Felix Jones

I notice that content creators are somewhat forced to make guesses as to what the job titles & responsibilites are for various Mojang employees, and that’s probably because we don’t really show much of what goes on in the day-to-day for a Minecraft dev.

It is probably easier for us to individually talk about our own jobs, and my job is actually something I talk about a lot when I give talks to universities about working in the games industry.

As usual: All my opinions expressed here are my own, they are not representative of Mojang Studios, nor the Minecraft team. I’m just Felix the game developer talking about his job.

My Job Title

Probably the most official public title would be the game credits itself, where I am under the “Game Developer” heading:

My name in the Minecraft 1.19.2 credits

Someone even made an empty Moby Games page for my Minecraft credit!

A YouTube job title!?

Whenever I’ve been involved in videos on the Minecraft YouTube channel someone from the production team will send me a message asking what job title should go on under my name.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane of my Minecraft YouTube appearances.

My Nether update dev-diary appearance

Holy heck just noticed my Twitter handle is in this appearance, pretty sure I could have used that as evidence criteria for getting verified on Twitter (back when being verified actually had meaning).

Fun fact about this video: We were all working from home, and I happened to be trapped in the UK during the first of the pandemic lock-downs. Behind me on that white wall were studs used for hanging pictures; I had to keep my head and my hands as much out of the way of those studs so they could be digitally removed in post.

My first Ask Mojang appearance
My "children's TV entertainer" costume.

My favourite part of this video is when I preemptively clap and smile at Paulo’s suggestion of adding beans, because it was the 2nd take of him saying that so I knew exactly what was coming up. It either delivered as some kind of crazy awesome synergy between us, or me just being far too enthusiastic about being on camera.

My second Ask Mojang appearance
This is me counting how many diamonds I mined since Caves & Cliffs Part 2.

In this video I begin my answer with an excellent joke that I had originally said prior to the shoot, so I decided to repeat it again on camera—and everyone put on a convincing laugh as if it was the first time they heard the joke.

That was the moment I realised just how good my colleagues are in front of the camera, it’s probably a skill we take for granted. I was very impressed, and I still think about that moment.

What job did I sign up for?

On my contract I am a “Java Game Developer”, so that’s probably why I gave that as my job title for the YouTube videos above.

Actually now that I’m looking at my contract again, there’s two responsibilities written on it that I will paraphrase (I won’t show my actual contract):

So I guess that’s what I do at Mojang? These are actually more vague than one might think; generally any game developer is expected to implement “systems” (gameplay, or otherwise), is expected to fix bugs (make the game more stable), and the word “performance” can be interpreted to mean many, many more things than just frames per second.

What I actually do at Mojang Studios

As of this writing, my official responsibilities are all Minecraft Java Edition—which basically means “stuff” that is specific to Java Edition, and has little-to-no relevance to Bedrock Edition (so not the gameplay update content stuff, more Java Edition engine things and features).

That being said, I’ve noticed that many of us on the Minecraft team have many more responsibilities than you’d typically expect from a game developer. I even mentioned it here.

What surprises my friends and family when I tell them about my job is how close to the community we are. They are surprised at the level of interaction I have, and seem to view me as doing the job of marketing.

Our personal social media accounts are definitely not Minecraft marketing. To be honest, I actually use my twitter to generate Minecraft news for ItzJhief, and come up with new Minecraft jokes for Phoenix SC to steal

Mimic a fraction of our power meme, but it is about game developers having small salaries.

The one responsibility that surprises people the most

From my experience; the most common thing that surprises Minecraft fans is that Java developers themselves write the snapshot posts and changelogs.

I remember a new hire being surprised by this, and I think I remember IBXToyCat being surprised by this during conversation over lunch that one time 🤔

We have a writing team and a community team that gets involved and helps out, but when it comes to technical stuff the best people to write it are probably the developers themselves.

The team also produces the screenshots for the blog posts, which can sometimes turn into a competition of who can create the best screenshot.

Screenshot of a Minecraft farm with a pig and a warden

I’m actually quite proud of some of our blog-post screenshots. Gegy and I worked on this one, which involved some command trickery in multiplayer. I’m pretty fond of the “Minecraft animal staring back at you” vibe we got going on here.

“Don’t blame Xilefian, he isn’t responsible for this”

I once saw a comment like this in a thread regarding something that was broken in a snapshot, which made me laugh because I was actually responsible for the thing.

It is impossible for players to know what part of the game they can attribute to who, and IMO that’s probably a good thing as the responsibility of the game should be shared across all Minecraft developers.

That being said, there are some things in the game that when I look at I think “That is soooo Cory”, and checking the code I will see Cory’s fingerprints all over the history.

I do find YouTube videos that attribute the entirety of a Minecraft update to the beloved Minecraft modder: kingbdogz.

It could be an interesting thought experiment to try and figure out what a Minecraft update would look like if it was indeed dictated by a single designer.

My Next Job Title

Someone thought it would be a good idea to make me even more responsible for the best selling video game than I already am, so starting early December my job title will no longer be “Java Game Developer”.

I’ll probably write another post revealing what my next Minecraft job title is when the time comes (there’s a few funny stories related to that).

This was a bit of a random post, but the job titles we have is something I think about a lot when it comes to community interactions, and with my job title changing soon it has been on my mind a fair bit.