Glenn Fleishman writes, "Minecraft YouTube videos are fantastically popular, and a core group of producers of these videos have enjoyed a wild ride up the virtual charts. Diamond Minecart, a YouTube channel by 22-year-old Daniel Middleton of Northamptonshire, England, has almost 1.9 million subscribers, and people have watched his videos over 400 million times."
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My daughter Jane (age 11) grew bored with World of Warcraft (at least for now), but her passion for Minecraft has not waned after a couple of years of playing it. She and her friends love to create towns with libraries, city halls, apartments, subway systems, farms, and jails. I enjoy playing Minecraft with her, too.
If you are interested in getting started in Minecraft, buy it and start chopping and digging. Get answers to your questions by asking your kids, and referring to YouTube and Minecraft wikis. If that's still not enough, here are a few recommended Minecraft books:
The Ultimate Player's Guide to Minecraft, by Stephen O'Brien. This thorough guide to surviving and thriving in the world of Minecraft was written by a guy who loves Minecraft and has explored it deeply. (The author is also the inventor of the Mypressi espresso machine, which we reviewed on Boing Boing Gadgets. I miss Boing Boing Gadgets.)
The Minecraft Guide for Parents, by Cori Dusmann. This is especially good for parents of younger kids who need help buying and installing Minecraft. It also has good tips on how to play Minecraft with your kids.
Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, by by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson. A compelling short biography of the creator of Minecraft. It's intended audience is probably adults, but most 10-year-olds would have no problem reading it.
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Christopher Mitchell, a PhD candidate in NYU's Computer Science program, is building a 1:1 scale model of Manhattan in Minecraft, with faithful, handmade reproductions of each of the island's skyscrapers. He's relying on data from diverse sources, including Google Earth, and the model to date is 277m^2, with 71Bm^3 of volumetric detail, running on a 200 core cluster with 200GB of RAM. It's part of a larger project (!), called Sparseworld, through which Mitchell is combining data from diverse geographical and architectural systems to faithfully model the physical world.
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Derryl Murphy sez, "My son is home sick and found this video showing a 3D printer ItsJustJumby created for working inside the world of Minecraft. The engineering is way beyond the two of us, but we both still find it amazing and fascinating."
I could watch this all day. The description's actually very clear, and extremely clever. Great engineering smarts on display.
3D Printer With 16 Colors - Minecraft Invention (Thanks, Derryl!)
It's 85 minutes long, and it gets right into the meat of things. There are interviews with Notch, the Mojang crew, and game design luminaries, but the documentarians also capture the game's vibe in a way that few others do: that strange, expansive sense of place. You can download a DRM-free HD copy at the official website. [Video Link]
Minecraft's real star is its landscape, flowing psuedo-randomly from whatever name you give your world. But it also became a checkerboard of predictable components: rolling hills here, weirdly-shaped mountains there, and perhaps an abrupt patch of swamp or tropical jungle between them.
But not anymore: a new update, out today, revises the land-making algorithms and adds a bunch of new biomes--areas with a distinctive climate type, flora and fauna--and creates more natural transitions between them. There are cliffs, giant lakes, canyons, redwood forests, all sorts of new flowers and grasses, the option of wildly eroded "skylands", as pictured above, and much else besides.
A lot of other things are also improved in the "snapshot" preview of Minecraft 1.7, including a far more elaborate fishing system: you may now find all sorts of things in the water. This Reddit thread has all the details. (Note: If installing the snapshot release, it'll create ugly seams in saved worlds anywhere that the old meets the new)
Lego announced two new Minecraft micro-worlds. The Village and The Nether measure 3”x3”x3” , and will be available September 1. If you can't wait, you can get the 480-piece Lego Minecraft building set now.
Have at it. My top score is 11 because I can't type.
This five-minute video takes you on a tour of the astounding Beetlejuice roller-coaster created by Nuropsych1 and friends. It incorporates many of the best visual elements from this outstanding film, all set to an excellent remix of the Beetlejuice soundtrack, one of the great instrumental pieces of all time.
This was done on the XBOX 360 in creative mode. We worked on it off and on for two months.
Beetle Juice - A Minecraft Roller Coaster (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
The Kickstarter-funded documentary about Minecraft and its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, debuts on Saturday, December 22 on Xbox Live. Some time after that, the video will come out on DVD.
Some Minecraft players are upset that Xbox Gold subscribers are going get to see the crowdfunded documentary before folks who both donated money to the Kickstarter campaign and bought the game. Oh well, here's a 20-minute short documentary that everyone can watch now. [UPDATE: A spokesperson for the production company, 2 Player Productions, says: "The DVD and digital download version is coming out the 23rd, and Kickstarter backers are getting it before the Xbox screening."]