Sunday, April 3, 2011
The game is currently in development and Beta is the only continuously updated version of the game. Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009 on the TIGSource forums, where it gained a considerable level of popularity. It has been continually updated and patched since then, and while it was still in alpha release, it garnered several hundred thousand sales and received critical notice and acclaim from many reviewers. It passed a million units sold on January 12, 2011, less than a month after reaching Beta.
The core gameplay revolves around construction. The game world is essentially made up of cubical blocks arranged in a fixed grid pattern, that represent different materials, such as, dirt, stone, various ores, water, tree trunks, etc. While the players can move freely across the world, objects and items can only be placed at fixed locations relative to the grid. The player can gather these material "blocks" and place them elsewhere, thus potentially creating various constructions.
Minecraft has two currently available variants, Beta and Classic, both with single-player and multiplayer options. Classic is the earliest free version and initially featured only creative game mode with only building (block placement and removal) aspects of the game and unlimited block supply. The Classic was then split into single-player survival mode (referred to as "Survival Mode Test"), which contained monsters and a much greater variety of blocks and items available, as well as requiring players to mine their own blocks. As of Beta release, only creative Classic mode version 0.30 is available in single-player and multiplayer modes.
Classic survival mode served as the base for development of single-player non-free Indev ("In Development"), and later non-free Infdev ("Infinite Development") versions, each expanding the number of features. Indev and Infdev were later replaced by the non-free Alpha variant which continued to add features to the game, including multiplayer mode. As of December 20, 2010 the game entered into Beta. It includes music by Daniel "C418" Rosenfeld. For multiplayer games, servers are currently hosted by individual players or groups; there are no "official" Minecraft servers yet, the only way to connect to a server is entering the hostname or IP address in-game.