Where NodeMC is headed.


aka the "SE Daily Follow-up Post"

I talked about where I wanted to take NodeMC on the Software Engineering Daily podcast last month. I also discussed a few things about the future of Minecraft, it becoming less of a game and more of a tool, and how NodeMC will help fulfil a need for quick and easy-to-deploy Minecraft servers.

Before we get into the future, let's talk about what's happening for NodeMC v6 (6.0.0). First and foremost, we've rewritten pretty much every aspect of NodeMC using the ES6 specifications, transforming the monolithic single-file-of-code into an agile and easy to scale platform of microservices. Not only does it mean I have to learn ES6, it also means it's much easier to add new features and API routes. We're adding an auto-updater (which you will be able to turn on or off hopefully), switching to using semver for versioning, and overhauling the plugin system with permissions and a better API to interface with the core.

We're also changing several of the routes to make more sense. Every route that has been implemented in version 5.0.0 or below is labelled '/v1/'. New routes introduced in v6.0.0 are '/v2/'. Routes that interface with the server are directed to '/server/', and so forth. Each of these routes are generated with Express and some fancy magic (Jared goes into it a bit more here) so that we can keep all the code clean.

So, back to the main topic of this post.

Where is NodeMC going?

The direction NodeMC is headed is being a software-as-a-service. I want to accommodate for the rapid change in direction of Minecraft, it becoming less of a game and more of a platform for creative works. We've seen it used as more than just a game before, with things like the UN using Minecraft to re-develop neighbourhoods or it being used for teaching, and it makes me feel we're heading more in the direction of this sandbox game becoming a tool for both creative, educational and professional work.

NodeMC as a SaaS basically means this: Companies who want to quickly deploy and manage Minecraft servers will be able to quickly spin up Minecraft servers either through a user interface or their own UI. A typical example of this may be something like so.

Company A wants to design a new housing complex really quickly to show to some clients, and they feel Minecraft is the best way of doing that. They would visit the NodeMC website and hit the "New Server" button, picking the flat world preset with one or two plugins like WorldEdit. Once the designers are done their job, they run a command to zip the world file, save the zip to the cloud, and shut off the server. Company A can then spin up "viewing servers" that allow clients to log in and explore the project freely. Everything is stored in the cloud, and if Company A wants they can download the zip file or run the world through a processor first to export it to a 3D design program.

TL;DR: Starts server for building at click of a button > Builds mockup > Saves world to the cloud > Viewing server deployed for clients automatically.

Obviously this is not a small task, and required a ton more work on NodeMC. Right now v6 is focused on the ES6 rewrite, dashboard written in React, and the plugin system. I'm already drawing up v7 plans, which are going to help drive NodeMC in the direction I want to take it. And who knows, maybe this will go other unexpected directions.