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GreenWolf13

The GreenWolf Report: Report 6: Interview with Jakj

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The GreenWolf Report: Main Thread can be found here.

Hello and welcome to the sixth GreenWolf Report. Today we have something special. Instead of the usual essay about Minecraft, we have an interview with a modder. I took the opportunity to interview jakj, a well known member of the Technic Forums and Minecraft Modder. Here is the interview:

GreenWolf13: What mods have you made for Minecraft? What do you think the hardest thing about modding is? What kind of mental process do you go through when making a mod?

Jakj: I'm not a big mod author, because I have just enough of an obsessive personality to constantly rework and refactor my code (for hours at a time, even) that it's difficult to get anything done over the long term. I have done some small base-class tweaks over the course of 1.1-1.2.5, and I had a small combo-mod going for a bit (called "Fair Trade") that combined some elements of popular mods into useful groupings (which got abandoned when I got frustrated with the Minecraft community, especially the toxic, self-aggrandizing, and hypocritical mess that is the modding subcommunity). At the moment, I've been working on a mod called "Imaginarium" which brings arbitrary 3D modelling into Minecraft, and so far I've stuck with it longer than any other project in my life, so I have a real confidence it'll actually come out whole.

The most difficult thing about modding for me personally is to not obsess over the little details and just pound out some code: It is difficult for me to focus more on getting things to happen than on how they are happening, and I can go for hours rewriting the substrata to suit my taste rather than actually adding or altering functionality. The most difficult thing about modding in general is how fragmented and hackish it still is: Even to this very moment, the Minecraft ToS still expressly prohibits the distribution of mods as we know them, and the code continues to be obfuscated in an attempt to retard the progress of modding and piracy (even going so far as to have Jeb make snarky comments on Reddit about how he can't figure out what anyone is talking about because the names of methods/fields/classes don't match the real code). The easily-refactorable nature of Java is both a blessing and a curse: No other game in the history of computing has had more quality and quantity of mods than Minecraft, of all games that have not had an official modding API/interface, but all of this ease leads to more drivel and crap to drown in than otherwise would come, if modding were too difficult for the "average Joe" to contemplate.

Mental process when making a mod. ... Well, primarily, the thing to focus on is Minecraft itself: You always have to work within that. Any time you say "I want Minecraft to do X.", you do NOT begin by trying to get it to do it: You begin by breaking X down into small pieces, and trying to figure out how Minecraft -already- does those things. You look at the code, you look at the game, and you begin to see the shape of your behavior in the existing behavior. You have to work from within to without, or you will just become frustrated and end up wanting to rewrite half the base classes. When you find yourself wanting to rewrite a function that doesn't work the way you need it to, pause a moment, and think about Java's architecture: "Can I extend this class, override that function, and replace its instance?" And especially, "How can I use reflection to do what I need to do?" When you are just beginning to mod, or even to think about learning to mod, always start with Minecraft itself, and make a change: Insert something into a list, add something beside something that is already there, and work outward from there. Don't write your own code and then try to fit it into the game.

GreenWolf13: What do you think is the best thing about the Minecraft Modding community? What is the worst thing about it?

Jakj: The best thing about the Minecraft modding community is its creativity: Almost every game genre, almost every major aspect of science, technology, and mysticism, and a great number of unique ideas, are all now represented within this one Lego-set-turned-computer-game. I don't give Markus Persson any credit for programming ability or foresight, but I give him credit for one of the greatest ideas for a video game of all time. No matter what past games or ideas Minecraft might be based upon, Minecraft itself has been an absolute explosion for everyone in gaming who ever had an idea and wanted to see it through, and it deserves to be so.

The worst thing about the Minecraft community is a combination of too much self-awareness and not enough overall awareness. Never before have I encountered such a group of people that I simultaneously admire and loathe so much as many of the biggest modders of Minecraft. They are creative, thorough, brilliant, dedicated, egotistical, hypocritical, maladjusted, and arrogant. I'm reminded of the common (and often accurate) that the greatest of minds are also the most twisted. There is so much wrong with this community that slides along on the basis of "it's a hobby, it's free, don't whine about it". Perhaps it's just the pseudo-socialist in me rearing its head, but I happen to believe that no one of us is important enough to ever demand anything, and that all we ever get must be earned. If you want more of something than someone else, like fame, wealth, or power, you must work hard to achieve that imbalance, because if you have not earned it, you do not deserve any more or less than any other human being alive.

Overall, the best and worst about the Minecraft modding community is actually the same thing: The unbounded creativity to do anything, that leads people to do just that. Infinite diversity of personality in infinite combination of behaviour.

GreenWolf13: That was well said. I'd like to ask two more questions, on a topic not related to modding. What is your avatar of? And what lead to you earning the title "Creatine raper or something"?

Jakj: My avatar is a Cybunny, which is a Neopet. Mostly I just picked it because it's both cute and pretty, but since I started using it as my overall Internet avatar many years ago, Neopets went through an "overhaul" that led to them obliterating a lot of their old art, leaving only legacy pets retaining their original looks (and for all I know, since I stopped playing, they may even have discontinued the legacy support). I have a real problem when people throw away good things for no good reason, in the name of blind and unconsidered progress. There is a very big difference between "progress" and just "change": Progress is a valuable thing, and change is sometimes irritating and sometimes damaging. Life should be a balance between the past, present, and future, but it rarely is.

"Creatine raper or something" is a cute reference to "Creativity Rapist and Sociopath", as my title had been before the forum was redone with this new software and all the old titles were lost and had to be reinstated. It's from the incident with Forestry, where the malicious anti-Technic code was discovered, and I hex-edited a few strings to disable it. Sengir's fans started talking about how I was raping the creativity of the modder, because I was not respecting his choice, and when I refused to back down, I was additionally branded as a sociopath because I refused to acknowledge and yield to their feelings in the matter, remaining unsympathetic to their viewpoint. That's how the Internet works, you see: Everything done by someone you like is automatically the Right Thing, and everything done contrary to (or even tangential to) that by someone else is counterproductive nonsense.

Just as an addendum, it still scares me, genuinely, though it honestly doesn't surprise me, that the Minecraft mod-using community is so complacent about the whole thing. Despite my and many others' efforts to raise awareness both about the Forestry incident and about Java's insecurity in general, all of our words didn't even raise a blip, and so far it's all amounted to nothing more than a small bump in the road passed and forgotten with no lasting impact whatsoever. I don't know if it's a sign of immaturity, or just a property of the Internet and its anonymity, but it seems that violent retribution has become the norm, and reasoned expression simply has no weight. When a person does not want to believe a thing, then they don't, and very little could ever change that.

I worry that at some point, there may be an implosion of the Modding community, despite the positive strides taken by Forge and MCP to unify the entire process, despite the impressive efforts made so far, and despite the increasing attention and awareness of modding overall by people like Direwolf and the Yogscast. So many little temper-tantrums have occurred so far, either largely-unnoticed or embraced and encouraged, but without lasting impact...but at some point, one might become out-of-control, and it might disrupt our tenuous equilibrium and fracture the Minecraft-modding scene irreparably.

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this thread is now an interview with an olloth

an olloth, I hear you a doing things for technic

olloths: yes ia m

an olloth, what is it like doing things for technic

olloths: i do things

tldr an olloth

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Guest Ysharma

It was lengthy but still interesting and informing to read

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Okay, every single one of you thread de-railers, starting with Olloth, need to get the hell out of this thread.

I tried to keep it on topic :)

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I saw. Want to help me hunt down olloth so I can murder him teach him a lesson?

then there would be no more technic bcuz i am the programs mUAHAHAHAHAHA

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I'm disappointed: Making fun of my verbal diarrhea is all well and good, but this was GreenWolf's idea, and you should not have shit all over him for it in his own thread. Go derail one of mine and leave him in peace.

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Necromancer! You forgot to ask the most important question! Is she a guy or not??

It still looks to me as if you interviewed a girl!

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