Feeling a bit cube-ish today so these updates are mainly for those pixel/cube/voxel based games.
First up is the Terraria update, out today. It brings to Terraria changes similar to the big Christmas Update a while back, but for Halloween this time. It adds all kinds of stuff ranging from Halloween themed pets, Pumpkins and Pumpkin wall and tiles, spooky wood and spooky wood wall and tiles, halloween goodie bag drops, the new Pumpking boss, and loads of fun stuff. It’s definitely going to be worth checking out not only because of the fresh Halloween update – but if you haven’t played in several months, Redigit is back and working on the game again and has even hinted at a Terraria 2. For a list of the 1.2.1 changes, check out this Google Doc.
Titled The Update That Changed The World, Minecraft 1.7.2 brings some huge changes mainly to worldgen. Along with a new “Amplified” worldgen setting that greatly increases variation in mountains and plains, 1.7.2 brings in new biomes like:
It also allows servers to load a resource-pack (new texture packs for those of you who haven’t been keeping up) onto a client when they join – up to 50mb in size. Achievements are now posted in chat and fishing has gotten a HUGE revamp with the addition of Pufferfish, Salmon, and Clownfish as well as enchantable fishing rods. Seriously the list is way too long to try to condense, so just skim through this post on Reddit to read the changes.
Let’s say you want to play a newer version of Minecraft with over a hundred+ mods than what Feed The Beast offers on 1.5.2. With Minecraft now on 1.7+, you can play a modpack for 1.6.4 called Resonant Rise through the AT Launcher. The AT Launcher is very easy to use and includes several modpacks already ready to install and play. Resonant Rise would be their flagship and has the most mods and is fairly stable (haven’t had any crashes yet myself). One thing to note: A few mod authors do not want their mod distributed through any other means than their Minecraft Forums post… this means that you can’t get permission to include say, the Portal Guns mod in your modpack. AT Launcher gets around this by launching browser windows that automatically take you to the download and can automatically import them into the modpack once you finish downloading a mod required for the modpack. For instance, Portal Guns… Launching Resonant Rise for the first time installs a bunch of mods (from mod authors ok with distribution) and then will launch a browser window that goes straight to the Portal Guns mod (their adfly actually, but it takes 5 seconds and the download starts). Once it finishes AT Launcher will either pick it up on it’s own from your Downloads folder or ask you to place it in the AT Launcher directory.
It’s about 5 minutes of work to get it started the first time – but it’s hardly AT Launcher’s fault. The other way would be to distribute these mods without the mod authors permission and possibly rustle some jimmies in the modding community. ATL skirts this by making you download them yourself and is able to include fun mods without stepping on anyone’s toes.
And finally what was going to be the biggest disappointment in gaming for me in 2013, Wollay the creator of Cubeworld has come out of hiding and spoken to the gaming press about the game for the first time since the game was released as an alpha version. Typically “alpha testing” or “beta testing” a game means that you’re playing a version of the game in it’s development stages and it will have bugs and issues that you can report to the creators to help them discover flaws in their game faster than they could on their own. Wollay is kind of a hermit though and never communicates to his players or followers – and that’s not something new. It’s something he’s never done. Some people didn’t know this about him or some people assumed this would change once the game was released and were extremely frustrated and disappointed when there weren’t daily updates or weekly/monthly patches to the game.
Unfortunately the game in it’s alpha state quickly got boring as there’s really not a lot to do other than try a class, grind some monsters, and visit one of a few biomes/zones. Instead of the quick periodic updates we got with Minecraft in it’s infancy, we got nothing and this made a lot of people angry at Wollay or at the game itself. On the other end of the spectrum is Chucklefish with their daily updates of Starbound – a game that hasn’t been released as an alpha/beta yet.
The whole ordeal is worth a discussion on what we expect from indie game devs now. With Notch setting a new standard of expectations of communication and the game as an ongoing “service” not a “product” and continual updates throughout the games life – even AAA titles like Battlefield see updates and patches on a regular (albeit much slower than Minecraft) basis. Why was there such backlash when Wollay decided to work on his game and not necessarily tell everyone daily what he was doing? Rumors were flying that he’d run off with the money. The argument was “well how long does it take to make a single tweet about still working hard or what you’ve been fixing?”
What’s your stance? Is constant communication by the game developers something you need in a game to make the purchase more worth-while? Even if patches are released and bugs are fixed, it looks like Wollay has really divided his community and has burnt a lot of customers.