Tag Archives: minecraft

All-new Minecraft Marketplace coming to Pocket and Windows 10 editions

Browse, download and play cool community creations from within the game itself for the first time on Windows 10

Minecraft has partnered with heroic ‘crafters well-known to the community to build up a launch catalogue of amazing adventure maps, texture packs, minigames and more. NoxcrewBlockWorksQwertyuiop The PieBlockceptionSphaxEneijaImagiversePolymaps and Razzleberry Fox are the folk on board at launch, but we’re opening up submissions to anyone with a registered business. For more info on how to apply, go here.

The idea is to give Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of ever-greater projects, while giving Pocket and Windows 10 players access to a growing catalogue of fun stuff – curated and supplied by the Minecraft team, safely and simply. And, of course, you can still manually download free community creations you’ve found out there on the internet, too.

Read more at the Minecraft blog!

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Minecraft: Pocket Edition arrives on Windows 10 Mobile

MInecraft: Pocket Edition

This new edition finally gives Minecraft players on Windows 10 Mobile all the features players know and love: Realms, The End, Texture Packs, Add-Ons and more!

Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Windows 10 Mobile is available to all new players for $6.99 USD or local equivalent, but is free to players who already bought the game on Windows Phone 8.

Windows Phone 8 players who upgrade their software to Windows Phone 10 will automatically update to Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Windows 10 Mobile.

For more about today’s news, head over to Minecraft.net.

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Celebrating the past and future of Minecraft: Pocket Edition

We are feeling rather nostalgic on the Minecraft team these days, because November marked just about the five-year anniversary of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. It was fall five years ago when the team first began rolling out Pocket Edition on Android and iOS – beginning with Xperia Play. Since then, Pocket Edition has expanded to run on Kindle devices, Fire TV, GearVR and Windows Phone.

It’s grown to over 40 million players that can connect to each other and players on Oculus Rift and Windows 10 via online multiplayer and Realms. In just the past six months, we’ve ushered in redstone, witches, the Wither, Elder Guardians and pig riding. And Pocket Edition and the Windows 10 Edition are about to get the complete game loop with the upcoming 1.0 Ender Update. In fact, we’re ready to show it to you today, with this new trailer.

To learn about all the awesome features coming to the 1.0 Ender Update – including a feature called the World Seed Library and support for Oculus Touch input – head over to Xbox Wire!

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End 2016 with The 1.0 Ender Update for Minecraft: Windows 10 and Pocket Edition

Hello everyone!

The 1.0 Ender Update for Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Pocket Edition

As part of our vision here at Team Minecraft to help players enjoy their favorite features on the platform of their choice, we’ve been piling on the updates to Minecraft on Windows 10 and mobile this year. Today, we’re super excited to let you know that we’ve started work on our next update which will be coming before the end of the year – the 1.0 Ender Update. With this update, Minecraft on Windows 10 and Pocket Edition will have the majority of the features as our original PC version, and like we did with the original PC version, we’ll be taking off the beta label with the introduction of the End.

The 1.0 Ender Update will add a third dimension to Minecraft – the End, and its iconic ultimate boss battle, the Ender Dragon. But that’s not all – after defeating the Ender Dragon, you’ll be able to explore the outer islands of the End and its mysterious End Cities. In these End Cities you can encounter the new Shulker mob, pick up cool purple blocks for building aptly called purpur, farm chorus plants, and even loot the highly coveted Elytra glider from an End ship.

Head over to Xbox Wire to read more about today’s news! Happy crafting, and see you at the End!

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Minecraft: Education Edition available now!

Minecraft: Education Edition

The full version of Minecraft: Education Edition includes the Classroom Mode companion app, enabling educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items and teleport students in the Minecraft world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface. We’re also continuing to update Minecraft: Education Edition to include new game features from other editions of Minecraft. In the official version, available now, all the latest updates to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta will be included.

Those new to using Minecraft in the classroom should also check out education.minecraft.net, which includes tutorials, lesson plans, starter worlds, a place for educators to collaborate on using Minecraft in education and the Minecraft Mentors program, which connects educators with others experienced in teaching with Minecraft.

The complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition is now available to purchase for $5 per user, per year, or through a Microsoft education volume licensing discount. Head over to the new education.minecraft.net to sign up for updates and read more over at the Mojang blog!

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The Boss Update & Add-Ons are coming to Minecraft Oct. 18

MINECON is here and we’re excited to bring you more details about the next big update for Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, and Minecraft: Gear VR Edition, releasing on Oct. 18.

MinceCon

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the Boss Update is bringing boss battles to these versions of Minecraft for the first time. Also arriving in the Boss Update will be the first iteration of Add-Ons. With Add-Ons, you’ll be able to experiment with remixing components of entities or characters in the game.  Worlds you create with Add-Ons can be shared with others directly or uploaded to your Realms and accessed anytime, anywhere. For even more details about Add-Ons and a handy FAQ, check here!

In addition to new gameplay features and the ability for players to customize the game itself, we’ll also be adding new input options. The Boss Update will allow you to use your Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth while you’re playing the Gear VR and Windows 10 Editions.  And, VR players of the Windows 10 Edition will be getting an update to support Oculus Touch input.

MINECON is just getting started for the weekend, and if you haven’t tuned in yet, you can follow along with all the festivities by checking out our livestreams all weekend.

Head over to Xbox Wire to read more about today’s news! Thanks for playing and we’ll see you online.

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Minecraft: Education Edition will launch November 1

Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows 10

Since June 9, more than 35,000 students and educators around the world have utilized the early access program and provided feedback to help us fine-tune the experience across a diverse set of learning environments.

Minecraft: Education Edition is built based on feedback from the educator community and the features and capabilities they have told us are important to enhancing the learning experience. While we debuted several of these features with early access in June, we’re excited to roll out even more key capabilities on November 1, including:

  • Classroom Mode: A companion app for Minecraft: Education Edition that enables educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items and teleport students in the Minecraft world. It displays a map view of the Minecraft world, a list of all the students in the world, a set of world management settings and a chat window. There is even a Minecraft clock to show time of day in the world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface.
  • New Minecraft game features: We will continue to update Minecraft: Education Edition to include new game features from other editions of Minecraft. All the latest updates to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta will be included, such as leads and horses, additional player skins, pistons and the remainder of Redstone functionality and an updated user interface.

The complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available for purchase on November 1 for $5 per user, per year, or through a district-wide licensing model.

We’re committed to releasing the highest quality product that is reliable and secure to use in classrooms around the world. To learn more about Minecraft: Education Edition, please visit education.minecraft.net, and read more about the full version over at the Minecraft Education Blog!

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Experience Minecraft in a whole new way with Oculus Rift starting today

Welcome to Minecraft again… in VR!

Last fall, we announced that we were working with our partners at Oculus to develop Minecraft for VR. Finally, we’re ready to have everyone experience Minecraft in a whole new way through virtual reality on Oculus Rift. Starting today, as a thank you to our community, we’ll be releasing a free update to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta which will enable gameplay using Oculus Rift devices.

We hope the VR experience in Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will illuminate just how powerful, evocative, and utterly immersive VR can really be, whether you’re a new player or a Minecraft veteran. The Windows 10 DX11 performance has been optimized even further to augment the VR experience, and there are a ton of new options in addition to the VR features we added previously to the Gear VR Edition of Minecraft.  Many VR-specific options are recorded separately, so you can customize your VR experience, and still have your traditional Minecraft experience exactly how you left it!

Read more about all the new features in Minecraft for VR over at Xbox Wire. We hope you have as much fun with it as we did making it.

Cheers, Crafters!

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Team Minecraft celebrates the First Anniversary of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta

Today, we’re excited to celebrate the first anniversary of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta. Since the Windows 10 Edition released last July, we’ve committed over 12,000 code check-ins, fixed more than 6000 bugs and released 15 updates with dozens of new features.

While playing multiplayer with Pocket Edition, we’ve let you travel to the nether, sail around in new boats, and build things with the full range of redstone capabilities. Today, we released a brand-new Villains skin pack. And, last month, Realms made it easy for players on VR, Pocket Edition and Windows 10 to play together in persistent worlds which change and grow, even while you are away.

To thank you for your continued support over the last year, Oculus Rift support to the Windows 10 Edition Beta will launch in the next few weeks in a free update. If you already own Windows 10 Edition and an Oculus Rift, you can jump right in and start experiencing Minecraft in a whole new way. And, if you want to play around with VR and you haven’t upgraded your PC to Windows 10 yet, visit Windows.com to upgrade to Windows 10 before the free offer ends July 29.

To celebrate, we’re also releasing this roller coaster map, available for free to download here. Check it out in the video trailer above, and read more over at Xbox Wire! Thank you for playing.

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Bringing Minecraft: Story Mode to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and Windows Store

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Telltale Games has established itself as the master of the episodic adventure game with hits like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands and, most recently, Minecraft: Story Mode. These storytelling-centered games, in which player choices have long-term effects, are playable on a wide variety of platforms, including Android, iOS, PlayStation, Xbox, and Steam.

In December of 2015, Telltale Games brought Minecraft: Story Mode to the Windows Store. To make this possible, Telltale Games ported their game engine to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This port not only allows Minecraft: Story Mode to ultimately be played on a wide variety of Windows 10 Intel and ARM-based devices, but also clears the path for bringing Telltale’s large back-catalog of games to Windows. Today, we’ll look at their porting story and the choices they made along the way.

The Telltale narrative engine

 For those unfamiliar with Telltale Games, their adventures are compelling, playable stories; much like a playable movie or TV show. The narrative is tailored to choices that the player makes through both action and dialog, crafting a unique experience where they carve their own path through the core narrative. Their decisions affect the potential outcome of different situations – ranging from details as small as the armor the player character wears, to hugely significant repercussions such as the death of another character who might otherwise live. The player’s actions also affect how other characters relate to them throughout the game, allowing them to “own” these relationships and creating what is often a deeply emotional experience.

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Another important aspect of Telltale’s games is their episodic nature. Like a season of a TV show, each game has an overarching season story arc, split into a number of separate downloadable episodes released several weeks apart. In this way, players have the opportunity to discuss the most recent story developments with friends (either in person or online), debate their choices, and generate theories and excitement for what’s coming next.

What’s particularly impressive about the way Telltale Games manages the release cycle for its titles is that each episode is released on multiple platforms at the same time. In the videogame industry, diehard fans don’t like having to wait when other players on other platforms are already able to play ahead. A simultaneous release strategy across different platforms is especially important for Telltale, as their titles are so tightly story-focused and many players are keen to avoid spoilers until they’ve had a chance to play each episode for themselves. So how does the studio manage to synchronize their fast release schedules across multiple devices and platforms?

According to Zac Litton, Telltale’s VP of Tech, they accomplish this by cleanly separating their game creation from their game engine: “We support, I think, up to 14 platforms right now. We have a single toolset we use to build content for all those platforms. So we’re kind of always in the state of porting. The studio builds the game with our toolset. And then that same code base cross-compiles to every single platform we’re going to support.”

Thanks to their architecture, Telltale doesn’t need to port each and every episode of Minecraft: Story Mode over to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) in order to get it into the Windows Store. Instead, they only needed to port the Telltale engine once, and from there, all episodes will run correctly. Based on their code check-in history, Zac estimates that it took a couple of developers only about three months to go from an initial build to getting Minecraft: Story Mode shipping on the new platform.

Porting tactics versus porting strategy

Benn Herrera and Michael Schwartz, both senior software engineers who worked on the port, say that a large chunk of the initial time spent on the port didn’t even have to do with UWP, in particular, but with the story behind some of the engine’s past migrations. From a tactical perspective, much of the porting involved working with different versions of DirectX.

“We started with a PC DirectX 9 engine version,” said Benn, “and the Xbox One DirectX 11 with Xbox extensions engine and sort of combined these build configurations to create a desktop DirectX 11 version—and then did the UWP version. So that first initial step is one not a lot of developers are going to have, because most of them are going to probably be starting from DX11. So if you skip that part, the transition to working with UWP was fairly straightforward.”

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 Once the port of the Telltale engine was completed, Telltale Games was in a good place to accomplish several strategic goals, the most obvious of which was getting their games onto a wider variety of platforms through a variety of channels.

While Steam was their starting place, it lacked the sheer breadth of reach, particularly to casual and first-time gamers, that the Windows Store and UWP could offer. In short, the port to UWP was a tactical move to allow Telltale to find additional ways to get their games in front of a larger audience of players.

Currently, Telltale Games is targeting PCs and laptops in the Windows 10 market, but they already have a build of their story engine that could be used for Lumia phones running Windows 10 as well as future Windows 10 devices. Based on their extensive experience with mobile platforms and gaming consoles, the UI changes involved with smaller screens as well as larger screens is easily surmountable now that the technical challenge has been solved.

The biggest strategic win for Telltale, however, involves looking backwards toward their past achievements. Telltale has a broad and successful back catalog of games that they can now bring into the Windows Store. “Our strategy will be to bring our back catalog over there because that’s the reason we do ports to platforms,” Zac noted. “Minecraft is the first, because obviously it’s a good title for the audience who is using the Windows Store. But yes—we intend to bring everything out this year as soon as we can.”

Racking up achievements

Because Windows Store games need to support Surface Pro tablets, Michael and Benn ran into an interesting situation regarding input devices. Previous ports of the Telltale engine have included platforms that support touch input as well as game controller input. They have also ported to platforms that primarily use a keyboard and mouse for gaming input. The Surface Pro, however, was the first time they had encountered a scenario in which all three input modes have to be considered: touch, keyboard and mouse, as well as a game controller.

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This ultimately only required some minor changes in UI logic. If a user switches his input device, the affordances and game prompts shift to match the last input device used. For instance, if an arrow key appears to prompt the user to go left when using a keyboard and mouse, this might be switched out for a swipe left affordance if the player used touch most recently.

Another interesting discovery Benn made while performing the port to UWP was that they could compile for ARM devices. “I said, okay, let’s have it generate an ARM build and we got it compiling pretty much on the first try. We didn’t have a UWP ARM device to test it on. But it was promising that once we solved the configuration problem for one architecture, it looked like we were a really big chunk of the way towards having this available for other processors.”

The engineers also added Xbox Live integration to the UWP version of Minecraft: Story Mode. Whereas Minecraft: Story Mode is an Xbox Live title in the Xbox marketplace, it is now also a Windows 10 title that supports Live. This allows players of the Windows Store version of Minecraft: Story Mode to participate in leaderboards and achievements, just like their Xbox counterparts.

Summary

The Telltale porting story, like all good stories, is likely to spawn many sequels. By making the choice to bring their game engine to UWP, the team at Telltale Games have opened up many potential paths for their future. Not only are they planning to bring us additional Telltale games on Windows Store over the next year, but they’re also planning to bring these games to additional Windows 10 Intel and ARM-based devices down the road. Who knows? A mixed-reality HoloLens version of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones in your living room might just be on the horizon.

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