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Mojang confirms August 1st release for Minecraft 1.3

Minecraft Screenshot - 1105080

Earlier this week, we heard from Mojang that the much anticipated Minecraft 1.3 update would go live on August 1, although it was still being discussed. A few days later, lead designer Jens Bergensten has confirmed that date will be the official release.

Minecraft 1.3 will consist of a "huge number of changes", some of them to the "fundamental game engine". As Jens described in today's post, the most "dramatic" change is that single-player has been kicked out and made as a shell on top of multi-player.

"There are two major benefits to this: first, it’s required for the modding api if we don’t want to have multiple implementations of every mod," Jens explained, "and second, if we fix a bug in single-player, we know the bug is fixed in multi-player, too. Previously we had to fix bugs both in relation to single-player and multi-player."

Aside from the bug fixes and new features, players who play in multi-player on servers should enjoy a "smoother and more stable experience". The single/multi-player merge now allows you to share your singleplayer world with friends who are on the same local network. Multiplayer-like commands can now also be used in singleplayer, but only if cheats are enabled.

As for new additions, Mojang has added emeralds, emerald ore, and a trading system that allows you to buy items from villagers. Villagers will also add and remove items depending on what you purchase. New terrain features have been added and you can begin the game with a "bonus chest" to help you get started quicker. Tripwire to create new traps has been added as well as the possibility to write in books. New stairs, new half-slabs, cocoa plants and tweaked dispensers, leaves, cauldrons, levers, gravel, pressure plates, cookies, buckets, boats, minecarts, ice, furnaces, and much more are also coming.

That was all the good, now are you ready for the bad? Because the single-player has been turned into a shell on top of a background server, the resource requirements to play Minecraft have increased. Mojang is working on optimizing rendering, but those improvements will not be included until Minecraft 1.4 - and who knows how far out that will be. The time between Minecraft 1.2.5 and 1.3 has been the longest update interval yet.

While the 1.3 update adds a ton of new features, a couple of problems, the most notable being the lighting issues causing black regions in terrain, have been pushed to Minecraft 1.4.

"We’re looking into ways to solve this, but lighting is a very expensive calculation and we are struggling with finding a solution that doesn’t hurt framerate," Jens wrote.

"And the most notable missing feature is the modding API. Throwing out single-player was the first step in order to make the API possible, and that’s done now," he added. "We decided to release 1.3 without the API, because otherwise it would be an even longer wait for a Minecraft update."

"The time between Minecraft 1.2.5 and 1.3 has been the longest update interval yet, and that was because we changed so much in the game engine," Jens summarized. "I (jeb_) was a little scared to push it to the public, but waiting even longer is not a solution."

Minecraft 1.3 won't release until August 1st, but a week prior Mojang will post a "release candidate" that is "likely to be identical" to the actual release. This will give modders and server admins some time to prepare for the new Minecraft version.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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