a fair chance. It's damaging to players because they are deprived of games that are actually good. I feel the ONLY reason MTG is still default is because the core devs control it, not because it is particulary good or appealing.

Next problem:
There's also no tutorial for Minetest. Actually, there is one, but it does not exist. I mean, it does exist, but really it doesn't. I mean, in a distant Content DB universe, it exists, but if you are a new player, you just don't get any clue there is a tutorial, therefore it does not exist, practically speaking.

The non-existing existing tutorial I am talking about is this Tutorial. Players still must jump through hoops to get it. Actually, they first have to know it even exists, and because they don't know it, it doesn't exist. Nobody expects the tutorial to show up in the add-ons section. New players will therefore find the tutorial only by pure chance.
And even if you got the tutorial, getting it to run is a little fiddly. You must manually create a world, etc. While all this should be properly integrated into the main menu, etc. You know, like in a real game. Getting into the tutorial should be done with a single click.

I'd call the Tutorial a successful failure. New players universally like it, but the original goal of the tutorial was for official inclusion and proper integration. This never happened, despite it being finished since 2014 (!!!).

The final big point:
The main menu. The main menu is an abomination. It feels more like a very technical test/maintenance program rather than a game environment.

The main menu is also kind of related to the tutorial. As a newcomer, there are lots of things you need to understand about Minetest before you can properly use it. For example, the whole mod thing. The whole menu structure is very confusing if you are not used to it. A redesign of the main menu would be also a very important improvement for newcomers.
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by burli » Sun Jun 23, 2019 18:59

I ask myself a question: why is there still no subgame that deserves the title "Default Game"?

Is it the core developers who reject any suggestion, because in their eyes the quality of the subgames is not sufficient?

Is it the community that doesn't pull together and rather pursue its own interests than a common goal?

Is it Minetest itself, which is not yet mature enough to realize a reasonable default game?

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Linuxdirk » Sun Jun 23, 2019 19:11

Wuzzy wrote:Yet MTG is still shipped as the default, is still promoted heavily on minetest.net while other games are given a hard time. WHY?

Because according to paramat “the people most qualified to create new games are the core devs due to their understanding and experience”.

Wuzzy wrote:Maybe we should just drop the idea of a default game altogether, until we have a game that really deserves it. Maybe Minetest should be just empty by default and nicely lead the player to the Content tab and show how to install stuff. And on the homepage there could be a section of “showcase” games, a collection of high-quality games.

The website still has pre-0.4 screenshots in prominent places. I highly doubt that this will change anytime soon, let alone an overhaul of the site to shift focus to the available games.

Wuzzy wrote:The main menu. The main menu is an abomination. It feels more like a very technical test/maintenance program rather than a game environment.

This happens when you took a graphics engines UI system meant for prototyping and feed it some crack and call it “formspec”.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by TumeniNodes » Sun Jun 23, 2019 21:49

Wuzzy wrote:I'd call the Tutorial a successful failure. New players universally like it, but the original goal of the tutorial was for official inclusion and proper integration. This never happened, despite it being finished since 2014 (!!!).


So look it over to see if anything needs to be refreshed or updated, and then either bump the PR or put it up as a new one again. Maybe views regarding it have changed over all this time.
Keep pushing it, I know I will give it a thumbs up and sure plenty others will too. My opinion is that is should definitely be included.
Hell, "minimal" version was shipped with MT for how long? With most people having no idea what the hell it even was. It was useless and helped no one, only caused confusion.
So I see absolutely no reason not to include such a valuable and helpful feature.

C'mon Wuzzy... be a PITA... I know you can do it if you really put your heart into it ; )
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Chiantos » Sun Jun 23, 2019 22:08

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Last edited by Chiantos on Mon Sep 30, 2019 05:37, edited 1 time in total.
 

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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by Pyrollo » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:06

I agree MTG is missing a lot of thing on the gameplay point of view.

This large biome issue is very interesting. Large biomes are boring at start but small biomes makes game boring afterwards.

An idea could be to have different biome scales. Small biomes around the (0,0) point and biomes getting larger and larger as you got far. This could end up with huge deserts, oceans and forests in far lands. But I have no idea how to develop that :/ .

Another idea was about mobs, it's the same problem with them. They are very deadly when you start and once well equipped you just don't notice you are being attacked. Could be also good to have weak mobs around spawn and mobs getting stronger and stronger when getting far.
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Re: Minetest is boring (clickbait) A few thoughts about Mine

by burli » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:51

Most time it is not one large biome, but a combination of similar biomes like Taiga, tundra, cold desert, snowy grassland...

Minetest has 12 biomes, but 7 of them have low or no vegetation.

It's the wrong way to try to copy the real world.

Minetest is only good for two type of people: those who want to build and those who want to code.

Survival is a pain in Minetest, even with mods or other Subgames because of bugs or the lack of features in the core to make good survival games
 

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