Trees, Wool & Sugar: It’s A Minecraft Update

New trees!

Minecraft has received its 1.2 beta update. I saw a black sheep! The full list of additions is below, but I’ve spent the evening mining underground caverns and have seen very little. What have you spotted?

New features:
* Note blocks (right click to tune, trigger to play)
* 15 wool dyes
* A new water dwelling mob
* New tree types
* Reeds magically turned into sugar canes. They still make paper.
* A bunch of new crafting recipes
* One secret useful block
* One secret pretty block
* Cake
* AND MOAR, probably. I forget!

* Paintings work in multiplayer
* Disconnecting while riding no longer keeps the player in the world
* A bunch more state is properly synched in multiplayer
* Fixed colors going weird on PowerPC
* Fixed a horrible chunk reload loop in singleplayer
* Fixed most lighting bugs in newly generated SMP maps
* Falling sand behaves better in SMP
* Fixed a few crash on load level bugs

It still won’t remember my keyboard settings between games though. Grr! So come on then readers, what are the secrets?

Oh, and thanks to Stieg who points me in the direction of this NPC mod, that may well be broken now it’s updated.


  1. evilbobthebob says:

    The secret is to use the default key layout and stick with it.

    Also lapis lazuli (extremely rare), funny squids, dyeing sheep (so much fun) and wall climbing spiders. Arachnophobes beware.

    • patricij says:

      Climbing spiders? Darn…I guess my balconies won’t be safe anymore…or the gardens, gotta plant lots of fences..

    • Mistabashi says:

      Actually I belive the secret to getting the game to remember your keybinds is to click the “multiplayer” button. I don’t think you actually have to log-on to a server, just click the button. Daft, but (possibly) true!

    • gou says:

      it is true, reason being the default config has a missing line that relates to remembering the last ip you tried to connect to and the game rejects configs that don’t have this, trying to connect just once (even if it fails) adds this extra line to the config file making everything happy and right again, thereby allowing you to keep any changes you make forever after.

  2. Twilightx says:

    I had the same problem with controls… I fixed it by trying to log in into an online game, since then the game runs perfect and remembers my setup :)

    Squids are cool :D I have to make a pool for them!
    And finally some danger, climbing spiders are just EVIL (and fun!)

    • Sander Bos says:

      Just a quick confirmation, this works, all you have to do is try to connect to a multiplayer server (server name does not have to be valid, ‘12345’ will do), after that options are remembered.

  3. Napalm Sushi says:

    I believe Notch recently shunted the addition of official mod support to highest priority in response to the increasing loudness of community demand, and the torrent of (essentially, currently illegal) mods already available that break with each version update.

    This is for a game that’s still in beta.

    Is this even remotely precedented?

    • Fede says:

      Mount and Blade had mods long before being released too.

    • BrendanJB says:

      Red Ochestra 2 is having a mod made for it too, and it is also not even out yet.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      That’s mighty good news. Notch has been weirdly schizophrenic about mods so far, borrowing them for official patches one moment and dragging out that “technically illegal” bit the next. It really bugs me when otherwise competent developers don’t get that community mods are a huge added value for their products.

      I’m curious as to how broad the API will be, myself. It won’t do much good if most of the current mods can’t be recreated in it.

    • Urthman says:

      The only time Notch said anything really negative about a mod was when it was distributing his code without his permission.

      Since all the mods now work by patching the code instead of distributing modified code, he seems to be fine with it.

    • Tei says:


      Only 3 mods use a patcher. The other 200+ mods redistribute class, or use modloader that let distribute class that can be created from scratch.
      link to

    • Dominic White says:

      Whoever started that ‘Notch hates mods and is going to sue people who make them’ rumor needs to be punched. He grumbled a couple of times that people were distributing whole, hacked versions of Minecraft, and is currently working on an official mod API so that people can just plug in new modules whenever they want.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Oh boy are you all weird little freaks with your “IP”/“distribution without permission” delusions. Get it touch with reality. There is no ownership of information. Thinking otherwise won’t change that, as much as thinking you can fly won’t remove gravity. It’s the laws of physics. You don’t control information that you passed on. Period. Accept it, or die out.

    • gabbaell says:

      Yeah, who needs IP laws when you have the laws of physics to say its okay to pirate stuff.

    • 1point618 says:


      Your definition of ownership is philosophically bankrupt, historically inaccurate, and pragmatically untenable. Learn to read something other than /. before spewing your nonsense all over the interwebs.

      That said, that anit-C/++ pro-Haskell rant is an inspired piece of trolling and I’m a big fan of your work. You do not happen to have a newsletter explaining your technique, do you? If so I would like to subscribe to it as it is relevant to my interests.

  4. El_MUERkO says:

    On a little server I host we’ve noticed a lot more animal and mob spawns, the outside of our base has the scars of numerous creeper explosions, the lower mines are also crawling with spawns, it’s suicide to go down alone. All in all it’s FUPPIN AWESMOE!!!!!

    • Tyler Jinks says:

      Yeah, on my server it’s really difficult to get started because you’re getting swarmed with four zombies at the same time D:

  5. Halibut Barn says:

    The problem with it not remembering custom key bindings has to do with a missing field related to multiplayer in the config file, I think. The easy way to fix it is to go to the multiplayer option, type some junk for the server name and let it fail to connect, and then it should remember the keys from then on.

  6. sicsemperjohn says:

    I am not really sold on the birch trees just yet.

  7. CMaster says:

    I predict that within the next week or so, RPS will run a story where somebody has created a machine to automatically play a well-known video game tune using redstone and tone blocks.

    Also, I’ve created a fully automatic arrow launcher using the new dispenser blocks. It’s pretty funky, although I’m doubtful as to its usefulness.

  8. Coins says:

    All my texture packs crash the game, that’s a bit shit. Also, it seems to have slowed down a bit. Still a nice helping of new stuff, though!

    • Mistabashi says:

      Texture packs won’t work correctly until they’ve been updated to the new version, as there’s a whole load of new stuff added (and most of Minecraft’s textures are stored in one tiny .png file).

  9. Navagon says:

    I’m liking this so far. Aside from the fact that it has left the major bugs unaltered and seems slower than usual. But the improvements are all very nice.

  10. dwpenney says:

    I have some bones in my inventory that were dropped by a skeleton archer haunting my mining operation.

  11. dethtoll says:

    So at what point does an actual point get added to the game?

    (Before anyone jumps me, I rode this game hard and put it away wet for several months until I realized there simply wasn’t anything worth striving for.)

    • thebigJ_A says:

      The point is to find out if you have an imagination.

      Turns out, you don’t.

      I’m so sorry.

    • Orvidos says:

      @ J_A – Don’t be an unnecessary. . .ramalamadingdong. Ahem.

      @ dethtoll – I honestly couldn’t say. He’s talked about the whole “quests/npcs/objectives” a few times, but nothing has ever been concrete.

    • dethtoll says:

      @thebigJ_A: I’m assuming the J_A stands for Jack_Ass? I do so have an imagination. But I’d like to have a goal, thankyouverymuch. >:(

      @Orvidos: That’s a shame. It’d be cool if there were some sort of endgame, as well as randomized events and actual proper dungeons to explore (as opposed to just single, airtight rooms with treasure chests in them.)

    • martinlugton says:

      I’ve tried to explain why Minecraft’s great for people (like myself) who don’t have imaginations. Please check out my article “How Minecraft taught me to dream” and let me know what you think of it!


  12. Miles of the Machination says:

    I think it’s also worth mentioning the metric shit-tonne of creepers that are spawning.

    • the_fanciest_of_pants says:

      They spawn during the day now D:

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Man, didn’t he already fix the “loads of creepers ruining it” issue once?

  13. DOLBYdigital says:

    Sweet! Excited for the updates but not thrilled to hear about the slowdown. Hopefully its not too noticeable since I already have a hard time finding online servers that aren’t too laggy. Climbing spiders…. great now I’ll be checking the ceilings and corners every time I go into caves and houses :)

    Great reply thebigJ_A :)

  14. michaelkelleherthename says:

    Looks like slowdown is chunks updating.

  15. Thants says:

    * Fixed colors going weird on PowerPC

    Wait, this game runs of PowerPC? That’s impressive.

  16. Jhoosier says:

    Cool! I wonder how the tree types work re: saplings. I hope it gets mixed up a bit.

  17. DJ Phantoon says:

    Have you guys seen the new Ghasts?

    They’re actually terrifying now.

    EDIT: Ah, blah, nevermind. That was a carry over from a mod I had that I forgot about. The new look for Ghasts on the Minecraftwiki page are even more scary, though. I hope they become the new model soon.

  18. Harlander says:

    I haven’t played Minecraft in a while, but it’s good to know it’s there, you know?

  19. markside says:

    I’m getting some quite massive glitching post-update, but the new stuff does sound cool.

  20. Urael says:

    After all the coverage I finally took the plunge into Minecraft yesterday…just in time for my first update!

    Despite initial skepticism I can now well understand what people see in this game. It’s terrific! I lost nearly the whole day to it as I learned the art of crafting, how to build to survive, and had great fun exploring. Once I’d completed a third phase project, to link my mountin retreat to my valley mine with an enormous sky pathway, I really didn’t expect to feel such a sense of accomplishment!

    Certain elements still elude me – literally! I haven’t found anything more exotic than Iron in my mining exploits yet but I guess that will come with time and possibly new landscapes.

    So…yeah. I guess I’m now a fan. :) Although I will say that the spawning is now a touch mad. Not sure if it’s improved over what little I saw in the 1.1 version.

    Also, Climbing spiders?? O_o

  21. KingCathcart says:

    The cake is a lie.

  22. terry says:

    Installed the update, within 30 seconds I was fistfighting a squid. Good update!

    Incidentally, anyone who values getting the crap scared out of them in SP should definitely pick up the Mo Creatures mod when it’s updated for this release. Nothing like getting randomly hunted down by a pride of lions during a caveprobing expedition.

    • Jhoosier says:

      Ooh, it got updated :D Werewolf!

      I managed to avoid the lions, but was enjoying watching cows when I heard a howl and promptly got eaten by a wolf.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      If Minecraft can claim anything, it can claim to be the only game in the world where you can fist a squid. Well, ish.

  23. McDan says:

    I also ended up fistfighting a squid after spawning, then a creeper promptly appeared behind me. Unfair I thought. The wall-climbing spiders are also nightmares to deal with.

  24. Out Reach says:

    All you have to do is add an overhang to all your towers and the spiders can’t reach the top :)

  25. Navagon says:

    Game is borked. It just keeps crashing now.

  26. Wilson says:

    The update is quite nice, but nothing special. When he adds mod support will be the big one. Notch can’t compete with the number of things the community can produce, he just needs to give them the chance. One of the real strengths of Minecraft in terms of modding is the visual style. It doesn’t take people forever to produce a new creature model and skin, meaning far more of them can be produced. Same for items and blocks. Obviously that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make something that looks nice and fits everything else, and the coding still has to be done, but it’s gonna be a lot easier than modding anything with modern graphics.

    • Dominic White says:

      The thing is, he can’t really add full mod support until the very fundamentals of the game are worked out. Apparently the biggest change in this update is under the hood, so to speak – there was a total rewrite of how the game applies block textures, allowing for things like multiple tree types and dyed blocks quickly and easily.

      Even if he had a mod plugin system already worked out, that would have broken them all anyway.

  27. Xocrates says:

    Incidentally, remember the Huge Darwinian mentioned here a while ago? We decided to reboot the server and made that world available for download. So if anyone is interested in visiting or just want a world with some infrastructure built but not hugely crowded I may look into posting here a link.

  28. mspicko says:

    So I’ve entered this cave, and I’ve literally spent some 45 minutes exploring it (and that’s on peaceful mode) , until I’ve decided to return to the surface and continue the adventure tomorrow, a.k.a. today.
    I’ve never seen anything so huge in previous versions.

  29. DeanLearner says:

    I was under the impression that some work was to be done on performance optimization, but it seems to just be new features and bug fixes. Sucks for me because the game was just about playable for all of two weeks when I bought it 6-7 months ago. Just tried it again and it’s probably a bit worse.

    You know, it’s great that Notch is enthusiastic about all these additions and stuff, but well… meh :/

  30. MartinNr5 says:

    Version 1.2_01 is out now to adress slowdowns and more bugs: link to

  31. Feralg says:

    I spent a good hour messing around with the note blocks, having a grand old laugh. Then I discovered you can now make arrow traps. I’ve started mass producing pressure plates.

  32. edit says:

    I dig all this stuff, I just wish that notch would consider (even if it meant hiring some more coders) native (probably C++) versions. I know a lot of people claim that Java can do the job just fine, but the performance always seems to be below what I’d expect from a new game on my current rig. Especially considering the high settings I can run graphically intensive games on. I don’t pretend to know if that’s the fault of Java itself or just the implementation, but it’d sure be nice if Minecraft made the most of fast machines and perhaps let us tweak more advanced graphical settings to really get the most out of it.

    That said, I do have faith that there will be adequate improvement and optimization between now and the gold\retail version. Either way it’s still a great game, deserving of its attention and success.

    • CMaster says:

      I don’t think its ever going to happen. Notch is a committed Java developer, and it does let him reach more platforms easily, and not have to worry (much) about optimizations and bugs specific to one platform.
      Also, even if there were fancy compiled platform-natives, Minecraft isn’t going to perform like other games. Remember, most of them have a huge amount of work pre-executed for them, especially with lighting etc. In Minecraft, the entire world is mutable and that’s a considerably harder task.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Hell no. C/C++ are horribly and notoriously bad and really really ugly languages. If a native rewrite, then it should be in Haskell. Same speed as C++, even more stability guarantees than Java, but at compile time (hence the speed), beautifully elegant code, and since Haskell can be compiled to bytecode too, you’d have the same abilities to run it everywhere where GHC (the main Haskell compiler) runs.

    • 3lbFlax says:

      I don’t care about the graphics – I’m not even bothered about using the existing ‘fancy’ graphics. I don’t care what language it’s written in. All I want is to be able to play it for longer than two minutes without it crashing on the Mac. I’ve tried every tweak going. The new update seems to have made it worse than ever. It has made me unbearably sad. The one poignant glimpse of a school of squid before the world froze yet again just made it even worse.

      My old Windows laptop just laughs at me when I suggest it might want to run Minecraft. I am a whisker away from buying a new laptop just to play the damned game, but I know that if it froze in the first two minutes I’d destroy the laptop and then myself.

  33. noobnob says:

    A little late here, but have some free cake.