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Minecraft snapshot 13w38a improves scalability, repaints world in upside-down and psychedelic varieties


Whether you like to run Minecraft on a big, beefy desktop or wheezy, integrated laptop, it’s going to run better than ever after this latest snapshot. The game’s video settings have been widened and lengthened with new options to optimise framerate, rendering speed and overall handsomeness.

Clearly unsettled by this prolonged period of sensible development, Mojang have also provided us with the shaders to aesthetically ruin the game and infuse nausea into its very fabric.

Those video settings, first of all: you can now set your Render Distance to a specific number of ‘chunks’, between 2 and 16, and fiddle with Minmaps: pre-optimised images that make up textures and can improve overall rendering speed.

Also to be fiddled with is anisotropic filtering, which can make textures looks crisper at oblique angles but is fairly memory intensive, and a Max Framerate bar. The latter stretches between a frankly horrible 10 at the bottom and a 250 only appreciable by cats and witchesat the upper end.

That’s where the sense and iterative improvement ends, I’m afraid: from hereon in it’s stark silliness via the Super Secret Settings button. Found on the options menu, it’ll let you cycle through a number of vision modes at a click. One makes the world appear more vivid: it’ll see your sky blues get bluer. Another increases anti-aliasing to the point that there are no points left.

Some are rather clumsy, to be honest. I’m not sure how long you’ll want to play the game with all its colours inverted, for instance, or in a Gameboy-green hue. Or in ever-changing acid palette. Or upside-down, as in ‘Flip’ mode. Still, I imagine these modes will provide minutes of distraction for the younger end of Minecraft’s humongous playerbase.

There’s also a new achievement for throwing diamonds at another player, as if involved in some kind of Classical Hollywood tiff. You won’t hear any curmudgeonly complaining from me on that one.

As always, snapshot builds are available through the Minecraft launcher via the ‘New Profile’ button. Call it ‘snapshots’, tick the box named ‘Enable experimental developmental snapshots’, and away you go. What’ll you be fiddling with first?