"I have the game world fleshed out, all the soft stuff, like the setting," he says. "And I have the emulator for the CPU, which is probably the most complex part of it, all written. I had a prototype for walking around and trying out all of the graphics styles, but that wasn't really fun. So I kind of took a break to recharge my batteries and deal with some personal stuff, and then I'll probably start over again when I get back to Sweden." Starting over again means he'll just rework the graphical engine on the game, and "rethink how the rendering is done, how the physics is done for the character."
The team working on 0x10c did have a building interface in mind for players to design their own spaceships, and Notch said it was heavily based on the popular 3D Construction Kit. But the interface wasn't fun, he told us. "We had something kind of inspired by [the Kit], with cubes you could remove corners from to make angles, but it turned really annoying when you tried to build anything."
And Notch also confirmed that the game, whenever it is ready, will be released to the public in the way Minecraft was, in various states as it's being built. Notch says he got the idea to release games that way from the old roguelike genre, of all places. "The first version they release is just you can walk around in the dungeon and that's it, that's the extent of what you can do. That's where I got it from." That release schedule, he said, works well for games that fall back on sandbox or user-generated content. "If you're making like The Walking Dead or something, because it's story driven," he said, then obviously a half-finished version won't work. "You're just going to ruin it for people in the other versions."