Minecraft- Finally Complete!
Minecraft is finally out of beta!
This little sandbox Indie game, was developed by Mojang, a small Swedish Company that was established by the institution himself, Markus “Notch” Persson. Minecraft is primarily Notch’s brain child, though under the umbrella of Mojang, he chose to hire Jens “Jeb” Bergensten (programmer), Daniel Kaplan (the “business guy”), Jakob Porser whose role sees him working mainly on the controversially named “Scrolls” (that’s not because it’s a curse in swedish), and Markus “Junkboy” Toivonen (the game’s artist); all of whom have had a hand in the development of Minecraft. It was released in 2009 in its alpha stage and moved into the beta testing phase on 20th December 2010. Minecraft has been available for purchase for over 2 years, at least it has been available in its unfinished form with frequent bug fixes and feature updates – until now, so it really needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated I’m going to write one anyway! 😀
As aforementioned, this is a sandbox game. The title itself pretty much covers the main idea of the game – you mine and you craft, and then mine and craft some more!
Now the details….
When you first start, the game world is randomly generated, at least up to a certain radius from the player. As you progress, more and more of the world generates on to infinitum, though you’ll probably find it is capped at the breaking point of your hard disk.
And what is it that you see in this time of breathtakingly realistic graphics, where you only have the controller to remind you what you are looking at is not in fact real? Blocks. Lots and lots of Blocks. The ground consists of blocks, as does the trees, the oceans, the clouds and even the wildlife. Sure, your first impressions may well be “I could be playing Uncharted!”, but you would sorely be missing the point. The simplistic nature of Minecraft is endearing! I’m sure if Notch wanted to, he could have created a game with… well with curves… but then Minecraft wouldn’t have worked and would have been nowhere near as successful as it has been.
To begin with you have nothing but your fists and the ability to craft together up to 4 items. You can actually get pretty far with these tools alone, in fact its with nothing more than these tools that you can build Rome! But, limited solely to this, you can fell trees to harvest wood; collect dirt, gravel and sand; and build a very rudimentary house. Building some form of shelter should be your very first priority, perhaps you can explore a little first, but keep close watch on the sun. When the sun sets, the monsters of the game can spawn under this new cover of darkness. These monsters range from the simple spider to the enigmatic Enderman and they will make short work of an exposed player!
You can immediately set to work on a house with your 4-squared crafting window, but this will only really get you so far. From 4 planks (formed from a single block of wood) you can make yourself a working a bench, a specialised block that increases your crafting limit from 4 to 9, and this is the tool that will open a whole wealth of recipes and creations to you. Unlike before, you can now create tools that will allow you to perform tasks, such as digging, much faster, while also allowing you to retrieve a block once it has been excavated, even stone cannot be retrieved with hands alone. Now you can obtain items such as coal; essential for torches, smelting and cooking; iron ore, one form of ore that can be used to create armor and better tools/weapons; redstone, which allows the player to create circuits; and the highly sought after, diamond ore.
There are nearly 150 different crafting recipes allowing you to create things like doors, tracks, boats and pistons. At the very basic level, Minecraft is picking up one block and placing it elsewhere, perhaps this is why many people dislike the game. But once you bring crafting into the equation, it becomes far more enjoyable and versatile.
Of course, mining and crafting aren’t the only available pursuits in the game. Notch fully appreciates the mentality of the gamer, with their insatiable thirst for adventure and reward. And so rather than the game being a simple landscape of resources, the world is littered with intricate cave systems, gaping ravines, small villages, vast mountain ranges, abandoned mine shafts, and the highly evasive stronghold . And there is also an entirely other realm called the Nether, inhabited by unusual creatures, covered with lakes of lava and it has an unusual relationship with the “overworld” (the normal Minecraft world) that can be exploited for travelling. Plus hunger was added to further add to this gaming aspect.
And then there’s the End, but I won’t tell you about that, you can find that for yourself ;)…
The biggest pull of Minecraft, at least I feel, is the ability to create pretty much anything you like. But if you feel you would like a change from the “Vanilla” Minecraft, there are a load of options out there to make Minecraft constantly feel new:
Whether made by you or if its one of the hundreds you can find on the Minecraft forums, mods allow you to change any of the mechanics of the game, or even add new ones if you so wish. Some mods are as behind the scenes as improving the efficiency of Minecraft, or something as utterly game changing as the Aether mod [this was posted while these mods were not yet available for Minecraft 1.0, but I’m sure they’ll be updated in due time :)] Adding the mods to your Minecraft are fairly simple once you get to know how, though there may be some slight differences from one mod to the next, but in most cases the developer details exactly how to do this. I myself have dabbled in a little bit of modding, though at the time I had NO experience in programming, maybe I’ll create a post showing exactly how you can get into the source code to add to or alter, and then I’ll try to give you some pointers with what little I currently know :).
Texture packs do not alter the gameplay in Minecraft in any way, they merely give Minecraft a make-over. The pre-installed textures are very good and work perfectly well, but if you want to quickly inject some variety into Minecraft, texture packs are the way to go. With these, the difference is immediately obvious. Some texture packs can enhance the art,
while others can change the style all together. There are many texture packs available, so have a look around.
Minecraft is primarily a single player experience. But, it can soon become lonely and, with no one to see your creations, you are going to want to get onto a server. I’m not entirely sure how the multiplayer in Minecraft 1.0 works, but if it is like it was in the beta, to run a multiplayer world you need to run the server from your own computer. If you can support a server, great! You can choose a select few to join a world where you can mine, craft, build and explore in the company of friends. Fortunately, if you don’t quite have the specs to run a server properly, there are many free to join servers out there that can host a very high number of player. On the most successful servers, you’ll find a large part of the rendered world has already been built on and the server hosts will prevent anyone but certain players from building or mining in these areas, but usually you can get a designated region of the map on which do whatever you like.
This was just a short overview of Minecraft and I’m almost certain I haven’t covered quite a few things but I believe I managed to cover the essentials! It really is a unique and innovative game, I highly recommend picking it up. It was recently released on the iOS mobile devices, and with it due for release on the Xbox Live Arcade next s, even more gamers will have the opportunity to try this game out.
Just on a side note, Minecraft has become a lucrative business on Youtube, and so I’d like to point in the way of a couple well-known Minecraft-orientated Youtubers.
Thanks for reading 🙂