The 20cm^3 plush Minecraft TNT block is covered in suede-effect polyester and stuffed with soft foam; for something less explosive, try the Chest or the Log (or get the 10cm set with Grass, TNT, Diamond and Creeper blocks).
Ziad sez, "I interviewed C418; we talk about Minecraft's early days, the purchase by Microsoft, how the gaming community has helped him become a self-sustaining, independent musician, and creativity in the gaming industry." Read the rest
Tech giant Microsoft is to buy Mojang, creators of Minecraft, for $2.5bn, reports the Associated Press.
Launched in 2009, Minecraft is a sprawling, endlessly-replayable "sandbox" game that dumps the player in a randomly-generated abstract world. By exploring, gathering materials, crafting items and equipping their avatars, players can set about surviving hostile fauna, launching expeditions deep into ore-filled caverns, and constructing anything from huts to palaces, and even vast machines.
The phenomenal appeal and success of Minecraft -- just check our archives over the last few years! -- is hard to define, but it's been downloaded more than 100 million times since its inception. Created by Markus "Notch" Persson, Minecraft remains the most popular game on Xbox, and the most popular paid game on iOS and Android, according to the AP.
Yet that word hardly scratches the surface of the blocky world-simulator's Lego-like possibilities, though: a fact hit on by Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO, who said that it was "more than a game."
"It is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft," Nadella was quoted as saying in the press release. Microsoft expects to close the sale by the end of 2014, and break even by the end of 2015.
Microsoft also committed to keeping Minecraft available on all the platforms on which it is available today, including Sony Playstation and cellphones running Apple and Google-based operating systems
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." Read the rest
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. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
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.
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] Read the rest
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) Read the rest