Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
What Minecraft Is Missing

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 1 Feb 2011 12:00
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So perhaps a metal detector could be crafted from, say, some smelted iron and sticks. It would make some kind of rhythmic tone when you're holding it that gets faster the closer you get to iron or gold ore. Diamond isn't metal, so you'd need a separate detector for that, perhaps made from gold and the bones of fallen skeletons for the extra exoticism. Alternatively, perhaps some kind of subtle visual cue could be added to blocks when ore is close, like a subtle change of shade or colour that deepens the closer the ore is. Then we could rename the game MineCraftSweeper.

A sluice gate

Now, one aspect of Minecraft I didn't touch on was creating mechanisms. It's quite an amusing little side thing that most brings to mind the model railway analogy for me. You can create electrical circuits with switches and a wire-like material (that you can only get from quite rare ore, naturally) to make doors open or play elaborate music boxes. But if you want something a bit more sophisticated, say something that moves terrain around, things get a bit silly. A lot of them seem to involve diverting water onto torches that are supporting collapsible blocks like sand or gravel, but the only way to divert water is by exploiting water's slightly buggy properties. I was trying to get a his 'n' hers shower room going in my skull fortress with water that turned on and off with a switch, but looking into it every time I wanted to turn it off I'd have to climb onto the roof and rebuild a few walls. Seems like a rather imperfect system.

So here's my last request: a sluice gate. Nothing fancy. Just some kind of block that admits water when power's flowing through it and doesn't when there isn't. It'd also make it a lot easier to create a system that dumps lava on anyone who steps on your floor plates.

More ways to get blue dye

I mentioned in the video that one of the big flaws of Minecraft is how some objects are extremely rare regardless of how useful they are, and one of the worst examples of this is making dye. Plain grey stone rooms are all very well but the only way to splash a bit of colour around the place is to dye cubes of wool, and dye has to be refined from natural ingredients, admirably. Now, red, yellow, green and white dye are all quite straightforward (flowers, more flowers, cacti and skeletons respectively, and there is definitely no shortage of skeletons). But the only way to get blue dye is from lapis lazuli, which is an alternative ore almost as difficult to find as diamond. And blue is not an obscure colour, that shit is primary.

So more ways to get blue dye would be nice. Perhaps from zombies, because they wear blue shirts. It'd make a hell of a lot more sense than the feathers they currently drop. As it stands you can either hollow out the entire planet in the name of finding enough blocks for the dungarees on your giant Mario statue, or learn to appreciate autumnal d├ęcor.

Bursts of coloured confetti and sounds of fanfares and rounds of applause playing whenever you successfully kill an exploding bush monster before it gets to you.

That would be nice.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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