Free book for boys and reluctant readers

Minecraft Adventures - Books for boys

Flynn's Log is free on the following devices

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US$8.99 Paperback

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Reading is important

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
–Maya Angelou

Most adults would agree that reading is important, but many kids detest reading. Video games, devices, and TV are preferred entertainment and escape. They provide instant gratification. Reading takes time. For some kids, reading isn't engaging.

had this same problem with my son, so I solved the problem.

The classic stories I remember enjoying as a kid don’t interest my son and his immediate attention span. If he doesn’t enjoy the story from page one, he will not read further.

Minecraft Adventures - Books for boys

So how did I get my son to read?

I showed him how much fun it is to get sucked into a story.

Your book is amazing I can't stop reading it
– Joseph Young via twitter

Contemporary and Classic titles alike don’t interest many kids. Don’t worry, the love of reading is learned. We need a starting point. We need that one book that is just as engaging on the first read as the fifth, just like a really great movie that kids want to see again and again. A positive association with reading will make kids want to read more.

A love of reading is cited as the number one indicator of future success. My son didn’t have the desire to read. He didn’t care about the books I chose to read to him, and was overwhelmed with the selection at the library. I want my son to succeed, so I had to do something. Since we struggled to find books he cared to read, I wrote one. An epic saga about the things he loves. I put it in a world he loves and addressed the issues he faces in his life.

I just love your books I've been reading them over and over again.
-Carson via twitter 

But it's a video game book

Don’t worry; it’s not a book about video games, nor is it a game strategy book. Flynn's Log is a hero's journey that takes place inside the Minecraft world that today's kids know and love. The protagonist, Flynn, naturally flows through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (builds shelter and tools, learns what to eat and discovers a digital friend) and faces questions about his destiny. He learns important life lessons about friendship, integrity, and trust. Flynn's Log is good for kids without being boring.

Thank you so so much for the free ebook. My son loves Minecraft now with this book I can get him to read to me.
Jennifer Wilkins

Start your son or daughter on journey today, reading Flynn’s Log 1: Rescue Island. Free on available these devices and apps.

Minecraft Adventures - Books for boys

Flynn's Log is free on the following devices

Choose your device

KindleiPad/iPod/iPhoneGoogle Play (Android Tablets)nookkoboRead Online

US$8.99 Paperback

Shop LocalAmazon-USAmazon-UKAmazon-Canada

Why is Flynn's Log 1 Free?

My son loves reading — finally. If you have experience with a reluctant reader then I know your pain and I want to help. I’ve seen thousands of kids transform with this book. My readers, who don’t usually read books during the summer, couldn't put Flynn's Log 1 down.

Good book I thought I would never read a book on my summer but I feel I'm gonna finish it soon
– Multigamer 47 via twitter

Let this book change your kid’s life too. You have nothing to lose and an avid reader to gain.

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

–Frederick Douglas

I am giving away Flynn's Log 1 free because I want to give you a risk-free way to hook your reluctant reader.

Please and I mean PLEASE, WRITE MORE! I absolutely love it! They're outstanding books.

-Devon123321 via twitter

What are Books for Boys?

I spend lots of time with teachers and parents. I hear parents ask, “How do I get my son to read? Do you have books for boys?”

I wrote the Flynn's Log series for my son, and this book is interesting for boys. However, the series is a non-stop read for both boys and girls, especially those who are interested in Minecraft.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

—Dr. Seuss

What are you waiting for?

You have nothing to lose!

Minecraft Adventures - Books for boys

Flynn's Log is free on the following devices

Choose your device

KindleiPad/iPod/iPhoneGoogle Play (Android Tablets)nookkoboRead Online

US$8.99 Paperback

Shop LocalAmazon-USAmazon-UKAmazon-Canada

News for Parents of Reluctant Readers

Get Reluctant Reader Book News from Stone Marshall

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Be sure you get your bonuses, send an email to [email protected] and say Hi, or add [email protected] to your address book now. Gmail users, make sure your entry is confirmed. Add email from [email protected] to your Primary Tab. This video explains it well. Don't have an email address? Get gmail here, free.

Twitch suspends streamer Anomaly for showing a Hitler skin in Minecraft

Earlier this week, prominent streamer Ludvig ‘Anomaly’ Lagerstedt received a 30-day suspension from Twitch after he briefly showed a Minecraft skin depicting Adolph Hitler. Anomaly is appealing the ban – he says it’s “quite excessive” – but the streamer has already gotten into hot water with Twitch over hateful conduct in the past.

In the offending clip, Anomaly opens his Minecraft inventory and immediately closes it as he realises the Hitler skin is on display. “Oh my god, I have the wrong skin on me,” he says, bursting into laughter. On Twitter after the ban, Anomaly said “I had the skin because me and some friends were gonna record a Minecraft video and I was gonna make a little joke about ‘Meinkraft’ and forgot to change back the skin.”

According to the relevant bits of Twitch’s community guidelines, “hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence” against people in a wide range of categories, and it’s not hard to see how Twitch might recognise Hitler jokes as – at the very least – ‘facilitating denigration.’

It’s not the first time Anomaly has been banned from Twitch for inappropriate conduct, as Dot Esports notes. Over a year ago, he received an indefinite suspension from the platform for violating the hateful conduct rules.

While we never officially got confirmation on why that ban happened – obviously it was eventually overturned – it did come immediately after a clip in which Anomaly dressed a black PUBG character in prison clothes, and followed with the same sort of exaggerated laugh we hear in the Minecraft clip.

Minecraft may be headed to Tesla cars, Cuphead coming in August

Kill time behind the wheel in the wide, wide world of Minecraft.

What you need to know

  • Minecraft may be on its way to another platform: Tesla cars.
  • Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted that the company is working on bringing the blocky game to its vehicles, and it's a “high priority.”
  • Musk also revealed that Cuphead will launch in Teslas in August.

Minecraft has already become one of the most ubiquitous games out there, with ports on nearly every platform you can think of. However, you might be able to add another, unconventional platform to that list soon: Tesla vehicles.

Tesla founder Elon Musk recently tweeted that Minecraft is on his company's list of to-dos for game ports. Going further, Musk says it's a high priority, alongside Roblox.

We’re working on it. Agreed, Minecraft is high priority. Roblox too.3,4239:41 AM – Jul 28, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy456 people are talking about this

Teslas all feature a large displays from which you control much of the car's functions. Tesla has been gradually adding games to the built-in computers for months now, including Atari titles, Beach Buggy Racing 2, and even chess. Of course, the games are only meant to be played while the car is at rest, so don't get your hopes up for playing Minecraft as you drive. That's just plain dangerous.

In further Tesla game news, Studio MDHR's notoriously difficult Cuphead, which was teased earlier this year, will launch on Tesla vehicles in August, Musk confirmed in another tweet.

For those of us without a Tesla, both Cuphead and Minecraft are available to pick up across Xbox One, Windows 10, and a number of other platforms in the meantime.

Minecraft Monday Week 6: Teams, live stream and results

Minecraft Monday is returning for Week 6 as the UMG event put together by Keemstar continues.

The Week 6 rosters were recently announced, although the full teams aren't complete yet. The first roster release says Bajan_Canadian is still in need of a partner. They have a few more hours to find a partner, so hopefully we'll have full rosters by the time it starts.

ShotGunPlays & Technoblade won Week 1, Technoblade & iBallisticSquid won Week 2, traves & cscoop won Week 3, Vikkstar123 & Preston won Week 4 and Skeppy & BadBoyHalo won Week 5. Skeppy and BadBoyHalo are teamed up again for Week 6, so we could see a repeat champ.

When does Minecraft Monday start?

  • Date: July 22nd
  • Time: 4 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. PT

How to stream Minecraft Monday Week 6

UMG will be streaming the event live above.

You can also watch live from individual streamers on their respective platforms (some stream on Twitch, others stream on YouTube, a rare few choose other outlets).

Minecraft Monday Week 6 teams, rosters

WEEK 6Player 1Player 2
Team 1James CharlesConnorEatsPants
Team 2SchlattTechnopig
Team 3JackSucksAtLifeDangthatsalongname
Team 4YammyLaurenzSide
Team 5TravesCscoop
Team 6CaptainSparklezAntVenom
Team 7DanTDMThinkNoodles
Team 8PrestonLogodoptiz
Team 9GoodGuyFitzSwaggerSouls
Team 10JeromeASF‪Ph1LzA‬
Team 11SkeppyBadBoyHalo
Team 12Vikkstar123ZerkaaHD
Team 13CallMeCarsonYTNivison
Team 14iHasCupquakeJaidenAnimations
Team 15AphmauNepentheZ
Team 16Jon BamsPapalatte
Team 17QuackityJunkyJanker
Team 18xQcm0xy
Team 19DennisSub
Team 20Bajan_CanadianNEED PARTNER

Minecraft Monday rules, scoring system

  • Eliminations: +10 Score
  • Victory: +30 Score
  • Top 2 Teams: +20 Score
  • Top 3 Teams: +10 Score
  • Surviving: +2 Score (Whenever a team is eliminated all other remaining teams earn +2 Score)

An added note, scoring for placements, surviving and victories are split between teammates if both are alive. But if one member of the team gets eliminated, the score is awarded to the surviving teammate.

There's no cheating allowed. Cheating includes no cross-teaming, no “feeding” to help another team no mods or resource packs that grant unfair advantages. Trash talk is allowed, but toxic trash talk could result in a ban.

UMG listed the games played as follows for Week 5. This section hasn't been updated for Week 6, so we'll keep an eye out in case it changes.

  • 1. Hunger Games (Spark City)
  • 2. TNT Run
  • 3. Dropper
  • 4. Spleef
  • 5. Battle Arena
  • 6. Find The Button
  • 7. Run From The Lava
  • 8. Bingo Hunt
  • 9. Hunger Games (MAP)

Minecraft Monday Week 6 results

The leaderboard above will update throughout the tournament, and you can check at the end of the event who won.

Two Years Later, Minecraft Still Doesn't Have Its Xbox One X Graphics Enhancements

The Super Duper Graphics Pack for Minecraft was announced at E3 2017. Just over two years later, it’s still never been released, and there has been little news about the update’s progress.

Back in 2017, the team sounded optimistic. “Today we’re revealing a new look for Minecraft that we’re super duper excited for you to try out, one that’s inspired by the power of Xbox One X and available this fall,” said Mojang brand director Lydia Winters on stage at Microsoft’s press conference that year. She was referring to the Super Duper Graphics Pack, an update that would allow Minecraft to run in 4K, as well as add new lighting effects and, on the Xbox One X at least, increase draw distances to make players’ worlds feel that much bigger.

While the Xbox One X came out as scheduled that fall, the Super Duper Graphics Pack did not. At MineCon later that year, the game’s studio announced it had been delayed until the following year. “There’s a lot of work to be done still and we’re not going to be ready to launch it in 2017,” the company wrote on its website. “We’ll be releasing Super Duper next year, and we’ll have more information for you here on soon.”

That information never came, though, leaving people to wonder about its fate to this day. Minecraft wasn’t featured prominently at E3 last year or this year, and while the game has received major updates in the last two years, including The Life Aquatic patch that added oceanic exploration and cross-play betweenMinecraft players on Xbox One, PC, mobile, and Switch, the 4K graphics showcased two years on the Xbox One X are still missing. Notably, it’s the only first-party game on the platform that still doesn’t have any Xbox One X enhanced features.

While there’s been no official update about what’s going on with the Super Duper Graphics Pack from Microsoft (which declined to comment for this story), developers at Mojang said at a MineCon Earth panel last October that the update was proving trickier than originally thought, requiring portions of the game engine to be overhauled. This past March, community manager Helen Zbihlyj said on Twitter that there were only eight people working on the game’s new graphics engine, stressing what a monumental task this was given all of the platforms it needs to support, including VR. (Mojang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Given those factors, it’s not surprising that the Super Duper Graphics Pack is taking so long. If anything, the surprising part is that Microsoft decided to make such a big deal out of the new Xbox One X enhanced update so early.

While a thread about the missing graphics pack blows up on the Xbox One subreddit every so often, fans recently poked fun at a now infamous tweetmade by a user called ItsGam3r saying they planned to buy an Xbox One X just for Minecraft after seeing the trailer for the new graphics. “It’s going to be great for Minecraft fans,” the official Xbox twitter account had responded at the time. “If only he knew…” wrote someone reposting the exchange on Reddit.

“I never ended up actually buying an XB1X, lmao,” ItsGam3r told Kotaku in a DM. “Although it looked pretty sweet.”

Opinion: Why Minecraft is Back and Bigger than Ever

Minecraft. You can’t spend a day browsing the internet, without some reference to the gaming phenomenon. It’s strikingly simplistic, but addictive gameplay has built thousands of careers on YouTube. It’s defined the gaming industry and is played by almost 200 million people today. It’s also sprouted many other block-inspired games, like its own Minecraft Story ModeMinecraft Earth, and Terraria. Even ten years after its release, when most releases would have been forgotten, it’s going strong, rivaling Fortnite. And for several reasons, in 2019, it’s only getting stronger.

No One is Ever Really Gone

Arguably, Minecraft was never really gone. With Minecraft Earth releasing in 2020, and a Minecraft movie scheduled for 2022, it’s evident that the game’s huge fanbase has remained active throughout the last decade. It is obvious by the amount of exposure the game is gaining over the internet that there’s been a recent resurgence in popularity. Interestingly, it’s also clear that the game’s population hasn’t fallen dramatically since its 2011 official release. According to Google Trends, interest in the game has been slowly degrading since its July 2013 peak. It reached its lowest point of interest fairly recently, in October 2018. But since about April of 2019, the game has rapidly increased in popularity, rivaling the rapid growth of Minecraft’s in the early 2010s, and even that of Fortnite. Is this sparking a new gaming rivalry?


But what caused this sudden spike? And why after a decade of the game’s release, is Minecraft back as the biggest current game? Like most things, we need to travel back in time to see why it lost its popularity in the first place, to see why it’s again exploding in 2019.

The Past

It’s 2013 and Minecraft has arguably just had its most popular year. Millions have been playing, and the title has taken the internet by storm. But most importantly, and dangerously, players are happy with the game. Now, because the player base was content with Minecraft, the developers, Mojang, slowed down releasing any gameplay changing updates. This is because they were afraid changes would turn players, who were happy with the game’s state, away. Cut to 2014, and the game enters a stage of no major updates for two years, coinciding with the supposed ‘Dark Ages’ of Minecraft. This is where interest in the game really began to fall. Ironically, without updates, to Mojang’s greatest fear, interest in the game began to dwindle. Despite some updates, by 2017 hundreds of Minecraft YouTuber’s decided that there time playing Minecraft was over. So the game hit rock bottom. Oof.

Over the next year, the game would continue to suffer. The majority of its player base would migrate to over to game that took the industry by surprise. Fortnite. Like Minecraft a decade ago, Fortnite took the media and game industry by storm. As this game grew in popularity, Minecraft fell far — Minecraft references across the internet were quickly replaced with Fortnite, so mining for diamonds quickly became a distant memory, and trying to find a golden SCAR became everyone’s favorite pastime. That’s the important Minecraft history behind us; so why is history repeating itself?

The Present

In 2018 the aquatic update was released, but as Fortnite was still growing its empire, it wasn’t covered as largely by the media with most content creators and publications leaning towards what everyone was currently engaged with. Skip to April 2019, and the “Village and Pillage” update was released, and since then the game has been on a massive rise in popularity, coinciding with the Google Trends explosion in Minecraft search interest. Coincidence? I think not. But why didn’t the Aquatic Update have the same effect, and bolster the player count like Village and Pillage, and why did Village and Pillage cause such a rise in popularity? The answer, no joke, is because of memes (which really do have a massive implication in gaming), Fortnite, and a hint of nostalgia.


Internet Exposure

One of the reasons for Minecraft’s decline in popularity is because of a lack of internet exposure, and the best way to gain internet exposure, as shown through the recent ‘Raid Area 51’ Facebook event, is through internet memes. After the “Village and Pillage” update, the trailer gained huge exposure as of the images and videos that would derive from it, which therefore lead to players returning to the game.

Nostalgia also had a hand to play in this. This was the first time Minecraft was exposed over the internet on this level in a few years. As a result, it led to many wanting to revisit the game to build a cobblestone house, mine diamond and defeat the Enderdragon again. Like the few years before, to revisit their childhood memories, or as a joke. And as all jokes do, they can grow and get out of hand. So more references were made, leading to more players returning, and so on.


The game that would replace Minecraft, would also revive it. Despite absorbing so many of its players, Fortnite would also be a catalyst to return them from its gaming empire. Since the start of 2019, Fortnite has been growing into something reminiscent of Minecraft from 2014. Some are getting bored with the game, others are treating it more as a joke, but most importantly, Fortnite is losing internet exposure . This has led to Minecraft recently regaining its old player base, overtaking Fortnite, in becoming the more popular game again. The reason that the Minecraft Aquatic Update didn’t cause this revival, is because Fortnite was at its height of popularity. So the pull to play Minecraft was far less, as people weren’t as disinterested in the badly aging Battle Royale as they were in April of 2019.


The Resurgence of Minecraft

As a result of these two factors, Minecraft is literally spiraling into the 2013 levels of popularity. The fact the game is becoming a bigger meme, YouTubers and the media have latched onto its growth. In turn, this is propelling it to larger levels of success. Pewdiepie is a key example; each episode of his Minecraft series (started 21st of June) has over 10 million views, with the first and most popular at almost 20 million. Many other content creators are following suit, reviving the games massive population, not only in-game, but over the internet, and right now is a massive trending topic on YouTube, and as a result, the rest of the internet.

Minecraft is continuing to grow as a result of its resurgence in internet communities. When will it stop? Maybe it will continue to grow and stabilize. The more likely option is that people will lose their sense of nostalgia. Like all people, become bored and move on to the next trending game, whatever that may be. But whatever that is, for now, Minecraft is back at the number one spot in gaming.


Mojang has released the final 1.14.4 with bug fixes and added features ahead of update 1.15. Find out everything new and changed in the 1.14.4 plus how to download it, here.

On Friday, Mojang released its final version (1.14.4) of the Minecraft Village and Pillage update. According to the release notes, 1.14.4 will hammer out any addition bugs and issues that have been reported, while adding a few fun features to Villagers like the ability to remember gossip. The team will now turn its efforts towards update 1.15. Update 1.15 is rumored to bring new features like functionality for smithing tables and fletching tables, as well as quality and performance improvements. A theme and release date for 1.15 has yet to be announced but more details will be revealed during MINECON 2019 in September.

Below you can find all the changes and bug fixes noted in the 1.14.4 patch notes. The update is for the Java Edition of the game. Players can download and install the new update by opening up the Minecraft Launcher and clicking play. You can find the Cross-platform server jar here and if you need to report any additional bugs, you can use the Minecraft issue tracker.

Minecraft 1.14.4 Patch Notes: Everything New & Changed

minecraft 1 1 4 4 changes patch notes how to update server ping the human meaning java edition
Here’s everything new and changed in the Minecraft 1.14.4 update.MOJANG

General Changes and Features Added

  • Performance improvements
  • Suspicious stew made from poppies now gives you night vision instead of speed
  • Added /debug report for getting more detailed information. Please include this while making bug reports about performance!
  • Fixed a memory leak
  • Removed camera pivot offset in first-person
  • Improved chunk loading when traveling at high speed
  • Fixed incorrect Pillager texture
  • /reload and /forceload is now available to gamemasters
  • function-permission-level is a new setting in that controls which commands functions have access to
  • Villagers now stock more items
  • Villagers will now remember their gossip after becoming a Zombie Villager
  • Improved performance of Villager pathfinding
  • Villagers can now work without also restocking at the same time
  • Gossip about players who converted a zombie villager will now last longer
  • The Player Activity button on the Realm screen has been removed
  • Villagers now wait with restocking until they have trades that need restocking
  • Village sieges no longer occur on mushroom islands
  • Mobs will no longer try to path find their way through bamboo
  • Pinged the human (new splash screen text)

Bug Fixes in 1.14.4

minecraft 1 1 4 4 changes patch notes how to update server ping the human meaning java edition
1.14.4 will be the final Village and Pillage update ahead of 1.15.MOJANG
  • MC-150623 – The game crashed whilst rendering overlay: Unable to fit texture
  • MC-156389 – Game Crashes when Shift + Command + Delete 18 characters at once on Anvil
  • MC-156407 – Unobtainable (speed) suspicious stew can be obtained from villagers
  • MC-156574 – Villager demand values increase/decrease indefinitely
  • MC-149018 – High Idle CPU usage on Server Edition (Minecraft 1.14 Release)
  • MC-154271 – Rolling shutter issue on MacOS since 1.14.3 Pre-Release 2
  • MC-149880 – Villager trades wrong book
  • MC-151282 – Villager trade GUI doesn't show the correct price on servers if trade demand is high
  • MC-156042 – Villager demand never goes down over time unless 
    traded with
    MC-156349 – Cannot press Enter on Direct Connect
    Fixed debug reports in worlds with a dot in their name
    Fixed server freeze when Villagers fell into the void
    MC-145769 – Villagers aren't shutting doors behind them
    MC-148613 – Aquatic mobs are not spawning / Fish spawned from buckets count towards the aquatic mob cap again
    MC-152908 – When a player joins a server, everything that happened during the time offline queued on connecting to the server
    MC-153406 – Score JSON Component Crash in items
    MC-153749 – Trusting Foxes attack player when self-injured
    MC-153852 – Concrete powder deleting waterlogged blocks when falling
    MC-155711 – Functions capable of running commands they shouldn't be able to (publish, debug …)
    MC-156013 – Breaking Blocks “re-appear” to nudge player
    MC-136318 – Floatable mobs are unable to walk when in waterlogged blocks
    MC-151150 – Entities (Villagers) cause massive lag when attempting to pathfind
    MC-151376 – Villagers are not pathfinding towards their POI; POI detection range is too small
    MC-151810 – Mobs don't try to avoid fall damage anymore
    MC-154214 – Chunks refusing to unload due to incorrect player ticket additions
    MC-155147 – Mouse acceleration with the new 1.14.3 update
    MC-155906 – Failed to save debug dump if the destination location contains a space
    MC-100946 – Bow with mending undraws when receiving XP while drawed
    MC-113968 – Zombies of village siege spawn despite gamerule doMobSpawning being false
    MC-113970 – Zombies of village siege do not spawn centered on a block
    MC-134964 – Unexpected error: java.util.NoSuchElementException
    MC-142037 – java.lang.NullPointerException: Initializing game
    MC-143755 – Arbitrary score/selector/NBT resolution using lectern without operator rights
    MC-143886 – Acacia leaves render improprly from a distance
    MC-146289 – Farmer villagers don't stop to pick up their crops
    MC-147844 – Pillagers don't pathfind around obstacles & out of water
    MC-152094 – End city/end ship generation gets cut at chunk borders sometimes
    MC-152636 – Killing a zombie right as it converts into a Drowned will drop the loot from zombie while still converting into a Drowned
    MC-153498 – Cyrillic letter Є is not included in the Minecraft font
    MC-153665 – Full villager inventory creates invisible items
    MC-153712 – Java using 100-200% CPU (MacOS)
    MC-153766 – Rabbits no longer need sand/grass in order to spawn in deserts/tundras
    MC-153892 – Mending slows down breaking blocks
    MC-154019 – Beacon deactivate sound not sounds when you break the base
    MC-154031 – villagers give away all food if they want to share it
    MC-154068 – parrots occasionally disappearing when you take them from a boat
    MC-154201 – Trying to trade with villager immediately closes trading menu for some villagers
    MC-154362 – Crossbow has to re-load when mending takes place
    MC-154509 – Bashkir letters Ҙ, ҙ, Ҡ, ҡ, Ҫ, and ҫ are not included in the Minecraft font
    MC-154668 – Invalid characters crash the game in jigsaw block input upon pressing enter
    MC-154830 – All wall signs use oak color on maps
    MC-155092 – Zombie sieges can happen on mushroom islands
    MC-155104 – when closing a menu while moving the mouse, the screen will move in that direction
    MC-155172 – Hostile Wolf AI has been broken. Wolves can no longer attack enemies efficiently.
    MC-155238 – Villagers picking up workstation through wall
    MC-155345 – ConcurrentModificationException when a player leaves an active raid
    MC-155571 – Silverfish & Endermite spawners no longer functioning

How to play Minecraft Earth and what to expect

The closed beta of Minecraft Earth is currently rolling out to several cities in the UK and US, with access being given to many of those who signed up in advance.

Some Apple iPhone owners in London and Seattle have reportedly been able to play it so far, and more are expected to be invited to try the beta test version soon.

We at Pocket-lint have also been trialling the new augmented reality game over for a couple of weeks and here are our thoughts and tips on what you can do in the closed beta and how to start.

It's important to note that any progress made during the closed beta of Minecraft Earth will not carry on when the full game is released. And, many features of the final release are not yet available.

However, read on if you want to know more.

What is the Minecraft Earth closed beta?

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft's answer to Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizard's Unite.

It is an AR game for iOS and Android that enables us to build Minecraft creations, either collaboratively or with friends, that are overlaid onto the real world for others to find, see and interact with.

Some of the gameplay revolves around collecting materials and mobs to build with, while the rest is dedicated to building mini Minecraft worlds.

An adventure mode will be added to the final release version of the game to be released at a later date, which will enable players to experience builds in a different way, but that's not part of the closed beta trial.

Nor is the online storefront. You cannot, therefore, currently buy skins or mobs with cash – only collect them through the game.

How To Play Minecraft Earth image 3

How do you play Minecraft Earth?

You might see familiarities between the main screen in Minecraft Earth and Pokemon Go (and other AR games). It shows your character – using either male Steve skin or female Alex – on a map of your real world location. All around you will be collectable building resources and the occasional mob – a pig, duck, etc.

They appear in a catchment radius, represented by a circle around your position. Any within that circle are within reach.

You tap on them to collect them, which will break them down into their individual elements (blocks), which will be added to your inventory for use when building.

Mobs will remain whole and can also be added to builds once collected.

How To Play Minecraft Earth image 2

Minecraft Earth on-screen menu

Along the bottom of the screen are the different menu options.

On the far-left you can open your inventory of collected items and equip them for use. The next menu icon is to scan for friend invite codes. We are yet to play with someone who also has closed beta access, so that's not proved to be much use for us yet.

The next menu is perhaps the most important for now as it allows you to start a build or continue with an existing project.

At present, you are presented with several templates to adapt. They are ranked by your player level (which rises as you build and collect materials) and only unlock when you've reached each specific level.


There are two options for a build. Either place it on the ground to see what it looks like in the real world, or as a buildplate to get close up to change how it looks. Every time you quit this mode it will save the template to reflect your modifications.

There is a settings menu to turn off the traditional Minecraft music and the like, and an option to turn on/off precise mode.

Precise mode, when switched on, allows you to turn your avatar using your finger. If off, you have to physically turn around to see all of the objects within the catchment radius.

That's basically it for now. There's not much to the closed beta as it is designed as a stress test for Microsoft rather than a full experience to enjoy on your travels. However, there's still enough there to get a feel for how it will work on release and, although your builds won't survive the switch over, it's worth it to see what you are capable of making so you can eventually hit the ground running.

Our first impressions

The Minecraft Earth closed beta is remarkably simple. Being honest, there's not really that much to do right now and until more people are accepted, few friends to share it with.

The adventure mode will surely spice things up. As will the expansion of players, who will drop their builds around the world for you to check out.

It's more potential that perfect as it stands, although we do like the idea that it's actually a lot easier to jump into than PG and Wizard's Unite. That means it will be more suitable for younger players too.

Unfortunately, that means parents will have to hand over their phones to their kids once again, rinsing the battery in the process. But, Minecraft Earth is a more collaborative game anyway, so we might find it becoming an outdoors family pursuit in future.

You can still sign up to be part of the closed beta here.

9 details from The Witcher TV series trailer you might have missed

The debut trailer for Netflix’s The Witcher series is finally out and it actually looks good, though that could be Henry Cavill’s muscles talking. And while we already know all about when the show takes place and who it stars, the trailer marks the first time we’ve seen everything in action.

So much happens in the trailer's meager two minutes, so unless you're scrutinizing every frame, odds are you're going to miss some stuff. We’ve combed the trailer ourselves and turned to the internet to pull out as many interesting character reveals, plot details, and references to the Witcher books as possible.

Is Yennefer OK?

Early glimpses of Yennefer in the trailer depict a woman hunched over with a swollen cheek. That’s the norm for plenty of sorceresses in the world of the Witcher, who often become students of magic due to varying physical irregularities. Yennefer is no different. She, like many magic users, becomes beautiful through the use of magical glamours that mask her actual appearance. Looks like we’ll get to see her transformation in the show. 

Hey, it’s the Isle of Thanedd!

That’s where sorceresses go to magic school, including Ciri for a bit. It’s also the setting for some big betrayals and terrific violence. I can’t wait to see how the show interprets those big beats.

What’s up with that wacky purple tree in the desert?

At first glance, I thought this was a scene from Ciri’s trip to the Frying Pan, which feels too far off to plop into season one. I wasn’t alone in my thinking either, but, twist! Showrunner Lauren Hissrich confirmed the purple desert tree is not related to the arc depicted in Time of Contempt. Get to making those theories. 

The Dryads aren’t bright green, thank goodness

The Witcher show is taking a simple approach to its depiction of Dryads, the nymph-like humanoids that live in the forests of Brokilon. The games tend to depict them as nude green plant people, but the books describe them as very human-like with slightly greenish tints to their skin tone. The show is definitely leaning towards the latter.

That’s a Striga

A few quick clips depict Geralt going at it with a grimy humanoid, likely a Striga, which is one of the first monsters he dukes it out with in The Witcher short stories. Striga are women transformed into beastly monsters via a curse, something like a werewolf with hints of troll. Geralt dreams of his fight with the Striga in The Voice of Reason, the opening story in The Last Wish collection. And he dreams of it after some good sex. That’s our guy.

And that’s a Kikimora

There’s some debate over what that swamp spider is in the last shot of the trailer, but I’m banking on a Kikimora, monsters known to live underground or in, get this, swamps. It’s also one of the monsters he kills in the short stories before bringing it to Blaviken, where Geralt starts a major beef with just about everyone—on accident, of course.

Meet the Butcher of Blaviken

As this thread points out, when he looks all tore up and pissed may well be a formative scene set in Blaviken that earns Geralt a lifelong nickname: The Butcher of Blaviken. We’ll leave the show to tell the tale if you’re not aware, but it’s a classic bit where Geralt, ever the neutral, gets screwed over by everyone in an attempt to save everyone. Needless to say, a lot of people die, the blame gets pinned on Geralt, and he becomes feared throughout the continent. Poor guy. 

Our boy’s casting Aard

Either Geralt’s getting about to blind a three-eyed monster or that boy’s casting the Aard sign. If you’re unfamiliar, witchers dabble in magic, much to the dismay of sorcerers who view the witchers’ practice as clumsy and contrived. But whatever, because Henry-Geralt is about to send someone flying across the room like a hot Jedi.

Emhyr the Hedgehog says hello

Here’s one that most people missed (including me). Some sharp-eyed folks in this Reddit thread might’ve spotted a quick glimpse of the future Emperor of Nilfgaard, Emhyr var Emreis. See, before the imposing bastard become a tyrant, he was cursed by a sorcerer to take on the appearance of a human-hedgehog hybrid. The curse did not make him go fast, unfortunately. We’ll leave the rest to the show since lifting the curse is its own adventure, but clearly, he doesn’t stay that way forever. Until we see how the show depicts Emhyr’s origins, all you really need to know is that the whole ordeal does not make him a cool, chill guy.

Browsing Reddit in Minecraft is a steady descent into an abyss

Minecraft is good for a lot of things: creating your own dream worlds, hanging out with friends, bludgeoning zombies to death with blocks of wood. Whether it's good for browsing Reddit or not, I'm not sure: but it's definitely possible, thanks to this plug-in created by Reddit user DeltaTwoForce.

As the gif below demonstrates, the plug-in turns Reddit into a tight descending dungeon, with each floor dedicated to its own thread. Once in, a sign is used to specify which subreddit the user wants to visit, and then the plug-in generates it, complete with thread title, the number of interactions, and an embed of the thread's main image. Beneath the image is a chest, and inside is a collection of books with each response written inside.

This is a .gif of the plug-in in action, created by the plug-in's programmer, DeltaTwoForce:

Is this a pleasant way of reading Reddit? That's for you to decide, in my opinion: no. But the point is that it's possible, just like lots of other ridiculous things are possible in Minecraft, such as Atari 2600 emulatorsBASIC interpreters and mobile phones.

According to DeltaTwoForce, the plug-in is not safe to use on survival servers because it will clear out your inventory. It's available to download here, and you can see the original Reddit thread here.

Minecraft 1.14.4 patch notes promise improved performance and smarter villagers

Minecraft Java Edition patch 1.14.4 is now available, and is set to be the final update update for 1.14 before Mojang moves onto the new features of 1.15. The fresh patch promises a ream of bug fixes, improved performance, and a bunch of improvements to villager behaviour – in addition to an amusing fix for the suspicious stew item.

“Suspicious stew made from poppies now gives you night vision instead of speed,” so you can be sure you’re getting exactly the right kind of high from your poppy seed-based comestibles. Maybe it’s less important than the performance improvements, memory leak fixes, and built-in /debug function for detailed bug reports, but it is entertaining.

The bigger selection of changes focus on villagers. They now stock more items, feature improved pathfinding performance, and will remember their gossip if they become zombified. They can now work without restocking at the same time, and will now wait with restocking until they have appropriate trades.

You can read the full list of changes – and all the bug fixes – on the official site.