Saturday, 13 August 2011

A whole new world

I'm a big fan of the game Minecraft. If you've never heard of it before, it's pretty much the ultimate sandbox game: you are given a world that you are free to reshape in whatever way you wish. Do you think that mountain would look better five feet to the left? You are free to move it. Think that valley would look better with a town in it? You can build the town. It's like having a gaint LEGO set, but you can actually walk around in it.

A couple months ago, I built some stuff on a SMP server I shared with some colleagues. I made the video below to show my progress after one month.

This was around the time of Minecraft version 1.2. There have been a number of versions since then (we're currently at 1.7.3), but none of them have significantly expanded the possibilities for creating your own world, which is why I haven't played much of it in the past few months. With the release of version 1.8 and the API sometime later this year, though, this is set to change. Some of the more important changes are:

  • With the API, we will be able to increase the world height beyond the default 128 blocks. This means we can start making some actual mountain ranges.
  • User placed leaf blocks will no longer decay. This increases the types of vegetation that can be used, allowing things like palm trees and ivy.
  • Adding custom blocks will be much easier once the API is out, which means there is pretty much nothing stopping you from making your world exactly the way you want to.

In preparation for this, I've started planning my next project, entitled "Sapphire Island". It will be a fairly large island, probably something in the order of 2000x2000 to 4000x4000, with five cities and a bunch of different biomes on it. On this blog I'll be posting concept art and, once the new version is released, WIP shots of construction.

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