Minecraft 1.3.1 released yesterday and naturally we’re going to look at it here. Rather then do a review for a patch, we’re going to take a new angle: I’m going to try and create a narrative to look at what’s new.


Launching into a world in 1.3.1 with the new large biomes option engaged I saw this. Yeah, that’s one large biome alright. Unlike before, this snowy forest stretches as far as the eye can see, or the game can render, as the case may be. After wandering around looking for my starter chest I asked for on the world creation mode, I got frustrated to find it missing and decided to look for one of the random desert or jungle dungeons. I didn’t find those, either. They are rather rare, but I wandered this arctic wonderland without finding a jungle or desert at all. With things looking bleak, I found a random, inconspicuous stone building in the middle of the snowy forest.


Wow, where  did this ugly building come from? Actually, it came from me using the new single player commands/cheats to go in to creative mode and make a dungeon to explore. Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to reach a goal, and my goal was to look at the new features in a short amount of time so I threw this together to show them off. Let’s pretend, however, that we have no idea what it is or what’s inside, shall we? It’ll make this article run smoother. Thanks.


Inside I cross a tripwire and get set alight by the dispenser it triggered firing a fire charge. Dispensers can dispense boats onto water and mine carts directly onto tracks now, as well as pouring liquid lava and water into a room rather then buckets. Back to our narrative, the fire charge lit up a stone-colored wool wall nearby and burned it down, revealing an ender chest. Before I could get to it though, I had to deal with the trip wire. Breaking the string would fire it again, so I had to quietly cut the string.


That’s where these shears come in handy. With shears you can snip trip wires without setting them off.


Like this. Trip wires are sensitive and can be set off by players, creatures, tossed items and fired arrows but breaking the wire with shears allows you to disarm them. Tripwires are used by placing their hooks on two facing walls and laying string on the ground between them. They effectively send a redstone signal like a button or pressure plate does.


Aha! It’s a chest! And not just any chest, an ender chest. These allow you to store items in what is essentially a cloud system, making items placed in one available in any other ender chest in the world. Anyway, let’s see what’s in the chest.


It’s a stack of eyes of ender, and an Old Dusty Book. Books can be written by creating a book and quill and using them in your inventory. Books can be written, read, and re-written until you sign them, at which point you can name them and their contents become permanent. Back to the narrative, let’s see what’s in the book.


Dragon? What dragon? There’s no dragon in this dungeon. Whatever, let’s take the eyes of ender and keep going.


What? An ender portal in this small dungeon? That’s because the newly designed creative mode menu includes end portal frames, allowing players to create their own end portals wherever they wish. With our stack of eyes of ender, let’s light this baby up.


The player-made portals do work, so there’s nothing stopping us now. Let’s slay that dragon!


We arrive in the end and see the dragon. The Old Dusty Book insisted that we slay it, so I take aim and fire away. After two misses he flies out of sight so I make to follow.


Actually, no. Apparently creating end portals just anywhere can have unforeseen consequences, like spawning on an obsidian platform above the void in the End. That’s where this narrative ends, and we wrap up our coverage.

Other new features that I didn’t get to include earning XP from mining and using the furnace, integrated single and multiplayer modes with a built-in LAN option, an improved enchanting system, NPC trading and much more. To see many of the other features, look at our previews of snapshots 12w21b, 12w23b, 12w25a, and 12w27a, and you can see the whole change list here.

I’m really impressed with the changes and I like the direction the game is taking. With 1.4 in our future with the modding API promised to come with it, it looks like Minecraft still has a bright future.

Alphasim out.