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Minecraft Reaches Beta Status, Price Goes Up 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-notch-in-the-belt dept.
Eric writes "After over a year of development, Minecraft has hit Beta status today. Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009. With the new milestone, the price of the game has increased to €14.95; when Minecraft moves beyond beta status, it will sell for €20.00. The beta is more focused on polish and content. The aim is to add proper modding support via a stable API, some kind of non-intrusive narrative to help drive the game experience early on, and a late-game goal. Updates will be less frequent, so as to make sure stability is maintained thanks to more extended testing. Despite this, there have already been two beta releases: client and server Beta 1.0 followed quickly by client 1.0_01."
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Minecraft Reaches Beta Status, Price Goes Up

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  • by Ventriloquate (551798) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:27AM (#34626680)
    did they get their money back from PayPal?
  • Releases. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by srothroc (733160) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:34AM (#34626712) Homepage
    The summary fails to mention the spectacular fail.

    The release that was supposed to inaugurate the beta also created a bunch of bugs for both single- and multi-player modes, including dupe bugs, which he was trying to fix.

    The patch that followed the beta release was supposed to fix those bugs, and didn't. Minecraft remains almost unplayable for me in single- or multi-player mode; my friends can't even connect to the server anymore.

    I understand that "beta" is just a milestone, but this is really inauspicious.
    • The beta won't even launch for me. I get this:

      Minecraft: Minecraft Beta 1.0_01
      OS: Linux (i386) version 2.6.34.7-0.5-default
      Java: 1.6.0_20, Sun Microsystems Inc.
      VM: OpenJDK Server VM (mixed mode), Sun Microsystems Inc.
      LWJGL: 2.4.2
      [failed to get system properties (java.lang.NullPointerException)]

      org.lwjgl.LWJGLException: Could not init GLX
      at org.lwjgl.opengl.LinuxDisplayPeerInfo.initDefaultPeerInfo(Native Method)
      at org.lwjgl.opengl.LinuxDisplayPeerInfo.(LinuxDisplayPeerInfo.java:52)
      at
      • by Shikaku (1129753)

        VM: OpenJDK Server VM

        http://www.minecraft.net/download.jsp [minecraft.net] -->

        Also, please make sure you're running the Sun JVM...

        I know it's not clearly explained but the Sun version is required.

        • Pardon my ignorance, but I assumed that that's what "Sun Microsystems Inc." indicates. At any rate, it worked perfectly for the past six weeks with Minecraft Alpha.
          • by Shikaku (1129753)

            $ java -version
            java version "1.6.0_23"
            Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_23-b05)
            Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 19.0-b09, mixed mode)

            I'm assuming he only tests the java.com version, and not OpenJDK. When I tried with OpenJDK a long time ago it did not work, so it would be a crapshoot.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      If there's a game I wish I could unbuy Minecraft would be it.

      Too dark to see anything isn't cool and I don't want to either crank my system gamma to extreme levels (and make everything else look like crap) nor do I want to remodel a room just to make it dark enough for one game.

      And then the "tedium is skill" angle is the kicker.

      I should have followed my corollary to the /. rule (the more /. hates something the better it is), the more /. likes something the worse it is. Given all the hype it got here I shoul

      • by Winckle (870180)

        Surely the darkness is intentional? Make torches to light up dark areas.

      • by fbjon (692006)
        You can make torches (with coal or redstone), you can make fires, you can get some glowing stone and place it around, you can cut a hole to the surface bringing daylight in...
  • Preorder now! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:38AM (#34626732) Homepage

    Minecraft Reaches Beta Status, Price Goes Up

    If there's one thing I don't do, it's buy software that isn't written yet. Maybe under some limited conditions in custom software both otherwise, let me know when you're done and what you're charging for it and I'll consider it.

    • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by srothroc (733160) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:40AM (#34626740) Homepage
      It was written; you were paying for a product that existed at the time, with the bonus being unlimited future updates. Beta purchasers are not eligible for the unlimited future updates, unfortunately. A lot of people, me included, obviously thought that the game as it was in its nascent alpha stage was worth the 10-15 USD (depending on the exchange rate) being charged for it.
      • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:51AM (#34626792)

        Beta purchasers are not eligible for the unlimited future updates, unfortunately.

        They are eligible for all updates up until the final release, and all bugfixes, though.

      • Re:Preorder now! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:13AM (#34626886)

        I bought it thinking I would probably get my money's worth eventually. Instead, what I found was that I had 10 euros of fun in the first day, and the rest of the next couple weeks was pure bonus. I don't play it now, but I intend to play it again once there are actual goals... And I'll continue to reap value from that purchase.

        I was a little sad to see that future purchases won't have the major updates included, but I did already tell all my friends about it, so it's their fault for missing it.

        • I don't get why everyone is clamoring for "actual goals". I fear any "goal" is what's going to end up ruining it. Make your own goal. I run a server with a few people and our goal is building every awesome monument we can think of. That and redstone computers to control automated minecrart tracks.

      • To be fair I don't think Notch has the intention of charging for updates in the foreseeable future, but he removed the language about unlimited updates because permanent language like that scared his lawyers.

    • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:43AM (#34626754) Homepage Journal

      No shit.

      This man made BANK on a fucking ALPHA.

      What the fuck? I can understand needing development capital, but still, charging for an Alpha?

      Insanity. He just showed up Microsoft, Apple, Google, EVERYBODY, at their own goddamned game.

      • by AC-x (735297)

        What the fuck? I can understand needing development capital, but still, charging for an Alpha?

        It was still completely playable in single and multi player, until a few duff releases broke various aspects of multiplayer. It's probably because everything mostly worked that people forgot it was an alpha version and liable to break all the time.

      • by tagno25 (1518033)

        If you paid for Alpha you get ALL future updates and expansions. Beta gets all updates until release and bug fixes.

      • by Elegor (866572)
        I bought in to the alpha version and haven't regretted a single penny of it. I've played and enjoyed Minecraft more over the past three months than any other game I've bought in the last decade. It hits the same sweet-spot of freedom, struggle and reward that Elite managed to nail in the '80s. And, coincidentally, Minecraft Alpha cost about the same as Elite did on the Spectrum all those years ago!

        I really don't mind paying for alpha software that is this much fun, and 850k other people seem to feel the
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        There's an obvious joke about Microsoft/Apple charging for the alpha version of an OS/gizmo here, and I'd just like to say that anyone who makes it should be ashamed of themselves.

        • There's an obvious joke about Microsoft/Apple charging for the alpha version of an OS/gizmo here, and I'd just like to say that anyone who makes it should be ashamed of themselves.

          It actually hadn't come to mind before this reminded me but now that I'm thinking about it someone should really mention Windows ME.

      • That game is pretty awesome.
      • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:55AM (#34627396)
        Actually, he essentially sold the full version of the game plus any upgrades he will ever release. You just happen to get access to all pre-release versions, as well. Essentially it's a discounted preorder that automatically enrolls you into the alpha/beta test. (Yes, he did actualy sell the alpha but you still got access to any subsequent release.)

        Plus, this kind of model seems to be getting more common these days: You first have people preorder and then use their preorder money to actually develop the product. OpenPandora Ltd. is using the same approach to develop a handheld console - and they can't even deliver prerelease versions. Yet it works.

        It's pretty interesting. Essentially you crowdsource for development capital; this allows startups and independent developers to take a shot at developing and releasing a product without having the required funds up front. Of course it puts the risk on the customer but it's interesting nonetheless.
        • After my GF played Minecraft for 40+ hours I bought the alpha for her. So I can't even calculate the non-risk involved here!

          I'm surprised EA hasn't bought Minecraft. This is exactly the kind of good game they like to screw up.

    • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:53AM (#34626806)

      It's not like Notch twisted anybody's arm. Several hundred thousand people, myself included, enjoy the game enough in its current form to be willing to pay for it. And if that means it's cheaper and we get all the add-ons for free, all the better.

      • by xtracto (837672)

        Can you describe what is the game about?? I have seen some videos (a house burning or something) with 3D graphics that are equivalent to NES Super Mario Bros era.

        I am really curious to know (in a nutshell) what is the gameplay about?

        Is it an FPS? is it a Sim? is it something different?

        • by gilleain (1310105)

          >

          Is it an FPS? is it a Sim? is it something different?

          tl;dr : Make castles and dig for gold while fighting off zombies and skeletons at night.

          The weird thing is that in its alpha form (which I also bought, and have enjoyed) it has no point. I guess that would make it like a sim. There are various suggestions on the Get Satisfaction site about making it into some kind of dungeon crawl, or castle defense.

          Technically, I suppose it is a 'sandbox' game, as it is like playing in a giant sandbox (Br Eng: Sandpit).

          • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:59AM (#34627074) Homepage

            in other words... If you like the grinding in other games, you'll love minecraft as it is never ending grinding.

            never ending....

            I want the last 210 hours back..... Wait, I have to build more walls.... brb...

            • by Rysc (136391) *

              Grinding? More like freeform simulation. It draws people from the puzzle/sims crowd, too.

            • by cowscows (103644)

              While it sometimes can definitely become a grind, I think one of the big differences is that your resource gathering does have a lasting effect on the world. If you spend three hours digging up stone, you're going to leave a big hole in the ground, or a network of tunnels, or a cave, or whatever.

              In more abstract terms, there's two basic ways to create in minecraft. There's additive, where you're stacking blocks to build something. And there's subtractive, where you're carving away at the existing landscape

            • by Spykk (823586)
              Grinding is the term used to describe a repetitive, boring task that you do to get some reward. Minecraft is anything but grinding as there are no rewards to work towards. If you feel building creative structures out of cubes is grinding then Minecraft might not be for you.
              • by Chris Burke (6130)

                I'd say that the actually mining portion of Minecraft counts as grinding. I've made giant branch mines where I dig in a pattern to uncover as many blocks as possible and find valuable minerals. It's a mostly repetitive and boring business, though occasionally stumbling on a diamond vein hits the same "pull the lever a random number of times, get a peanut" reinforcement that slot machines and MMOs use. Also occasionally stumbling across a cave network gives the chance to give up the grind and go exploring

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Completely destructible 32-voxel world, bad things spawn in the dark. The object is to survive through mining, crafting, and building.
        • Re:Preorder now! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:11AM (#34626874)

          From a first-person perspective you place and remove blocks, which have various properties, to build things. Some of those blocks can be combined and refined to make:

          * New kinds of blocks, like glass or stairs
          * Tools, like pickaxes and torches
          * Interactable objects like doors, vehicles and refining furnaces
          * Sensors, switches, buttons and NOR gates, with which one can build everything from an automatic door to a turing-complete computer

          The world you play in is procedurally generated from a seed and, depending on technical limitations, is several times the size of the surface of the earth, albeit only 128 metres deep. There is a day-night cycle, monsters can spawn wherever it is sufficiently dark (i.e. at night or in unlit caverns) and farm animals can spawn wherever it is sufficiently bright.

          For example, I have built a monster-resistant house with a moat, and a system of water channels that funnels the creatures from the moat down to a contraption that kills them, at which point their loot is funnelled to a sensor that lights up a lamp upstairs to tell me to go fetch the goodies. I'm currently finishing off that system before I venture into a newly-discovered cave system to get some more iron ore with which to build some tracks for a railway system. On another part of the map, I am hollowing out a mountain to build a secure location in which to construct a portal to a parallel dimension of pure suffering.

        • by Stele (9443)

          Here is a trailer [youtube.com] someone made that pretty much sums it up.

        • by Smidge204 (605297)

          It's a first-person sandbox game. There is no goal at this point, no win or lose conditions (unless "dying" counts as losing but you can respawn an infinite number of times), and there is no action that NEEDS to be taken.

          You dig/mine blocks, which you can then place back anywhere you want. Some blocks can be converted into materials to make other block types, tools, weapons, decorations and other stuff.

          Kinda like LEGO but you have to find and dig out (sometimes manufacture) the blocks you want.
          =Smidge=

    • Yours is actually a pretty good argument for this sort of 'price-increases-as-development-progresses' model, which I've seen with a few other indy game titles as well.

      At some point in development, the product is polished enough to be worth playing around with, to some people, and isn't totally, egregiously crashy. Release at a low price, with those caveats noted. Those who wish can pay less, track progress from this point forward; but know that they are putting up with bugs and the risk that development
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        The way he termed it was that it was a €20 game, but you got 50% off in Alpha and 25% off in Beta. So he's been upfront about the pricing from the outset. It's like a discounted pre-order that happens to come with work-in-progress versions of the game.

    • by Kamokazi (1080091)
      You stick to your principles, I'll stick with enjoying a great game. A year before you do. At half the price.

      Principles are all well and good, but blindly following them without considering things on a situational basis is just stubborn and silly.
    • by FauxPasIII (75900)

      If there's one thing I don't do, it's buy software that isn't written yet. Maybe under some limited conditions in custom software both otherwise, let me know when you're done and what you're charging for it and I'll consider it.

      Then you've missed out on round about a year of the most fun gaming I can remember since I was playing Yar's Revenge on the Atari 2600 with my parents.

      Your call bro.

    • by Gulthek (12570)

      I got (or was forced to take, that addiction is serious) hours upon hours of pure gaming goodness from my investment of 10 euros. The software was written, I bought the alpha game and it had everything I wanted. The game was complete. Now each major revision is like I'm getting bonus content.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:00AM (#34626834)

    I bought the alpha a few months ago, and while I haven't played it recently due to time contraints, it is easily well worth the money that is being charged. I played it far more than games that cost three times as much, not to mention that when playing it, I was never frustrated, or angry, but thoroughly enjoying the experience, which is something I can't say about most games, not to mention ones that aren't even freaking finished yet!

    • when playing it, I was never frustrated, or angry, but thoroughly enjoying the experience

      You must be a masochist. I love Minecraft, but I've done my share of shrieking profanities at my monitor.

      "Dear diary, I finally found a diamond deposit! OMG, it's a six-block vein! I just have to get out over that lava field... what was that noise?"

  • I had no idea what I was getting in to when starting Minecraft. It is fun to start off knowing nothing about how the game is played, and just start building a castle or whatever.

    It is amazing how this game far outshines other games that are much more graphic intensive.

    Minecraft is your Utopia. You can do anything in Minecraft.
  • I'm played around with it a bit, but to me it just seems like a very limited type of Second Life minus all the social stuff, scripting, interaction, etc.
    Am I missing some unique part of the game experience that makes this better?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Nothing unique, just a different approach. You build things in Minecraft from the perspective of a small figure in the game world, and it's immediately graspable how you go about building something. It's less powerful, but the learning curve is more about the mechanics of getting into a position to place blocks than figuring out an interface. Throw in the resource-gathering and survival aspects of the game and you have quite a different play cycle. For example, if I decide to build a mine track in Minecraft

    • by dangitman (862676)

      I'm played around with it a bit, but to me it just seems like a very limited type of Second Life minus all the social stuff, scripting, interaction, etc.

      Wait a minute. Isn't lack of Second Life style interaction an advantage, not a drawback?

      • by edremy (36408)

        I'm played around with it a bit, but to me it just seems like a very limited type of Second Life minus all the social stuff, scripting, interaction, etc.

        Wait a minute. Isn't lack of Second Life style interaction an advantage, not a drawback?

        Depends- has Notch added a penis block in Minecraft yet?

    • by cowscows (103644)

      I wouldn't say that there's less interaction necessarily in Minecraft, it's just that the interactions are simpler, but everywhere.

      In SecondLife, you can build all sorts of crazy stuff, but to make anything worthwhile requires a lot more work, and oftentimes requires third-party software. You can make just about anything that you want in terms of shapes, and you have lots of options with the scripting, but debugging the scripting, aligning textures, etc. can take a ton of time, and is beyond the skill level

    • by jandrese (485)
      You're pretty much spot on. It's Secondlife minus the land barons, attachable penises, flying penises, monthly fee, horrible lag, and the uncanny valley.

      Ok, so people still build big penis monuments, but they're not as obnoxious. The "scripting system" (redstone) is also a lot more limited than SL's scripting system.

      But what you do get is a world that runs well and is effectively unlimited. You're not stuck choosing between paying hundreds of dollars a month, running a business, or being on some tiny
  • Right now, Minecraft saves worlds by making a huge tree of directories that stores individual data chunks in various sub-directories. Even though the total amount of data is small (my server is only about 10 megs), any time a copy needs to be made to backup or test, it takes an eternity because there are literally over 10,000 files on the disk.

    I'm hopelessly in love with the game, but with the frequent software updates, there is also a need for frequent backups to make sure I don't lose all the work of ev
    • Obviously it is pretty hacky for a game to make specific demands concerning filesystem/OS configuration(with things like Big Serious Applications it is at least expected, if annoying); but it sounds like the present save format is a problem that could be solved with a RAMdisk...

      Not the crazy-expensive hardware kind, just a software one carved out of system RAM. If an entire world-state is only 10ish MB, you could store plenty on just a small slice of any reasonably modern system's RAM, and that should ta
    • by JanneM (7445)

      [...]any time a copy needs to be made to backup or test, it takes an eternity because there are literally over 10,000 files on the disk.

      How about using rsync? That should cut down a lot on the copy time. I haven't tried it myself, mind you; my world is still small enough that a straight copy takes very little time.

    • That's interesting, I didn't know. I guess that's one of the advantages of running XFS on a SSD :p

      (Yes, yes, TRIM is still not supported. I will either re-TRIM the disk manually or cycle it out if it really starts breaking)

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:51AM (#34627048) Homepage

    I mean, I just read Mi*****ft, and I think "Wow, Windows is finnaly in beta, but the price is even more up?".

  • Ssssssssssssssss...

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:16PM (#34630216) Journal

    Minecraft is one of those little homebrew projects that has taken on a life of its own.
    Really - it's simple without being simplistic, and allows people fantastic expression of their creativity.

    It's totally worth paying for, and supporting this programmer.

    The next obvious step would be a more robust permanent world capability, along with the ability to lock ones' creations from the deliberate vandalism and destruction of others.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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