The creator of FortressCraft resents the allegation he simply copied Minecraft when his game released over the Xbox Live Indie Games channel about a year ago. “There’s nothing that FortressCraft shares with Minecraft that it does not also share with Infiniminer,” Adam Sawkins, FortressCraft‘s creator, told Eurogamer, “which pre-dates Minecraft.”
What the hell is Infiniminer? It’s “an open source multi-player block-based sandbox building and digging game, in which the player is a miner searching for minerals by carving tunnels through procedurally generated voxel-based maps and building structures,” according to the Wikipedia entry for the game’s creator, Zachary Barth. Minecraft is often said to have taken Infiniminer as an inspiration.
“People could just as easily claim that I ripped off Infiniminer instead, but they don’t because Minecraft has had more exposure,” Sawkins said. “It honestly comes across as nonsensical as claiming that PGR rips off Gran Turismo.”
Sawkins has an interesting take on what distinguishes his game from Minecraft — basically, in Minecraft, resource-mining and crafting are a means to an end; in FortressCraft, they are the end. Yes, but there’s the matter of the title, which seems more blatantly … inspired. “How many people run around shouting that Zachtronics [Infiniminer‘s creator] should sue Mojang? Minecraft stole half the name, the basic idea and the graphic style from Infiniminer.”
Sawkins says he isn’t concerned that Minecraft‘s arrival on Xbox Live later this year will wipe out his FortressCraft business. Even if it did, he’s pulled in more than $US2 million, he says. In August, he passed the $US1 million mark, and the game was the top title on the Indie Games channel for all of 2011.