Since it was released in 2011, Minecraft has gone on to sell over 70 million copies, making it one of the most popular video games in history and the best selling PC game of all time. What is especially interesting about Minecraft’s success is the fact that the game isn’t really a game in the traditional sense. There are no princesses to save, no boss battles to struggle through and no endless armies of disposable bad guys to shoot with your massive guns. Instead, Minecraft is a huge, nearly endless open world that players can freely explore, mine for resources and build virtually anything that they can think of. In fact, few years ago a clever Minecraft player used the video game’s Creative Mode, which provides unlimited building resources, to make what was essentially a working 3D printer.
The Minecraft 3D printer included a functional control panel, a build area that was a 6 x 9 x 10 block area and could “print” in 16 colors of “wool” blocks. It was a remarkably clever, and time consuming, project that took the game’s basic creation tools and turned them into something far more advanced than the game designers could ever have predicted.
And not only did the YouTuber who built the 3D printer inspire actual new features in the game to make projects like his easier, but according to one of the creators of Fallout 4 it helped inspire their own in-game creation kit. In an interview with iDigital Times, game director at Bethesda Game Studios Todd Howard spoke about how the creation tools in Minecraft and what their players were able to do with them directly influenced his post-apocalyptic game’s crafting system.
Back in 2012 while Fallout 4 was in the early stages of development, their own in-game building system had similarities to the elaborate system used by Minecraft. But it wasn’t until Howard saw projects like the video of the elaborate 3D printer built in Minecraft did he really realize exactly how far he could take it in his own game. The Minecraft 3D printer was able to be made because the game allowed specific components to be combined to create more complex objects and eventually machines. When Fallout 4 hits the stores this week its own creation kit will offer a similar set of tools to build objects in the game.
“For us, we had been thinking about a feature like this [crafting and settlement building] because it hearkens back to us doing mods for a long time and having a creation kit. Minecraft starts hitting at the same time [as we were working on Fallout 4]. So while we’re making it [crafting] we were not looking at Minecraft per se, but looking at how do people build crazy shit in Minecraft. Cause they’ll build, like, working computers. How does that actually work? So we watch stuff like the 3D copier and ask ‘how did this person do this? And then we go ‘what are the things we could do to facilitate that kind of building?’ And so Minecraft helped inform the actual things we were putting into the workshop, not [the decision to have] the feature,” explained Howard.
While Fallout 4’s predecessor Fallout 3 was already a rather large open world environment and had limited crafting and building tools (specifically for weapons), the new game would put that open world and its creation tools to shame. It will include full settlement building mechanics that offer players the ability to build not just small objects and tools, but entire buildings and towns. The trick is that game players can’t simply find entire objects and drag them back to their buildings, they actually have to collect and forage for raw materials within the game’s wasteland environment. In order to put objects like a chair in a player’s settlement, the player would need to find enough wood to make one.
Most notably, according to Howard, Fallout 4 players will also be able to build working electronic devices like in-game jukeboxes. These types of devices are made possible with in-game terminals that will be found in Fallout 4. Once the player builds their own terminal, they can build objects with specific properties and then control all of those objects together using the terminal. The terminals will be able to control any number of machines in wildly varying combinations that are virtually limitless.
Here is video (cued up to the correct time) explaining how the Settlement Building feature in Fallout 4 works:
Given the creativity typical of players of games like Minecraft and Fallout, it is really only a matter of time before complicated machines like 3D printers are made in-game. And boy do I look forward to watching the videos of them that will eventually be posted online after Fallout 4 is released on November 10th.
Speaking of videos, here is the original video of the Minecraft 3D printer: