The good, the 'ugh' and the scary…

If you’re not following Notch and Jeb on Twitter, it’s quite possible that you’re missing out on a lot of info about upcoming features of Minecraft, because not everything they say on there is repeated at either Notch’s blog or the main Mojang website.

And it seems that in the run-up to 1.5, there are three categories that the updates fall into – hence the title of this blog (with apologies to Sergio Leone)…

[DISCLAIMER: The updates listed below may well change or be removed entirely before 1.5 is released. I’m only going on what’s been mentioned on Twitter, with further details from the relevant Minecraft Wiki articles.]

The good:

Powered rails for minecarts: In an effort to remove the minecart glitch which has been usefully exploited to create boosters (since powered minecarts aren’t particularly powerful), Jeb is adding powered rails, which will be controllable. We first got word of this via Twitter when he sent this message:

Next tex pack update: (3, 10) is powerrail unpowered and (3, 12) is powered. Again, coords are from 0 (how hard is that to understand? :P)

… although there was a later correction:

Sorry (3, 11) is powered, not (3, 12). Yeah power rails will either push or break carts, depending on if they are on or not

… and yet another, to deal with a mistake he’d made in that message:

Oh lol I seem to be in typo mode today. Not “break,” but “brake.” Thanks @Kuborion

(Perhaps Jeb should try to curb his excitement a little when revealing new features… ;))

When they’re on, they’ll propel the carts, and create a braking effect when turned off. As a consequence of this Twitter exchange, the Minecraft Wiki speculated that the rails will be crafted from gold, rather than the usual iron. I do rather hope they’re right, because it will finally give us a decent use for that yellow shiny stuff!

 

Detector rails for minecarts: Again revealed by way of informing texture-pack creators

Detector rail is now at (3, 12) in the texture

… detector rails are also being added. Further details were helpfully supplied by Jeb the following day:

For all you who are asking, the detector rail will generate a redstone signal when a minecart (any kind) is on top of it

So, if the Minecraft Wiki article on the forthcoming block is anything to go by, the detector rail is going to be a cross between a minecart rail and a pressure plate. Useful stuff for creating subway stations and the like.

Now, the aforementioned article is somewhat uncertain as to which blocks will receive the signal. Purely from my own speculation – though I am trying to apply a little logic to the situation – the most likely recipients of detector-rail signals are going to be powered rails, and junction points. In the former case, for example, you could have a rollercoaster system where the next cart is sent out when the previous cart reaches the detector towards the end of the track.

From the further clarification I read here while researching this blog post, it turns out that detector rails will not, unfortunately, be able to differentiate between empty and full carts (but remember the Disclaimer above, please). This is a bit of a shame, because it would certainly make it a more useful block than it already would be. That said, there are some rather useful unmodded set-ups which can do this already, though it involves gaps in the tracks.

 

Extra types of saplings. I know that a few of my Minecrafting friends and I have bemoaned the fact that regardless of the tree type, saplings will only produce oak trees. Not so after 1.5, however:

Heads-up to texture packers: Slot (15, 3) is now spruce sapling and slot (15, 4) is birch sapling (counting coords from 0)

This, to me, is wonderful news, as minor as it might seem to some. We all have differing priorities, of course 🙂

 

The return of weather. It’s funny, but a day or so before Notch (casually) announced the return of snow and rain, my friend bluenokkad was wishing for that very thing.

Not long after the announcement, Mojang’s YouTube channel had a proof-of-concept demo, showing the meteorological marvels in action – although the description is careful to point out that the weather will be much less intense than shown!

[If you’ve not seen it yet, the video also demonstrates stats and achievements; I’m not going into those in this article, not because there’s already been a welter of discussion over the Internet about them, but because they don’t particularly excite me like the other stuff does :P]

After that announcement on April 7, more details emerged during the day, via Notch’s feed (click the “tweet” links for the full discussions):

@zadirion Ice and snow will regrow, farms will autowater (tweet)

Wolves get wet in the rain. Crops will get watered. Anything else it should affect? (tweet)

I’m not making it solidify lava, as that would ruin all surface lava structures when the first rain hits. But it does put out fires. (tweet)

Higher odds of catching fish while raining.. Good one. 😀 I’ll try making it fill small holes with water, but it might be annoying.. brb (tweet)

@TheFedora You can’t see sun/moon/stars while it’s raining, and days are one level darker. (tweet)

There was further clarification about the fire-extinguishing power of rain later in the week:

@Saturicon Fire on netherrack won’t go out. Fire on wood will, though (tweet)

But there was another feature added on April 7 – thunder… More about that later…

 

Still no Herobrine, and occlusion culling. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Notch was getting sick of people bugging him about the present or future existence of Herobrine. But at least he seemed relatively calm when he sent this combination tweet about Herobrine, and occlusion culling:

Herobrine is still not real, and I added an option to 1.5 to turn on occlusion culling. Most computers can handle it, and it helps a lot.

As far as occlusion culling is concerned, I’ll freely admit that I just had to Google it before writing this paragraph (I make no claim whatsoever to omniscience.) For those who don’t know what the heck occlusion culling means, here’s a translation: if you’re not meant to see it, either because it’s hidden or too far away, it won’t get drawn. This has the potential to greatly improve frame rates (and those of us using older machines may well be rather grateful for this!). So, yay!

 

The ‘ugh’:

Ladders behave differently – again. So we can now hold down Shift to hang on to a ladder (and stop your descent, coincidentally), but Notch decided this wasn’t enough. As of 1.5, he’s decided that the wood-saving ability to have ladders every other block will be removed:

You know how you can climb ladders with gaps? Yeah, not in 1.5.

Booooo. And possibly even hiss. Still, it’s his game – we can’t get our way all of the time, can we? (sotto voce muttering)

Still, it’s not all bad…

To make up for the ladder fix, I fixed the side textures of grass! Also things walking through snow produce snow particles around their feet

So now our every-other-block ladders may now make us fall and break our necks, but at least our gardens will look lovely. Er, yeah. Thanks for that, Notch… 😛

(Note: I’m not angry about the ladder change – but the graphical changes don’t really seem like that much of a positive trade-off…)

But – but!there’s going to be an improvement in the crafting of ladders, which is a useful trade-off – thanks to @theArchPoint for suggesting it to Notch!

@notch please let us get 2 ladders instd of one when we craft it 😦

@theArchPoint Good idea. Done.

(I discovered this particular conversation when I was almost finished with this article, but I’ve decided to leave the previous paragraphs as-is.)

“I wish I could fly, way up to the sky, but I can’t…” Well, not if Jeb has anything to do with it, as he pointed out in this tweet:

1.5 servers will have an allow-flight setting (default false). It’s not like I believe we beat the fly mod clients, but it’s harder now

There was further clarification later on:

@Blha303 It’s mainly to prevent flying, I don’t think we plan to ship the client with a flight mode included, but I haven’t asked notch (tweet)

Hmm. I wonder if this means that our own personal dragons are a no-go, or just the “if man was meant to fly, he would have had wings” situation?

It seems a little odd that Jeb would devote time to defeating client mods which provide the power of flight, since I’d guess that there’ll be people who will make mods which get around the restriction – but at least, as he pointed out in the first tweet I mentioned, flight can still be allowed. I know of one admin in particular who finds it rather useful…

(Oh, apologies – of a sort – to British readers who clicked the YouTube link in this section header. It may well have provided more fear/outrage than nostalgia. Bwahahaha…)

The scary:

As previously mentioned, it seems that Notch’s inner Doctor Frankenstein got the better of him:

I’m getting so carried away with this weather.. Adding thunder now. (tweet)

A later tweet revealed that the daytime isn’t going to be as safe as it was, pre-1.5:

MUOAHAHA! Thunder Storms lower the brightness. That means daytime monsters during storms. This is freakily atmospheric.

Oh, boy… Maybe we can have an umbrella which doubles as a shield?

 

It’s alive! Now, I’m not sure if Notch was being serious in this tweet, given the winking smiley:

MUOAHAHA! Pigs that get hit by lightning turn into zombie pigmen ;D

… but the prospect of pigs turning into zombie pigmen is a little scary, I have to say – even if they’re neutral. Still, in the Nether, zombie pigmen are often found in packs (herds?), and a single zombie pigman isn’t going to be much of a threat. Unless Notch decides to chain the lightning to leap from one piggy to another. Whoops. I might have helped Notch create a monster (it’s that Igor streak of mine, again…)

(Incidentally, I can do a rather good evil laugh myself, as many of my friends can attest…)

 

… plus the unmentioned (i.e. it didn’t appear in the main feed):

Water is returning to normal! No need to fear the undertow any more – in response to a heartfelt question from MekkiFilipe, Jeb tweeted that water is going to be restored to its pre-1.4 strength:

@jeb_ could you change the watercurrent back to normal? Its way overpowered now :s

@MekkiFilipe Yeah, I have changed it for beta 1.5

Thank goodness, say I – and possibly countless others say similar (and possibly more colourful) things…

So that’s the round-up of what’s been revealed so far in the run-up to 1.5. There’s no firm release date for the update as of yet, due to “feature creep”:

The reason 1.5 is delayed until next week: http://t.co/3tiaXrN #featurecreep

… but it’s going to be pretty interesting when 1.5 does emerge into the wild!

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