MineCon is an annual convention that is held in different locations each year around the world. It celebrates everything Minecraft and has everything from talks to costume contests and it showcases all the things Minecraft is doing around the world as well as what is to come in updates. This year was full of great updates that may change Minecraft and the way we play it, all for the best.
One of the projects discussed was Block By Block a unique partnership sponsored by UN Habitat and Mojang that lets people participate in the re-imagining of their public spaces. It allows them to rebuild their own cities and areas using Minecraft and their imagination and the charity then rebuilds the space in real life doing huge improvements. They have done 28 projects in 20 countries around the world with more to come. Proof now, that video games can actually help do something positive. They are raising more money now and this weekend Team XBox will match, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000 in donations. You can learn more and hear about some participants from the Block By Block website above.
One of the more surprising things announced was a Minecraft novel entitled Minecraft: The Island. They wanted an Author that was not only a great Author but one who loves and cares for Minecraft and they found someone that had to fit both of those requirements. New York Times Bestseller and Author of World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks. Max was introduced and talked about why he wanted to write the novel “Because I love the game. Because it’s not just a game, because It teaches you how to live. It teaches you courage and patience and that life is a process and that I thought this is an amazing lesson not just for the game but for the rest of your life”. He got inspiration from Robinson Crusoe and though he couldn’t give anything away he did tell us “A toilet saves this characters life”. What that will mean we will have to wait and see.
They talked Minecraft: Education Edition, too, which I covered previously and You can read about here. “There is a lot of potential where students and teachers can interact with each other”. They are taught about sustainable builds and things like volume of liquids. It gives kids the ability to learn how to fail and then overcome. Lesson plans are already being created by teachers on education.minecraft.net. The game can be used to show off science experiments or logic circuits and then share with their friends. Mojang has uploaded a video for anyone who is coding at school or interested in being a developer or modder. They have a “hour of code” tutorial on how to code and mod with code.org and just recently passed 30 million sessions making it the most looked at code on the website.
Also at Minecon was the Minecraft VR demo as well as a Q&A afterwards. “most important thing for us is when we started on Minecraft VR we wanted (Players) to have a real version. We wanted them to play with others in Minecraft but not have an advantage”. They showed off a Multiplay demonstration with several people on stage that had never actually tried VR before. One of the challenges was that they couldn’t use screen shakes, fade out, or use cutscenes that they usually rely on that couldn’t work anymore. They had challenges with tests as they would show beta builds off to testers to try and people were like “eh, nah” and shake their head not liking what they had come up with.
Also there, was StampyLongHead (Stampy) and iBallisticSquid (Squid), famous Minecraft Youtubers that became popular with their Minecraft play videos. They challenged each other to a fight to the death live on stage in Minecraft with the losers getting a cake to the face. The only rule? They had 1 day to prepare for battle. When the sun rises they have to start getting ready and when the sun goes down, they go to battle. The loser, gets a cake smashed into their face. Squid got the upper hand at the start but Stampy found a cave filled with Iron and was able to get enough to make some armor but quickly got lost in the cave. Their first foe was hunger. Eventually Squid found some iron but Stampy already had 24 iron. Squid was the first to cook food but Stampy found a mob spawner and tried to farm it to get some drops but was quickly overcome by 6 zombies when they attacked and he tried to run. Between a mix of the zombies hitting him and him falling, he died. He respawned but now had nothing on him so he tried to dash to the stuff he dropped as it was almost Sunset. Squid, however started making armor. At the last minute Stampy was able to find all of his stuff just as the sun was setting. Squid immediately went to track down Stampy. Squid found where he was and waited for him on top of a mountain. Eventually Stampy came out of the cave and started chasing after Squid but got hit by a Creeper and knocked off a ledge and lost 5 hearts from the drop. Squid chased him through the water as he retreated but was able to get the better of him in the end and Stampy died.
It was confirmed that Update 1.11 is going to be a long awaited, and much needed, exploration update. The rumor is that Rubies may be introduced to the game again but it’s only a rumor for now. This is something that has been seen in screenshots before and is still a resource that can be found in the resource packs of Minecraft vanilla game but has no current use nor any way to actually get them but may be re-introduced in 1.11.
Coming soon is also Add-Ons for Pocket Edition and Windows 10. You can change the skins of all villagers, creepers, NPC’s, anything as well as modify how they act like 25 block tall creepers that have a very large blast radius (or small, up to you) or a pig that can explode as well. Work on Add-ons will continue over the next year to make everything more customizable including how blocks in game behave or modifying the game play overall. More information on Add-Ons can be found at https://minecraft.net/en/addons/faq.
Check back tomorrow when I will have the Sunday wrap-up for MineCon 2016.