Beta 1.3 – My View…

As promised/forewarned/threatened last week, Beta 1.3 has arrived, with a host of new features (and bugs, but it’s all part of the process). And, as usual, the Twitterverse went nuts; I imagine the rest of the Minecraft community reacted the same way as well… frankly, I didn’t dare go and look.

Anyway, there’s a whole slew of things to be found in the new update, major and minor, but like many who recorded YT videos, I’m only going to focus on a few, otherwise you’ll be able to print out this blog post and wallpaper your bathroom with it. So, on with the motley:

New save format, using Scaevolus’ McRegion
We’d been forewarned by Mojang about the change to the file format just under a week before 1.3 came out, and I was frankly stunned that Twitter didn’t blow up then, because there was something in there which was a big deal in itself: old saves would be converted to the new file format. But no, as far as that was concerned, you could pretty much hear crickets chirping. But, you see, Mojang could easily have said, “Screw your old saves – they’re useless now.” So I was almost alone in gibbering with gratitude: Sparcman also thought it was a pretty big deal, but he doesn’t look like he’s gibbering when he’s grateful. You see, he’s classy.

But it may have been a non-event because it had all already happened before, and I just didn’t know about it. That happens to me outside the Minecraft community, too, though I’m trying to keep up with all things Minecraft. Scaevolus had created the McRegion mod to vastly improve the file system, and Mojang took it on board. At any rate, I backed up my saves the day before, which shows an unusual level of preparation on my part.

I know this is going to be old news to those of you who were already using McRegion, but the change is startling. The conversion process takes some time with the larger files, but the wait is well worth it. The new loading time makes the old version look glacial by comparison. Plus, although the size of my biggest save folder went up from 65.4MB to 96MB, the number of files in that folder plummeted – from 22,142 to just 52. Well, damn.

You can have more than five saves – and rename them, too!
I don’t know if I can legitimately claim credit for this one… I did suggest the idea via GetSatisfaction, and it got a lot of support from the GS community, but someone probably had it first. Anyway, if it was based on my suggestion, you’re welcome, Minecrafters. I shall be the same, humble non-entity I was before. Pfft. Seriously, who cares who suggested it? I love the fact that we can have any number of worlds we like (yes, there were ways around it, prior to 1.3, but there are times when I’m a fan of the simple life).

Interestingly (and confusingly), if you rename a world, the folder name on the hard disk isn’t updated to suit, though altering them manually afterwards doesn’t break the save folder. However, when you create a new world and give it a fancy-schmancy name (I went with “A Whole New World” for my test, with stunning lack of originality), the folder name is given the world name, too. Hmm – just as well the folder name is also shown in the new file dialog. Anyway, moving on…

Ambient Occlusion
Notch credited MrMessiah for helping out with the inclusion of ambient occlusion, which makes your world look more atmospheric, though you can turn it off if you feel like being more “vanilla”, or if your frame rate suffers. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see that it didn’t make a major difference, so I’ll leave it on for now and see if I like it.

During my research for this blog post, I did notice that users of Better Light preferred that over 1.3’s version, but the same disclaimer applies: It’s In Beta.

Delayer/Repeater Blocks
I’ve not tested these – I know, shame on me. Honestly, after coming home from work, having a quick nose on Twitter and watching videos from the leading lights in Minecraft about their take on 1.3, I went to bed. But Doctor Trottimus Walrusface and chums were having a fun time with them, in a Hatventures! special episode 🙂 They do seem very useful, though.

Now these, I did have a play with, which is why I’ve saved this feature for last. I mainly wanted to see if health was restored when you wake up; and after I saw screenshots with the words “You can only sleep at night”, just what time was classed as “night”.

In preparation to test the first, I switched from Peaceful to Easy, went up to the very top of my Bond-villain island home, and threw myself off. Good grief, the things I do in the name of research. Three hearts gone; that’ll do – would have been silly if I’d killed myself just so that I could try out my new bed… So I picked myself up off, dusted myself off, and went back inside to test point 2.

As soon as the line between day and night appeared on my watch, I right-clicked. “You can only sleep at night.” Oh. Ah, the sun’s still setting; I’ll wait for that to go down. So I did, but the bed steadfastly refused to let me rest in its woolly embrace. Hmm.

Click click clickclick clickclickclickclickclickclickZZZZZZ. Ah, at last. Roughly speaking, the watch was on about 45 degrees past the top of the watch. I can’t be more detailed than that.

Dawn breaks, and a quick look at the health meter before I do my jumping jacks… what? I’m still three hearts down? Bugger. I guess I’ll be sleeping with cake next to my bed, then, but the aroma’s going to drive me nuts.

At the moment, Beds Phase 1 is going to be of most use to players just starting in a new world, because you can skip at least some of the outdoor nasties. Unless, that is, you’re mad enough to put your bed outsideThe Minecraft Wiki says that if there’s a mob nearby and it can get to you, you’ll be woken up with the mob next to the bed, and (I read elsewhere) no time will have passed.

Good morning, sir. I’m the creeper with the early-morning alarm call… BOOOOOOM

I never did like the idea of open-air hotels.

Beds work in Survival Multiplayer, though they’re all but useless – as suspected by others, you’re all going to have to go to sleep at the same time for them to work. It makes sense – the technical difficulties with independent sleeping arrangements would be unthinkable. But, still… “[CONSOLE] Okay, everyone, time for bed!”

Oh, yes: Although you can use any colour of wool to make your bed, it’ll always show up as red. I’ll have to take my diamond-patterned coverlet back to the store, then.

So… some great stuff, some iffy, some meh. But that’s par for the course with any new update, and the great stuff really is great. Thanks, Mojanglers!

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One Response to Beta 1.3 – My View…

  1. WelshPixie says:

    Ya know what’s crazy? Yesterday, before the update, I was looking at my world saves labelled 1-5, thinking ‘Man… it would be sooo much easier to remember which world is which if this would just pick up all save files in the folder along with their respective names…’. A few hours later, my wish came true 😀


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