Ahhh, Minecraft… It’s been almost a year since I last wrote about it, and it still has a tight grip over my gamer’s heart. Monday, September 12th marks the release of Minecraft beta 1.8, also known as the Adventure Update, but Mojang released a preview version of the long-awaited update a couple of days ago. Guess what I’ve been busy with ever since?
Version 1.8 introduces a wealth of new content and features, many of which I haven’t encountered yet in my game. Let’s go over what’s new.
The first change is striking; gone is the blank black main menu background. In its place, players are greeted by a hazy, indistinct and rather lovely vista taken from the game itself—a vision of what’s to come.
Upon starting a new game, the player will find new options available, including the long-awaited option to start the game in Creative mode. Creative mode is Minecraft-speak for god mode, the ability to move about the world freely and create without the need to gather resources first. It also makes it possible to fly around the world, which makes building mammoth structures a lot safer.
Multi-Player has gotten a UI revamp as well, with new options.
Once in the game itself, you’ll find the main heads up display has been updated. In addition to your 10 active inventory slots and your health hearts is a new food meter.
Food has two important roles in Minecraft 1.8. It still helps you heal as it always has, but it does so differently. Eating food will not restore hearts any longer. Now, instead, it fills up the food meter. When your food meter is full or close to it, your health will gradually regenerate up to full. Keeping food on you is therefore a really good idea.
Make sure the food is cooked though, at least if it’s meat! Eating raw meat carries a chance that you’ll get sick. If this happens, your food meter takes on a greenish, spoiled tinge. I don’t know the specific effects of getting sick, but at the moment, it doesn’t last more than a few seconds. Also important to note: eating rotten flesh dropped by zombies will probably make you sick too. Just FYI.
The food meter also determines whether you’re able to sprint. Sprinting is new in 1.8, accomplished with a double-tap forward. It allows you to move around the world much faster on foot than you can by walking, but you can only do it if you’re not too hungry. Once your food meter starts to get empty, you lose the ability to sprint.
Under the health and food meters is your experience meter. It’s a green bar that fills as you accumulate experience, gained from killing monsters and animals in the game. Currently that’s all there is to it; there are no levels to gain yet, or any advantages to gaining experience, but you will find green experience orbs when you kill things, and you will collect them when you get near them, and your experience bar will advance. It looks nice if nothing else; presumably they’ll be making it functional in another update coming soon.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself submerged in water. When this happens, your air meter will show up looking like a line of bubbles, much as it always has. The location is different; it’s now up above the food meter, but otherwise you know the drill.
One little graphical note; there are now little air bubbles suspended in the water. It looks fantastic, though there is little else new beneath the seas for now. That will be changing, though.
Some of the biggest changes in 1.8 are map features. Depending on where you find yourself in the world, Minecraft can now look very different than it did before but that’s not stopping people from downloading Minecraft PE 1.18.32 APK on Android with a working Xbox Live.
Biomes have been part of Minecraft from the early days, but it’s only relatively recently that Mojang started really playing with them. They started experimenting several versions ago, but 1.8 brings a lot of new work to the places you explore.
Biomes are now quite a bit larger than they used to be, so it’ll be pretty rare that you find a desert that you can cross in 5 seconds and barely notice you were there. Forests are now massive; note the screen above. The idea of passing through that honestly makes me nervous – navigation will be really difficult in areas like that, and if you find yourself lost and far from shelter at night, good luck running away. That image above shows two different forest biomes butting up against one another. Look close and you’ll notice the forest on the left is all evergreen, while the right is deciduous. In earlier versions of Minecraft, evergreen trees only appeared in snow biomes.
New to 1.8 are swamps, pictured above. Trees are tall, broad, and dripping with vines, which can’t be harvested but can be walked through. Sorry, no swinging from them or climbing them. You’ll also find swamps to be a veritable treasure trove of mushrooms, though the brown ones are far more common than the red.
Also new are rivers and ravines, features that cut into the land and offer landmarks to follow. Rivers often lead to seas or large lakes, though apparently it is possible to find them looping back upon themselves. I have yet to see that myself, nor have I seen a ravine.
By far the most striking and obvious biome on the surface are the villages. These are collections of buildings and farms that are intended to be home to various NPCs that will give you things to do, but 1.8 doesn’t include NPCs so for now they’re ready-made bases you can move into. Some are big, some are small, but they’re always fun to poke around in and serve as a great way to get food if you’re running low; I have yet to see one with less than 2 large wheat fields ready for bread-making.
Ruins seem to be somewhat more rare than villages, if my game is to be believed. I haven’t found any yet, sadly. Looking forward to it though. The image above sure looks nice.
Mines & dungeons are another feature I haven’t yet discovered – these are pre-existing mine shafts, ancient and abandoned, ready to be found. Thanks to some graphics glitches in the pre-release, I’ve actually seen a few in my game, but they were far away and under the ocean, not in an area where I could go exploring. Thanks to that brief glimpse though, I can report that they contain lit torches, for what it’s worth.
There’s a new monster in town, and he’s way creepier than the Creeper. Some animals have changed a bit too. All mobs will drop experience orbs when killed.
The Endermen are tall, black figures with glowing green eyes. They’re peaceful sorts, content to move blocks around the landscape now and then and ignore you entirely. That changes if you dare look directly at them though. Put your reticle over one and he’ll turn around to stare straight at you. Take the reticle off him, and watch out; he’ll be after you in a flash. And they can teleport to reach you faster.
Endermen burn and die in sunlight, just like skeletons and zombies. Upon death, they’ll sometimes leave an Ender Pearl which can apparently be used to make them teleport away from you; I haven’t had the opportunity to try this yet.
Pigs have been updated! Look close and you’ll notice they now have 3D snouts instead of painted-on snouts. (Hey, not all the changes are huge.)
Also changed are pork chops; cooked pork is now whiteish, much like real life.
Cows look the same as they always have, though they show up somewhat less often I find. Maybe it’s just my terrain.
They’re valuable though. In addition to the leather they’ve always dropped when killed and the milk you can get from them with a bucket, cows will also drop raw beef upon death. Raw beef can be cooked into steaks. Mmmmm, steak.
Like cows, chickens haven’t changed in appearance. They have gained another drop though. Upon death, they drop feathers as usual, as well as 1 raw chicken meat object. This can be cooked and eaten, and since chickens seem to show up pretty frequently in any grassy area, they’ll fast become a staple.
They also seem to have increased their egg output.
Combat has gained a few new options with 1.8.
When hit from above (at least 1 block up, or due to a jump), mobs take critical damage which makes them easier to kill.
Bows respond to how long you hold the attack button now. Hold it down to draw the bow back further, and the arrow will fly farther and do more damage when it hits. At maximum damage, it counts as a critical hit. This is a nice tactical choice they’re offering; sacrifice rate of fire for damage, or vice versa.
Sprinting while attacking will cause you to knock opponents back a fair distance, which is especially useful for creepers and spiders, or if you spot a chance to knock something flying off a tall cliff.
There are new recipes in 1.8, but honestly, I have no idea how many there are yet. Some of the ones I do know include turning 6 glass blocks into 16 glass panes, which are thinner and make great windows, as pictured above.
Raw meats of all types can be cooked, including fish and pork, as usual, and now chicken and beef as well.
Watermelons can be “crafted” (destroyed) into melon slices, which can in turn be crafted into seeds to plant more melons.
There are gates to go with fences, though I haven’t seen or crafted these yet.
There are said to be smooth stone bricks, as seen in the Ruins image above, though I haven’t seen these yet.
That’s it for now, I’ve gotta get back to playing.
I’ll keep you updated with the next major milestone, 1.9, which is expected to introduce those missing NPCs and a lot more. Until then, let us know what you think in the comments!