The origins of Block Story
People often ask me how Block Story came to be. Well, there are 2 developers, Head Hunter and myself, so I can only tell you about my side.
In 2006, I was pretty much addicted to MapleStory. I loved making friends in that game, leveling up my character, and trading with people. The quests had a lot of grinding, yet it had so much content it kept me entertained for hours.
Then in 2010 I kept seeing articles about a game called Minecraft. Back then it was in alpha and cost $10. It was not much, and the fact that it was so much talked about and was an indie game made me buy the game. The first time I saw it, it made no sense, I thought it had the worst graphics ever, and I did not know what to do. So I looked up a video that taught me how to survive the first night, and from then on I was hooked. What a great game.
But I missed the RPG part. The interaction with other people, the quests. Plus every time I built something I was proud of, a new update would come out that would force me to start a new world in order to get some features. This prevented me from getting attached to my character and my buildings the way I could with MapleStory.
I thought to myself, that my dream game would be one that combined the MMORPG parts of MapleStory with the mineable blocky world of Minecraft. The more I thought about this, the more I thought that whomever did it would be rich.
Then I started thinking, I am very good at programming, and even though I have never made a game before, there is not much I can't do with a computer. So why not look into what it would take to build it myself. It is not like I had to design a game, it could be generated, so the computer would design it for me.
In about November 2010, I decided to start working on it. It took me about 2 months to learn things about game development, and see what tools were available. I eventually decided that Unity was the right tool. It had the right price (free) and was multi platform. By January 2011, I started working on making a block engine.
It took me several generations, and about 5 months to build a decent block engine. Note this all happened part time. Here is what I came up with.
Then I started working on making a web site for it. After evaluating several CMS, I settled for drupal, got a server in amazon, and set up the site. The first post was made 07/20/2011
Colored lights were added in November. I did not invent them mind you, I saw some people in Unity forum with similar projects doing them, and decided they looked too cool to be ignored.
I started working on a server for the game. By December, I had a server I could log on to. But I actually hated it. The framework I was using was horrible, and I was ready to scrap it.
At this point, I was wondering If I could make some money off the block engine. I asked around Unity forum to see if there was interest in licensing it. There was some, but there was not enough money on the table to justify this effort.
One user in particular, Head Hunter, kept asking over and over, and looking for different things he could do to license the block engine. He eventually convinced me to license it to him, and that he would do an interface for my game and help me make it work on mobile. He wanted to make an RPG game with a ball in a blocky world for mobile. He was using at the time the Minepackage, which is a free block engine for unity. However, it was not powerful and fast enough to run in mobile, so he was looking for an alternative.
After about 3 weeks it was clear we made a good team, and that if we worked together we would be able to produce a good game in months. If we kept working separately we would end up with 2 competing much worse games that might take a year or two to complete. This was a hard desition for both of us, but we went ahead.
This was a very crucial moment, my MMO was placed on hold, and so was his game. We decided to focus on something somewhere in the middle for mobile. We gave it the name Block Story and the domain was registered by the end of February 2012. The MMO was placed on hold so we could collect some much needed funds quicker by doing a single player game for mobile.
That is when development shifted to second gear. We had lots of testers in Russia following our progress and letting us know how things worked in their phones. Head Hunter had an incredible ability to raise an audience which I could never match. We went on adding feature after feature and fixing bug after bug, until we released by the first of June in Google Play and Amazon.