Minecraft

Minecraft sold for $2.5 Billion to Microsoft

I have to say I’m terribly disappointed that Mojang sold Minecraft to Microsoft. While I’m happy for Notch and the rest of the gang for their rags to riches story, I truly believe this is the death knell for Minecraft. It may not happen tomorrow, or next week, or even within a couple of month, but I firmly believe that Microsoft is going to strangle the life out of Minecraft. I don’t see them continuing the Java development nor do I see them continuing their cross-platform development. Microsoft isn’t a fan of Java so turning Minecraft into a C# app seems the next step. This of course will kill it off the Mac version and derail any future iOS development. I’m sure Microsoft has no interest in keeping the Android development going. It seems like Minecraft will be developed for the desktop with all the bloat that comes with .NET development. Additionally, Minecraft will be pushed to the Xbox One and Windows Mobile.

I don’t think for a minute that any of the devs are going to stick around. Notch has already switched off the lights and has gone home. With that sort of money they’re just handing over the keys and walking away. I think development as we know it is dead. I just don’t see Microsoft adhering to the spirit of what made Minecraft and Mojang so damn great. They reveled in the low resolutions graphics, the paltry system requirements, the mods, the random servers, the community based support. In fact, this is everything Microsoft stands against. In many ways this acquisition doesn’t make any sense. I hope Minecraft has a long and prosperous life under it’s new overlords, but I have a feeling it won’t make it past it’s first birthday.

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Back into the wilds of Minecraft

I’ve forgotten the last time I played Minecraft, but out of the blue I felt the need to walk the open plains, to build a box out of mud and sand and call it home, to thrash the tall grass in search of wheat and run like the dickens as I turn the corner and come face to face with a Creeper. It’s been so long that I had to set up an all new account with Mojang. My copy was so old it didn’t even understand how to log me in.

That was an easy fix and then I was back in the game. Wow, things look so different! Sure, the blocks are the same, but there are so many new recipes and the survival mode is a hell of a lot harder than I remember. I lost count of the number of times I suffered the indignity of being shot in the back by a skeleton. Everything would be going fine and then I was face down in the dirt with all my worldly possession scattered on the ground. Then I would make the mistake of racing back to get everything only to get shot down again yet this time in my frantic bob and weave technique I lost my bearings and didn’t know where I was.

I had to let everything go and start over again more than a couple times. I love playing the game, I never said I was any good at it.

But then I finally made some progress after crafting a couple of stone weapons, planting some wheat and building a dirt house. I made even more progress when I found the nearby village and took it over by force. I suppose there was some retribution as I had to restart after getting stuck in the well. What a terrible miscalculation that was! Minecraft life can be cruel sometimes.

I still have no armor, bread is my only source of food, and I just discovered a few veins of coal ore so I can make torches, but I might just be on the cusp of scratching out a existence in this new world. I make no promises, I’m just as likely to fall in a lava pit or fall off a mountain or get blown up by a Creeper.

What a glorious day it will be when I craft set of mettle pants and build a bow and arrow.

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Block Fortress for iPad – Tower Defense mixed with Minecraft

Today, it was time to take a spin around Block Fortress, the combination of Minecraft and Tower Defense. I like Minecraft and building things, plus I like tower defense games. Since I’m not good at either of them a combination of the two seems right up my alley.

At first, Block Fortress seems incredibly simple, build a fortress using blocks and guns and defend it. You can build walls, towers, put up bait blocks and create whatever type of block defense system you like. Then you can add some machine guns, plasma guns, laser guns and all sorts of cool stuff. And once your defense is in the place, the second part of the game begins and it turns into a first person shooter with you blasting away at the hordes as they come to knock your playhouse down.

The concept is exceptionally cool and it’s very good fun to build your hideout to keep the enemy at bay. But when the enemy invades, things start to escalate pretty quickly. Here comes the onslaught and the sound of the machine guns fills the air. You have to mow the little devils down before they smash your power source and steal your resources. You have to take aim before they break through your walls or swarm you and take away all your health points. It can be a frantic few minutes let me assure you of that.

Then when the dust settles it’s time to rebuild, fortify and try again.

And what makes this interesting are the additional elements you have to contend with. Like Minecraft you have to get resources. Without them you can’t build walls. You need to make sure everything is powered or the guns won’t fire. As a player, you take damage and need to resupply your health by eating, which means you need to plant and tend to a farm.

And if that weren’t enough there is the element of night time. You have to be able to see the enemy in order to shoot him, which means you need lights and floodlights so your guns can track targets. If you don’t plan carefully, you’ll be fighting blind.

It’s quite an exciting mix and each wave brings new, more powerful characters. At first, the attackers can only smack at the walls. But then they get organized an a General gives them better strategy and more defense. Then comes attackers than can climb walls. And then attackers than can launch over walls. But then you counter with mortars, lasers, armor plating, bigger lights, better power plants, better building materials, heavier guns, faster guns.

Block Fortress is very well done and while still in the early stages, there is a lot to like about this game. The controls can be a little awkward, especially in the heat of battle. You’re pretty much thrown onto an island and expected to defend it without any sort of tutorial or explanation of the weapons. And there is no real sense of which weapons are the right ones to choose. Basically, the first few games are complete trial and error.

I have no doubt the updates will streamline and smooth out the edges. Overall this is a lot of fun and you can spend a lot of time playing your defense just right and spend some nail biting minutes wondering if you did it right.

For a mere $0.99, it’s hard to say no to this game. If you’re looking for a twist on Tower Defense or Minecraft I highly recommend you grab a copy.

And here are some gameplay videos that show off multiple levels and what it’s like to play Block Fortress at night.

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Survival Craft and Minecraft top the AppStore

There must be a resurgence to play in the dirt, Survival Craft and Minecraft are the Top 2 apps in the AppStore. That’s some pretty good entertainment for around $10. I haven’t grabbed either of these games yet since I’ve renewed my own digging in the dirt with the PC version. I’ve just completed my wheat and sugar cane farms. There’s an abandoned mine shaft that needs investigation and I have a glass greenhouse to make,

Still, it’s very cool these two apps are topping the charts. It’s nice to see something besides Angry Birds.

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SurvivalCraft? Now this looks interesting

This just popped up over the weekend and is rising quickly in the Top 200 of iTunes. SurvivalCraft is a port from Windows 7 Phone and appears to be a pretty damn impressive Minecraft clone. Now the question is, why not just buy Minecraft?

I’m a big fan of Minecraft, but the Pocket Edition comes across as lacking. There are so many things missing, such as the type of rocks you can place. I know Notch and the Mojang team are working like mad to make the experience the same on the PC and Mobile space, but they seem to have too many hands in too many pies.

I’ve tried other clones and there is always something wrong. Either the movement is too difficult or frustrating or the actual experience is lacking. Most of them look the same so it’s not the graphics, you’re just limited on what you can do.

The YouTube videos on SurvivalCraft look quite compelling. One of them I watched was about trapping a wild boar in a pit. The crafting mechanic looked the same, the graphics looked the same, but the objects you can work with looked quite different. I don’t remember spikes in Minecraft (but then again, I haven’t played in awhile). Maybe that was added when my back was turned.

However, the placing of tiles looked quite good and it looked pretty easy to move around. So the question is, does anyone have experience with this version? If it were $0.99, I’d just buy it and try it out. But I don’t want to waste yet another $3.99 on a came that doesn’t deliver the goods.

I like the way this game looks so is it worth the investment? Will this give me something close to the Minecraft I’m used to? Is the gameplay as good as what these videos make it out to be?

I’m tempted to just get it, but wanted to see if anyone confirm it’s coolness factor first. 🙂

Survivalcraft on iTunes

Update: Just found this image for Survivalcraft – Wow!

survivalcraft2013042102.jpg

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/707/survivalcraft2013042214.jpg/

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