MCX360 - The Good, The Bad, The Awesome

I take a look at minecarts, briefly touch on redstone, and talk about a giveaway for 50 FREE MCX360 game codes - take a look!

Minecraft on the 360 - we've talked about it in passing over the last few months, but have offered very few specifics. Now, that all changes - no wild rumors, no random guesses; let's take a solid look at MCX360.

Multiplayer - What is it Like?

Surprisingly awesome. I was personally a little hesitant about how it would feel to play Minecraft on a 360 controller, but you would be surprised at just how intuitive the controls are. The triggers deal with what we usually associate with left- and right-mouse clicks (albeit reversed, in this case), navigating your inventory & crafting screens is smooth and easy - it's startlingly well done.

What's There, What Isn't

It's been a long, long time since Beta 1.6, and it's easy to forget what exactly was in the game at the time. For example, wolves and powered tracks were in the game by then, although myself and a number of others believed both to be added later on. Having said that, it's almost easier to say what's not in the game, relative to the PC title, and that list is only so long - there's no jungle (or associated critters), and that's undoubtedly the largest absence from the core game.

Beyond that, the differences are mostly mechanical - there's no Creative/Survival mode, but on the plus side, no hunger either. You can still punch the wool off of sheep, but no shears for taking leaf blocks. Powered tracks are definitely present, but the old booster track glitch doesn't work.

For those wondering, the map size is 1000x1000 blocks.

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Gameplay footage!
Multiplayer - How It Works

Multi-player Minecraft is about the only kind of Minecraft worth playing, some might say. One of the many SMP-related questions to come out recently is, "How does this even work?" Servers, dynamic joining, subscription requirements? Not terribly hard at all, as it turns out. You start up a single-player game as you would normally, but be sure to leave the "Online" box checked. Then, your friends can join you whenever they like!

We'll be showing this in more detail, of course - but I've got something in the works that might let you guys do it with me instead. More on that in a moment.

This is great and all, but when can I play it?

The game is set to release on May 9th, 2012 (this Wednesday) on XBLA. We will be revealing preview footage of the game all week right here on the front page, so be sure to check in frequently for a real-time look at exactly how the console port works!

In summary, MCX360 exceeds expectations in many respects - one thing Minecraft veterans will notice immediately is that smooth (and consistent) frame-rate: the game runs as smooth as silk, and it's truly a thing of beauty to behold. While I wasn't able to enhance my worlds with any texture packs (I'd even saved a few old ones, just in case), there has been talk that texture packs (and custom skins) will be a reality in the future.

Custom skins are something that's been causing a bit of confusion lately - some people have seen the skins in the official Teaser video and come away with the impression that they were user-made; sadly, this is not the case. There are a number of pre-generated skins that are assigned to players as they join the game, starting with default Steve, and going through "Tuxedo Steve", "Tennis Shorts Steve", "Prison(?) Outfit Steve", and so on. These skins are not persistent to the player themselves, but whoever happened to join in that particular "slot". For example, if you joined my game as the second player and got Tuxedo Steve, that would be you for the remainder of your stay, as well as if you left and returned. But, if you left and another friend joined in your place, they would now be Tuxedo Steve, and you might be Tennis Steve on your return.

Still, it's nice to see that the foundations of custom skinning are there. We'll eagerly watch where it goes.

Check back all week as we cover this newest installment in the Minecraft series, up to and including launch!

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