Adventures in Minecraft

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Adventures in Minecraft by Martin O'Hanlon

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ARE YOU AN adventurer? Do you like to try new things and learn new skills? Are you a huge fan of Minecraft? And would you like to push the boundaries of what you can do in Minecraft by learning how to write computer programs that interact with your game, and amaze your friends with your creativity and magic? If the answer is a resounding “Yes!” then this is the book for you.


What Is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a sandbox indie game, where you build structures, collect items, mine minerals and fight monsters in order to survive. It appears to you as a 3D virtual world made of different types of blocks, each block having its own place inside the grid layout of the 3D virtual world. Figure 1 shows an example of the Minecraft world.


The Virtual World

In a sandbox game, you are a player inside a virtual world (a sandbox with very distant edges, like a playpen filled with sand). Instead of being offered levels in a pre-set order, you roam around the virtual world and make your own choices about what goals you want to achieve and how to set about them. Because you are making your own choices right from the start, sandbox games have limitless possibilities. You make up your own stories and move through the 3D world, learning new skills and features by discovering them by chance and experimentation.


In Minecraft your player, or avatar, is called Steve. You direct Steve through the sandbox virtual world to achieve whatever mission you decide. If you are successful in surviving your first night against the monsters, you can follow your own enthralling missions to interact with other participants of the game and build huge structures limited only by your imagination.


A sandbox game allows you, the player, to make your own decisions about playing the game, rather than being forced down a specific route by the game designers. You can read more about this type of game design here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_ world. There is a little bit of mystery about why the player is called Steve, but you can read more about it here: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/The_Player.


How Did Minecraft Come About?

Indie games are “independent video games”, created by individuals or small teams. They are often developed without any funding or support from a games publisher. As a result of their independent nature, indie games are often more innovative than other, more mainstream games. According to Wikipedia, Minecraft was created by the Swedish computer programmer Markus Persson, who is known by the gamer tag “Notch”. He first demonstrated Minecraft as an early version in 2009, and the first official release of the game took place in 2011. Notch founded a Swedish company called Mojang AB, which continues to develop the Minecraft game on many computer platforms, including PC, Mac, Raspberry Pi, Linux, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, Playstation and Wii.


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