So you've been hearing a lot about Minecraft recently.
Some of you have no idea what it's about, some of you have just picked it up and don't know what to do, others are already exploring some cave for that elusive diamond... either way, there'll be something in this thread for you.
Pretty Important NotesMinecraft is a game in heavy active development. It is currently in alpha, which basically means: evolving, but broken. Lots of things probably won't work right, but they're being fixed every day.
Minecraft: What is it?What did you go and ask that for? This thing is really damn hard to describe, so I'll just quote a Reddit commenter (ajpos) who seems to be able to describe it better than I ever could:
Or perhaps this description appeals more to your imagination:
It's a bit hard to describe.
Wife: What are you doing?
Me: Building a pick.
Me: So I can dig underground.
Wife: Why would you dig underground?
Me: To find diamonds.
Wife: What do you do with diamonds?
Me: Build a better a pick.
It's a sandbox FPS with an infinitely-sized randomly generated map. Everything is also incorporated within a "3d grid," where every cube of the map is filled with a "block" of some kind. These can include air, water, sand, lava, gravel, stone, and many others. Each block has different properties (such as durability) and can be manipulated (taken, moved, destroyed, etc.) in order to suit your objectives.
Your objectives are mostly up to you. For the first hour or so of gameplay, your objective is to survive monsters. However, after an hour you probably have enough weapons and shelter to save yourself from these monsters - so you are free to dig deep caverns, go exploring, or build things from the various blocks on the world.
Your inventory is the various blocks you have collected and the tools you've made to collect them. Your health is shown because of the damage you've taken from the monsters.
It's a game that half exists in the users own imagination, as such screen-shots and videos can struggle to give you an accurate representation of what it's like playing it.It's like this; Right now I'm spelunking caves in a newly generated world, and I plan to link them up via tunnels to create a huge underground dungeon where I can store all my loot. Later I'll probably set up a mono-rail station above ground so I can travel by train to the various points in my underground network.
However at any point I can decide this is boring and build a concrete spider 80 foot long looming over my base. Or I could get bored of that and decide to see how much TNT I can stuff in to a mountain and detonate all at once. Or I can later decide that huge explosions are not for me and instead I will set sail at the first Lake I come across and start new buildings on its shore. Or maybe half way through the lake ride I could get bored and decide to pile sand in the middle to form my own personal island. Or I could change my mind and... and do whatever I want to do.
It's impossible to get bored playing, because you can decide at any point to do anything else in the game world. However minecraft is unique, because unlike other games where you have such a grand sense of freedom it is still quite challenging. At night monsters roam the world, and to get rare materials you have to dig down in to caverns containing unseen terrors. And unknown to you, that diamond seam you're happily digging in to contains a sizeable pocket of lava on the other side...
Experiences, or 'I still don't get it.'Not convinced? Maybe these Minecraft experiences in various mediums from other players will help.
- 'Mine the Gap' series from RockPaperShotgun - Leave it up the great writers at RPS to leave you wanting more.
- X's Adventures in Minecraft - This 40+ episode (and growing) series of Minecraft videos is an entertaining look at one guys Minecraft adventures.
- Seananners' Minecraft Let's Play - A prolific YouTube "Let's Player" takes you through his first few days in Minecraft in this shorter YouTube series.
- Coe's Quest - Another excellent Minecraft adventure series.
- The Quest to Make a Mountain Fortress (and part 2) - One of our own, Fallen189, takes us through an illustrated journey of building his own epic creation.
- My own experience - A slightly shorter read by yours truly of how I became a Minecraft addict
- NonsenicalAnalogy's experience - A Redditors foray in to his own procedurally generated world. To quote; "TL;DR- Buy fucking minecraft, it’s in alpha and is one of the best games I’ve ever played."
Resources, or "Ok, I'm convinced, now what?"First, buy it. At the time of writing this, it's about $13. That's $0.0000001 for every hour you will spend in Minecraft. Best value for entertainment ever.
That price will probably be increasing when it goes in to beta, so pick it up while you can.
You might notice there's a free version - this is not what the rest of us are playing - it's Minecraft in its original form, and while it can still be fun, it's nowhere near as good as the 'real thing' or Alpha, as you may hear it called.
Now you probably want to check out the Minecraft Wiki, it's full of useful information but the two most useful pages are Crafting and Furnace. If you're still a bit confused; take a look at Your First Shelter in Minecraft which should guide you through the basics.
For more on the game you can't go wrong with a few of these communities:
Giant Bomb's Minecraft forums
The Minecraft Forum
You can follow the developer, Markus Persson (aka Notch) on his blog and on Twitter.