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Mercman's "Official" Guide to Alpha! *Tutorials Added*

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Poll: 1. Would this guide be useful to new players? 2. Should this possibly get a sticky? (528 member(s) have cast votes)

1. Would this guide be useful to new players? 2. Should this possibly get a sticky?

  1. 1. Yes. (254 votes [48.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 48.11%

  2. 1. No. (33 votes [6.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.25%

  3. 2. Yes. (201 votes [38.07%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.07%

  4. 2. No. (40 votes [7.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.58%

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 02:56 AM


My guide has been featured on a clan's website, check it out! :D
I do not support this clan, I was just asked if my guide could be featured on their site.

This guide is still a WIP. I've heard alot of different things, and seen alot of guides around. I know I haven't updated in God-knows how long, but that'll be changing soon. With the upcoming update, expect to see a resurgence of activity. -- 10/22/10 or 22/10/10

Note: All screenshots in this thread are thumbnails (Except mob shots, and item shots.), due to the size of them. Click on them to view the entire picture, at the photobucket album. Thanks.

Mercman's Guide to Minecraft "Alpha"

Hello! In this guide, you'll find a variety of topics centered around the Alpha mode for minecraft. Throughout the guide, frequently asked questions (FAQ) will also be listed and anwsered in italics. Here's a list of what this guide will be covering. At any time, you can press CTRL+F to quickly jump to a specific topic in this guide. This guide will be frequently updated.

Topic One: What is Minecraft "Alpha"?
Topic Two: Features and Content of Alpha
Topic Three: Playing and Understanding Alpha
Topic Four: Alpha Multi-Player; "SMP"
Topic Five: Useful Links/Topics about Alpha
Topic Six: Acknowledgements and Author's Note
Expansion Topic: Your Alpha Adventure
---- Sub-Topic Six: Change-Log and Updates/Fixes.


Topic One: What is Minecraft "Alpha"?

:Red: Alpha is a current version of Minecraft that is under heavy development. To play Alpha, you must first purchase Minecraft. Alpha often updates, recently with a trend of "Secret Friday updates" that add in-game features. Also, sporadic updates often fix bugs and performance issues.

:Red: FAQ: When I load Alpha, I see "Downloading Packages", then alot of numbers and letters. Is this an update?- Yes! Any time you see this, it means that you're downloading the most recent version of Alpha! Be happy! :D

:Red: Alpha can be played at two locations, either on the internet, or in a downloadable client. The client can be downloaded at the second link.
---Alpha's Internet Link
---The download link for the Alpha Client

:Red: FAQ: How do I install the Client?- Simply follow the on-screen instructions, and you should be good to go! If you have issues with the client, they should be able to be resolved here in the forums in a different section.

:Red: Alpha was previously known as /Infdev/. A prior version to it was /Indev/, an earlier form of what became /Infdev/, then later Alpha, as we have now. Alpha is also known by its website address suffix, /game/.

:Red: Alpha is the single-player form of SMP (Survival Multi-Player). Both forms are almost identical, but SMP is still under intense work, as is Single Player _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Topic Two: Features and Content of Alpha:

Alpha is the most advanced and feature-based mode of Minecraft. In this guide, it will consist of multiple sections; Mobs, Items, and Maps

(Once again, sections can be easily found by pressing CTRL+F and typing in what you're searching for!)

Maps! (The Gameworld)

:Red: In Alpha, there are five "save" slots, each being Worlds 1-5, in the respective order. These are "Infinite" maps, meaning that they go on forever horizontally. On these maps, various geographical features are found in no particular fashion. Common features are caves, mountains, hill, oceans, and islands. Sometimes, even entire "Continents" are generated!

:Red: Now, sometime upon level generation, Snow will appear in the map! It falls continously, and can be destroyed like any other block. It can be enabled/disabled through the use of a editor, such as NBT Edit.

:Red: There are multiple ways to view your maps in Alpha. Obviously, you can explore in-game, for one.
            Another way to view them is by using this tool, which allows you to see your maps in an isometric form.
             ---Isometric viewer, found here.
             This feature isn't always perfect, mind you, as it is still Alpha software. It is, a useful tool, however! :-D

:Red: Explored areas in maps can also be charted from a top-down view, using this software:
          ---Cartographer Mapping Thread
                                 Credit to ZomBuster for his Cartographer program

In-Game Mobs!

:Red: Mobs are the in-game "monsters" in Alpha. They spawn during night, or in dark areas (Excluding Cows, Pigs, and Sheep. They only spawn during the day.)  Spawning of monsters can be prevented by playing on Peaceful mode. Currently, the Pig  :Pig: ,the Sheep  :Sheep:, and the Cow are the only mobs that are peaceful, and will not attack you.

Pigs: Yields pork when killed.
Posted Image

Sheep: Yields cloth when attacked. Yields nothing when killed.
Posted Image

Cows (Cattle): Yields Leather when killed.
Posted Image

Chickens: Yields feathers when killed. Randomly drops eggs.
Posted Image

:Red: The agressive mobs are as follows: Creeper  :SSSS:/ Skeleton  :D/ Spider  :Spider:/ Zombie  :Zombie:

Creeper- Explodes in close proximity to the player. If killed before exploding, drops gunpowder.
Posted Image

Skeleton- Fires arrows at the player, from medium range. When killed, drops arrows
Posted Image

Spider- Attacks the player at close range. Remarkable jumping ability. Drops String when killed.
Posted Image

Zombie- Attacks the player at close range. When killed, drops feathers.
Posted Image

:Red: Mobs, as said, spawn at night, or dark areas. Spawning of mobs can be prevented by placing torches, or another source of light.

:Red: Mob-Spawners are a rare item, found underground in dungeons. They spawn whatever is shown inside of them, if the game is set to Easy or higher. The enemies in these spawners do not spawn on peaceful.

:Red: Fun Fact!: The "Creeper" mob was a failed attempt at a Pig mob!

In-Game Items!

Now, onto the good stuff! >:D
A good link for more technical, precise info about the items listed here can be found at this link:
Minepedia: The Minecraft Wiki
Alot of credit to Quatroking, for the Wiki! :D

:Red: In-Game Blocks:
This section will be arranged in a (hopefully?) logical order. I've grouped things together, and I hope it makes things easier to find.

Dirt: Posted Image
Dirt is a common, uncraftable block. It can be converted into farmland by the use of a Hoe, if light and water are provided.

Grass: Posted Image
Grass grows on dirt blocks, provided there is enough light, and a grass block touching said block.
A guide to growing grass can be found here.
Credit to Sniper for the grass-growing guide!

Sand: Posted Image
Sand is a common, gravity-affected block. It can be smelted into glass. It poses a potential suffocation hazard.

Reeds: Used to form paper, then books, then bookshelves.
Posted Image

Gravel:Posted Image
Gravel is a semi-common material, like sand. It randomly yields Flint when collected. It is affected by gravity, and also poses a suffocation hazard.

Glass: Posted Image
Glass is yielded by smelting sand in a furnace. It is highly breakable, but very transparent, making it good for windows.

Cloth: Posted Image
Cloth is gained from Sheep's wool. It only comes in white in Alpha, currently.

Trunks: Posted Image
Trunks are found, obviously, on trees. They yield 4 Planks when crafted. They have the same durability as their crafted form.

Planks (Wood): Posted Image
Planks are the crafted form of tree trunks. They can be crafted into many things, including doors, workbenches, sticks, pressure plates, and more!

Leaves: Posted Image
Leaves grow on trees. When surrounding tree trunks are gathered, they being "dying" and randomly drop saplings.

Saplings: Posted Image
Saplings are small bushes that can grow into full trees when given proper space and light.

Flowers:  :RFlower:  :YFlower:
Flowers are purely for visual effect. They have no crafting or in-game use, other than being pretty. =D

Cactus (Cacti): Posted Image
Cacti are blocks that injure you upon any form of interaction. They can be found on beaches.

Mushrooms: Posted Image Posted Image
Mushrooms grow/are found in areas of low light/darkness. Usually, they can be found in caves, or sometimes under trees. They can be crafted with a bowl to form Mushroom Soup.

Stone: Posted Image
Stone is a common material, and yields Cobblestone when mined with a pickaxe.

Cobblestone: Posted Image
Cobblestone is the mined form of Stone. It can be converted back to Stone by the use of a smelter.
Cobblestone can be used to craft many items, including tools, and furnaces.

Coal: Posted Image
Coal is a common resource. It yields a lump of coal when mined with a wooden pickaxe or higher.

Iron Ore/Blocks: Posted Image Posted Image
Iron is a semi-common block. It can be mined using a cobblestone pickaxe or better. Iron blocks can be made by crafting nine smelted ingots.

Gold Ore/Block: Posted Image Posted Image
Gold is a uncommon block. It can be mined using an Iron pickaxe or better. Gold blocks can be formed by crafting 9 smelted ingots.

Diamond Ore/Block: Posted Image
Posted Image
Diamond is a very rare block. It is the only ore that doesn't need smelting. It yields Diamond Gems when mined with an Iron Pickaxe or better.

Redstone: Posted Image
Redstone ore is a very common block (At deep depths). When mined with an Iron pickaxe or better, it yields redstone dust/powder. Usually found at the bottom of the map, or the last few layers of it.

Obsidian: Posted Image
Obsidian is an VERY tough material. It can only be made by placing a water spring over a lava spring. It can only be mined with a Diamon pickaxe. It takes nearly a minute to mine with any pickaxe, except for Diamond; it then takes 15 seconds to mine. Currently, Obsidian serves no in-game purpose, other than a visual one.

Lava and Water:   :Lava:   :Water:
Lava and water are active, flowing blocks. They can be collected with a bucket, and placed elsewhere.



I'm going to use a page for this section, as it explains things better than I could. It also has all the recipies and durability information. However, I will a few of the simple things here.

Posted Image
Allows you to craft larger items.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
Illuminates the nearby area.

This page explains what can be smelted, and how to do it.

Again, credit to whoever/everyone for the Wiki.


When mobs are killed, they drop items. Once again, a link will explain it alot better.

Reminder: All screenshots in this thread are thumbnails. Click them to see the full size shot, as they're too big for the forum to display at their size.

Topic Three: Playing and Understanding Alpha

Alright, glad you made it this far! By now, you should have a feel for Alpha, to some extent! Now, the in-game mechanics of Alpha will be explained. Go ahead and pull up Alpha, either form. I'll be using the client for this part, but the internet form is no different, except for the log-in screen.

:Red: This'll be what you see at the very start of it all.
Posted Image

Then, there's two more screens; the options menu, and level select.

:Red: The Options Menu:
Posted Image
Obviously, the game options are accessed here.

:Red: Level Select Screen:
Posted Image

Alright, enough small stuff. Lets get in-game, shall we?

In-Game HUD (Heads-Up Display) Tutorial:

:Red: Alright, this is what you should see when you are in Alpha:
Posted Image
Disclaimer: Your inventory will not be full of dirt when you begin!

:Red: Controls:
WASD keys move the character, as expected.
"I" opens the inventory.
ESC opens the options menu, and ability to save and exit the game.
Spacebar jumps.

Now, for some explanations on what those boxes mean in that screenshot!

Blue Box: These are the items currently selected in your inventory.
Orange Box: This is your life meter. You can lose life by being attacked by mobs, falling from heights, or drowning. Lava and Fire also damage you greatly. You will burn until you reach water. (If you're playing on Peaceful, your health will regenerate before you can be killed. The fire will burn out, eventually.)
Pink Box: If you were underwater, a "air" gauge would appear in the form of bubbles. As they deplete, you lose air. If it runs out, you will lose health
Teal Box: If you had armor on, it would be displayed here, as a bar of small armor pieces.

:Red: The Inventory Screen:
Posted Image
The inventory screen is reached by pressing "I", for Inventory. How clever! :D

Red Box: Currently equiped armor.
Pink Box: A visual of your character, and any armor that might be on him/her.
Blue Box: Your ENTIRE inventory.
Yellow Box: The small, default crafting area. Few things can be made here.


Congradulations! Now, you know most of the things about Alpha! But wait, this guide isn't over! Alpha is always changing, and so is this guide! New things will are always being added! Now, onto some links!

Topic Four: Useful links and Threads about Alpha!

Here, I'll list many things that could be useful in Alpha. Most of these will be threads.

The Offical SMP discussion Thread
How to download a Indev/Infdev/Alpha Map!
Structures every map should have in Survival!

Official Picture thread

NBT Forge (Map Editor)

MineEdit (Inventory Editor)  

NBT Edit (Inventory Editor)

INVEdit (Inventory Editor)

Survival Guide Thread

A thread telling mining/digging speeds

A list of useful guides, threads, and more!


Topic Five: Credits and Author's Note!

Credits for items refrenced:
Sniper; Grass tutorial
Whoever/Everyone; Minepedia
ZomBuster; Cartographer
ShadowDusk; Picture Thread
BlackAct; "Staple structures" thread
Aeomin; NBT Forge
N3X15; MineEdit
Copyboy; NBT Edit and INVEdit
Ikroth; "Survival Guide" thread
Taodih; "Useful Links" thread
Duke 2.0; "Official SMP Thread" thread.
Crixnmix; "Official Speeds" thread
Dthen; "Alpha Startup" Thread

A little note from the author...

You might be wondering, why write a guide? I say, "why not?" There's been alot of help threads related to Alpha, and alot of duplicates. This guide was partially written to give people a complete database of all things related to Alpha! Sure, there's been "guide" threads before, usually with some theme or another. "But, this is why we have a wiki!!!" Yeah, you could say that. But, is the whole wiki centered around Alpha? Is all the info about Alpha in it all in a single place? No. Don't get me wrong, the wiki is a great resource. However, I felt that a complete source of information related to Alpha could be something that people would find useful.

I also had hopes of being able to update this as we go, and this could maybe even evolve into a Beta guide! When Beta comes around, I will make a guide for it also. It could be expanded off of this one! But, that's not my main point. Minecraft is growing at quite the rate, and gaining fame and popularity. I had the game (Infdev/Alpha) for two months before I joined the forums. Most of that time, I was pretty clueless as what to do, to be perfectly honest. I thought about some kind of guide, and that's when I found the wiki. I was in heaven, for a while. I realised that I should join the forums, and be involved with the community. And so, I did. I've been here a few days shy of a month, and I thought I'd contribute something *hopefully* useful.

So...that's about it. I just figured a resource such as this could be useful for alot of people.


Expansion Topic: Your Alpha Adventure

Wait, you thought it was over? Oh no, it's far from that. What kind of person would I be if I didn't post some kind of start-up tutorial? I'll have a few different kinds listed, eventually. Let's start with the common one though.

Again, for crafting templates, use this wealth of information!

1. Generate a map you like
2. Find some trees, take the trunks.
3. Collect the saplings from said trunks.
4. Craft these trunks all down into planks.
(Repeat 2-4 if desired)
5. Make a workbench and a pickaxe
6. Mine some rock, and coal.
7. Make Cobblestone pickaxe
8. Make torches
9. Find place to live
10.Begin life as you choose.


Underground Life:
1. Gather Trees and Saplings
2. Gather some dirt
3. Make a workbench and pickaxe
4. Make torches
5. Find a cave, and begin lighting it up over time.
6. Grow trees in the cave, on dirt.
7. Secure cave over time.
8. Begin forming rooms/smoothing things out
9. Go from there.

Ok, these are some pathetic stratagies, I know. To make up for it, check out...
Dthen's Start-Up Guide!

It's full of things to help you start off, including a great pictoral walkthrough!


6/7/10 (7/6/10):
*Information added
*Spelling/Grammar Errors corrected
*Poll Added

6/20/10 (20/6/10):

*Adding alot of recent changes.
*Addition of Links and Such
Posted Image

Register or log in to remove.


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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:07 AM

Uhhh...Good guide so far.
But whats with the recent influx of people writing guides?
Posted Image



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:11 AM

I think people are getting bored. Yes even though we just had that 'stuff', we have the Utopia Contest, Dungeon Contest and the game in general. This probably came from one person and people wanted to do it too, the quality is the only thing that changes.

MichaeljMM79 said:

Talent didn't go anywhere, it just gets lost in all the noise. You have to find it.




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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:15 AM

SuddenlyCreepers said:

Uhhh...Good guide so far.
But whats with the recent influx of people writing guides?

I wanted to have not as much a guide, but an entire resource of information about Alpha. Either way, I'm doing it to help people who are new to the game mode! :Diamond:
Posted Image



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:19 AM

Coming along nicely.

OFFLINE. Don't join if you don't want to help.

Flaky said:

Words can't describe the disappointment I have in you if you seriously think it'll take Notch that long.

Drury said:

Yay, I made it to someone's signature :D



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:27 AM

Considering your point Mercman this will definitely get stickied, maybe add some pictures so we know what your talking about.
When you talk about mobs for example have pictures of each of them, it will be a horrible experience thinking that skeleton over there is a zombie.

MichaeljMM79 said:

Talent didn't go anywhere, it just gets lost in all the noise. You have to find it.




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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:39 AM

Blackwind said:

Considering your point Mercman this will definitely get stickied, maybe add some pictures so we know what your talking about.
When you talk about mobs for example have pictures of each of them, it will be a horrible experience thinking that skeleton over there is a zombie.

I definitly plan on adding pictures. But tonight, it's rather late, and I'm tired. Thefore, I'll do that tomorrow. Alot of things in-game will have pictures, don't you worry. For tonight, I just want to get some information up here. :D
Posted Image



Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:41 AM

Very nice guide!
Currently programming a 2D, Zelda LttP-like MMO in Flash.

Follow my progress here, if you'd like



Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:41 AM

I should revive my old survival guide

but then again I have no motivation to finish it



Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:44 AM

Don't we have an entire Wiki for this?
Pokemons, Click them.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:50 PM

zapper9987 said:

Very nice guide!

Thanks1 :cobblestone:
(And no, we don't have a "whole wiki" for Alpha. This is different, lol.

I'll add more info soon, I can't get on my computer at the moment, I'm on my iTouch. :cobblestone:
Posted Image



Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:31 PM

Awesome, really helpful! you forgot redstone btw



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:54 PM

Mithrildor said:

Awesome, really helpful! you forgot redstone btw

I'm ignoring that specific item. And, I'm glad it helped. Still got alot to do, though! :D

Edit: Just added a poll, I want to see if anyone thinks it'd be useful for new Alpha players. :Skeleton:
Posted Image


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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:55 PM

glass isnt aesthetic! its useful for traps!
Posted Image

Blah higaman said:

Isnt that just a mega powerful underwater goat?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8856 Big Book of Alchemy :D

jbibsee said:

cmon ppl say what u think
or  [SSSS] will hug u



Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:58 PM


you said Glass is made by smelting glass




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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:04 PM

you forgot bread. otherwise great guide :D

EDIT: also monster spoils, TNT.
EDIT2: and bow&arrow.

Posted Image
Do not wallow do not stall
Time waits for none at all
Your allowance may crawl,
It may fly or even vanish
But none will seem more lavished
Than time lost to all.



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:05 PM

"i don't have any glass to smelt glass."
Good guide
Check you items though, glass for example says
Glass: Weak, aesthetic block. Produced by smelting glass"
darnit i was ninja'd



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 07:51 PM

The items section is coming along well. I've got more to add to it, including monster drops, and craftable items.
Posted Image


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Posted 07 July 2010 - 08:09 PM

Great guide!
This will be very useful to new players.

One note, though: you should also mention fire & lava damage with the other types of damage under the "health bar" of the HUD/UI part. :)

Comin' along great.

Sniper on The Voxel Box. Creator of the Mega Tribus.
DigiCraft, the original Mega-Project, will return soon!



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Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:08 PM

Just did quite the update; added credits and Author's Note, as well as alot of visual fixes and such. Lookin' good, so far! :Sheep:
Posted Image