Build it and they will come
Its hard to overstate the popularity of Minecraft on YouTube. The video-sharing platform is a home to tens of thousands of gamers who upload their escapades to be enjoyed by a wider community. Around the middle of 2014, those videos had been viewed agrand total of 31 billion times. Wowsers. As with any community, there are superstars whove gathered a huge audience. They have hundreds of thousands of fans, and with the money they earn from their channel, a lucky few are even able to quit their jobs and play Minecraft for a living.
If you want to join those hallowed ranks, weve gathered together some advice for you from the very best in The Ultimate Guide to Minecraft magazine out now (opens in new tab). Youll learn from Minecraft superstars about the technical and artistic principles necessary to create a brilliant Minecraft YouTube channel. Just dont forget us when youre raking in the cash and adulation of your legions of fans, yeah?
As a sneak peak here's our chat with Redstone expert and rising YouTube star Mumbo Jumbo (opens in new tab). Join us as he natters about Minecraft in schools, the fundamentals of circuitry and how YouTube made Mojangs finest what it is today...
Going back, can you remember your first experience of Minecraft, and can you tell uswhat it was like? I remember it because some people at my school were talking about Minecraft and they were chatting about this game and saying it looks like Lego. You know what: I quite like Lego! So I hopped onto the computer. I askedmy mums permission to buy it, because I was a little bit younger at the time. Igot it and I was up till about 4am working onmy first hut. It was made entirely out of dirt. It had holes in the roof for the torches and I remember on the first night I tried to sleep and just immediately got blown up. That was one of my first experiences of Minecraft. Im glad I kept it up, but that couldhave been the end, almost!
Did you have any idea then how big the game would eventually become? Oh, no, definitely not. I got it in the Alpha stage. Back then youd tell people: I play Minecraft and theyd be confused. Theyd be like: the graphics are awful! Theyd talk about how terrible it looked compared to all the other games
What makes Minecraft such an enticing prospect for you? Its just raw creativity. You make the fun in the game. Its not like Call Of Duty or something like that. You have a very defined role in Call Of Duty where you have to go along and kill the other team. Its great fun, but as far as Minecraft is concerned, there are no real instructions. Theres no real goal or motive. I mean technically you dont have to do anything in the game. You can just walk around and punch trees! But you make your own little journey. Its great fun messing around with whats possible in this world, like I do with redstone, to see what I can do there.There are plenty of possibilities, for example, in building and things. You can builda giant castle. Nobody needs to build a giant castle! Its not one of the aims of the game at all, but its just one of those things you can do if you want to.
The castle is pretty much the go to for everyone, right? Funny that! Yeah!
Do you think Minecraft should be held up as an educational resource for younger kids? I guess so yes. It requires quite a lot of logical thought and it forces you to be a lot more creative than other things in the market. If people are getting into redstone, it teaches you some of the fundamental things about Boolean logic, which is to say the fundamentals of computing. Thats a pretty big deal. Outside of that, it forces you to be creative and use your brain and assess what youre doing and better whatever it is that youre working on.
And then theres the community aspect as well. Are you proud to be a member of the wider Minecraft community? Its one of the more friendly communities Ican think of on the internet. It was extremely welcoming. When I started out on YouTube, everyone whos a similar size to you will help you out. Everyone seems to have a common interest in Minecraft, and obviously you get involved in your own little communities. If youre all working together, as a team, it allows you to build friendships quite easily. There are plenty of little servers that are people from all over the world working together as a little group on their various projects and things. Ive experienced that, and its something you see right the way throughout the community.
What makes Minecraft perfect for craftingvideos around? It comes back to the fact that the person whos creating the video has full control over the content theyre producing. In other games it relies on being extremely good at one aspect. Here you can just have fun with friends on a server, and that will make a good video because youre clearly having fun! Other than that theres the whole tutorial aspect. You can show people various bits, how to do the technical elements, and also you have the full Lets Play. Its essentially limitless. theres not a set achievement structure. Lets Plays can run on for hundreds of episodes without running out of content. Thats one of the main things thats kept it going so well in terms of YouTube. Obviously you have the whole modding side,theresalways content available.
How important is YouTube for Minecraft? Its very important because without it I dont think Minecraft would be where it is today. Thats my own personal opinion. The reason a lot of my friends found out about Minecraft is because some of the YouTubers that they were watching originally started playing Minecraft. They saw it and they thought well first they thought it looked rubbish, but when they saw the creative elements and all the things that you could do with it they got into it. Its one of those games that blew up on YouTube pretty quickly, and suddenly it was in all of everyones sub boxes and feeds, and people were looking into it and wondering what on earth is this thing? Thats the sort of thing that I dont think Minecraft could have achieved through traditional advertising. If you showed me an advert on the TV, and it was like: Its building. With blocks. Id just be like: that doesnt seem like anything Id be interested in. YouTube was a huge element for Minecrafts success. And I know thats biased from a YouTuber!
If you had the keys to YouTube is thereanything you would change? Thered be a few things in terms of the YouTube side of things. Like if they were alotbetter at pushing videos to people thatwere subscribed to you. That seems tobe something that YouTube are phasing out. It seems odd to me. Thats the one thingId change. But it works as it is. It probably isnt perfect, but it does function well. And Im yet to find myself looking for an alternative. Currently Im perfectly happy on YouTube. It suits me down to the ground. A few little tiny problems, but other than that its running smoothly.
And if you had the keys to Minecraft, whatwould you change there? I think there would be a few little bits. It wouldnt be the hardcore elements of the game. They work perfectly fine. But in terms of my own little niche of redstone, there are a few little elements I wouldnt mind adding. Cogs, pulleys, things like that. That would be really good fun and would add a whole new area of the world. Other than that, its probably not perfect. There are plenty of bugs in Minecraft and there are things people like to complain about, but you forget that its a game that functions perfectly well. Ive played Minecraft for five years now. I paid 13 pounds for it, the best 13 pounds Ive spent in my life. Im in no position to complain!
What is your favourite build? Aw blimey. This is going to be a tough one. Icould take this a couple of routes. I could go for my first ever redstone contraption which was a 2x2 door that was using just wooden doors. That was one of my first ones so you could say it was one of my favourites. Phoar Ive Theres a lot of them. I dont know why but Ive got a fond memory of the armour stand jump scare device. Its funny because its so very pointless. It was when flying blocks were first introduced, and we had the ability to launch entities at great speed. So I placed an armour stand behind the door and a flying block behind the armour stand. If you walked past it would just launch out at you, and Ive always liked that contraption just because it was very silly.
Whats the hardest thing youve ever hadtodo with redstone? Id almost go back to my first redstone project again! Oh, I dont know. Ive worked on some things that have never come together, and Ive worked on them for hours and hours on end. I know I say dont give up, but, when things go so wrong, you have to know when to stop! Looking back, theyre getting on, but there was an infinitely expandable 5x5 door. Back then it required alot of piston action, that was getting on two-and-a-half, maybe three years ago. That was my first proper large scale redstone project. That took a lot of work!