Minecraft 1.7 Update – The Beauty of Nature-Cubed

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Minecraft has had an exciting time of it lately, at least in the PC market. User modifications have expanded the game to mind bending degrees (a look at a Yogscast upload list will show you how mad this has become). Customised single player adventure games have turned this into almost an indie game-making kit, much like Half Life 2 did for FPS create-your-owns. In the PC market, it’s had new pretenders challenge it like Terraria and Cube World, both of which are equally successful, enjoyably different games in their own right and are still evolving.

minecraft 2Yet even with its own rapid expansion to the mobile market, the merchandise industry, consoles and of course conventions and the ability to make stars out of YouTube gamers, Mojang are still looking out for us – the player. Even though the game is on full release, updates have come to fix bugs and add new content to the game at NO ADDITIONAL COST (read it and weep, EA) and this latest one is a biggie.

“The Update That Changed The World” is no small claim, but Minecraft 1.7 really has done just that. It’s own world that is. Earlier this year, horses were implemented in to the game, mainly because these were one of the most popular/requested modifications and, much like Valve, Mojang noticed this and helped implement it. Now however the biomes you find have evolved, the world is much more sensibly generated than previous versions and the items for construction or “crafting” have become more varied.

Biome wise there have been new areas added; a savannah (no lions yet) with wonderful acacia trees, a roofed forest which contains a brand new, bigger and darker oak tree, Ice Spikes that look like you could build wonderful fantasy palaces in them, a new Mega Tiaga with new dirty toilet-brown Podzol blocks and natural mossy cobblestone and the fantastic (and much requested) Mesa biome. All of which add a lovely and much needed visual touch up to the game, along with lots of new flowers to spruce up your gardens.

minecraft 1One of the big things though with these biomes is how they generate. No more will you skip from desert to extreme snow. The game now makes things a bit more sensible and tries to group things by temperature. If you’re in a snowy area then the next areas around you are going to be colder biomes until you get to the warmer ones, like the plains and so on. And the same goes hot for places like deserts and mesas – the further away you get, the colder it will get.

Another addition is the inclusion of stained glass. Many Minecraft fans have wanted this since it was teased as an April Fool by Mojang, but now you can have different coloured glass and, for the most part, it does look rather lush.

However, if like me you’ve been playing Minecraft for a while casually, or even if you’re someone that makes a career out of it, this does feel like a precursor to Minecraft 2.0. The new live streaming feature revealed at Minecon (where you press one button to instantly Livestream to twitch.tv) is now available, which creates an exciting new possibility for those wanting to share their experiences, although still in testing at the moment. It very clear that Mojang knows the success and survival of the game is catering to not only the fans, but the people who share their experience of it online.

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It’s surely only a matter of time until the game expands to make use of those empty oceans; bringing some new creatures in (friendly or otherwise), introduce multiple uses to some stagnant blocks and find something that makes redstone less technically confusing. But until then, this will quench your metaphorical thirst to explore brave and strange new procedurally generated worlds and admire the beauty of nature-cubed.

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Return of the Blog

Hello blog.

It’s been nearly two months. Two busy months and a hell of a lot of Doctor Who. But that’s all done now. University is done and I’m back, ready to make outlandish terrible commentary on current events will an ill-informed argument and an occasional gripe.

So if you’re reading this, you likely follow me on twitter so I don’t need to tell you what I’ve been up to. You all know. So I will give you a quick highlight of what’s been going on in my brain and my current feelings.

1) Benedict Cumberbatch OWNS the new Star Trek movie. He’s incredible in it and it’s visually spectacular. Go and see it. Now… I mean right now. Stop reading and go.

2) Broadchurch is out on DVD. This has been one of the greatest bit of British TV series of recent times, written by the great Chris Chibnall. Get it and watch it. I even converted two of my most critical friends to it.

3) Speaking of British TV, Luther returns in the summer, and Mad Dogs returns next month. I am excited for great television, especially seeming the Americans are besting us at the moment in this regard. I also can’t believe Utopia got a second series and Pramface a third series.

4) Tony Pulis leaving Stoke, Mourhinio to Chelsea, Rafa to PSG, Anchelotti to Madrid. Football done.

5) Trying to get a job is a nightmare… Well unless I go back to hell (I don’t want to go back to hell).

6) I have a pile of computer games to play and I kind of can’t be bothered to do it. I’m just waiting for SimCity to come on Mac so I can play it properly. Still very bugged though *sadface*

7) I have a HUGE pile of books to read, starting with A Song of Ice and Fire saga. I will not be available for at least a year for any other book.

8) I have two book ideas, one radio sitcom idea, a few comedy ideas and I still dislike Dan Brown.

9) I need to see more Liverpool games and must make it so for next year.

10) On the recommendation of Megan Walsh (@megwalsh10), I still have not eaten the Bacon or Shredded Jerky Chocolate that my friend brought me from his travels in Hong Kong.

Done. Until next time, I’ll leave you with this picture of Matt Smith’s Doctor looking at what I’m doing on my computer.

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A Great Big Spiffing Update

Yes, I haven’t updated in exactly one month, one day, and seventeen hours-ish. Bite me. At least I’ve updated the website. Doesn’t it look pretty and slightly less functional now? Less like a Dignitas brochure.

So I’m not going to update you on the dissertation as there’s not really any update to be had. University has been providing me with enough procrastination devices, reading, essays and general rubbish to keep me from making some progress on the one thing it needs me to do. But here’s some things that have been happening!

For one, I completed my dryathlon for charity so donate to me you tight gits. PINT84 £1 to 70070. Cancer Research UK will benefit greatly from it. I’m not exactly adonis yet in the body stakes but it’s slowly happening. Here’s hoping by May, I’ll look like the uglier version of (flavour of the month), the guy who (random celebrity status). The dawn is approaching where I need to seek some kind of gainful employment, working experience (I know I have seven years already), and the like. So if you know, can point in a direction or can help, tweet me! (@cleaverslips) I can write pretty things (flowers), gaming or nerdy things (kapowww! – 404 error), sporty things (FORE!), opinionated things (Uggh that bloke looks a bit rubbish on that news programme. Who does he think he is, the Prime Minister?) and funny things (makes fart noises). I can also use the steamy thingy on the coffee machine, which is probably more what you’re after in an employee anyway.

Writing wise, I’ve spent a lot of time rewriting a piece I did for a uni class. Normally, I’d post it once I’ve got my grade, but this I won’t. It’s autobiographical and to be honest, it became a bit of a labor of love for me. Literally, it’s about dating so, correct usage of the word literally there… Literally. Maybe you’ll see it when I have enough money to be happy and enough ego to warrant writing such a piece. However, my excursions into radio will bring something cool to your ears!

Hopefully starting in the next two months, me and a few friends are going to record a radio sketch show pilot. Just because we can really, and we only have the technology for another few months. The working titled “Hang The DJ” will be a pilot podcast, recorded in front of a live audience and performed by the friends and myself. So far, four pages out of a maximum 30 have been written as has some music for a comedy song. I’m quite excited about it (especially as my friends are funnier performers than me) and hope it will pave the way for a series available in podcast form. At least it’ll give me some writing confidence and a chance to hone my craft rather than the rejections from BBC’s Newsjack.

I have written a short story which I am letting stew for a while before editing. I can tell you it’s called The Taxers and is about a post-apocalyptic farming colony. Hopefully I can find a way to get it published. There’s also a few other ideas flying around, including a Valentines Day piece about a mystery Valentine who leaves random clues over their workplace to woo their prospective interest. I will publish it on here when I get around to it. PURELY OUT OF SPITE TO WRITING MAGAZINE! Yes, I ask you, as a magazine that offers short story competitions (which another friend got shortlisted for but a far inferior story got the nod), and also that offers internet/iPad subscriptions, in this 21st Century mobile world, how can they refuse a submission from me? I’ll tell you. I don’t count as a subscriber as I do so via my iPad, so they won’t let me submit anything. To do so, I have to subscribe by filling a form in the physical magazine and sending it off with a cheque with my story. I’m feeling myself rambling here but UP YOURS writing mag! Come see me when you decide to crawl into the future. Maybe I’ll fax you the directions on how to get there.

Also, Superbash, NFL, fun nights had, Dodge Brothers ticket sorted, lots of board games and geek T-Shirts purchased, lots of books, stuff, etc, yada yada. Just follow on twitter, instagram, all that kind of thing. I’m there.

Currently Reading: Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy, Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made? – David Hughes.