Minecraft Mods

Interview with Kingbdogz, project lead on The Aether - Part 1: The Aether and its future

Good news everyone! We've got a real treat for all of you: Kingbdogz, project lead on The Aether II mod and lead designer at Gilded Games is here to answer some questions about The Aether, Gilded Games and their upcoming game. In this first part of the interview we talk about his work on The Aether and the future of the mod.

Bolded text are the questions I asked, regular text are Kingbdogz's answers. Enjoy!

Let's start with The Aether II. How is the recruiting going?

It actually went quite well! There are plenty of modders out there who were very willing to help Right now I think we've settled upon a good, solid team that will lead the mod forward in its development. That means plenty of bug fixes, optimizations and (eventually) content additions.

The Minecraft modding community is very big with lots of interesting people involved. Did you interact with other teams and modders while working on The Aether?

There are actually a fair amount of modders I have interacted with in the past, namely team members of the Tropicraft development group. They're a really nice bunch of people, all very talented and have produced some outstanding work. I've also talked and developed with people like _303, Shockah, Kodaichi and even Flan, who have all helped with Aether's development in some way. Again, all very intellectual people and very good at what they do.

_303 actually helped me learn a lot of what I know now; before I started modding Minecraft, I had absolutely no idea how programming worked. I learned everything through working with various other members in the community. Some other notable mentions would be LexManos, iPixeli, Risugami, etc. I'm sure I've missed a LOT, the community really is quite huge!

What are your hopes for The Aether project in the future, when the new programmers take over and it goes open source?

My hopes for the Aether II mod is that we can keep it as stable as possible and constantly up to date. Of course all of this takes a lot of time and resources, but we'll do the best we can to provide the sort of quality we've always tried to maintain with the project. There are many bugs with the Dungeon system as well as the Party system, but we've already rewritten these completely to not only be more functional, but also clear out all the horrible defects it had previously.With the dungeon system for example, you can now enter one and disconnect from the server without getting kicked out. Dungeon instances work like literal instances now, so your progress within the dungeon is ALWAYS saved, even in Multiplayer. A cool little addition is that once you've conquered a dungeon, you can keep returning to that same instance and even decorate it as your own house.

Will you allow people to release their own modified versions of The Aether when you release the source?

Although the project will be going open-source, I feel that re-releasing modified versions of the mod is something we won't allow. However, we are going to allow people to send modified code to us for review (through pull requests on our GitHub repository), so that they can request to add new features or optimize existing parts of the code. Likewise, we will also modularize all of our existing systems within the mod so that people can make plugins for Aether II without redistributing our own code.

You're obviously busy with your new project right now, but are there still any new features planned for The Aether, aside from the bug fixes?

The most prominent features we plan to implement in the future would be biomes, extra dungeon types (revisiting the old Valkyrie temples and Sun Spirit dungeons) and even several uses for the Aether Coins. We'd also like to add more varied monsters that appear during the night. Lastly, we have some plans for a new dimension called the “Deep Nether”, but we can't reveal too much about that right now
What did you learn while making The Aether? Is that knowledge going to help your upcoming project?
Both leading and being involved in the Aether project has helped me learn so many things; I know this will sound kinda cheesy, but I really feel like Minecraft has changed my life in a strange sort of way. I've been working on the mod for just under 3 years now, and it's taught me not only how to program, but also how to design an entirely feature-complete project. I'd also like to think it sparked an immediate passion for game design in me, and I'm really eager to be a part of the gaming industry as a result.

Over time, I've learned how to approach the mod's fairly large fan base as well as how to deal with a lot of their criticism, especially without letting it affect my own personal feelings. The Aether really is quite a personal project of mine, I've worked on it for so long now and it's something I've become very fond of. Naturally, when the fan base got very large and I had to deal with a lot of pressure around bugs and release dates, I didn't handle it very well at first. But I've become a lot better and it's been a good learning process for me. I definitely plan to use this knowledge to step forward in my next project.

Read Part 2 of the interview where we discuss Gilded Games and their upcoming project!

For more info on The Aether II mod, check out our guide here.

Feel free to discuss the interview in the comment section below and be sure to stay tuned for more Aether goodness and news on Gilded Games's upcoming project.