Minecraft developers Mojang have announced that version Minecraft 1.5: the Redstone Update, will be with us on March 13, Wednesday next week. In the meantime, they've issued a pre-release which is effectively a short-term beta, featuring all the updates and improvements that will be in the final version. That means you can effectively play the new version of the game right now and see everything from the new hoppers and droppers to the Nether Quartz and the smoother lighting effects. If you're not at work, that is.
You can get your copy of the pre-release from Mojang's website. Here's all the new stuff that comes in Minecraft 1.5, which also features dozens, even hundreds of bug fixes:
- The new redstone comparators and daylight detectors for use in redstone logic.
- The hopper, which collects items and moves them to containers.
- The dropper, which is similar to a dispenser but always drops the item.
- The activator rail, which will trigger TNT minecarts.
- Trapped chests.
- Weight-sensitive pressure plates.
- Blocks of pure redstone are now possible, which can act as redstone power sources.
- The Nether Quartz, ore and bricks have been added, with quartz blocks, half blocks and chiseled variants.
- New command: /scoreboard and /effect.
- Containers and mobs can now have custom names.
- Inventory management has been improved.
- Texture packs now have separate images for each block and item, and can be animated.
- Smooth lighting now has three settings: none, minimum and maximum.
- Far more detailed death messages tell everyone how you died.
- Some hostile mobs now are harder in Hard difficulty and have improved AI and behaviour.
If you just can't wait for version 1.5 and want to install the pre-release, we have a guide on how to test the latest Minecraft snapshots. Don't worry, it's not very complicated.