Before coming up with Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson was a game developer with King through March 2009, at the time serving mostly browser games, during which he learnt a number of different programming languages. He would prototype his own games during his off-hours at home, often based on inspiration he found from other games, and participated frequently on the TIGSource forums for independent developers. One of these personal projects was called “RubyDung”, a base-building game inspired by Dwarf Fortress, but as an isometric three dimensional game like RollerCoaster Tycoon. He had already made a 3D texture mapper for another zombie game prototype he had started to try to emulate the style of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Among the features in “RubyDung” he explored was a first-person view similar to Dungeon Keeper but at the time, felt the graphics were too pixelated and omitted this mode. Around March 2009, Persson left King and joined jAlbum, but otherwise kept working on his prototypes.
Infiniminer, a block-based open-ended mining game first released in April 2009, sparked Persson’s inspiration for how to take “RubyDung” forward. Infiniminer heavily influenced the visual style of gameplay, including bringing back the first-person mode, the “blocky” visual style and the block-building fundamentals. However, unlike Infiniminer, Persson wanted Minecraft to have RPG elements.
The original edition of Minecraft, now known as the Java Edition, was first developed in May 2009. Persson released a test video on YouTube of an early version of Minecraft. The base program of Minecraft was completed by Persson over a weekend in that month and a private testing was released on TigIRC on 16 May 2009. The game was first released to the public on 17 May 2009 as a developmental release on TIGSource forums. Persson updated the game based on feedback from the forums. This version later became known as the Classic version. Further developmental phases dubbed as Survival Test, Indev and Infdev were released in 2009 and 2010.