Creating Social Structures in Minecraft
Minecraft is the most basic and barren open sandbox building game. There are a limited number of materials and recipes to craft. But with these few building blocks, people have been able to creatively build some amazing structures and cities. There is a physical limitation, but the beauty of the game is turning that limitation into a strength.
Socially, Minecraft offers the most basic of communication devices for players to interact
with each other. There is no in-game voice chat/message boards, no trading system (other
than dropping things on the ground!) and no message/email notices. There is text chat and
wooden signs you can use to mark things or locations. If you're playing by yourself that
would be fine, but managing or coordinating people on a server can be hectic.
- How do you let people know of recent events, new structures, or the progress of a
- How do you reach people that randomly log on or play during hours that rarely match others?
- How do you trade or ask for things that you need?
- Where can people trade information that is in-game, without relying on email or any outside medium?
On our server of a few people, we started to run into these problems early. We needed a way to do the things listed above in a method that fit into the world. Here is what we came up with:
To solve the trading issue, we created a business district where each person would have their own store. There are no store options in Minecraft so it takes a bit of imagination to create one.
The store is basically a chest where the goods for trading are stored. There is no money in the game, so barter is used. On a sign, we post our barter rates for what we feel is right. If somebody wants something, all they have to do is take the item and replace it with the barter item requested.
This was our original business district:
If you look closer, basic stores were set up:
This worked very well for us until a person that shall not be named (you idiot!) blew up
the business district TNT terrorist-style. I was blunt with him on some of his outrageous barter prices and well, that's how he replied to me. But the shops have been remade!
My Butcher Shop:
Would you like to know what happened to my Uncle's Costco serial killer warehouse? Well it got
split into two: a castle in the works (to the left, only the stone wall is visible in this shot) and a fully functional central train station:
The brick house is the main central train station for the town. This is where the major train destinations depart from. This train station is also the place where we trade information through a bulletin board.
From here we post things that are going on during the week, ask for help, or announce an
event. If someone logs in randomly, all they have to do is check the bulletin board to see what's going on. If the person also has something to say, they can add or change things. This type of message board is basic, but just enough to give the feeling of a community working together.
If you've built different ways to communicate and share using the vanilla Minecraft, please share with us! We came up with this system out of the need for trading solutions and communication at any time of the day, but if you have better systems please let us know.