An educational edition of hit game/toy/epic/religion Minecraft
is in beta testing, reports The Verge
, and teachers are invited to get their hands on it early.
Minecraft: Education Edition is almost identical to standard Minecraft, but it includes a handful of features designed for the classroom. A couple smaller features were announced in January — like an in-game camera for taking screenshots — and some more substantial ones are being announced today. That includes adding in-game chalkboards that can display large blocks of text and letting teachers place characters that'll say things when a student walks up to them.
The biggest new feature won't come until September, when the game launches. It's called Classroom Mode, and it's essentially a control panel for teachers. Teachers will be able to use the interface to grant resources to students, view where everyone is on a map, send chat messages, and teleport people to specific places, which will be useful should students run off or get lost.
Classroom mode alone looks great for improving multiplayer in general:
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If you're a Boing Boing reader with children, the thought of getting them into coding has probably crossed your mind. Summer is a great time to expose kids
to new interests, and coding is no exception. But unlike traditional summer camps, coding camps are less familiar territory, and often demand a high price
tag with uncertain outcomes.
A minecrafter, infered5, has decided to recreate all of Bungie's Destiny, inside of Minecraft. It is pretty amazing!
Kotaku shares the story:
Some Minecraft players like to build houses, or castles, or mazes full of monsters. Others prefer to recreate the entirety of Destiny.
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Player infered5's pet project is to remake all of Bungie’s space dress-up sim in the blocky world of Minecraft, and he’s done a pretty good job so far. Check out this footage for a quick tour through Minecraft’s version of the Tower and even some of the Cosmodrome:
“We have the Cosmodrome built from the Steppes to the Divide, through the breach and through the Devils Lair, nothing Mothyards and beyond is made,” infered5 told me. “The Moon was made with worldpainter as a proof of concept, but has no underground areas. Very bland. The Cosmodrome was built by hand and has much more detail. The Tower and Reef are built in their entireties.”
It's a shame that this Minecraft comic never happened. The art looks fantastic. Brandon Sheffield, video game director and webcomic writer, has sample character designs, screens, and a script on his website.
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The BBC reports on China's use of a "digital camo"
—a pixelated look believed to offer superior concealment than traditional patterns—so exaggerated it resembles the video game Minecraft. (The United States deployed a less aggressive digital camo
, but is phasing it out.
) Read the rest
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
Shaped like a hexagon to mimic the dimensions of a cube, Minecraft: Blockopedia is designed for full-on Minecraft geeks, although those of us who have only watched the game over the shoulders of children and loved ones will find plenty to admire here too. After the briefest of introductions and a quick glossary to help noobs make sense of the stats that accompany each block’s name, it’s off to the races, with page after page devoted to blocks made from rocks, blocks made from plants, blocks that serve particular functions (a ladder), and blocks that do particular things (acting as a switch).
One of the coolest characteristics about Minecraft is how it chooses to observe the laws of nature and physics, or ignore them. Sand, we are told, can be a cave-in hazard, but when it’s smelted in a furnace, it turns to glass. Both statements are true, but don’t go looking for glowstone the next time you’re spelunking – it is only found in a sinister dimension of Minecraft called the Nether. And while sugar cane in both the real world and the Overworld of Minecraft can be used to make sugar, guess where it can also be used to block flowing lava?
Though the format and illustrations in Minecraft: Blockopedia are the book’s most prominent features, it’s still a book filled with lots and lots of, you know, words. Writer Alex Wiltshire mostly plays it straight (“Water is incredibly useful.”), but often he lets the language and logic of Minecraft add color, as in “Sticky pistons are made by crafting a piston with a slimeball…” and “If you dig podzol without the silk touch enhancement it drops dirt.” Got that? Read the rest
Minecraft's combat system always reflected its simplicity, and basically amounted to clicking things until they died. It's just been overhauled with a game update centered entirely on combat
. Ideas that seem simple become more challenging when you have to account for lag. Read the rest
Microsoft plans to turn Minecraft into a test suite for artificial intelligence research
, reports the BBC. As a simplified but all-encompassing model of the world, it's perfect for tutoring 'bots.
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…Microsoft suggests the open-ended nature of Minecraft makes it particularly useful because of the huge variety of situations it can simulate from first-person perspectives.
"It allows you to have 'embodied AI'," explained Matthew Johnson, the principal software engineer working on AIX.
"So, rather than have a situation where the AI sees an avatar of itself, it can actually be inside, looking out through the eyes of something that is living in the world.
"We think this is an essential part of building this kind of general intelligence."
In this beginner friendly book, called Learn to Program with Minecraft, you will learn how to do cool things in Minecraft using the Python programming language. No prior programming experience is needed. Author Craig Richardson shows you how to install Python (it's free) on your Mac, PC, or Raspberry Pi. The book has step-by-step instructions to show you how to teleport your character, create palaces and other structures with a few lines of code, stack blocks, duplicate villages and geography, and a lot more.
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The developers of Minecraft have created a new tool designed to teach coding to kids—but it has a lot to offer grown-up newbies, too.
LA Makerspace co-founder Tara Tiger Brown shares a project that her kid-friendly maker workshop is trying to make a reality.
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As I continue to search for a Halloween costume, I thought the kids might be more familiar with a Minecraft creeper!
A couple years back, Cory shared this DIY creeper costume. I don't have that level of commitment, but for $13 this might be a lot easier to wear than the Stay Puft Marshmallow man I've been considering.
My daughter finds minecraft a bit tough, I'm told its the version she is playing and I/we should try another. I wonder if she'll enjoy this...
Minecraft Box Heads, Creeper via Amazon Read the rest
At the beginning of the summer my son Ronan, age 12, and I built him his first high-powered gaming PC. Me being a dad and all, I did so happily, but with one proviso -- he’d have to dedicate time every day to learning a programming language. He was slightly sceptical of this, having taken a few less-than-interesting intro to programming classes in the past. Prepared for this, I recommended that we enroll him in Youth Digital’s comprehensive Java course called Minecraft Server Desgin 1. This got his full attention, as he had dreams of creating his own custom servers and gameplay modes to host Minecraft sessions with his friends.
We signed him up and dove in. Our immediate impression was that site and course are smartly designed and easy to navigate. All material is introduced through clear, well-produced, often funny videos that didn’t talk down him, but instead did a great job of walking him through new concepts, then pausing while he took pop quizzes and did hands-on coding exercises.
The course includes a year of server hosting, 24-hour tech support (that was fast and helpful the few times he’s needed it), and perhaps best of all, a browser-based integrated development environment (IDE) for editing the game, player, and team Java files. Within this Codenvy IDE (Windows and OSX only), you can launch the updated server with one button, which makes it fast to test code and correlate newly learned concepts with the “real world” Minecraft results.
He chose one of the four pre-built maps, learned to modify the default server file description text, whitelisted a few friend, and launched his Minecraft server within the first hour of instruction. Read the rest
Nathan Pryor (HaHaBird) made this fantastic life-sized illuminated Minecraft block for his son's birthday. It's lit with RGB LEDs so the color can be changed via remote control. Read the rest
Tavie sez, "There's a tee shirt from the Kids in the Hall's recent tour that shows 5 KITH characters as Minecraft avatars. The Chicken Lady one kills me."
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The artist's 10 year-old daughter builds worlds and expresses her attitude to possibility in the infinitely-playful Minecraft universe.
Annual video game press conferences are often an assault on the senses, and on taste. We found the cool stuff for you.