Minecraft video game updates with sound and gameplay improvements

Minecraft video game updates with sound and gameplay improvements

A new update for the popular Minecraft video game is now available for Windows 10 and consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox One.

This latest update, which brings the Bedrock (multi-platform) version of Minecraft to Version 1.12.0, features a host of improvements and bug fixes.

Most-notable is the increase in volume and occurrence of the ambient mob sounds, the addition of Wandering Trader sounds, the Store being renamed as Marketplace, new permission settings for Realm owners, and improved game performance near villages and when opening inventory.

Here’s the official list of changes made with this update. The full release notes, which are too long to include on this page, can be read here.

  • Increased the frequency and volume of the ambient mob sounds made during raids, to make them easier to locate
  • Added new Wandering Trader sounds (MCPE-41191)
  • Updated the main menu splash text
  • Updated the default main menu panorama from Aquatic to Village & Pillage
  • The “Store” button on the main menu has been renamed to “Marketplace”
  • Realm owners can now set relevant permissions for players invited to their Realm
  • Default settings can be set for all new members entering a Realm
  • The owner can set permissions for an invited player to either visitor, member or operator
  • When resetting a world, or uploading a new world, already set permissions stay in place

Minecraft continues to receive updates on a very regular basis. Last month it was announced that the game would be getting a revamp of its combat system in the near future while new skin packs were added based on Disney’s Toy Story movies.

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Dragon Quest Builders 2 Is Much More Than A Minecraft Clone

Dragon Quest Builders 2 Is Much More Than A Minecraft Clone

Dragon Quest Builders 2 makes me feel like a creative genius. It accomplishes this bold feat through use of brilliant game design. In summary, no, it is not a “Minecraft Clone.” I use plenty of fancy words to elaborate on that in this video.

Somehow I arrived at adulthood without ever learning to enjoy creativity. Every time my life requires me to be creative, I make a face like Judge Dreddand complain throughout the exercise.

Well, 2016's Dragon Quest Builders made creativity fun. By meticulously laying out learning tasks as goals along the winding road of an adorably paced epic adventure set in a deep cut of the Dragon Quest universe, the game lent me the joy of being effortlessly creative.

As I note in my video, an ungodly percentage of comments on Dragon Quest Builders 2‘s trailer accuse the game of being a “Minecraft Clone.” This is like calling Breath of the Wild an “Adventure Clone.”

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a full-length Dragon Quest game, which just so happens to supplement its cutscenes, exploration, and combat elements with cutely robust city planning mechanics. And, yes, perfectly fleshed-out, endlessly rich Minecraft building.

I see Minecraft as pretty much productivity software for nurturing children’s creativity. I wish we’d had it when I was in elementary school. All we’d had in my house was a bucket of off-brand Legos. We only had one of the flat green pieces, and it was frustratingly small. The biggest structure I could ever build was a port-a-potty.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is bigger, longer, deeper, and magnitudes more narratively exciting than the first. It has online co-op building. Its controls are spectacularly riddled with gargantuan quality of life improvements. For example: your townspeople can build for you, if you lay out the blueprints and dump the materials in a nearby chest. It’s hilariously satisfying to watch them build.

If you played the first Dragon Quest Builders and loved it, yet the previous paragraph enthralls you, I personally cannot conceive of the possibility of this game disappointing you.

Dragon Quest Builders 2‘s in-game social aspects allow me to view thousands of other players’ creations—and effortlessly travel to and tour their islands, if I want. It fascinates me to see how creative other players can get. I realize I’ll probably never build a shockingly complex cathedral in Dragon Quest Builders 2. Though given that what initially hooked me about playing a “Minecraft Reskin” was its Dragon Quest wallpaper, I find it fittingly satisfying that my village, viewed from the top down, looks perfectly like part of an 8-bit Dragon Questmap.

The Dragon Quest Builders series has taught me that all I really need from a game is Dragon Quest towns. Dragon Quest Builders lets me make my own towns. It’s unlimited Dragon Quest towns. This is enough to convince me that I probably don’t need another video game for at least a couple of weeks.

I go into specific detail about a few of the game’s systems in my video, so if that sort of thing excites you, you could slam your Builder’s Hammer down on the thumbs-up icon on our YouTube channel.

By the way! You could subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you like videos like this.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

Want to be more creative? Playing Minecraft can help, new study finds Caveat: Subjects who were explicitly told to be creative in Minecraft improved the least.

Want to be more creative? Playing Minecraft can help, new study finds Caveat: Subjects who were explicitly told to be creative in Minecraft improved the least.

Minecraft is one of the most popular computer games, having sold more than 100 million copies since its release in 2011. Claims that it boosts creativity have been circulating for several years, and now there's a bit of scientific evidence to back up that claim, according to the results of a new study published in Creativity Research Journal.

Co-author Douglas Gentile is a psychologist at Iowa State University. His speciality is studying media influence on children, including video games, television, film, music, even advertising. That includes both positive and negative effects, from video game addiction and a possible link between media violence and aggression, to how playing certain games can improve surgeons' skills.Ars Technica

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“The literature looks like it's conflicted when it truly isn't,” said Gentile. “There's studies showing games increase aggression, and others showing it can increase prosocial behavior. From the outside it looks like they must be good or bad, but that's not the way the world really works. This dichotomous thinking doesn't allow us to actually see what's going on, because we pick one idea and then we apply it to everything.”

Gentile's co-author and grad student, Jorge Blanco-Herrera, is a former pro gamer who wanted to explore the purported link between playing Minecraft and creativity for his master's thesis. Minecraft is technically a sandbox video game, meaning that players aren't provided with a specific back story, prepared quest, or much direction at all. They are free to use the game space however they like, using the tools and blocks of the game to build pretty much anything, from a simple shack to a high-rise hotel, a basic truck, or a working TV. Someone just recreated a Bob Ross painting in Minecraft. Gentile compares it to a virtual Legoworld.

“Given what we know about how games can have powerful effects on other dimensions, it's not an unreasonable claim; it's just untested,” said Gentile, although there could be internal Microsoft research on the subject. Yet that claim is often cited as an argument in favor of bringing computer games into schools. “That seems reckless to me, that we're making policy decisions in schools based on a claim that has no real scientific evidence,” he said.

For their study, Gentile et al. recruited 352 volunteers and had them spend 40 minutes either playing Minecraft, playing a NASCAR race car video game, or watching a TV show (Crocodile Hunter). Some of the subjects playing Minecraft were “primed,” meaning they were instructed to play as creatively as possible. Then the subjects were asked to complete specific tasks designed to measure their creativity.

It was a challenge finding just the right metric to measure something as nebulous as “creativity.” They chose two tasks often used in such experiments. In one, participants were asked to come up with as many uses as possible for a paper clip and a knife, respectively. The second task required subjects to draw an alien creature from another world; the more said creature resembled a human, the fewer points the subject received for creativity.

The results were clearest with the alien drawing task: subjects who had played Minecraft without any priming performed the best. “So the basic idea that Minecraft can enhance creativity does seem to be right, at lease in some circumstances,” said Gentile. But he was surprised to find that subjects who played the directed version of Minecraft, where they were instructed to be creative, did not show the same effect. In fact, they proved to be the least creative among the four groups, based on the chosen task.

This might be due to added pressure or self-consciousness on the part of the subjects, or perhaps it indicates a shift in motivation; the group has several potential hypotheses. “We have no way of knowing which is correct, because we didn't expect that effect,” said Gentile. “We thought those two conditions would be the same, or maybe even the one where we primed creativity would be the most creative. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters.”

“As a scientist I'm just interested in documenting the effects that it has. Whether or not you think it's good or bad—that's a value judgement,” said Gentile, pointing out that the military, for instance, values the increased aggression effect of some video games, while your average parent probably would not. “The research is starting to tell a more interesting, nuanced picture. Our results are similar to other gaming research in that you get better at what you practice, but howyou practice might matter just as much.”

DOI: Creativity Research Journal, 2019. 10.1080/10400419.2019.1594524  (About DOIs).

How To Sign Up For The ‘Minecraft Earth’ Closed Beta

How To Sign Up For The ‘Minecraft Earth’ Closed Beta

Here's how the first half hour or so of my experience with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite went. I opened the game, went through some basic tutorial stuff and walked around for the course of four levels or so.

“Well,” I thought to myself. “Maybe Minecraft Earth will make this work.”

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft and Mojang's upcoming walking game, and itwill be the second ultra high-profile game to try and recapture the magic that made Pokemon GO one of the most profitable mobile games in history. Sure, there have been plenty of other titles in the meantime with varying degrees of success from franchises like Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park and The Walking Dead. But there's big and then there's big, and these games are big. Harry Potter was big based on the scope of the franchise and the fact that it was coming from the same developer as Pokemon GOMinecraft Earth is big because, you know, Minecraft.

Minecraft Earth

Minecraft Earth CREDIT: MICROSOFT

We recently got to see some gameplay from this thing, and it looks cool. It looks similar to those other games on some level, but it also looks like it's on a much better track to translate this property than what Wizards Unite did with what it had to work with: it helps that Mojang understands what makes this thing tick down at its bones.

Things kick off with a closed beta coming up “in the next two weeks”, according to a recent announcement. It will start on iOs and move to Android “soon” afterwards. From the website:

  • The closed beta will launch for iOS in the next two weeks, with the Android version following soon thereafter.
  • As with most closed betas, the number of participants will be limited in numbers and locations. This is to make sure our servers are able to keep up with all the exploration, creation and, hopefully, surviving that is going on around the world. To learn about the current availability of the beta, ​follow Minecraft Earth on Twitter​!
  • As is also common with beta versions, your progress will occasionally be reset as we test and develop various features of the game.
  • If you are selected to participate in the closed beta (congratulations!), you will receive an invitation email to the email address you have associated with the Microsoft Account or Xbox Live account you submitted in your registration.
  • If you are selected (congrats again!), you will need to play at least once every 7 days. If you don’t, we’ll give your spot to someone else, as space in the beta is very limited.
  • You have to be 18 years or older to participate.
This modded Minecraft sponge is so powerful it can slurp up an ocean

This modded Minecraft sponge is so powerful it can slurp up an ocean

Sponges in Minecraft are pretty darn absorbent—a single sponge block can suck up a total of 65 blocks of water before it becomes completely filled and needs to be dried out in a furnace.

But is 65 blocks really enough? Minecraft is full of swamps and lakes and inlets and oceans and sometimes all that pesky water gets in the way of what you're trying to do, whether it be a construction project or the investigation of an underwater monument.

A modder named Quanted on Reddit wasn't happy with the absorbency of Minecraft's vanilla sponges, so they created their own modded sponge. And boy can it sop up water. A lot of water. All the water?

When placed in water, the modded sponge spreads in six directions, replacing water blocks with empty air (and leaving a lot of confused squids flopping around). The intention is for the sponge to expire after 150 blocks, but as Quanted demonstrates, the mod code can be tweaked for the sponge to simply keep absorbing water forever. You might need some of that water to put out the flames on your GPU, from the looks of it.

Quanted hasn't released the mod yet, saying “this was just a proof of concept, but since a lot of people appreciate it I will publish this mod. This week I'm very busy, but then I will do my best to finish the mod and share it to the world.” That was a couple weeks ago and I haven't seen another post with the mod arrive yet, but hopefully it will be available soon.

Luckily, there's also a data pack version of a super sponge that seems to work in a similar fashion, made by another clever creator on Reddit called Plagiatus, inspired by Quanted's mod above. You can grab the data pack on github, where you'll also find installation instructions.

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ crushed its opening day with ticket sales of $39.2 million

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ crushed its opening day with ticket sales of $39.2 million

Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is now showing in US theaters, did pretty well on its opening day of Tuesday. So well, in fact, that its first-day haul of $39.2 puts this final installment in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe well on track to reaching the estimated $125 million the movie about your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is expected to take in over the course of its first six days in theaters.

Some estimates are even predicting a $150 million total haul for that initial six-day run, well above the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man: Homecoming, his first standalone film as the titular web-slinger.

In this 23rd Marvel film, we get a look at the post-Avengers: Endgame world in addition to getting to enjoy another Peter Paker-saves-the-world story, this time from script co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Recurring actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Colbie Smulders are back, with the addition of Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, for the film which has already knocked it out of the park globally. Far From Home debuted in Asia last week and has collected $150 million already from China, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Among the more interesting new details that are revealed in Far From Home? How about a new name for Thanos’ genocidal finger snap from Endgame, for a start.

For a minute there, Marvel was letting it be known post-Infinity War that the moment in which half of humanity was wiped out would be referred to as “The Decimation.” This is a Spider-Man movie we’re talking about, though, and he’s such a happy-go-lucky hero (with these movies also having a bit of a sunnier tone) that maybe it makes sense the new movie is now taking to calling the finger snap moment … drumroll … “The Blip.” Kind of a silly name, but if you put that aside we do get an entertaining and great first look at the world kind of putting the pieces back together in the wake of the events of Endgame. Its box office success will surely be no blip, either, and there are also some pretty big end credits scenes you should stick around for.