Minecraft. Legos on the Computer and so much more.

I was hooked when I first played the demo from PcGamer in June 2011. At that time the game was “Beta” 1.3. I’m writing this in July of 2015 which means this game has had a play life of at least 4 years. There is no other computer game I can think of that I’ve been playing for 4 years. At the price of $15 it’s the best price per hour of enjoyment ever. Thankfully Louise was also a fan and the multiplayer co-op element allows both of us to collaborate. Over the years we’ve managed to drag in all of my nieces and nephews, my brother Mark, Alex, and the list keeps growing. The best part, is that there is no reason not to expect the game to continue to expand for another 4 years or even 10.

Update 8-22-2019: 8 Years later. It's been a couple of years since I've played and now Minecraft is up to version 1.14.4. Lots of changes but the gameplay is identical. Time to start with a new map and play to the end to see what all has been added.

Great Videos

Yes, I know that Minecraft Videos are a dime a dozen, but these are rather good.

Fan trailer by Vareide

Honest Trailers by Smosh Games

Minecraft Guys a Jerk by Keshen8

The Official Minecraft trailer by TeamMojan

Tim and Louise's World Map

One of the first things Louise and I did was to build our own server and create a world just for us. Unfortunately there is no way to get an exact date for the day we created the world I’m pretty sure it was right after we purchased an account for Louise in May of 2012 . That would make our word just of over 3 years old now. We’ve had gaps when we played other maps, but this was our first and the one we keep coming back to.

I’ve found two different mapping programs, and each have their pluses and minuses. The first is a simple top down mapping program called Minutor. Simple quick and creates a 3000x2000 image file about 2.5M in size. Good for finding things but not a lot of detail to show off.

2D Map by Minutor

3D Map by MapCrafter


Some of our better builds







Minecraft Shaders

Sonic Ether's Unbelievable Shaders.
See the Official Shader Demo Video made by the creator here
Sonic Ether Shaders Video

Below, are some renders of our builds using both the Shader and a Higher resolution Texture pack.

So, What is a shader?

For the non-computer nerds out there, every 3D program be it a game or an animated movie works in the same manner. The program makes an object, applys a texture to the object, and then tints and shades the texture according to light falling on it.

The quality of the image is based on
1. The Detail of the object.
2. The Detail of the texture applied to the object.
3. The Quality of the Shading applied to the texture.

In most games all of this is hidden from the player, but in Minecraft you have options.

The detail of the objects is pretty much fixed in stone. Minecraft is all about square blocks, and square blocks is what you have. But this is only 1/3 of the total experience.

The default texture that Minecraft applies to every block is a picture that is 16x16 pixels. This why they call it an 8bit game (If you want to know why a grid of dots 16x16 is called 8bit, check out my Graphics Tutorial cause it’s a long story). What is great about the game is that they allow you to easily swap out the 16x16 textures for larger textures that are 32x32 or even 128x128. Yes this takes computer power and mighy slow down your computer, but many modern computer can do this without issue.

Shading. Finally, it's possible to swap out the existing shader engine with a different one. Once again, the default Minecraft shader was created as a balance between looks and processing power. Some of these Mods take an extreme amount of processing power, but the effect is simply stunning. It’s hard to believe these images are from the original game. These picture really do not do the shading engine justice. You really need to see the video in the demo above to appreciate all of the things this does.