It’s not every day that a reporter’s interview is derailed by an 85-year-old drunk woman who hits a power pole in Oakland, cuts power to a developer’s home office, and forces him to Mi-Fi on a Skype call while his laptop’s battery slowly dies.
But it’s also not often that someone invents an open-source game development platform that can make Minecraft-style games that will, with a little luck, soon be running on web browsers everywhere: laptops, Android phones, and iPhones.
Twenty-two days ago, Max Ogden was a bored developer whose latest startup, Gather, was not, shall we say, making a lot of hay. So he was looking for something new to occupy his time.
“I came back from Europe in the winter working on a bunch of little indoor projects — it’s been freezing here in the Bay area,” Ogden told me today. “Then I saw the Minecraft documentary right after Christmas.”
He had given the wildly popular sandbox builder to his 10- and 11-year-old nephews for Christmas, and they loved it, so he started to think about building something for it — a mod perhaps, or an extension of Minecraft. And was startled to find that Minecraft was totally closed source, with no API (though one is coming soon). Instead, he discovered that developers who want to mod Minecraft hack it, decompile the code, build their mods, and then release them … to be broken with every new version of the game.