Online gaming is not only a great resource for social skills, but also a leisure skill our children can enjoy with their typical peers. Many children are enthralled with Minecraft, the game that consists of building a world block by block (Lego style). However, I worry about issues such as bullying, aggressiveness and inappropriate language. So I was excited to learn about Autcraft, a by invitation only server created by a dad of a son with autism. Autcraft is described as “the first Minecraft server committed to providing safe and fun (learning) environment for children with ASD and their families.” How does it work? In Autcraft, the server is designed to teach players to respect each other and parents are encouraged to assist younger players by demonstrating the mechanics of the game.
To begin you must purchase the PC version of Minecraft for $26. Then you request an invitation from the Autcraft server. The wait time is approximately one week. Once you start you will be given a welcome kit consisting of an ender chest, 3 diamonds, a set of tools, and some food. They do not spawn special items or extras in for players and encourage them to adventure out to find items. If your child is scared of monsters, they currently have 3 different worlds: Peaceful, Hard and Resources World. The Peaceful and Resource worlds are best for those not comfortable with “monsters.” Hard world will test a player’s ability to keep themselves and their homes safe from mobs that can create explosions, shoot arrows, sword fight, poison and punch. All worlds are set to “normal/survival” and players can die from falling, drowning, starvation, or by lava in all; however, none of the worlds or mini-games allows pvp (player v player) fighting.
A unique component of Autcraft is their administrators. The founder and owner, Stuart Duncan, username AutismFather, has a son with autism. He is also the creator of Autism From A Father’s Point of View. MathChamp82 is a mom to three boys with special needs including PDD-Nos and ADHD. LadyCath is Australian with three nephews on the spectrum. Overlord_Krycis is a father to a son with autism. Farockz is a student from the UK with extensive knowledge of Minecraft and server running. Last but not least is WeepingWillowTwo, an American expat with a family history of autism.
What I really liked about Autcraft was these features:
- Bullying, killing, stealing, griefing, etc. is not tolerated
- Swearing is not tolerated.
- In game ticket/support system. Need an admin to do something, stand where you need the help and use /modreq <message>.
- Players’ builds are protected using WorldGuard. Ask an admin for protection.
- All kills, blocks placed, blocks broken, items dropped, picked up and more are tracked so that we can see exactly what happens anywhere.
- A few mini-games including hide and seek, mob arena, spleef and more.
- Community Wither fights and other events.
If this sounds interesting to you, I’d suggest that you check out this video. If you or a family member is an Autcraft player, please tell me what you think of the game.