The developer recently released Minecraft World Explorer for the iPhone and iPad, an unofficial app that allows gamers to explore the worlds they create in the incredible popular computer game Minecraft.
It sells for $4, and fans of the computer game aren’t happy, at least not until they talk to Robots and Pencils co-founder Michael Sikorsky.
“I’ve emailed everyone that has asked, and most of them have turned into supporters and are now on our ad hoc beta program,” Sikorsky said. “Once people realised we’re a world explorer versus something like ‘survival mode’ it all makes sense to them.”
The difference between the two is the difference between playing a game and visiting a world created by that game.
In MineCraft you wake in a wondrous land of block art and exploration. Most first visits to the game start with a player digging holes and using that material to create tiny little forts. They often end that night, when the Creepers come to visit and explode the fort.
Minecraft World Explorer is MineCraft without the threat of enemies or the joy of survival. It’s a program that allows you to visit the by-product of your in-game hardwork but not really impact it.
While you can, if you can get the program’s slightly confusing web site to work, import and export worlds, these worlds aren’t persistent in the game’s popular survival mode. Future iterations of the iPhone and iPad app will allow you to import and export your “classic mode” creations via iTunes File Sync, Sikorsky said.
Even though the explorer is essentially a level editor, it certainly relies on the aesthetic of MineCraft and the buzz surrounding the PC and Mac title for its sales.
But Sikorsky says that MineCraft developer Mojang is aware of the program and is mostly unbothered by it.
“I think they’re a few things they want us to change and we’re talking with them right now about that,” he said. “But, I don’t want to speak for them.”
We’ve reached out to Markus “Notch” Persson, founder of Mojang and the game’s developer, seeking comment and confirmation, but haven’t heard back yet.
On the MineCraft website, Persson writes that “plugins for the game” belong to the person who created them and that they can even be sold.
“We have a huge amount of respect for (Persson),” Sikorsky said. “We’ve talked to Mojang and love their company, but they want it to be clear that this wasn’t developed by them. We’re just part of the eco-system but that’s about it.
“They’re so supportive of their users and the people who want to make MineCraft better. I don’t think many companies would have such a liberal/supportive copyright/terms of service.
“We think it’s great and is part of their formula for success.”