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How a working 1kb hard drive was built in Minecraft

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How a working 1kb hard drive was built in Minecraft

Notch might not have finished his second intended opus, 0x10c, but it was far enough along for us to identify the common threads in his games: home, the frontier, and a love of coding.

Budding computer scientists long ago recognised that last part in Minecraft’s redstone circuits. Here’s their latest achievement: a functional hard drive, built without recourse to Minecraft mods.

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Notch is back aboard the VR train: "I'm over being upset about Facebook buying Oculus"

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Notch is back aboard the VR train: "I'm over being upset about Facebook buying Oculus"

Mojang were in talks with Oculus to build a version of Minecraft for the Rift - right up until the VR company announced their acquisition by Facebook, and Notch publicly pulled the plug.

“I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook," explained the Mojang founder. “Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."

Given a few months’ distance and an unending stream of brilliant VR demos, however, Notch has started to come around.

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The sun comes up on new Lego Minecraft minifigure sets

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The sun comes up on new Lego Minecraft minifigure sets

Lego has always been an obvious and apt point of comparison for Minecraft, and it wasn’t long before a petition on Lego’s idea-voting site spawned its first ‘micro-world’ set. We’ve since seen the forests, the caves and The Nether recreated as tiny plastic curios - but never at the familiar scale of Lego’s commercial sets.

These new full-size sets are different: they represent both the pastoral and pioneering sides of Minecraft, and are populated by minifigure Steves and skeletons.

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Minecraft snapshot 14w31a reworks the world border, adds noisier rabbits

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Minecraft snapshot 14w31a reworks the world border, adds noisier rabbits

Minecraft 1.8 is just about finished. Which means sometime soon, the good work done across many weeks of snapshots will be tipped over into the main game: rabbits, endermites, elder guardians and all.

“We’re starting to wind down our development cycle, and as such we’re now focusing on bug fixing for a smooth release," said Mojang’s Dinnerbone. “This weeks snapshot comes with a bunch of fixed bugs, some more optimization and only minimal featurecreep."

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Build a clinic in Minecraft and help build a real one in Liberia

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Build a clinic in Minecraft and help build a real one in Liberia

Leveraging creative talent to make vulnerable folks lives a bit easier is certainly a good way to spend a day. Clinic Craft, a project created by Dan Maher and Chris Doney, is using Minecraft to raise money for the construction of a clinic in Liberia. 

Doney’s a Mincrafter, while Maher calls himself a noob, and both are creating a clinic in Minecraft to create awareness for Save the Children’s appeal to improve the quality of medical care for pregnant women and their babies in Liberia by building six new clinics. The pair are calling on other players to do the same, get sponsored, and donate to the cause. 

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Aerna creators claim it's the largest and most detailed Minecraft server

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Aerna creators claim it's the largest and most detailed Minecraft server

A lot of rather large worlds have been created in Minecraft. There are builders creating Middle-Earth, software that’s rendered World of Warcraft’s Azeroth in blocky detail and even the entirety of Denmark. We rather like big Minecraft projects here, which is why those three are all in our list of the 15 best Minecraft servers

Aerna is another humongous server, and its creators claim that it’s the largest and most detailed Minecraft server out there. It’s a work in progress, but is already massive, 102,400 blocks across and 84GB in size. 

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Minecraft doesn't come off great when you summarise it in 20 seconds

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Minecraft doesn't come off great when you summarise it in 20 seconds

There’s little more serene in PC gaming than an hour with Notch’s opus. What other open-world survival experience has a ‘Peaceful’ option? Minecraft in Survival mode is about home-making - about carving out a space in the world to call your own.

The thing is, you’re inevitable carving into something - or someone - living there already. That’s something Keshen8 has gone about highlighting in luscious papercraft animation.

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The 30 best Minecraft seeds

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The 30 best Minecraft seeds

Minecraft seeds are the codes that the game uses to generate worlds for you; worlds full of interesting landscapes and hot spots ripe for exploration. Just drop these words or digits into the seed field when creating a world and Minecraft will do all the heavy lifting for you. 

Regardless of if you’re a professional miner or someone about to load up their first world, there’s something you can't control in Minecraft: the terrain itself. Whilst your mind may be brimming with possibilities, all too frequently you’ll spawn in a bland, uninspiring world full of flat grassland and the odd chicken. Hardly the canvas for your masterpiece. 

Hence this piece. 

We present to you here 30 of the very best, most interesting seeds we’ve found.

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Minecraft snapshot 14w29b will either improve performance or "crash horribly"

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Minecraft snapshot 14w29b will either improve performance or "crash horribly"

Minecraft snapshot 14w27a introduced bunny rabbits. How do you top that? Well: last week, Mojang tried to compress time and space. But that didn’t work out, so for this week’s snapshot they’ve decided to “try something else and bend space around time".

Released yesterday, snapshot 14w29a infused the game with optimisations designed to tackle render performance. It’s been swiftly followed by 14w29b, which will do “even more" good for performance. Or break the game. That’s what we’re going to find out.

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Minecraft is single-handedly saving the children's book market (for now)

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Minecraft is single-handedly saving the children's book market (for now)

Human children increasingly sport square eyes. Researchers paused the annual Minecon stream during a crowd shot and, using a Set Square, found that the majority of faces were offset by eye sockets at perfect 90-degree angles.

Minecraft’s partly to blame for that - children are having more digital fun than ever before. But paradoxically, it’s also Mojang who're giving the children’s print market a much-needed boost.

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Minecrafting 153: Elder Guardians attack!

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Minecrafting 153: Elder Guardians attack!

The first new hostile mob in a long time has been added to Minecraft in this week's snapshot, as well as some new blocks that liven up the dead oceans and a massive stack of bugfixes and engine rewrites.

Meanwhile, the community has been its usual active self. We've got a whole range of different house designs for you to take a look at, as well as a semi-automatic TNT cannon and a beautiful custom map called The Shores of Albion. Shall we begin?

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Minecrafting: Getting Started with Feed The Beast

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Minecrafting: Getting Started with Feed The Beast

Feed the Beast is exactly what it sounds like, provided you’re aware that the beast in question is Mojang’s behemoth Minecraft, and the food that you are piling into it is mods. It’s a launcher that shovels in tweaks, rebuilds, and textures like burly men fuelling the furnaces of a great mechanical monstrosity that bursts and evolves with each additional scoop of coal. 

For anyone shy of intermediate Minecraft expertise, it is potentially a little confusing and frightening too. Not only is it a new front end with lots of buttons to deal with, but it also changes the way Minecraft can function in a manner you probably haven’t even considered to fantasise yet. Portal guns, self-automated production lines, alternate dimensions, and beekeeping await you within Feed the Beast. But before all that, you need to get started. 

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Oh, stop it: BBC Breakfast alert parents to use of "highly addictive" Minecraft in classrooms

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Oh, stop it: BBC Breakfast alert parents to use of "highly addictive" Minecraft in classrooms

The inexorable spread of MinecraftEdu continues. More than 3000 schools are now using TeacherGaming’s adapted block-rocking game in the classroom, and 200 of them are teaching children using Minecraft in the UK. 

Evidently, some of their parents are journalists - BBC Breakfast broadcast a special report on the game’s use in a Barnsley school this morning. It was a bit frustrating, frankly.

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Here's how exploitative Minecraft servers can be

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Here's how exploitative Minecraft servers can be

Mojang are in the throes of their most dramatic community fall-out in years, thanks to an update to Minecraft’s EULA. The developers have announced their intention to enforce rules preventing players from making money in Minecraft without their express permission. 

While they’ve made exceptions for clear entry fees, donations and aesthetic upgrades, hosts remain worried they’ll have to ditch payment systems that keep their servers - and in some cases, their staff - online.

Minecraft has an incredible online culture of minigames that Mojang ought to do their best to support. Here’s the thing, though: many of its most popular servers are run through by nagging microtransaction systems. More punitive than those found in any commercial game outside the App Store, these systems have taken root in a game adored by children. And Mojang are absolutely right to do something about that.

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