A few more weekly Minecraft snapshots are out and it’s been almost 3 weeks since we posted something about Minecraft so here’s what’s new.

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A new feature that I like is the ability to place switches on the underside of blocks. You can also now place redstone on the bottoms of upside down slabs and stairs. This is not only cosmetic, it can alter how redstone is used be changing the angles involved. Of course I’m not that good with redstone so you get to see a light turn on instead.

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Yay, right? Yeah, I thought so too. More exciting is the single player client/multiplayer server merger is getting closer to reality. Last snapshot you could type /publish into the command/chat line of a single player game to make your game visible on your LAN. That was kind of clumsy and was only available to those who were using cheat mode, so this week Mojang has added a dedicated button for the job.

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Here it is. Hitting escape during play brings up the menu with the new Open to LAN button.

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Press it and you’re brought here, allowing you to turn cheats on and off, as well as change the game type. You then click the Start button and the local server goes live. Another interesting detail this week pertains to other players accessing your new LAN world. In last week’s update your players had to type in a displayed address into the multiplayer menu to get in but now Minecraft will automatically look for LAN worlds, speeding up the process.

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A word of warning: once you’ve launched your LAN world you cannot disable it until you quit the world. So, if you have your friends on and they start screwing with things (no world/grief protection here) you need to quit to the menu to remove them. It’s not a real hassle, but it’s something to be aware of.

That’s snapshot 12w25a.  You can go get it at Mojang to try it for yourselves. Remember to back up your old minecraft.jar if it’s modded. You can also use Magic Launcher, which is what I do. I rename the different .jar files to organize them and create different launch profiles for each one. That way, you can keep your original minecraft.jar and switch back to it easily. Or, you can just wait for the official release of patch 1.3. The choice is yours.