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Minecraft’s PC version is continuing apace with it’s advancements, and it’s latest weekly build, 12w21b, has brought some interesting new features to the fore. Here’s what we’ve seen so far.

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The creative inventory has been updated with category tabs, which really makes finding what you want a breeze. However, say you still can’t find that one block you need. Just start typing it’s name and…

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… Minecraft will search for it, and bring up the relevant results. There are a number of new and changed blocks, as well.

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For one, the new gravel texture (the grey block on the left side) is a nice change from the overly pixilated old version. The new emerald ore block (right) is used for bartering with NPCs, more on that in a minute. On either side you see the new sandstone stairs, which will make pyramids easier to make, as well as more aesthetically pleasing. Finally, you can see two ender chests. These, when used, store items that can accessed from any other ender chest in the world. These are not player-specific in multiplayer, so they could function as a community storage space. They also, as seen here, can not be combined to make one large chest. In creative mode, you can also access and place snow, but what value that has is up to the user.

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Here you can see the NPC barter window. The NPC has, based on their profession, an item they’ll either buy or sell for emeralds. In this case, this NPC wants to buy paper. If I provided 29 sheets of paper, I would get one emerald (or as I like to call it, ripped off). I had one NPC sell me chainmail armor for 6 emerald, so that’s a nice thing. Unfortunately, for older or pre-existing worlds, emerald ore will be either scarce or nonexistent so selling to NPCs will be the only way to get the emeralds needed to buy things. That could prove to be a big hassle. They’ve also added a second golden apple, which brings back the old Golden Apple recipe and mechanic – 30 seconds of health regeneration – making it again a great bail-me-out food, provided you have the mats to make one.

That’s the new 12w21b  weekly build, in a nutshell. Obviously it’s rather bugged at the moment so play with it at your own risk.