A staple I do in all interviews in order to start things off is to ask that you elaborate a bit about your own Minecraft based content that people might not know?
Jigarbov: A thing people often don’t realize about Jigarbov Productions is that it isn’t just me. I do have a small team that I work with to create many of our maps. Infinity Skyblock is no different in that some of the builds by team member Bluehush who is our master builder.
You recently released Infinity Skyblock, could you tell us a bit about the map for those that might be familiar with what it’s about?
Jigarbov: A skyblock map is a kind of survival map where instead of vanilla terrain you're floating high in the air. The typical survival things are done like gathering materials, making tools like pickaxes and things like that but materials are a lot harder to come by. Normally skyblocks are restricted to 1 or maybe a couple of "skyblocks" floating in the void and the world is always the same.
In this map, however, new skyblocks keep generating around you so you always have new areas to explore and gather materials. Building farms, houses and builds are a lot more different when you have a risk of falling to your death XD. There is another challenge in this map too. There are certain skyblocks that appear where you collect infinity crystals. When you return these to the core, it increases the randomizers capabilities so there are even more different biomes, shapes, caves and things to explore.
There’s some interesting tech within Infinity Skyblock, tell us a bit about what it does differently and how this makes it unique on the Minecraft Store?
Jigarbov: As I mentioned before, most skyblock maps that have existed in the past and on the store, have a set “build” and that’s it. Infinity Skyblock is the first, that I know about, that uses procedural generation techniques to randomly create skyblocks based on a bunch of parameters.
Were there any inspirations for Infinity Skyblock, or perhaps what were the key goals when you went to make it?
Jigarbov: There were 2 main inspirations for Infinity Skyblock. The first is of course, Noobcrew who invented the first ever Skyblock map. At the time it was an innovation as everyone went for story adventure maps and the like, and they came out of nowhere with an addictive game mode that changed how people play Minecraft.
My second inspiration are things like roguelikes that randomly generate content from mazes to dungeons etc. My own Infinity Dungeon used a similar but a lot more basic system to create dungeon rooms and this tech really advances that by a lot.
With the year wrapping up, what were some of your project highlights over 2019?
Jigarbov: Looking back over 2019, we actually had a pretty quiet year. The notable exceptions are this map which so far seems to be a runaway success, and in the first half of the year just before summer we teamed up with Microsoft to create an update map showing all the cool villager trading stuff called “The Traveling Trader” where you finally get to understand villager “speak”.
You’ve released a number of maps since the store started, how has the process been and do you continue to see the store evolving in the future?
Jigarbov: Things ebb and flow on the store as they always have. The city trend seems to be slowing down now but recently skyblock started taking off and many people trying to capitalize on it, myself included. You can see it with what gets released every week and how the ratings reflect how the public like them.
As the tech advances, though, it’s no secret that maps are starting to get more and more expensive to develop, so as the cost increases, we are likely to see fewer risks taken on new ideas just like the video game industry has seen in the past.
Minecraft Playstation 4 Bedrock is out, for players experiencing the store for the first time are there any maps you suggest they check out?
Jigarbov: I mean, obviously I am biased but Papercraft Adventure is one of my favorites that we have made. It’s got a huge world and a fun story. That said, there’s a bunch of free content on the store now too, so just check those out and if you find a partner that is making the kind of content you like of their free ones, chances are you’ll like their paid items too. You can always check Youtube for lets plays too and see more information there.
Looking ahead to 2020, are you able to tease any projects or perhaps do you have any types of maps you’d like to try creating in the future?
Jigarbov: We’re going to have a huge year with a multitude of projects coming out. I don’t want to tease any yet because they’re still early in development but let’s just say you haven’t seen the last of the “Infinity” series.
Lastly I would like to leave a spot for you to say something or go over anything I might have missed during the interview?
Jigarbov: The response to this map has frankly been overwhelming. People are loving it and I’ve been watching Youtube lets plays since it came out and there’s always new ones or people live streaming and I can’t get enough of it. Thank you to everyone who bought it and keep those vids coming!
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