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Minecraft Beta 1.3 | Beds, Half Blocks and Lighting Engines

Updated on February 22, 2011
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Additional Secrets!

Not included in the release notes, these are little secrets that aren't really secrets, but new features discovered whilst playing the game.

  • Sandstone is now naturally occurring. It would seem that sand under two blocks of sand can be sandstone. Simply piling sand up in a tower doesn't seem to create sandstone though.

With Minecraft 1.3, our worlds have changed. Literally. They all need to be converted to a new format, which is fun and games, but the game handles it itself.

Other awesome changes include the fact that you can now have more than just 5 worlds and you can also name worlds, instead of trying to remember what mysterious wonders lie behind the cryptic World1' 'World2' monikers that were the default in the bad old days.

When generating a new world, you are prompted for a seed. This is presumably related to Mine Seeder, which I'm sure I've covered before and which allowed people to share Minecraft worlds without buildings in them. If you use a seed file, you will automatically generate the same base landscape as another player. The seeder is optional, which is nice because if it wasn't people would be wildly confused and probably slightly angry.

There is also the option to rename existing worlds, which is nice because let's face it, who wants to be stuck with retro titles.

The new level system is mostly shrouded in code mystery, but I note that the 'Saving Level' notification seems to stay up for remarkably long lengths of time, even if you haven't really done anything yet.

A new lighting system based on MrMMods Better Light has been implemented. This too is optional, though it seems to work quite well. Minecraft updates are notorious for being buggy and laggy, but so far, so good with this update. The main effect of the lighting system is in making shadows prettier and more realistic, which in turn makes the world look more realistic. Why we're striving for realism in a world where everything is made of cubes, I don't know, but it appears to be an intrinsic part of the human condition.

Beds are a new addition to the game. Spending the night in a bed means that you 'sleep' through the night cycle, a much needed change. I for one was thoroughly sick of having to strain my eyes in the night. Beds are crafted with three blocks of wool and three wooden planks and make me happy on the inside.

Three new half blocks have been introduced. There are now sandstone half blocks, wooden half blocks and something else that I haven't discovered as yet. It is possible that Notch simply miscounted, or I could be missing something. I usually am. EDIT: The extra half blocks are cobblestone half blocks. Duh me to infinity squared.

There's also a repeater introduced which will help with the crafting of red stone circuits, which were so horribly limited with their 15 block limit.

All in all, this new update appears to be a rousing success, so hurrah for Notch. Long live the king!


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