Perhaps the most distinctive feature of 0x10c is its shipboard computer system. Each ship in the universe features a fully functional emulated CPU, which is based on the technology of the 1980s and fully programmable. It can control ships systems as well as simply pass the time with games.
Following the release of Minecraft in November of 2011, the game's lead designer, Markus Persson, expectedly handed development over to Jens Bergensten, freeing his own schedule. In March the following year, Persson began development of a space-themed title set in the distant future. Citing the television show Firefly and the game Elite as direct sources of inspiration, Mojang filed a trademark for the term "0x10c", which, in mathematical formula, equals 281,474,976,712,644- the year the game is set in. Following a April Fool's joke of naming the game "Mars Effect", (in reference to Mass Effect), 0x10c was officially announced.
Persson predominantly developed the game on his own, with Mojang AB's web developer, Tobias Mollstam, having assisted with the web implementation on mojang.com and has made the game compatible with Mac OS X. Following the Penny Arcade Expo 2012, Mojang would be transitioning some of its staff power towards the development of 0x10c. In late September of 2012, Mojang hired 3D artist Jonatan Pöljö to help establish an art style, while Minecraft's sound engineer and composer, Daniel Rosenfeld, joined the project, as well.
Despite some progress with conceptualization and art style between Persson and Pöljö, development of 0x10c slowed to a stop by April of 2013, as Persson claimed to have hit a creative block. Subsequently, 0x10c was shelved until further notice.