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Minecraft

is a sandbox indie game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson and later developed and published by Mojang. A procedurally-generated game of... read more

7.3
Themes Fantasy
Developers Mojang...
Engines
Status: Released
Release: 18-Nov-2011

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is a sandbox indie game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson and later developed and published by Mojang. A procedurally-generated game of world exploration, resource harvesting, and freeform construction. It supports local and online multiplayer, and is regularly updated with new content and features.

It was publicly released for the PC on May 17, 2009, as a developmental alpha version and, after gradual updates, was published as a full release version on November 18, 2011. A version for Android was released a month earlier on October 7, and an iOS version was released on November 17, 2011. On May 9, 2012, the game was released on Xbox 360 as anXbox Live Arcade game, as well as on the PlayStation 3 on December 17, 2013. Both console editions are being co-developed by 4J Studios. All versions of Minecraft receive periodic updates.

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The creative and building aspects of Minecraft allow players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, gathering resources, crafting, and combat. Gameplay in its commercial release has four principal modes:

  • Survival mode, which requires players to acquire resources and maintain their health and hunger.

  • Creative mode, where players have an unlimited supply of resources and experience, the ability to fly, unlimited health and no hunger.

  • Hardcore mode is a version of survival mode, differing only in difficulty; it is set to the most difficult setting and respawning is disabled, forcing players to delete their worlds upon death.

  • Spectator mode, where the player does not collide with blocks, and is able to view, but not interact with, almost everything. This game mode is not available in released versions yet, only in snapshots.

Minecraft received five awards from the 2011 Game Developers Conference: it was awarded the Innovation Award, Best Downloadable Game Award, and the Best Debut Game Award from the Game Developers Choice Awards; and the Audience Award, as well as the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, from the Independent Games Festival in 2011. In 2012, Minecraft was awarded aGolden Joystick Award in the category Best Downloadable Game. As of June 25, 2014, the game has sold over 12 million copies on Xbox 360, 15 million copies on PC and nearly 54 million copies across all platforms.

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Gameplay

Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. However, there is an achievement system. Gameplay by default is first person, but players have the option to play in third person mode. The core gameplay revolves around breaking and placing blocks. The game world is essentially composed of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes—that are arranged in a fixed grid pattern and represent different materials, such as dirt, stone, various ores, water, and tree trunks. While players can move freely across the world, objects and items can only be placed at fixed locations relative to the grid. Players can gather these material blocks and place them elsewhere, thus allowing for various constructions.

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At the start of the game, the player is placed on the surface of a procedurally generated and virtually infinite game world. Players can walk across the terrain consisting of plains, mountains, forests, caves, and various water bodies. The world is divided into biomes ranging from deserts to jungles to snowfields. The in-game time system follows a day and night cycle, with one full cycle lasting 20 real-time minutes. Throughout the course of the game, players encounter various non-player characters known as mobs, including animals, villagers and hostile creatures. Non-hostile animals—such as cows, pigs, and chickens—spawn during the daytime. The player may hunt them for food and crafting materials. By contrast, hostile mobs—such as large spiders, skeletons, and zombies—spawn during nighttime and in dark places, such as caves. Some Minecraft-unique creatures have been noted by reviewers, such as the Creeper, an exploding creature that sneaks up on the player; and the Enderman, a creature with the ability to teleport and pick up blocks.

The game world is procedurally generated as players explore it, using a seed which is obtained from the system clock at the time of world creation unless manually specified by the player. Although limits exist on vertical movement both up and down, Minecraft allows for an infinitely large game world to be generated on the horizontal plane, only running into technical problems when extremely distant locations are reached. The game achieves this by splitting the game world data into smaller sections called "chunks", which are only created or loaded into memory when players are nearby.

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The game's physics system, in which most solid blocks are unaffected by gravity, has often been described as unrealistic by commentators. Liquids in the game flow from a source block, which can be removed by placing a solid block in its place, or by scooping it into a bucket. Complex systems can be built using primitive mechanical devices, electrical circuits, and logic gates built with an in-game material known as redstone.

Minecraft features two alternate dimensions besides the main world – the Nether and The End. The Nether is a hell-like dimension accessed via player-built portals that contains many unique resources and can be used to travel great distances in the overworld. The End is a barren land in which a boss dragon called the Ender Dragon dwells. Killing the dragon cues the game's ending credits, written by Irish author Julian Gough. Players are then allowed to teleport back to their original spawn point in the overworld, and will receive "The End" achievement. There is also a second boss called "The Wither", which drops materials used to build a placeable beacon that can enhance certain abilities of all nearby players. A third boss, which lives in the sea, is currently known as the Guardian. It will be added in the 1.8 update of Minecraft.

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The game primarily consists of two game modes: survival and creative. It also has a changeable difficulty system of four levels; the easiest difficulty (peaceful) removes any hostile creatures that spawn.

Survival mode

In this mode, players have to gather natural resources (such as wood, stone, etc.) found in the environment in order to craft certain blocks and items. Depending on the difficulty, monsters spawn at darker places on the map, necessitating that the player builds a shelter at night. The mode also features a health bar which is depleted by attacks from monsters, falls, drowning, falling into lava, suffocation, starvation, and other events. Players also have a hunger bar, which must be periodically refilled by eating food in-game, except in peaceful mode, in which the hunger bar does not drain. If the hunger bar is depleted, then the health bar will slowly diminish. Health replenishes when players have a nearly full hunger bar, and also regenerates regardless of fullness if players play on the easiest difficulty.

There are a wide variety of items that players can craft in Minecraft. Players can craft armor, which can help mitigate damage from attacks, while weapons such as swords can be crafted to kill enemies and other animals more easily. Players may acquire different resources to craft tools, such as weapons, armor, food, and various other items. By acquiring better resources, players can craft more effective items. For example, tools such as axes, shovels, or pickaxes, can be used to chop down trees, dig soil, and mine ores, respectively; and tools made out of better resources (such as iron in place of stone) perform their tasks more quickly and can be used more heavily before breaking. Players may also trade goods with villager mobs through a bartering system. Emeralds are often the currency of the villagers, although some trade with wheat or other materials.

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The game has an inventory system and players are limited to the number of items they can carry. Upon dying, items in the players' inventories are dropped, and players respawn at the current spawn point, which is set by default where players begin the game, but can be reset if players sleep in beds in-game. Dropped items can be recovered if players can reach them before they despawn. Players may acquire experience points by killing mobs and other players, mining, smelting ores, breeding animals, and cooking food. Experience can then be spent on enchanting tools, armor and weapons. Enchanted items are generally more powerful, last longer, or have other special effects.

Players may also play in hardcore mode, a variant of survival mode that differs primarily in the game being locked to the hardest gameplay setting as well as featuring permadeath; upon players' death, their world is deleted.

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Creative mode

In creative mode, players have access to most of the resources and items in the game through the inventory menu, and can place or remove them instantly. Players, able to fly freely around the game world, do not take environmental or mob damage, and are not affected by hunger. The game mode helps players focus on building and creating large projects.

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Adventure mode

Adventure mode was added to Minecraft in version 1.3; it was designed specifically so that players could experience user crafted custom maps and adventures. Gameplay is similar to survival mode but introduces various player restrictions such as disabling the ability to place and destroy blocks without the appropriate tools. This is so that players can obtain the required items and experience adventures in the way that the mapmaker intended. Another addition designed for custom maps is the command block; this block allows mapmakers to expand interactions with players through certain server commands.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer on Minecraft is available through player-hosted servers and enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world. Players can run their own servers or use a hosting provider. Single player worlds have local area network support, allowing players to join worlds on locally interconnected computers without a server setup. Minecraft multiplayer servers are guided by server operators, who have access to server commands such as setting the time of day and teleporting players around. Operators can also set up restrictions concerning which usernames or IP addresses are allowed to enter the server. Multiplayer servers offer players a wide range of activities, with some servers having their own unique rules and customs. A stand-alone server called CraftBukkit has been developed by the community to facilitate development of server-side plugins enabling otherwise impossible gameplay elements such as permissions, ranks, virtual currency, and chat formatting. Competitions are available in some servers, in which players can participate in a variety of games, including some resembling The Hunger Games. A gamemode, PvP (player versus player), may be enabled to allow fighting between players. In 2013 Mojang announced Minecraft Realms, a server hosting service intended to enable players to run server multiplayer games easily and safely without the hassle of setting up their own.

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Development

The developer of Minecraft, Markus "Notch" Persson, began developing the game as an independent project while working for King.com and later jAlbum. He was inspired to create Minecraft by several other games such as Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and later Infiniminer. At the time, he had visualized an isometric 3D building game that would be a cross between his inspirations and had made some early prototypes. Infiniminer heavily influenced the style of gameplay, including the first-person aspect of the game, the "blocky" visual style and the block-building fundamentals. However, unlike Infiniminer, Persson wanted Minecraft to have RPG elements.

Minecraft was first released to the public on May 17, 2009 as a developmental release on TIGSource forums, later becoming known as the Classic version. Further milestones dubbed as Survival Test, Indev and Infdev were released between September 2009 and February 2010, although the game saw updates in-between. The first major update, dubbedalpha version, was released on June 28, 2010. Although Persson maintained a day job with Jalbum.net at first, he later quit in order to work on Minecraft full-time as sales of the alpha version of the game expanded. Persson continued to update the game with releases distributed to users automatically. These updates included features such as new items, new blocks, new mobs, survival mode, and changes to the game's behavior (e.g., how water flows).

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To back the development of Minecraft, Persson set up a video game company, Mojang, with the money earned from the game. On December 11, 2010, Persson announced that Minecraft was entering its beta testing phase on December 20, 2010. He further stated that users who bought the game after this date would no longer be guaranteed to receive all future content free of charge as it "scared both the lawyers and the board." However, bug fixes and all updates leading up to and including the release would still be free. Over the course of the development, Mojang hired several new employees to work on the project.

Mojang moved the game out of beta and released the full version on November 18, 2011. The game has been continuously updated since the release, with changes ranging from new game content to new server hosts. On December 1, 2011, Jens "Jeb" Bergensten took full creative control over Minecraft, replacing Persson as lead developer. On February 28, 2012, Mojang announced that they had hired the developers of the popular server platform "CraftBukkit" to improve Minecraft's support of server and client modifications. This acquisition also included Mojang taking full ownership of the CraftBukkit modification.

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User-generated and downloadable content

A wide variety of user-generated content for Minecraft, such as modifications, texture packs and custom maps, is available for download from the Internet. Modifications of theMinecraft code, called mods, add a variety of gameplay changes, ranging from new blocks, new items, new mobs to entire arrays of mechanisms to craft. The modding community is responsible for a substantial supply of mods from ones that enhance gameplay, such as minimaps, waypoints, and durability counters, to ones that add to the game elements from Pokémon, Portal, and The Hunger Games. To make mods easier to create and install, Mojang announced in November 2012 that it plans to add an official moddingAPI. As of 2014, Mojang has yet to reveal more about their modding API.

Texture packs that customize the game's graphics are also available. In version 1.6, texture packs were replaced with "resource packs". These play the same role as texture packs, but allow custom sounds as well. Custom maps have become popular as well. Players can create their own maps, which often contain rules, challenges, puzzles and quests, and share them for others to play. In version 1.3 Mojang added adventure mode  for custom maps and in 1.4, Mojang added command blocks, which were created specially for custom maps. In Minecraft 1.8, Mojang is planning to allow resource packs to be implemented into the world save.

The Xbox 360 Edition supports downloadable content, which is available to purchase via the Xbox Games Store; these content packs usually contain additional character skins. It later received support for texture packs in its twelfth title update while introducing "mash-up packs", which combines texture packs with skin packs and changes to the game's sounds, music and user interface. The first mash-up pack (and by extension, the first texture pack) for the Xbox 360 Edition was released on September 4, 2013 and is themed after the Mass Effect franchise. Unlike the PC version, however, the Xbox 360 Edition does not support player-made mods or custom maps.

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Reception

Commercial

On January 12, 2011, Minecraft passed 1 million purchases, less than a month after entering its beta phase. At the same time, the game had no publisher backing and has never been commercially advertised except through word of mouth, and various unpaid references in popular media such as the Penny Arcade webcomic. By April 2011, Persson estimated that Minecraft had made €23 million (US$33 million) in revenue, with 800,000 sales of the alpha version of the game, and over 1 million sales of the beta version. In November 2011, prior to the game's full release, Minecraft beta surpassed 16 million registered users and 4 million purchases. By March 2012, Minecraft had become the 6th best-selling PC game of all time. As of April 29, 2014, the game has sold 15 million copies on PC, becoming the best-selling PC game of all time. As of June 25, 2014, the game has sold almost 54 million copies across all platforms. On February 25, 2014 the game reached 100 million registered users.

The Xbox 360 version of Minecraft became profitable within the first 24 hours of the game's release in 2012, when the game broke the Xbox Live sales records with 400,000 players online. Within a week of being on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Minecraft sold upwards of 1 million copies. GameSpot announced in December 2012 that Minecraft sold over 4.48 million copies since the game debuted on Xbox LIVE Arcade in May 2012. In 2012, Minecraft was the most purchased title on Xbox Live Arcade; it was also the fourth most played title on Xbox Live based on average unique users per day. As of April 4, 2014 the Xbox 360 version has sold 12 million copies. In addition, Minecraft: Pocket Editionhas reached a figure of 21 million in sales. The PlayStation 3 version sold one million copies in five weeks.

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Critical

Minecraft has been praised for the creative freedom it grants players in-game, as well as the ease of enabling emergent gameplay. Critics have praised Minecraft's complex crafting system, commenting that it is an important aspect of the game's open-ended gameplay. Most publications were impressed by the game's "blocky" graphics, with IGN describing them as "instantly memorable". Reviewers also liked the game's adventure elements, noting that the game creates a good balance between exploring and building. The game's multiplayer feature has been generally received favorably, with IGN commenting that "adventuring is always better with friends."

Reviewers have criticized the game's lack of in-game tutorials and instructions, making it difficult for new players to learn how to play the game. IGN was disappointed about the troublesome steps needed to set up multiplayer servers, calling it a "hassle". Critics also noted visual glitches that occur periodically. In 2009, GameSpot maintained that the game has an "unfinished feel", adding that "some game elements seem incomplete or thrown together in haste."

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A review of the alpha version, by Scott Munro of the Daily Record, called it "already something special" and urged readers to buy it. Jim Rossignol of Rock, Paper, Shotgun also recommended the alpha of the game, calling it "a kind of generative 8-bit Lego Stalker". On September 17, 2010, gaming webcomic Penny Arcade began a series of comics and news posts about the addictiveness of the game.

The Xbox 360 version was generally received positively by critics, but did not receive as much praise as the PC version. Although reviewers were disappointed by the lack of features such as mod support and content from the PC version, they acclaimed the port's addition of a tutorial and in-game tips and crafting recipes, saying that they make the game more user-friendly.

Minecraft – Pocket Edition initially received mixed reviews from critics. Although reviewers appreciated the game's intuitive controls, they were disappointed by the lack of content. The inability in the game to collect resources and craft items, as well as the game's lack of hostile mobs and limited types of blocks, were especially criticized. Recently, though, it has starting receiving positive reviews, due to the game's updates adding more content. In addition to the controls, reviewers have complimented the graphics, though still note the lack of content and limited sized worlds.

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Awards

In July 2010, PC Gamer listed Minecraft as the fourth-best game to play at work. In December of that year, Good Game selected Minecraft as their choice for Best Downloadable Game of 2010, Gamasutra named it the eighth best game of the year as well as the eighth best indie game of the year, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun named it the "game of the year". Indie DB awarded the game the 2010 Indie of the Year award as chosen by voters, in addition to two out of five Editor's Choice awards for Most Innovative and Best Singleplayer Indie. It was also awarded Game of the Year by PC Gamer UK. The game was nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Technical Excellence, and Excellence in Design awards at the March 2011 Independent Games Festival and won the Grand Prize along with community-voted Audience Award. At Game Developers Choice Awards 2011, Minecraft won awards in the categories for Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and Innovation Award, winning every award for which it was nominated. It has also won GameCity's videogame arts prize. On May 5, 2011, Minecraft was selected as one of the 80 games that would be displayed at theSmithsonian American Art Museum as part of The Art of Video Games exhibit that opened on March 16, 2012. At the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Minecraft won the award for Best Independent Game and was nominated in the Best PC Game category. In 2012, at the British Academy Video Games Awards, Minecraft was nominated in the GAME Award of 2011 category and Notch received The Special Award. In 2012, Minecraft XBLA was awarded a Golden Joystick Award in the Best Downloadable Game category, and a TIGA Games Industry Award in the Best Arcade Game category.









This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Minecraft, which isreleased under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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