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Love to help improve MineCraft graphics

Totally Swede.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Markus "Notch" Persson has enlisted the help of an unlikely source to help improve the charmingly basic graphics of MineCraft.

He's asked fellow Swede and Love maker Eskil Steenberg for a hand by sharing information. "I was asked to help them use a few graphics extensions in OpenGL," Steenberg tells Eurogamer.

Are their two brains even compatible?

"I don't think so, because he writes Java and I'm a C programmer," jokes Steenberg.

"Actually I'm probably gonna help him with some graphic stuff. He actually asked me to help him with some stuff."

"It's array buffer objects!"

He explains: "In order to do graphics fast you want to store your geometry on the graphics card instead of the main memory. But there are some tricks on how to do that fast because drivers are picky about how you do it. So you need to be smart about it."

Eskil Steenberg walks you through Love.

Love - a lavish, ambitious, idealistic online world framed as a painting come to life - pre-dates MineCraft. But the two share similarities. In both games, players hold the power; theirs is the task of building a settlement and shaping the land. Love differs in that it has complex AI routines that also populate the world, adapting and reacting to your chosen style of play.

Steenberg, however, has never enjoyed success like Persson: Love watched as MineCraft took over. So is Steenberg jealous?

"No I'm not," he says. "I'm really not. I know the guys that did it."

"I haven't played it actually," he adds. "I haven't played much at all lately because I've been much too busy. But everyone tells me it's completely different.

"It shouldn't be about [money]. I'm really happy for his success. He's handled it really well: he's still making the game, and that proves what it should be about."

Steenberg, like Persson, says he's been approached by big, attractive companies with competitive job offers. But even the rosiest of them didn't appeal.

"I've had offers, yeah," he admits. "Well the last one was Apple.

"I'm not interested. Once you've been free for so long, having somebody tell you what to do...

"I actually think I'll probably never be employed again."

Steenberg tells us that Love, with its €10 for 180 days pricing plan, makes "enough money to live off, sort of". As such, the game can, theoretically, "go on forever".

Eurogamer readers replicate New York within MineCraft.

But what if; what if we extrapolate the Persson-Steenberg relationship a step further to a future where the wealthy MineCraft man offers the visionary but struggling Love maker a job. Would Steenberg take it?

"No I don't think so. I don't think so," smiles Steenberg.

"I wouldn't want to be hired by anybody because I have too many things I want to do myself. That's the problem.

"Let's take the idea of working for Apple," he goes on, "great company, does great stuff. But you know what? They do great stuff without me. They don't really need me. I don't need to go into Steve Jobs' office and be like, 'You're a moron! You need to do this otherwise Apple's going to go out of business!' They don't need that.

"I have stuff I want to do that is radically different from what Apple does. I think of the world in a completely different way than they do. To me it's like, I want Notch to be Notch. I don't want him to be me. I want me to be me and him to be him, and let's play both our games. Let's have more stuff.

"I don't think about it as competition," he says. "I do things better than he does. I don't care what he does. I'm just really happy there are other people out there doing other stuff. We should have more exploring in different directions."

Update: Markus Persson's company Mojang has contacted Eurogamer to add:

"Eskil will not start working here. He was at our office some month/s ago and we talked about different problems and he said that maybe he had a solution for one of our problems.

"We have no plans on hiring Eskil and he has no plans on working here at Mojang."

Update #2: In response to this story, Persson has day-dreamed of a world where Love and Minecraft became one: Lovecraft.

" claims Eskil will make Minecraft prettier! We only have (vague) plans to discuss VBO's, which he knows well, nothing else," tweeted Persson, moments ago.

"Although Minecraft combined with Love would be pretty epic... Lovecraft, complete with foggy pigs and awesome creeper AI!" a subsequent tweet added.

Both Love and MineCraft are available to play now. Each carries an associated cost.

Check out Eurogamer's early 2010 appraisal of Love to find out more. But note: much has changed since then. Love's a funny thing.

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