More on Minecraft Pocket Edition

Since Notch tweeted this morning about Minecraft Pocket Edition coming to the Xperia Play, more details have been released about the upcoming game, via Mojang and Gamasutra. Daniel Kaplan has even gone as far as posting a (speeded-up) video on YouTube, showing the demo in action, in advance of the game’s public demonstration at E3 on June 7. He also showed off how he filmed it:

Daniel using his iPhone to record video of the Xperia Play in action with Minecraft - Pocket Edition.

Daniel using his iPhone to record video of the Xperia Play in action with Minecraft - Pocket Edition. Lego-constructed iPhone "tripod" FTW 😉

Nice use of Lego, there, Daniel 😉

Now, I have to admit that I don’t know much about the Xperia Play, but from what I found on Sony Ericsson’s website, the Play is the world’s first PlayStation™ Certified Android smartphone. So it’s easy to see why Mojang focused on the Play first: more available control options… By the look of things, the left-hand D-pad is used in place of WASD, the right-hand analog controller is used for mouse motion, the shoulder buttons for the mouse-clicks, and the touchscreen is used to select from the hotbar. Mind you, I couldn’t figure out what Daniel was using the right-hand D-pad for… even after slowing the video down to a quarter-speed. I tried, readers, I really tried.

(EDIT: My friend Ironfruit suspects that the right-hand D-pad is used to duck and jump. Sounds reasonable :))

After the video went up on YouTube, there were a number of commenters wondering (almost screaming, in fact) why the iOS version isn’t first; my particular favourite is the one which describes the iPhone as “traditional”. Aside from the fact that Mojang said they were outsourcing the iOS version, there’s going to have to be a lot of re-jigging to account for fewer controls, for a start. Just like with the Android version for other smartphones.

Another commenter asked how it was possible to get such speed on the Play when high-end PCs and Macs often struggled with Minecraft. As far as I can see, Mojang already said there were going to be fewer features than the full version, but when it comes to using a smartphone rather than a desktop machine, there’s less processor overhead involved, even though a smartphone’s CPU is less powerful than that of a desktop. But heck, I’m no expert on the matter!

Interestingly, the Android version is going to be released in a similar way to the PC/Mac version: an early version first, with updates coming as they happen. Makes sense, really, considering the full version isn’t finished yet, either; I’m just glad I’m not the one who’s going to be facing an extra group of people whining about this, that or the other not being updated, included or fixed!

Still, in an age where “pics or it didn’t happen” is the chant of the Internet skeptic, it’s great to see how things are coming along with the Android version, and I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how the gaming public reacts to Minecraft Pocket Edition at E3 🙂

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