Ethereal Minecraft mod Aether gets a sequel

A team of six modders originally created the Aether as a whimsical, pastel-hued response to Minecraft's fire-and-brimstone Nether world. Apparently the Aether's floating islands and flying pigs just weren't celestial enough, however, and now the team have decided to rework the concept in an all-new mod, Aether 2.

According to a post on the Minecraft forum , Aether 2 is now in its first alpha stage, seeking to improve where the original mod "fell short." It's not just a fancy new dimension that's been added—there's all manner of new blocks, dungeons, and music to be found here. The primary purpose of this sequel, though, is to overhaul two features from the original. First off is the party system, which adds an overlay to the UI that shows up to 10 party members' names, their details, the contents of their wallets, and probably also the number of party poppers they're carrying.

There's a new dungeon system in play too, requiring players to party up to plunder the depths together. Think of them as a little like an MMORPG's "instances"—the content is reset every time a new party enters, giving everyone the same chance at loot. The Slider's Labyrinth is the first dungeon, sporting three mini-bosses with a couple of "new twists."

The alpha's intended for Minecraft version 1.5.1, with a newer build in the works for 1.5.2—you can download the latest build at the Aether mod's official website . And though the Aether 2 adds what is basically a heaven to the block-world, even heaven could use some improvements, with the mods promising that there's still loads more fixes and content planned for the future.