It has been a few years since I learned about 0x10c (pronounced “ten to the c”) in a documentary about Notch, the creator of Minecraft. It’s the game he built after he stepped down from his role as lead developer of Minecraft—Minecraft’s unfinished sequel.

0x10c was supposed to be a space-themed sandbox game. It takes place around 281,474,976,710,656 AD, which is (you guessed it) 0x10c in hexidecimal notation. The game’s backstory, as told by Notch on the blog, was this:

In a parallel universe where the space race never ended, space travel was gaining popularity amongst corporations and rich individuals.

In 1988, a brand new deep sleep cell was released, compatible with all popular 16 bit computers. Unfortunately, it used big endian, whereas the DCPU-16 specifications called for little endian. This led to a severe bug in the included drivers, causing a requested sleep of 0x0000 0000 0000 0001 years to last for 0x0001 0000 0000 0000 years.

It’s now the year 281 474 976 712 644 AD, and the first lost people are starting to wake up to a universe on the brink of extinction, with all remote galaxies forever lost to red shift, star formation long since ended, and massive black holes dominating the galaxy.

Among other things, the game featured an emulated 16-bit computer named DCPU-16 that players could use to interact with their spaceship in various ways, and they could even extend the game with self-written programs.

I think that’s such a neat idea: a programmable environment inside of the game. I’ve been thinking about a game with a similar in-game virtual machine. The game would be written in that very virtual machine, and exposed to the player, so that the player can interact with and change the game as the please, while they play. Full control over the mechanics and environment of game with live feedback; it opens up so many possibilities for interesting gameplay.

Think of it like Sonic Pi, but instead of composing live music, you adapt your surroundings and the literal laws of physics. Creating gameplay and solving challenges by adapting the rules of the game. The game doesn’t guide the player, but the player has full control over the game.

Unfortunately Notch abandoned 0x10c, he never finished or released it. I don’t know if this is how it was supposed to work. There’s very little known about the game—a lot of rumors and a few videos is all we have left. But I can’t get this idea out of my head. One day I’ll make this game a reality.