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BitCraft is a fully editable survival-crafting MMORPG

Person standing on octagon grass tiles
Clockwork Labs

I wake up in an empty field as an alien vessel with glowing eyes. With nothing but a set of tools, I follow the tutorial to build my first plot of land and, eventually, pack together a bundle of supplies to contribute to someone else’s.

Nothing stays the same in BitCraft. Like the similarly named Minecraft, it’s a sandbox game that prides itself on creating. Developer Clockwork Labs encourages players to work together to build their own civilization in its fully editable world. Open plains could change into a small settlement of homes or maybe a mountain. It’s the most in-depth terraforming mechanic I’ve seen since Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The catch? It’s easier to terraform and build with others than on your own. Many aspects of the game encourage multiplayer collaboration, including the faster processing times for certain tasks and the different professions your character could specialize in.

“We are very much more focused on: let’s get lots of people together collaborating. That’s fundamentally what this is about,” says Clockwork Labs founder Tyler Cloutier.

BitCraft - Official Announcement Trailer 4K

Cloutier points to Runescape as one of their inspirations for BitCraft. “I was someone who liked to buy and sell things in front of a rock, just standing there at the bank, spamming the chat,” he tells Digital Trends.  “I just really enjoyed the economic nature of that game and the fact that I didn’t have to go down any particular path.” He also praised the progression, saying, “I love the fact that I could spend years just kind of honing one particular thing.”

Each player can choose to specialize in a certain craft. So, if someone who specializes in mining wants a more advanced pickaxe, they need to find a merchant selling one in a marketplace. These types of tools aren’t accessible to everyone but rather something you’ll need to work with other players to get, tying into BitCraft’s overarching goal of collaboration. “To make that pickaxe, it might have needed carpentry and leatherworking and tailoring, and all these kinds of different professions to come together to craft this thing,” Cloutier explains.

You might feel tempted to just ignore strangers in other MMOs, but here, there’s more incentive to at least call out to each other to see if the other person has something you need or if you just want someone to help dig a hole. As an example, Cloutier recalls a moment in a past test where players worked together to drill a tunnel through a mountain.

deer drinking from lake in bitcraft with forest
Clockwork Labs

In addition to its originality as a collaborative survival game based on user-generated content, BitCraft also runs on Clockwork Labs’ unique technology called SpacetimeDB. As explained on the official Github, the technology essentially combines the server and database into one system.

“Part of the reason I think there’s not so [many indie MMORPGs] in the space is it’s actually technically very complicated to build a game like this,” Cloutier says. “In a normal MMORPG, all of the terrain and everything, all of the trees and everything, is not actually persisted separately. It’s sort of in a static world that never changes. So if you want to bring [a persistent sandbox] to an MMORPG, it’s quite complex.”

Clockwork Labs has SpacetimeDB available for developers to try on its GitHub. BitCraft also has an alpha coming up on April 2, 2024, that players can sign up for now.

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Jess Reyes
Jessica Reyes is a freelance writer who specializes in anime-centric and trending topics. Her work can be found in Looper…
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