August hasn't been particularly kind to Minecraft conventions, official or otherwise. Following that worrying news about the unofficial 'Mineorama' convention comes the sad news that there will be no Minecon this year. Mojang COO Vu Bui announced as much on the Mojang site, stating that "while we’d love to do MINECON every year and it’s the only event we do as a company, we want to make sure we can give it the attention it needs, and that means that springtime next year will work best". In the meantime, there's nothing stopping you from holding your own Minecraft convention in the zombie-infested tunnels under your house.
"Doors and fences now come in all wood type variants," reads one of the patch notes for Minecraft's 1.8: The Bountiful Update, proving that this release is a pretty big deal. Other, less game-changing improvements include new enemies, new blocks, client-side optimisation and other 'under-the-hood' changes. And rabbits. The patch, which officially goes live on Tuesday, 2 September, can now be downloaded in pre-release form by enabling development versions in the Minecraft launcher.
The team lead on Bukkit, a Minecraft mod designed to simplify the job of maintaining heavily-modded servers, wrote a lengthy message this morning declaring that development of the mod was being brought to an end. He said changes to the Minecraft EULA, and Mojang's sudden enthusiasm for enforcing its terms, means that "there is little motivation for us to continue limping on across various aspects of the project."
In Minecraft it's never a matter of 'if' but 'when'. One day every conceivable location will be recorded in-game, but you can strike Diablo II off the list because someone has finally applied themselves to the task. No doubt there were whole online communities out there baying for this.
Minecraft is a CPU intensive game, not that its players seem to mind. I've seen teens hunched over laptops, merrily battling single digit frame-rates in order to expand their Creative repertoire. Does it have to be this way? Mojang think not. Their latest Minecraft Snapshot lets player trial what they refer to as "major optimizations" to the client's rendering, hopefully making for a smoother game.
Minecraft developer Jens Bergensten has revealed on Twitter that players may soon be able to opt for slimmer, three-pixel-wide arms for their characters. As for why, that isn't quite so clear.
At the start of the month, Mojang developer Erik "Grum" Broes reiterated to server owners that charging Minecraft players for perks was against the rules of its end-user agreement. It sparked a vocal backlash from the community—particularly the moderators and patrons of the game's largest servers. Shortly after, Mojang officially updated the rules around server monetisation—relaxing certain criteria, but expressly forbidding the selling of non-cosmetic game features. Eventually, Notch stepped in, defending himself from criticisms of being "literally worse than EA".
Clearly then, Mojang's response hasn't placated the largest communities in the Minecraft multiplayer scene. So is there any validity to their concerns? I've rounded up some of the arguments for and against the new EULA, and have emerged largely in agreement with Mojang's plans. Let me explain why.
E3 remains the place for big developers and publishers to reveal and showcase their games. We love PAX, Gamescom, and GDC, but E3 is where Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, et al. come out swinging with millions of marketing dollars to try and outdo one another in spectacle in a series of Monday press conferences.
The PC, lacking a sole, corporate representative or elected monarch, doesn’t have its own press conference at E3. Our platform has a great presence on the E3 floor, which we’ll be covering tirelessly this week, but we can’t help but wonder each year: if PC gaming a press conference, what would it be like? As we’ve done in 2013 and 2012, here’s our vision.
Minecraft is pretty popular, but it's also kind of a time sink. To get around this, some servers allow impatient players to pay for perks, letting them essentially buy their way to the top, or to whatever measure of "victory" they aspire. The only problem is that this runs contrary to the terms of the Minecraft EULA, which forbids monetization of content created by Mojang, as well as mods and plugins. "You can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don't sell them for money / try to make money from them," it states. "We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn't."
It's the kind of thing that people generally click past and ignore, but that may not be an option for much longer. Mojang looks set to begin cracking down on Minecraft servers that allow players to pay for perks.
From a design perspective, elaborating on Goat Simulator's features seems impossible. It has everything: goats; tongue-based physics; big, pretty score numbers; goats; a reckless disregard for property value. Still, Coffee Stain isn't yet done with the glory of goat, as a free 1.1 update hits June 3 with a new map, wall running, and local multiplayer support. From the recesses of the "just because" portion of the team's crazy minds comes another addition to the incoming patch: Minecraft—with goats.
What if Elizabeth tore open a rift, but instead of yanking out a crate of guns or a Gatling-wielding automaton, she withdraws a square-shaped chunk of grass before chucking it at your face with a "Booker, catch!"? I'd sputter in confusion, but that probably also means BioShock Infinite's heroine found her way to the Minecraft-ed version of the floating city of Columbia. Constructed by architect group TheVoxelBox of the Planet Minecraft fansite, the city boasts superb detail and personality worthy of the game's best custom creations.
What’s the biggest thing you built in Minecraft? A recreation of Game of Thrones’ King’s Landing maybe? That’s cool, I guess, but Denmark just put it to shame. The Danish Geodata Agency has recreated the entire country in Minecraft at a 1:1 scale. If you have 1 terabyte (1000 gigabyte) of space to store it, you can download Denmark for free. They probably have better internet service providers over there.
Minecraft's adventure maps have only grown in scale and ambition since we made our first best-of list. Custom maps leverage Minecraft's famous building tools to create curated experiences in exotic worlds. Some are set on floating islands or inside grand mansions, while Zelda Adventure, Crafting Azeroth, Adventure Time Adventure Map, FarCry 3, PortalCraft and Star Wars take place in blocky recreations of more familiar settings. Our old list collating the best adventure maps held 25 of our favourite choices, but there are so many great maps around that we've extended the list to fit more quality stuff in. Head over to our list of the the 40 best Minecraft custom maps for our new collection, with links to all the maps included. Go forth, and adventure well.
Minecraft 1.8 will soon be released, and with it comes an overhaul to world generation. As of the upcoming patch—due sometime next month—a new option will let players tweak world generation settings, allowing for even wilder terrain types. A new video teases the update, and the number of values that can be adjusted. As someone who can't tell his Main Noise Scale from his Depth Noise Exponent, I'll be taking the less refined approach: crank it all to the max.
The news that Facebook will acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion in a combined cash/stock deal has, understandably, taken over the internet. Everyone on Twitter is posting reactions—some are excited, many are shocked, and almost everyone is surprised. Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson has weighed in on the news by canceling talks for an upcoming, official version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift.
From one successful PC Gamer alumni to another. Owen Hill - former PCG web editor, current Mojang word man, and secret Yordle - is hosting the new Radio Cobalt, a video podcast dedicated to explaining the Mojang published 2D arcade shooter. Talking to the game's developers, Oxeye Game Studios, this first episode provides a quick overview of the scope and breadth of the action.
The last time I wrote about Minecraft's sales figures - back when it shuffled just 13 million copies onto computers - I made the bold prediction that it wasn't going anywhere. Even in those early days of a month and a half ago, I knew it had some sticking power. And I was right: it's now sold 14 million copies. They grow up so fast.
Away from the sales statistics, Mojang continue to roll out the snapshots that will eventually lead to an official 1.8 release. The latest pair, snappily referred to as 14w05a and 14w05b, introduce a new spectator mode, letting players look in on multiplayer sessions like voyeuristic ghosts.
Mojang are gearing up to tackle Minecraft's version 1.8. As always, that means the regular unveiling of snapshot updates - giving the development team the chance to pre-test features and look for bugs before they pull the big red update lever. Naturally, as the first step towards 1.8, it's a significant update. For one thing, it adds three new types of stone; For another, it brings some pretty useful changes for both Survival and Adventure modes.
Merry Christmas everybody! Okay, it's not Christmas yet. But given that most people don't want to work over the holidays, it's close enough that many offers, deals and special gifts are going live today and tomorrow anyway. Merry Corporate Christmas everybody! There's a particularly special gift for owners of Scrolls, or, more accurately, for the friends of owners of Scrolls. Mojang's card-based battler is giving everyone who owns the game a free giftable copy to give to pals.