Posts Tagged ‘Mojang’

Should kids be taught in schools using Minecraft?

Minecraft-Gameplay-1

“The 14-year-old me was weeping inside” says Tom Bennett, the UK government’s school behaviour tsar. He’s recalling the time that Ian Livingstone – the co-creator of both Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy, the series of role-playing books – called him a “luddite”. “It really upset me, I used to love the books and the games that came from them.”

The reason Bennett became the target of Livingstone’s ire is because of his views on Minecraft in classrooms. Last November, Microsoft released Minecraft: Education Edition, an enhanced version of the game that has extra tools for teachers to plan and set up lessons, whether that’s recreating a Shakespeare play or building the Great Pyramids. They can build worlds faster than usual, monitor their students’ activity and help them build online portfolios of their work. In an interview with The Times shortly after, Bennett said that the game was a “gimmick” that would “get in the way of children actually learning”.

The topic of Minecraft in schools sparks a lot of passion on both sides of the debate: some teachers, academics, and Microsoft itself believe that Minecraft can change the way children learn. By giving kids lessons inside a tool that they’re excited about, they will learn more, the argument goes. But Bennett and others say that in-game lessons hinder children’s learning by distracting from the subject matter at hand. The question is: how do we know who’s right? And, as Microsoft prepares for the first full school year since the Education Edition launched, what does the future of Minecraft in schools look like? Read the rest of this entry »

Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode has started season 2

Blip bloop.

Young people: what are they like? We just don’t know. We’ve all heard the unlikely stories of these ‘twenty-somethings’ getting jobs, going to university, making friends, acquiring and using yoyos, and even playing video games, but what are the young’uns really into? You can now resume your undercover investigations, as Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 [official site] has started. Telltale released the first episode last night, which follows on from the 2015-2016 season with more cubical adventuring in the traditional Telltale way. It’s like The Walking Dead but with YouTubers instead of murderers and cannibals, yeah? That’s what young people like. Look: Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Win 10 getting a new(er) look

The most recognisable game of the modern era is getting a new look. Sorta. Mojang have announced some graphics upgrades for Minecraft [official site], which will keep those old blocks but fancy everything up with new lighting including fancier shadows and god rays. This is Microsoft’s own Windows 10-only version of Minecraft, mind – the one which started as the Pocket Edition. The original Java version, which is developed as separate game, will keep its old look. Mojang are also adding cross-platform multiplayer between the Winton, console, pocket telephone, and VR versions. Here, check out the new look in this trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 starts in July

Telltale Games have announced a second season of their cuboid adventure series Minecraft: Story Mode [official site]. As is the Telltale way, Season 2 will pick off where the first left off, remembering your decisions and lumping you with the consequences. Though the consequences here are somewhat sunnier than in e.g. The Walking Dead seasons, seeing as it’s based on Minecraft. Season 2 will kick off on July 11th. Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Windows 10 launching mod Marketplace

All right: who picked Minecraft in the pool for who’d try paid mods next? Come see me to collect your winnings. Mojang have announced the Minecraft Marketplace, a microtransaction store coming to sell skin and texture packs, adventure worlds, minigames, and more in the brick ’em up’s Windows 10 and pocket telephone version. Mojang say they’ll curate the store and only accept submissions from registered businesses, so it won’t be quite as much of a free-for-all as Steam and Skyrim’s crack at paid mods in 2015. And this is only in Microsoft’s rebuild of Minecraft, to be clear, not the original Java version. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Crown and Council?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Don’t be tricked by the name, Crown and Council has nothing to do with monarchy or getting questionable advice from Cromwellian figures in black. Instead, it’s all about itty bitty expansionism on random maps, painting the tiny world your colour because your colour is the best colour. God bless the Blue nation. Death to the Orange interlopers. Death to all the interlopers. Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft 1.12 introducing pretty new blocks and tiles

Minecraft [official site] is expanding its options for decorators in an upcoming update, the first test version of which is now available. Version 1.12 is introducing plain and simple concrete blocks which can be dyed — perfect for pixel art monoliths too — and beautiful glazed terracotta tiles with geometric patterns in different colours. They’re really nice tiles! Most of Minecraft’s blocks are materials rather than patterned, so this is an interesting addition. I don’t craft those mines myself but I do enjoy seeing players’ creations, and I’m keen to see what happens with these. Read the rest of this entry »

Crown and Council gets royally updated, still free

Hello your majesties. Crown and Council is the Mojang-made freebie that popped up unannounced last year, like a gatecrashing mole. I made a light snack of it plenty of times that week – a teeny weeny boardgamish strategy that felt like a single player version of Eight Minute Empire. Now I might be snacking on it again, because it has recently received an update, increasing the levels, generating new ones and tweaking some of the land-bashing mechanics to make it less frustratingly random.
Read the rest of this entry »

Llamas & Illagers arrive in Minecraft Exploration Update

Minecraft [official site] today launched ‘The Exploration Update‘, adding a little more structure to the activity that, well, has been one of the core tenets of this whole ‘Minecraft’ malarkey since the start. Woodland Mansions with fancy treasure and surly guards! Treasure maps! Great treasures! L-lamas? Llamas! Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft 1.11 Brings Llamas & Magic Inventory Boxes

Everyone’s favourite block-based build-em-up contines to grow, like an unstoppable monster. A few months ago we saw polar bears introduced to Minecraft as well as underground fossils. Before that, the combat update brought skeleton riders and creepy block-mimicking creatures called Shulkers. Now Mojang has added the exploration update which adds llamas that can carry inventory and a very useful magic box.

Read the rest of this entry »

VR Suits Minecraft Down To The Ground, Controls Aside

Unofficial Minecraft VR has been around for a while, but earlier this month Mojang launched official support for these future-glasses everyone keeps banging about. Minecraft‘s VR bolt-on is a free install from the Oculus store which, for the time being, only works with the Windows 10 Edition. And with a Rift, although a well-established non-official option exists if those are your cybogogs of choice, or if you prefer the Java version of the game. I’ve been looking at the official option, and hey, it’s a good time.
Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft 1.10 Adds Polar Bears, New Technical Blocks

Minecraft is so popular, and so dear to so many of its players, that I think I’d be terrified with each new update. The chance for potential upset seems enormous. In most instances, anyway. I’m looking at the patch notes for 1.10 – which adds polar bears, a new “Structure Block,” and “A rare chance to find lonely trees in plains” among other things.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ad Block: Minecraft Forbids “Building Promotions”

Just typical. We’ve spent the past six years pouring all of Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s profits into the creation of an endless Horace statue stretching far beyond the Far Lands in Minecraft and now we’ll need to blow it all up. That’s because Mojang have updated their commercial guidelines to say that it’s no longer acceptable for companies to “build or commission others to build, a Minecraft mod, map or server that promotes or markets unrelated products or services in playable form.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Great Blocky Wall: Minecraft To Launch In China

Minecraft is headed to China, after having struck a deal with local distribute NetEase. The official announcement post notes, “It probably won’t affect most of you, seeing as you’re probably not based in China.” Which is true also of readers of RPS, but Pip was over there recently for the LoL MSI finals and the site wasn’t entirely blocked so it’s possible this is relevant to at least a few of you.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Song For Minecraftia: Mojang’s Eurovision Stage

The Minecraft version is on the left. That's the real one on the right. In case you couldn't tell.

The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is tomorrow night, and you bet your bottom I’m excited! Our turbulent corner of the world (and some remote pals) come together for pop music pageantry as 26 performers give their all for the biggest night of their careers. Wooo! It’s a little sad that the official UK coverage mostly sees Eurovision as an excuse to be sarcastic about foreigners. But pssh, we don’t need that cynicism! So I wholly endorse this recreation of the Eurovision 2016 arena in Minecraft [official site].

Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Devs Release Crown And Council Free

“Surprise!” holler the Minecraft mob at Mojang, announcing that they’ve just released a “casual strategy game of geopolitical drama” for free. Crown and Council is now up on Steam, offering streamlined turn-based strategy to build up and crush kingdoms. It’s a nice spot of fun for a Friday afternoon. Here, I’ll explain a bit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stop The Clocks: Cobalt Free On Steam This Weekend

What are you up to on this lazy Saturday, dear reader? Nothing too strenuous, I hope. If you’re playing videogames, I’m sure you’ve already told Alice what you’re playing, but if you’re stuck for inspiration and don’t fancy those FPS freekends, let me point you in the direction of Cobalt [official site]. For those unawares, Cobalt is a stylish side-scrolling platformer that follows the plight of a quick-witted murderbot who deflects bullets and manipulates time for fun. Standard weekend, then. It’s also free to play this weekend on Steam.

Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft: Story Mode Ep 5 Decamps To Sky City

The fifth episode of the Telltale episodic adventure Minecraft: Story Mode [official site] is out now – it was due to be the final episode but Telltale are now going to do an extra three episodes as DLC not covered by the season pass. So a kind of epilogue, I guess? Or maybe a mini adventure? Or maybe we will watch a man patting trees down in order to make a table for a while?

The latter is probably why I am not working at Telltale as a story creator. ANYWAY. Episode 5 has a trailer:

Read the rest of this entry »

How Minecraft Got Better Combat

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out one its features, just to see how it works.

“I feel that combat got quite boring over the long term, it mainly felt like monsters were standing in your way.” For a long time, Minecraft’s combat has been, well, not exactly premium. Clicky clicky clicky. Swords flailing at air, the basic principle behind combat being the player who clicks most wins most.

For its lead developer Jens Bergensten, it was time for change in the form of Minecraft 1.9, the Combat Update, which released on February 29. “The combat system wasn’t very interesting and we simply wanted to give it a little bit more variation,” he tells me. But how could he design something that would be accepted by Minecraft’s huge playerbase, work with Minecraft’s networking system, and be as playable on touchscreens as mouse and keyboard? The answer was…

THE MECHANIC: Timing

Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Now An Artificial Intelligence Workshop

Minecraft AI

While Minecraft [official site] is no stranger to the classroom, computer scientists are now using Mojang and Microsoft’s famous build ’em up to improve artificial intelligence. For now, it’s in the hands of a small group of researchers/super smart boffin types by way of a private beta, however it’s going open-source come July. Find out more after the drop.

Read the rest of this entry »