Tuesday, October 4, 2011

which one is better? you decide...

Minecraft adventure mode is the ambitious new update to Mojang studios Minecraft, a sandbox style game that allows users to pick-up and place blocks. For those who have never played minecraft, it comes across as a charming (3D) 8-bit platformer that allows you to move around and create structures in a virtual environment. After jumping into beta phase, the game has stayed there for nearly a year, but the small indie developer has done more than enough to show for itself. With Notch’s full version release day closely at hand, the team is busy scripting the best ideas the community can throw at them. This close reading is about a select few updates from official 1.8 update release as well as the pre-release of the 1.9 update, and how they’ve effected game play.
One interesting new feature that has been added in update 1.8 is the incorporation of randomly spawned NPC (non player character) villages. These villages will spawn randomly over any surface biome (forest, winter, swamp, and desert), The villages vary in size, type and frequency.  It is unknown what the developers have in mind for these new villages. As of update 1.9 there are now NPC’s inhabiting the villages, however the player is unable to interact with them (other than killing them) as of yet. In future updates these NPC characters could provide quests, and help give some sort of narrative to the game.
Surviving will still heavily rely on crafting/finding resources during the day and having a shelter at night; however there is a renewed focus on combat (instead of traps), with a few new mobs comes more items to grind, loot from these mobs are typically ‘the one last thing a player needs’ when crafting, so to keep players busy they’ve created several new mobs (enderman, cave spiders, silverfish).A new ‘hunger system’ does away with the previous armour bar. Armour is still used to mitigate damage taken from mobs and falls, but the developers have chosen to hide the previous armour bar in favour of the ‘hunger bar’. The hunger bar alerts players of their hungriness with small graphic icons (pork chops) that will darken over time without eating. When the icon furthest to the right is depleted the player’s health bar will slowly begin to take damage until the player restores the ‘hunger bar’ by eating. This system also works to regenerate the players’ health—the less hungry you are the faster your health will regenerate. Health also regenerates during combat, making fighting multiple mobs easier. This new system will coincide with a new ‘brewing’ system, which allows players to craft health potions and a variety of other tonics.
The UI has undergone a few minor modifications for new in addition to the ‘hunger bar’. A completely new addition to the UI is an achievement system. The achievement system functions more as a basic tutorial to the game rather than what most players would consider “achievements”. The ‘achievements’ help new players by guiding them through simple goals, ultimately helping them understand the basics of game play. The UI’s interface still remains minimal, as mentioned previously the ‘armour bar’ has been replaced with the ‘hunger bar’, but a third bar has also been incorporated into the new update—the ‘experience bar’.
The ‘experience bar’ seems like a huge leap forward in personal character development for Minecraft. The experience collected after killing a mob would be added (if it worked)to the ‘experience bar’ when the ‘experience bar’ fills the player will likely level up, gaining stats. Or will be able to choose from different skills, allowing each player their own character customization based on how he/she plays or possibly even class based game play. The ability to obtain skills or level up is common in most rpg’s, and helps set an appropriate pace for the game. This is an exciting development because it really expands the type of game play that gamers will see from Minecraft. This feature along with multiplayer servers will make a far more progressive game experience, in terms of playability and fun.
This game still has a lot of bug fixes to go through, but as far as creativity goes—it sits in a class that hasn’t yet been realized. Not many games offer creativity and customization quite like Minecraft. If you haven’t played Minecraft in awhile it will definitely feel fresh. If you’ve never played Minecraft, get ready for something new entirely.

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