Next Official Minecraft Release Will be at Minecon
For over a month, the Minecraft team has been releasing pre-release after pre-release, adding more and more features to Minecraft before it's official release in November. The most recent patch release, was Update 1.9 Pre-Release Version 5. While this one was aimed more at fixing bugs from Pre-release version 4, the other patches added features like the Enderdragons, End Dimension, item enchantments, potion brewing, and much more. But when asked why they are still calling it "1.9 pre-release" when there is no 1.9, only the full release next, Minecraft developer Jens Bergensten replied, "Because we haven't added all features to call it "release" candidate yet." Of course, the official "release" candidate will be at/during Minecon, so don't expect an update before then. At least, that's what Jens has stated on Twitter. We all know, updates come unexpectedly.
Not adding all the features to call it a release candidate is actually hard to believe, given the vast amount of features added in such a short span. Which is partially why the development team issued a code freeze, aimed at fixing the bugs and optimizing the game so it's ready by launch. So what new features are still left to add that we haven't seen yet? It's not so much the addition of new features as it is the completion of features already introduced.
For instance, Minecraft creator, Markus "Notch" Persson has been working on those new Ender Dragons that live in the End Dimension. It's been speculated that one of the End Dimension could be some sort of "end game". Notch recently tweeted he was looking for someone who "who wants to write a silly over-the-top out-of-nowhere text for when you win Minecraft?". But can you actually win? After all, if the End Dimension is real, Jens stated "the only way out of the End is the End...and then you respawn." Of coruse, at the time that could've been all they could finish and felt that was the best ending at the time.
Now that they've had this month of code freeze, they've been able to finish features like this. According to Jens, right now, "the endgame isn't complete yet." It does look like they've made progress though. Notch tweeted earlier his favorite bug fix/optimization/implementation since the code freeze was the "dragon death animation." Whether or not the boss in the end game will be a dragon is yet to be known, but it does seem as if the official release will have some sort of ending.
As far as updates since the Update 1.9 pre-release version 5, Jens, Notch, and the team have been hard at work. Jens announced earlier that he was "reverting water physics and correcting explosion damange." He went on to explain, "I tried to fix the 'infinite flow' in oceans, but it didn't help so I'm reverting it." He's reverting it back to how it worked in Update 1.9 pre-release 4.
As far as villagers, which were introduced in an early 1.9 pre-release but had no real function, it doesn't look like much has happened with them - or will happen until after the official launch. When asked if there will be a 1.9 pre-release 6 with villagers working as planned, Jens responded, "No villagers willr emain as they are now." Currently, they don't do much aside from spawning in the relatively new villages.
Overall, it's been pretty quite from the usually open Notch. I assume he's focusing more of his time on fixing bugs and less on updating Twitter with new features and ideas he plans on adding.
What would you like to see added/fixed at the next Minecraft official launch during Minecon.