EarthGames is a Minecraft Minigame that I have invented, developed, and published to thousands of players via the Snapcraft gaming network from the Netherlands. At its peak, different Youtubers, who now have over 50 Million subscribers combined, have played and enjoyed EarthGames.
Around 2011, a friend of mine and me were playing the game Minecraft and had a fun fight. I attacked him, but he then started to dig down in the dirt, trying to hide. I followed him and a battle within the earth started (under the ground). Because the fight was extremely fun, a few days later, I created a dirt-arena for us to play. This was the beginning of EarthGames.
The arena supported four players only and would work like the following: When all four players are ready, the game master writes „Go“ in the chat. Then all players jump in the start-boxes of their color and equip themselves with torches, weapons, and spades, which can be found at their starting location. Then the fight starts: players dig, hide, and fight.
A year later, I founded the so-called „WarGames“ server, which contained combat minigames I wrote. I somehow remembered the old „EarthGame“ (as it was called at that time) and started coding a plugin for it, adding new features every day. At that time there was just one single map and never more than 35 players at once.
The game assigned the players to one of the two teams (red or blue) and gave them a corresponding name color, as well as head color, making it easier to recognize teammates. Both teams have a distinct spawn location (where players get respawned if they get killed) and try to collect as many kills as possible, to achieve victory. Additionally, players could collect kills and buy fancy perks with those kills. That includes stronger armor, better swords, a better spade, and even explosives: grenades that could be thrown (normally not a part of Minecraft, but I just abused Minecraft API to spawn a snowball when the „grenade item“ is clicked, which then generates an explosion when it hits something), and dynamite that could be placed and would detonate after a few seconds. Those special items could not be bought from anywhere, but only from a few special „chest shops“ that were located in very central places of the map. These were the places the players tried to conquer and where most fights were going on. A few additional features, such as a private chat for team members, improved the whole experience.
Later I have connected my own server (Neuby War) with the server of the Swedish gentleman David, with who I got in touch because of different coding discussions (I taught him programming in Java, at least as much as I could with my own lack of experience at that time). Running the server for a few months, we came to a point, where our player count did not improve a lot and we both were rather tired from the work we put into the servers every single day.
Rollout on Snapcraft
Therefore, on my own, I contacted Bas and Maarten, the owners of the awesome gaming network „Snapcraft“, from the Netherlands. They already had a huge player base at that point (over 1000 Players online at once) and I joined them with my custom written Minigames. I also brought David along, who got a Staff position on Snapcraft too. Together with the useful feedback of Bas and Maarten, I adopted the plugins and improved the Minigame experience by many different tweaks (such as just calling the currency „Money“ instead of WarPoints). They built new, really gorgeous maps for the minigames and after just a few weeks, we put the minigames online, for their player base. The feedback was astonishing and a huge amount of players played the minigame. It was a truly fascinating experience.
Because the number of players was so big, in fact, after just a few days, we decided to create multiple arenas instead of just one. Also, every arena would get its own dedicated „Minecraft Server“, instead of all being on one server. This way we would solve lag and delays that were caused by the vast amount of players. This was planned and executed within around one week, which was important to keep the player experience good and not to annoy players with slow response times of the servers.
Oh, and some big Youtubers were invited and played the game 🙂
In August 2013 I stopped playing the game Minecraft, but, of course, Snapcraft does keep the minigames and now pays other developers to update and maintain the plugins.