Minecraft Has A Release Date Wait What?

By Alec Meer on April 8th, 2011 at 9:25 am.

Minecraft is going gold. Do you see? Do you see?

You haven’t really been playing Minecraft for the last two years or so. You’ve just been imagining it – a wish-dream of an amazing free-form building/aventuring game that might one day exist, if only fate is kind enough. All those months, clicking hollow-eyed at hillsides that weren’t there, screaming about green monsters no-one else could see. You’ve made a fool of yourself. You should be ashamed.

The good news is you can stop pretending this November, when the game known as Minecraft is finally released. On the same day as Sykrim, in fact…

While we knew full well we’d only be playing the alpha and then beta version of Minecraft over these last couple of years, the idea of a ‘finished’ version getting released remains bizarre in the extreme. Even Markus ‘Notch’ Persson acknowledges in his announcement post that “the version we deem as the “full version” won’t be very different at all from what the game was like a week ago, and we’ll keep adding features after the release as well, so it’s really more of a milestone when we finally get rid of the Beta label, and some kind of goal for us to work towards.”

Hooray. I guess?

The date for this milestone is November 11. The unofficial tagline of “us too” is in reference to Minecraft going head to head with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game Notch is also terribly excited about. LET THE GAME WARS COMMENCE.

In the meantime, next week should see the release of Minecraft 1.5, which offers the aforementioned achievements and now also weather. The latter’s an exciting idea, as it’s one of those tried and tested ways of really building in-game atmosphere (see: Stalker, WoW). Here’s what we’re in for:

“There’s periodic downfall (snow in snowy areas, rain in others, nothing in deserts) that make the sky darker, hides the sun, moon and stars, and makes everything wet. Ice grows back in cold regions, and snowfall covers the ground when it’s snowing. During rain/snow, there can be occasional thunderstorms with lightning.” On Twitter, he also added that “Wolves get wet in the rain. Crops will get watered.”

As has forever been the case with Minecraft: prettiness via programming. Those poor, soggy wolves though.

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89 Comments »

  1. terry says:

    I look forward to both being playable sometime in 2013 then ;-)

    • fionny says:

      Minecraft has been perfectly playable for quite a long time now…. as for Skyrim sure it will have some bugs but lets be optimistic eh?

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      bglamb says:

      Minecraft is bugged as heck.

      Unfortunately people have been clever in incorporating these bugs into their creations (think of all the amazing railway stations abusing the mine-cart bugs).

      I hope Notch does fix them, but each that he removes will break a lot of people’s creations.

    • formivore says:

      Minecraft at least in its current state is far less buggy than many AAA releases I can think of. There have been some releases in the past that were pretty bad, like the leaf decay bug (though I never experienced this).

    • PopeBob says:

      If one accepts the premise “Minecraft ought to be as close a facsimile of reality as possible.” then it is terrifyingly bugged. Floating islands and physics-defying minecarts are frightful and do not belong in the world. However, these “glitches” and “bugs” add great wonder and fun to the world of Minecraft, and as such cease to be bugs and become features.

    • ribidons says:

      IIRC, Notch learned about minecart boosting quite early and chose to leave it in there even though he later added more “realistic” coal-powered minecarts. I, too, would call that one a feature at this point.

      OTOH, there are some ugly bugs, even if you ignore the effects of modding and just look at vanilla Minecraft. Mostly, these things don’t bother solo players — multiplayer is where it becomes a nuisance. There are quite a few teleportation bugs that let people bypass walls and ceilings. There is (still) an x-ray vision exploit. There are several item-duping bugs that allow players to create arbitrarily large numbers of particular objects (~300 metal doors on a fast clock circuit — speakers go boom). Damage tiles can reach through corners. Arrows can be fired through walls. Pressure plates can be auto-triggered without directly interacting with a redstone-capable object (100% imperceptible land mines). Open spaces can be filled with invisible “force.” And so on. Plus, the engine still corrupts chunks semi-regularly.

      All of that, and I’m still a Minecraft addict. I hope they (since it IS “they” now) fix a few things before the “real” release.

    • d32 says:

      It’s like with bugs in Quake 1′s player movement – strafe jumping etc. becoming so integral part of the gameplay, that they stayed in the code until the Quake 3.

  2. wazups2x says:

    I don’t have time for Minecraft.

    • Brumisator says:

      I don’t have time for anything besides minecraft.

      I’ve saved a lot of money and lost weight by not eating and playing minecraft.
      Also I never have to change my bedsheets, I just play minecraft all night.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I have genuinely missed my dinner playing Minecraft in the past.

      And the though that I had saved money did pass through my head.

      I have not lost weight.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Fortunately for me I don’t have time for Minecraft too – all that time is consumed by my Dwarf Fortress. But once I finish it, maybe I will do some Mincecraft too.

    • Quxxy says:

      @Saiko: the ending cutscene you get when you beat Dwarf Fortress is just incredible. Brought a tear to my eye, I don’t mind saying.

    • JackShandy says:

      I thought Minecraft’s epilogue was very well done, even if the subplot on Overmodernization was too preachy.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      @Quxxy: Oh, so you got the good ending then. I always get the bad one, you know, the one where all your Dorfs die :(

    • jrod says:

      @ArcaneSaint: that ending is Fun

  3. Tenorek says:

    oooooooh, I can’t wait to officially waste my time!

  4. Premium User Badge

    Coccyx says:

    Achievements are EXACTLY what I’ve been waiting for in Minecraft. At the moment it’s just to aimless for me, I don’t have the willpower to create and grand enough goal for myself before I get bored. External motivation in the form of achievements will be the best thing to happen to the game since release, in my opinion :)

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      I wholeheartedly share your sentiments. In the beginning I’ve spent quite a lot of time in singleplayer just getting used to the world, trying different mechanics, etc. After I’ve tried everything that the game had to offer me, I’ve quickly become bored with it. Probably speaks volumes about my imaginative and creative abilities, but I can’t help it. Never found suitable MP server for me (was mostly coming across 12 year old kids, and virtually every server was about just building), so there’s that, too. Hopefully, achievements will reinvigorate my interest in this undoubtedly amazing game.

    • kulik says:

      I have totally different opinion, for me achievements are just cheap trick for a game that don’t gives you rewarding gameplay experience. …in best case. In worst case its like: “Dude take that autoshotgun or we’re getting raped!!! But i have to complete the campaign with akimbo pistols for the achievement!!”

    • pakoito says:

      Same here. I’ve been waiting to re-jump since biomes -.-

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Coccyx: I’m sorry I have to tell you this, but you officially lost your status as a human individual. Not because someone took it from you, but because you threw it away.
      What’s left, is that you can’t even form a need or interest for yourself anymore. You fully leave that to others, and even expect them to tell you what to do, want, and who you are.

      You’ve physically lost your identity, and dissolved into some kind of hive mind, controlled by whoever can throw goals and rewards at you. (Opinion makers.) Even if they go completely against your own interests. Since – as you just said – you wouldn’t even know what those would be.

      I wish I were joking. :(

    • sinister agent says:

      Mm, I have to agree with that sentiment. Achievements in a game like minecraft, which is pretty much as close to being a true ‘sandbox’ as any game in recent memory, are really not necessary and if they’re all you play it for, I struggle to see the point.

      Not that they’ll ruin the game or anything, as long as they are acknowledged as a gimmick and don’t really affect how the game develops.

    • bwion says:

      I have little interest in achievements personally. But here’s the thing. The genius of Minecraft, the absolute central thing about it that makes it something special, is that you can take damn near any approach to the game that you please, and get something out of it. There are as many ways to play Minecraft as there are players of Minecraft, and pretty much all of those ways are valid and effectively supported by the game itself.

      While I acknowledge that achievements *might* constrain this in some way if they’re implemented poorly, I think it’s much more likely that they’ll just add another way of playing the game. And that can’t possibly be a bad thing.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Though I refuse to play on them, RPS has some unofficial servers you can find on the forums. You’ll have to get whitelisted first, I think. I highly doubt they dropped that.

    • Baris345 says:

      @Barefoot: Dear lord, that was a lot of pretentious twattery to pack into such a small package

    • gwathdring says:

      It really depends on how the achievements are designed. I’m optimistic, but I don’t need them. I like setting my own goals (fill a large chest with diamonds, build a scale replica of the pantheon, kill 20 creepers with my bare hands) and even more than that, I like just exploring, mining, and expanding my home without any particular plans beyond that.

      In general I like achievements that surprise me. I love that rare moment when I’ll be doing something obscenely bizarre or maybe just awesome and impulsive and get that little dinging acknoledgement. It feels like this wonderful spontaneous discussion with the developer. I had a moment like that in TF2: As the start of a round, I was mucking about and taunting as a Pyro. Suddenly, right as the gate slid up, the pyro who was taunting back at me instantly burst into flames and died. Not only was this hilarious and unexpected (I hadn’t played in a while and didn’t keep up with the updates in between), but I got the achievement “OMGWTFBBQ.”

      Had I read the achievements first, it wouldn’t have been as fun. But not knowing the achievement existed made if feel spontaneous, a less potent version of the feeling you get while playing a game with friends when something either awesome, horrifying, ridiculous or all at once happens. It’s the closest thing a single player experience can give players to that “Did you see that? That was insane!” gamer storytelling sensation.

      I think it can work. But it’s hard, and often depends more on player experience than the achievements themselves. And most achievements aren’t much like this at all. And most of all, I love Minecraft as it is and while I’m confident enough in the development team that I don’t think the achievements will make anything worse, I don’t anticipate feeling much of a positive reaction to them either.

  5. Tei says:

    I kind of like that this has a defined end. Things like Dwarf Fortress will never have a “end”, but there are things in a game that are only done wen the thing end, so DF will never have these things.

    I think Jeb and Notch are underevaluating how hard will be to have a working Mod API. Is months of works and problems, and sould have been started earlier… but, oh well.

    Bethesda *must* add a easter egg on Skyrim only for Notch. Some people in Reddit suggest a glass helm with a crepper face, I think could be appropiate.

    I preddict here, that once Notch refresh with Skyrim, he will return back to Minecraft to add some Skyrim idea. Minecraft will be Notch game, even after release and Skyrim. I think even Notch feel Minecraft is a sandbox where everything is possible. I think how well done has result the Wolf thing, as contagious some new interest in Notch for Minecraft, os maybe is just the spring effect on two programmers, I dunno, but is cool, the recent activity of these two dudes is rather cool :D. Yay, snow!

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      alphager says:

      I think the mod-API will be pretty easy to create. In java it is pretty easy to load classes by name at runtime. In the end, it will be much refactoring work and taking existing classes and making interfaces out of them.

    • pepper says:

      alphager, you just thrown out a couple of random programming terms that have absolutely no relation to anything in mincraft itself.

      I hope you where joking.

    • Tei says:

      It depends. ModLoader is already kind like a API. Is always growing, and this is a signal that ModLoader (the easy take in the API idea) will take months to be complete.
      But seems that Mojan want to make the API the hard way, with the mod running in a sandbox.

      So how you make something that is powerfull, but also flexible, and safe? Is like you want to be the champion of Math, Art and Sport. I am a fan of dropping the 3th priority. Powerfull, Flexible and Safe? Choose two. I choose Powerfull and Flexible.

      Note:
      I know Java can be shorta magical. I got a semester of Java, with a profesor that trolled us with code from one of the authors of Java. And Java can be a absolutelly weird, terrible and powerfull animal. I no doubt with some yadda yadda stuff stuff dynamicsomething anything is possible with java. But I stick to me idea that maybe tryiing to make a good api, that is also sandboxed, could be too much, and “too much” is often something that takes ages to go there.

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      alphager says:

      I have no idea of the inner workings of minecraft, no. But I’m not just throwing random words around. Depending of the architecture of minecraft (being able to easily put so much additional content into the game in an agile manner makes me think they have a quite good architecture) and how deep the mods should be able to interface with the game (just textures? just game-logic?), defining interfaces and putting some glue-code between the existing modules could be enough.

    • pepper says:

      My point was that he was just throwing random code buzz words out there( actually they do make sense, but not in the context that me means it ). Its like telling something in a extremely abstract way that it cannot be possible implemented into anything.
      EDIT: Just noted your reply. Let me say it this way:
      What you said was random because it had no context that could relate in anyway to the actual game nor relate any knowledge about the inner workings of the game, and thus showed no plausible argument for your claim that it would be easy.

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      alphager says:

      Ah, now I get your criticism. You are right, my comment is unfounded and does not contain any real-world insight (I haven’t even unpacked the mincecraft jar and looked at how the classes are organised).
      IF (big if!) the code is following a clean architecture (which I think it is, seeing as the development was done in feature-related sprints) AND (big and!) they had mod-support in mind during the development (which they have had in mind since at least six months; I don’t remember the interview where Notch said that there would someday be a mod-API) AND (big and!) the mod-support will keep away from the really deep parts of the code (think graphics engine, netcode, etc.), I belive it COULD be as easy as Notch think it is going to be.

    • pepper says:

      Now that I can agree with. Lets hope its true *fingers crossed*.

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      FriendlyFire says:

      I’ve been working with the code for a few weeks and I can tell you it’ll take a lot of work.

      All content is statically created and linked. Many of the classes are manually mapped in lists through static {} blocks in root class definitions. Many content types like blocks have a hard cap (usually 128). Blocks all share a single texture of a fixed size that also only supports up to 128 blocks.

      It was not created with modding in mind in the slightest.

    • pepper says:

      Ouch, sounds like he just put something together for personal use that got completely out of hand. Good luck with that!

  6. Jonathan says:

    I want the weathers! I vaguely recall the first version I played having snow, and I miss it now.

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      JB says:

      Yes, I miss the snowing too, and the reforming ice and lightning sound great =D

    • terry says:

      This, I was seeing that notch was getting into wind and thunderstorms and got unreasonably excited. Minecraft has a real quiet majesty thing going on with its world aesthetics and anything that makes it more atmospheric is just gravy.

    • Urael says:

      *jumps for joy* Weather is one of my top wishes for Minecraft! Next week, you say? *books holiday from work*

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    Oozo says:

    I love it that a developer can be so relaxed about the success of his game that he can release it on the same day as another title as a form of tribute, instead of a declaration of war.

    Also, I love the idea of changing weather, including soggy wolves.

    Edit: Why is “Wait What?” not an official tag yet?

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      Coccyx says:

      To be fair, It’s not as if money is Notch’s greatest concern. In fact, I think he’s so unconcerned about it that he’d ‘release’ his game on the same day as one of the most exiting and anticipated games of the decade!

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      Oozo says:

      Oh, I’m perfectly aware of the fact that he sleeps on pillows stuffed with money to get so relaxed. I like that, too, since the guy is likeable, and his game even more so. So – go on sleeping well and keeping your pulse low, Mr Notch.

    • iainl says:

      I’m fairly sure he’s doing it purely so he won’t have whiners with an over-developed sense of entitlement complaining that he’s not working on the game when he disappears off to play Skyrim for two weeks solid…

    • Urthman says:

      Exactly. 11/11/11 is simply the day Notch wants to take a very long break from Minecraft so he can play Skyrim.

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    Harlander says:

    There’s periodic downfall ([...] nothing in deserts)

    Sandstorms?

    • Koozer says:

      That’s what I thought. Deserts shouldn’t be the most convenient place to settle weather-wise.

      Also, fluid physics please. Basically, give me a multiplayer Dwarf Fortress

    • omicron1 says:

      The realism of deserts is much increased if the player has to worry about heat/hydration/food. Heck, if done right, a “survival mode” in Minecraft could make things very interesting, even for jaded early-adopters like myself.

  9. MuscleHorse says:

    Here’s hoping for underground caves being flooded during a thunderstorm, or having to dig through snow during a blizzard to find your fort!

  10. ChowTOdust says:

    How cheeky. They should push the release date along side Skyrim every time.

  11. wcaypahwat says:

    Well hey, once he drops the full release, he can take a couple of weeks off, natch.

  12. Stranglove says:

    I think I’m gonna play this on release… And several months beforehand.

  13. Dajs says:

    I want my water valve tiles… everyone could use a shower after a long day of spelunking.

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    Lars Westergren says:

    >Those poor, soggy wolves though.

    Don’t worry Alec, they aren’t real.

    • bwion says:

      I have found myself inexplicably talking to my in-game wolves as though they were, in fact, real dogs.

      I think there might be something wrong with me.

    • Στέλιος says:

      I am on the verge of becoming a wolf hoarder. Six so far. I keep one in my bedroom by the bed and five sitting around by my main entrance room/workshop. It killed me when my first “pet” wolf I would keep upstais in the bedroom sensed me fighting a spider and teleported outside to its doom among the water & cactus traps I set up for some horde protection. Sad. So now I have a small pack and usually only take one outside with me at a time when hunting or building for some extra protection…

  15. Grot_Punter says:

    WoW had weather? I played the game for roughly 5 years *braces for his inevitable stoning*, and I remember nothing of random persistent weather.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Yes. *looks around for some good stones*

    • Starky says:

      It was added in after release, and most people turned it off because it was highly annoying at the time and horridly performance crippling for a random rain effect every now and again (weather at the start was either on or off I believe, no variation).

      I think they eventually fixed it though, either that or PC’s just got powerful enough to not care any more.

  16. 12kill4 says:

    Lightning!? Oh cockstacks! My tower is made out of iron and gold!

    • gwathdring says:

      You sir, are royally fucked. Marcus Lininius Crassus sends his sympathies.

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    Olero says:

    Weather sounds like a good addition (especially for the atmosphere) but what I’d really like to see is physics. You know, gravity? Somehow I’m quite bothered that I can chop the lowest part of a tree, and then stand directly under a floating tree… But I suppose this would be a) too demanding for (older) processors) and b) a whole lot of coding. But then again, gravel falls down just fine already. And water and lava do flow correct most of the times, so it is possible!

    • Mistabashi says:

      The fact that most block types remain resolutely unaffected by normal physics is what allows people to create all those impossible structures and contraptions. Ever wondered why you never see buildings made of gravel? It’s because gravity sucks balls.

    • Koozer says:

      I wish he at least made all floating blocks fall downwards until they hit something solid. Attached to others, fine, I wouldn’t begrudge people their infinitely long diving boards.

    • Ondrej says:

      There’s a great mod for collapsing trees and more, search Nature Overhaul.

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      Olero says:

      @ Mistabashi: Heh, I already thought this would be the reaction, but I’m not talking about gravel as the way all blocks should be affected. Different block types, different gravity! With dirt only being able to go straight up, but can be caved in a little. Wood and stone can be built horizontal for a bit before needing support, and allow for huge caves, etc. But I’m probably one of those weirdo’s that adds support below my skyhigh treehouses because otherwise it looks “wrong” (I even fill up holes in the scenery I find offensive to my eyes).

      @Ondrej: That sounds like music to my ears! Going to try that out as soon as possible

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Shit, I also do add support to my formerly-flying constructions. I’m a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here ?

    • triple omega says:

      Adding gravity to everything would be a real pain. Chopping down trees would become a chore as the leaves would suffocate you as the tree came falling straight down during chopping. Also, no more floating islands! I hate ugly floating buildings as much as the next guy, but not everything is bad while floating.

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      Olero says:

      @ triple omega: Hmm, maybe a choice before starting world? Physics on/off?

  18. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I hope they know there’s an extremely good chance Skyrim isn’t going to make that release date.

  19. something says:

    Presumably, everything is going to be released on that arbitrary momentous day.

  20. JackShandy says:

    Notch intends to show his love for Skyrim by ruining it’s day one sales. “IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU, NO-ONE CAN” he bellows.

  21. Outright Villainy says:

    Ah, so no plans to ever add a goal then.

    Oh well, I guess my curiosity has been evaporated.

    (and yes, I’ve bought and played it, it bored the hell out of me.)

    • sinister agent says:

      I will post you a special badge if you kill 1,000 creepers.

      There. Now you have a goal. Have fun.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Have to say I’m pretty disappointed about this as well.

      Maybe I am just soulless (as some jerk above told someone else who wasn’t all moon-eyed over minecraft) but I find it pretty tedious pretty quickly. They should put some game in Minecraft, not cheevos.

    • gwathdring says:

      I can understand that. It’s not a typical game, and it’s not friendly to novices at all (without a built in tutorial, if you don’t dig around for crafting recipes the odds are you’ll never survive very long let alone get the most out of the experience). Some of that should be fixed, some of it will be fixed, but a lot of it is just the nature of the beast and as such … it’s not for everyone. I personally love it, but that might be as much because I have a mildly obsessive personality as the game itself. :P

      I don’t think it really is a game, at that. It’s a sandbox (as many have said before). A virtual world. It’s a toy. Like playdough. Only it takes on the trappings of a game, most prominently the format, but also the antagonists and the inventory system and the emphasis on collection of things. It doesn’t doesn’t really coerce you with skinner box techniques, but in the same sense it doesn’t TEACH you with skinner box techniques, or ENGAGE you with skinner box techniques. You have to be taught how to use it, and then are left to do what you want with it. This prevents standard gameplay most of the time, but lends itself nicely to certain kinds of play.Imagination play. Creative play. Which I find delightful.

  22. Navagon says:

    I wonder how many new blocks and craftables we’ll have by then.

  23. WeltEnSTurm says:

    My goddamn birthday is on 11th of November.

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    Diziet Sma says:

    So does that mean that during storms monsters can spawn? Oooh or whatever noise the explody cacti folk make.

  25. Moonracer says:

    I kind of figured the game would be done when the terrain and items limit was filled (I know they could expand the terrain.png file but lets suppose they don’t) As is, there’s a lot of room for more stuff. I’m wondering if he means the basic game won’t change much or if this is it for new content.

  26. lazysuperhero says:

    I Constantly read about Minecraft and about how awesome it is, i’m in a state of perpetual intrigue. But i am yet to get around to play it.

    Am I a bad person?

    • gwathdring says:

      No. $20 is a lot to play when you don’t know what you’re getting into. With a lot of games, the genre can give you at least SOME idea and there are oft-informative demos for a lot of PC games … less in recent times … But the only “demo” for Minecraft (Minecraft Classic) is nothing like the current Beta. If you know anyone who plays Minecraft, maybe get them to let you try it. Otherwise … I dunno. It’s a rough call. I find watching videos of other people playing extremely informative. They can often be boring as all hell, but they give you a good feel for the game and sometimes the narrator/player will do something particularly awesome or have amusing commentary.

      Word of Caution: This method of learning about the game can be deceptive. You will see many amazing apparatuses that you will not be able to build for a good while on account of needing to mine for relatively rare materials (or in dangerous areas outside of the Peaceful difficulty). TNT cannons, for example, require either hunting and killing an ungodly number of creepers or building a massing mob-eating machine (probably further requiring either cacti or lava to be hunted down and collected). There is also no built in tutorial for the game, so getting started can be a bit rough and require a lot of shifting through the wiki (videos on the main site or youtube can get you through the first night, but there’s a lot that never gets explained unless you hunt it down in the wiki.

  27. Brometheus says:

    Version 1.5? Holy crap, we’ll be on Minecraft 4 by November.

  28. Araxiel says:

    Well. I’m looking forward for more stuff anyways. I just hope they add more stuff all the time ’til eternity.
    And I really want some damn furniture. My homes are always so empty.

  29. Oddix says:

    though there may not be official furniture implemented yet, you can still improvise. I can make a fine kitchen with a sandstone island, oven (furnace) cutting board (crafting table) and even a fridge (two iron stacked vertically). You can also make chairs by placing a wooden stair block and putting a sign on either side.

  30. kennycrown says:

    I kind of figured the game would be done when the terrain and items limit was filled (I know they could expand the terrain.