PewDiePie mindblown after experiencing Minecraft in VR

YouTube king Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg had his mind blown playing Minecraft for the first time in VR as the experience brought his in-game created world ‘Broland’ to life.

Virtual reality has the potential to transport gamers into the worlds that they play in and the immersive medium is the perfect match for Minecraft, which sees players building their own unique creations.

During his September 27 video, PewDiePie found this out first hand as he explored his user-created world ‘Broland' for the first time, and was blown away as it was brought to the real world.

PewDiePie loves Minecraft VR

After launching his game for the first time in virtual reality, the Swede was excited when he saw his horse Joergen and immediately went over to pet him. “Joergen! Oh my god! You’re so beautiful!”

In an incredibly wholesome moment, things got emotional when the YouTube star saw his faithful dog and sidekick Sven. “Sven I missed you! Give me hug. Awwww. You’re a good dog Sven!” Pewds said, bending over to hug the canine and pet him.

While exploring his base, he then saw IKEA tower and rushed over to it, looking up in awe at the beacon he created which towered over him as VR gave him a new perspective on the size of it. “Oh my god IKEA tower. It’s so big! You see this Sven? Oh wow, oh god!”

REDDIT: NOBILLISSPewDiePie's iconic Minecraft world got new life in VR.

The YouTube king then kneeled down in front of the beacon of light, and gave a tribute to his in-game pets that had died. “I take a knee for my fallen angels… This is so cool!”

He then became overjoyed when he saw the giant Swedish Meatball statute he'd created for his base. “Oh my God, can I go up the meatball?!” he asked, checking out the travel passage he made. 

Holding his arms up, the Swede shot through the center and to the top. “Yes! My dream is coming true! That was awesome!” he yelled in excitement. 

(Timestamp of 01:41 for mobile viewers.)

PewDiePie has a lot to celebrate, as he is the most subscribed individual creator on YouTube with over 101 million subs, after he broke his 100 million sub milestone on August 25.  

As his Minecraft series continues to perform well, with daily videos routinely hitting 10 million views, his channels growth shows no signs of slowing down, as the Swede finds new ways to entertain in the popular sandbox title.

After PewDiePie's mind blowing experience in VR, perhaps he will make these a regular staple in the series. After all, he’s already slayed the final boss in the vanilla version of the game.

Minecraft could be getting vultures as part of a Badlands biome overhaul

Minecraft fans can get a first taste of the biome update via a video detailing Badlands changes, including the addition of a new mob: vultures. Players are being given the opportunity to decide the next biome update at MineCon, and this first clip is just the beginning.

In this previous video adorable Mojang representatives Agnes and Jens let us know that each biome will have new mobs, features, and mechanics. We’re given very little information in their short clip so it’s down to the players to vote on which biome will be updated first so they can check out whatever these additions may be.

We now have better details of the first potential update, Badlands. The next possible expansion could include vultures, new cacti and tumbleweeds. The vultures in particular are of interest as they’re attracted to the loot of ‘unlucky explorers’ – hinting anything you might ordinarily be able to pick up after a death could be nicked. It’s also unclear if the vultures will be aggressive or just a general inconvenience, but as Agnes said, they’re ‘creepy’.BEST PC GAMING HARDWARE DEALS TODAYXFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition 1286MHz, 8gb GDDR5, DX12 VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-570P8DFD6)

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We’re yet to get any details on either the Swamps or Mountains, however with MineCon only days away, new short information clips could be imminent.

It should be noted that all these new biome updates will eventually come to Minecraft, this vote only determines which will arrive first. However we don’t know how long it’ll take for the next two to be delivered so perhaps a future update will let us know.

Minecraft has seen a massive revival in the last year or so, and it continues to expand an already substantial playerbase. These new updates will be a welcome addition for new and old players, refreshing concepts which have been with Minecraft for years.

Here's what Minecraft would look like as an RTS

Have you ever put so much effort into a job application that you made an actual game? I sure haven't, but Brendan Sullivan (@artofsully on Twitter) did just that

As part of an art test for an application to Mojang, Sullivan was asked to “reimagine the look/style of Minecraft for a hypothetical new game.” Instead of turning in some mockup concepts as was probably expected, Sullivan “went a bit overboard” and developed an actual prototype for the imagined “Minecraft Tactics.”

Unsurprisingly, the concept fits Minecraft perfectly. As Sullivan points out in another tweet, the core task in Minecraft is gathering resources which suits the real-time strategy genre easily. The gifs posted to Sullivan's Twitter timeline show off units being selected to fight one another and mine for resources. There's got to be a “construct additional pylons” joke to be made here.

Sully @artofsully · Sep 19, 2019


For part of my @Mojang art test I was asked to ‘reimagine the look/style of Minecraft for a hypothetical new game'. Instead of just doing concepts or something boring I went a bit overboard and just fully dev'd a Minecraft RTS prototype!

Will be posting more GIFs in thread!

Embedded video

Sully @artofsully


Resource gathering is one of the main mechanics of any RTS – and what just happens to be the core gameplay of Minecraft? MINING! Therefore it was super easy to make this connection and maintain MC's game ‘flavour' but in a whole new way! Chop chop chop!

Embedded video

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Unsurprisingly, Sullivan landed the job at Mojang. Maybe this won't be the last we hear about “Minecraft Tactics” then. With Minecraft already breaking into hack-n-slash loot crawling genre with the upcoming Minecraft Dungeons, it's possible that Mojang is toying with the idea of breaking Steve and company into even more game types in the future. 

We won't count our creepers before they're hatched, but we can wish Sullivan best of luck on whatever project Mojang assigns, RTS or not.

Character creation rolls out for beta testing in Minecraft

Character creation is finally coming to Minecraft, bringing more than 100 basic features including hair, eyes, different mouths, skin textures, facial hair, and body sizes, to the game.

Coming to Bedrock beta for Android, Windows 10, and Xbox One players, the character creator feature was initially devised for Minecraft Earth, but the development team “got so invested in endlessly designing our own weirdo hairdos”, they decided to roll the “frequently requested feature” out to the vanilla game, too. Right now the creator is only available on the aforementioned platforms by way of a beta test, but it is expected to roll-out to others soon enough, too. 

“Using the Character Creator, you can personalise your avatar in a number of ways, including body size and shape, limb replacement and tweaking of eyes, mouth, hairstyles and colours, facial hair and skin tones,” Mojang's Thomas Wiborgh said in a blog post. “Does that mean you can create a character that looks just like you? Well, to the extent that your lovely looks translate to blocks and pixels, absolutely! 

“What about a blue, grinning character with piercing red eyes and a bright green goatee?” they added. “That sounds terrifying, but go ahead! You can even play around with animated textures in the Dressing Room, which is where you’ll get ready to hit the catwalk! Or, you know, to mine for dirt.”

While the basic creator will be available for free, there will also be a range of “custom accessories” that can be bought or earned via unspecified in-game activities and the character creator will be available alongside custom skins, not instead of. Mojang also assures these are cosmetic changes only and “will not make you stronger, faster or able to smell diamonds”.

“Are custom skins going away? Of course not!” Wiborgh added. “You still keep all the skins you’ve purchased, imported from Java (on a platform that allows for that), or otherwise collected. While you can’t bring classic skins into the Character Creator to further tweak them, there are two very notable exceptions here. You may know them, they go by the names of Steve and Alex. Feel free to start from either character, or a completely random character, to jolt your creativity.”

The feature will also roll out to Minecraft Earth – as well as all other Bedrock platforms on iOS and Nintendo Switch – once this beta test has concluded.

“Remember, beta features can be unstable,” Wiborgh added. “The reason we want players to try them early is to give us feedback and catch bugs for us to fix – so make sure to backup your worlds!”

Don't forget, you can also now enjoy DuckTales themed DLC for Minecraft. The DuckTales adventure map  includes “the show's most iconic locations – from the city of Duckburg and the halls of McDuck Manor, to legendary locations like the Pyramid of Toth-Ra or the heights of Mount Neverrest.” You'll also be able to “solve a mystery or rewrite history” as the three mischievous grandkids of Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, or choose from 30 other characters. 

Looking for other games like Minecraft? Here are 25 games like Minecraft we think you'll love.


Condensed into the first few minutes of one of the biggest games of all time is the entire essence of a genre. Minecraft presents you first with a lush, almost infinitely large world, and then it allows you to instantly set about transforming it.

You chop down trees and dig down through dirt and stone, each tapped block and mined resource disappearing forever. But you also add to the world, reconfiguring it to your needs and wants: a small shelter to see you through the first night; later, a mountaintop fortress just to make a statement. At the same time, you’re advancing technologically, like human evolution played in fast-forward. From stone to iron to something altogether new and fantastical.

Since the release of Minecraft, which has an estimated 112 million monthly players,building games have risen to unseen heights of popularity. Players build cramped shelters from little more than mud and sticks in grim survival games like The Forest and Green Hell. In the online multiplayer Rust and ARK, ragtag clans build huge communal forts and bases. Being able to build permanent habitats even helped No Man’s Sky move past a rocky launch period.

JC Hysteria is a No Man’s Sky builder who’s made the most of the game’s complex building tools. Many of his creations are cooperatively constructed, and like his Marine Observatory or Space Station, they often stretch what the game is capable of to its very limits. For JC, building is less about setting up a practical base of operations and more of an artistic vent. “It’s a creative outlet,” he says. “I have a wild imagination… and building allows me to express that.”

But Minecraft and No Man’s Sky aren’t just about the freedom and creativity that the building tools bring. Unlike Lego, there’s an entire world and ecosystem (rather than just a carpet) to ground our actions. Building can be a way of reconnecting and developing a closer relationship to the surrounding land and materials. A lot of us are already estranged from these things in our everyday lives — we might even feel as though there’s something missing — and so returning to the virtual earth can feel immensely rewarding.

These are places where we feel like part of the world, where we can work with our hands and see the tangible effects and even the progress of our labor. This new wave of building games brings players closer to this feeling, thanks to a shift in perspective.


For most of gaming history, to talk about building was to talk about strategy titles like Sim CityAge of Empires, or one of the Tycoon games. But where once we strictly built from a zoomed-out, god’s-eye perspective, planning and looking down upon our creations from the clouds, there now exists the option for more embodied first-person experiences. Cities and shelters are still being constructed, but there is now a keen need for building to feel a little more hands-on.

Coffee Stain Studio’s Satisfactory is one example that encapsulates the shift we’re seeing away from top-down strategy games. In Coffee Stain’s factory builder, construction is planetary in scale. Buildings are skyscraper-big, complexes look like metropolises, and the twisting production lines often make you feel as though you’re trapped in a labyrinth. It’s easy to imagine Satisfactory being played out from a more strategic perspective. (Construction would be tidier and more manageable for a start.) “The first person perspective was picked because we wanted a more personal experience. Playing from this perspective really puts an emphasis on it being you who does things, and not just an avatar,” game director Oscar Jilsén explains.“YOU GET TO PLAY WITH MORE THAN JUST TWO DIMENSIONS.”

Jilsén also believes that playing in first-person “helps convey and strengthen the idea of verticality… You get to play with more than just two dimensions. Being down there in the thick of it allows you to experience scale in a whole different way. One of the best feelings in the game is walking down the walkways to get across to different production floors and then looking up and seeing the belts and other overpasses criss-cross the gaps.”

With the move from top-down urban planning to boots-on-the-ground construction comes a certain loss of control. Jilsén and his team appear to want you to feel lost at times, even insignificant when dwarfed by all of the surrounding machinery. But the closeness that first-person brings can be empowering in its own way. It’s about getting your digital hands dirty — procuring materials and erecting monuments in a more intimate and granular fashion.

In No Man’s Sky, one of JC Hysteria’s recent projects, Replicant Alley, which he built alongside players ER Burroughs and Action Pants Gaming, showcases a similar kind of scale and verticality. JC feels there’s “greater personal connection” with first-person games. “You can relate to your in-game character more and even begin asking whether or not you’d actually live in the place you’ve built.”

André Bengtsson, artist and CEO of Redbeet Interactive, was also willing to trade distance in favor of a closer perspective. For his survival adventure game Raft, Bengtsson says that whilst “a top-down view could very well be preferable for a building game focused heavily on management,” for him and his team, a more attached first- or third-person view was “essential” in helping the player become immersed in the world.

It’s not just about building, either. There’s a real desire to dwell and inhabit virtual worlds. In Subnautica, a survival game where you eke out an existence in the depths of an alien ocean, feeling at home — even if just temporarily — is important. Game director Charlie Cleveland tells me that it’s all about the “feeling of building a habitat. First-person is important to convey the emotion of what it’s like for you to build that new home.” This personal element is important. These aren’t just buildings you click and watch instantly materialize. There’s hard work and a process behind it. There’s also a far stronger connection to building when you can occupy them, even make them a home.

“The main loop in Satisfactory is to expand,” says Jilsén. “There’s this interaction with the world where you replace nature with constructs of your own — you convert the natural world into something appropriate to your goals.” Jilsén describes this transformative process as “converting the unknown into the (useful) known.” Many of these kinds of survival / building games drop you into dangerous and mysterious worlds, and it’s up to you to establish safe zones and habitats, places you can then go to launch larger expeditions. “As you do this you bring in the useful things you find to expand your home and its capabilities. Human beings are very creative and nurturing creatures, and we’re driven to try and make circumstances better for ourselves and each other.”“WE DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE A TYPICAL GAME THAT INVOLVED GAINING POWER AND TAKING THINGS OVER.”

Leaving our mark on the world is this very anthropocentric urge, but the power to change what’s around us can also turn destructive. Subnautica’s Cleveland tells me that it was important for them to not allow players to “exert their power over the environment. You can survive for longer, slowly mitigating your fear, but you can never dominate your surroundings. This was a very conscious desire for us. We didn’t want to make a typical game that involved gaining power and taking things over. It’s one of the reasons we removed terraforming from the game.”

Compare this to Minecraft, where whole ecosystems can be carved up and exploited. Dan Olson, in his recent video “Minecraft, Sandboxes, and Colonialism,” lays out the idea that these virtual spaces can “harken back to the colonial frontier,” with new regions unfolding simply in order for the player to explore and conquer. “The player arrives in the world, like Robinson Crusoe, into a terra nullius,” a blank slate which they are then encouraged to improve and where the native inhabitants are often obstacles in the way of development.

With Raft, there’s much more of an emphasis on salvaging. Its oceans and islands are littered with resources, but many of these are scrap or flotsam. Your creations — be it useful tech to help you on your journey or the raft-habitat itself — are an elaborate form of cleaning up, or at least putting previous human waste to good use. With all of these games, it’s worth considering exactly what your relationship is to the world you’re inhabiting and the precise effects your actions are having on the land around you. For example, Ecois a game where your building can cause immense and lasting damage to the world. Even Satisfactory, which eventually allows you to power manufacturing with nuclear energy, ensures that waste builds up and becomes an issue that players cannot ignore.


In all urban societies, there’s a growing wish to escape, return to the land, work the earth, rewild, and get back to basics. On YouTube, among the gaming celebs and popular makeup artists, there are the surprise-hit wilderness vloggers, building and surviving with what’s directly at hand. This same impulse to reconnect to nature plays out within the new wave of building games.

While Satisfactory is very much about rapidly building large-scale, high-tech structures, Jilsén tells me that during playtesting, they found it was important to have players begin with very little and work manually. “You simply appreciate the automation of item production more if you know what it takes to make each thing by hand.”“THERE’S SOMETHING ENTICING ABOUT THE IDEA OF LIVING IN THE WOODS OR OUT IN THE OCEAN.”

“The idea of returning to nature definitely relates to what first intrigued us about Raft,” says Bengtsson. “There’s something enticing about the idea of living in the woods or out in the ocean. At times we looked at wilderness vloggers for inspiration. We often try to ground our game in reality.” Like many of these building games, there’s a tangible physicality to both Raft’s crafting and building. Even in Subnautica, where the sci-fi setting necessitates far fewer hammers and nails, there’s still a meticulous clarity to the act of phasing in vehicles and modular habitat pieces. Just as you feel part of the world, the building feels material.

“It sounds like [wilderness vloggers] are tapping into the same primal urges as Subnautica,” says Cleveland. “I think there’s a lot of people today who feel overwhelmed by [the abundance of] information and todo lists… so they love the simple tactile challenge of survival at any cost. I used to know a programmer who would go home every night and do nothing but make bird houses. I personally spend a lot of time cooking for the same reasons. It’s just me, the ingredients, and fire.”

Jilsén agrees that there’s a real “longing for non-abstract work,” which is something that survival fantasies and the concrete building projects that take place within their worlds try to address. JC Hysteria tells me that, for him, building is a form of medication, his “own personal release from the world.” It’s about escape. Simultaneously, it’s about connection: connecting to the world in closer and more intimate ways as well as to other people in the case of multiplayer games like No Man’s Sky.

“There’s a quote from another YouTuber, CobraTV, that has always stuck with me, and sums up the community aspect perfectly: ‘we are a constellation,’” he explains. “The feeling of connection fills a void for many of us.”

Microsoft Reveals ‘Minecraft’ Has An Astonishing 112 Million Monthly Players

It’s been pretty clear to anyone paying attention that Minecraft has been seeing a resurgence lately, but now we actually can quantify that to some degree.

This week, Microsoft has told Business Insider that Minecraft has rocketed to 112 million monthly players, a 20 million increase over the last time they reported those figures in October 2018. This is a game that is now a decade old, and more relevant than ever.

Other than “it’s good and people like it” there are any number of explanations for the recent explosion of Minecraft. There was a new update around the ten year anniversary that added a lot of new content. 100 million subscriber YouTuber PewDiePie is credited with bringing back the game in the “influencer” scene, with his channel practically devoted to nothing but Minecraft the last few months. And then there’s the slow fade of Fortnite as players transition out of that megahit and back into other games, Minecraft among them.

Minecraft’s rise is even more impressive considering that on most platforms, it isn’t actually free, unlike Fortnite. Though some may credit Microsoft putting it in the Xbox Game Pass as a move that has boosted its playercount further.Today In: Innovation


Fortnite seems to know that Minecraft is pulling away players, which is why we have seen the birth of Creative Mode in that game and continued devotion to building it out. But Minecraft remains the original, and should only keep capitalizing on its popularity with future releases like Minecraft Dungeons, which combines the original with Diablo-like dungeons and looting.

All in all, the refrain I keep hearing from Minecraft players is that’s a game people like to return to after a while away, and in this case, I think there’s kind of a snowball effect where so many people returned to it together, it felt like old friend groups could all rejoin the game at once and have as much fun playing now as they may have 3-8 years ago.

Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft felt kind of odd at the time, but they now own one of the most played games in the world. I am willing to bet that 112 million monthly players is more than Fortnite has right now, and possibly only is competing with mobile titles at that scale. It’s deeply impressive.

Expect Minecraft to live forever, and to continue to be relevant with upcoming releases like Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Earth, the AR play that will take aim at Pokémon GO next.

Three Minecraft biomes are getting ‘new mobs, features and mechanics'

Mojang wants players to vote for which of the three biomes gets upgraded first.

In the lead up to Minecon Live, Mojang has announced plans to update three Minecraft biomes. Swamp, Mountains and Badlands are all scheduled to get updates, with “new mobs, features and mechanics” to be added. 

More details about these updates will roll out between now and September 28, but in the meantime Mojang has announced that it wants players to vote on which of these biomes will get the update treatment first. This vote will take place live on September 28 during Minecon Live, which is a special Minecraft livestream.

It's exciting news for Minecraft fans: while all of these biomes have received small iterative changes throughout their histories, it sounds like Mojang has much bigger plans afoot to make them more exciting. And don't fret: all three will inevitably get an update – this vote is just to determine which comes first.

Minecon Live will also feature a bunch of community panels, ranging the social through the technical, and even more “juicy” news and update info will be announced during the stream. It'll no doubt attract a healthy audience: apparently the game attracts more than 112 million players per month.

What’s the best gaming laptop to replace a MacBook Air for Minecraft?

Robert is looking for a laptop that has a keyboard like an old MacBook Air

My son has grown up using a MacBook Air for Minecraft. He swears by the keyboard layout, and having witnessed the blazing speed with which he does things in the game, I understand his reluctance to use his Alienware laptop. (I know, first-world problems, and all that …)

Both machines are almost six years old and due a refresh, so I’m looking for a Windows laptop that is powerful enough to run games like Civilization 6 (with mods) but with a keyboard layout that is sufficiently similar to a MacBook that he can continue to use the muscle memory he has built up over the years. Does such a beast exist?

One alternative is to buy a MacBook Pro and use it to run Windows (either Bootcamp or Parallels), but the Windows performance strikes me as a compromise (for more money).

Budget is a maximum of £1,500. Would be more than happy with cheaper as long as performance wasn’t compromised too much. Robert

Take your son to an Apple store or a good computer shop where he can try a MacBook Pro, ideally running Minecraft. In this case, my normal advice – stick with what you know – runs into the problem that what you know no longer exists, unless you buy a second-hand laptop.Advertisement

All Apple’s MacBook Pros now have touch bars instead of function keys, and I agree with Mac fan John Gruber that they have terrible keyboards. Obviously, personal taste is a major factor in keyboard preferences, and I’m sure some people like the “butterfly” keys that have had well-publicised problems. Either way, they are very different from old MacBook Air keyboards.

Apple notes that “for some apps, you can make the function keys display permanently in touch bars” by changing the settings in system preferences, so this is something your son should try. However, I expect the new-style keys and touch bars will not map exactly to his “motor memory” so some relearning will be required. (I’ll go into a possible solution later.)

If so, he might be prepared to switch to a Windows 10 laptop for Minecraft. Windows is the main platform for serious gaming, and many games – including Minecraft – run better on Windows. Also, he’s young enough to learn to use a Windows keyboard with similar alacrity, which should stand him in good stead for decades to come. Older users can resist change because the relearning period is longer and the payback time is shorter, but that’s a bad strategy for a child.

Keyboard mapping

The function keys have been replaced by the Touch Bar on all MacBook Pro models.
 The function keys have been replaced by the Touch Bar on all MacBook Pro models. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

I’m hopeless at Minecraft, and I’ve never played it on a Mac, but the main key functions seem very similar to other games. Normally, you move around using WASD as direction keys, which many people learned playing Quake in 1996. The right hand is best used for a mouse. (Playing action games with a touchpad is one of the punishments used in hell.)

WASD, the space bar and USB mouse controls are much the same across all laptops, so I’m not sure where the problems arise.

The obvious differences are in the four keys to the left of the space bar, where Windows and MacBook keys have different labels and different functions. For example, Apple has a Command (⌘) key that in most cases works like the Control (Ctrl) key in Windows. However, keys can be remapped to different functions.

Ask your son to show you which keys are used differently in Minecraft, and see if you can remap them on the Alienware keyboard. Sharpkeys may do what you need, without the complications of using, say, KbdEdit or AutoHotKey. There are several alternatives.

Ideally, you would have two different keyboard layouts that your son can switch at will, using the standard WinKey+Spacebar shortcut.

USB keyboards

apple keyboard
 If you really must have an Apple keyboard, external USB or Bluetooth keyboards might be the best solution. Photograph: imagebroker/Alamy

Another idea would be to use an external USB or Bluetooth Apple keyboard with either a MacBook or a Windows 10 laptop. This is better for your son’s long-term health. Put the laptop on a riser, plug in the external keyboard and he will be typing in a more ergonomic position.

There are plenty of Apple-style keyboards available from Apple and third-party suppliers. There are even a few with the mechanical keys that many gamers prefer, though they may not match the MacBook Air layout closely enough for your son.

Getting an Apple keyboard to work with a Windows laptop might be a bit tricky, but whoever ran (now defunct) created a zip file (AppleProKBD_v2) that enabled an Apple Aluminium Keyboard to work with Windows 7. The file is available from, where comments say it works with Windows 10. For more information, see How to use a Mac keyboard on Windows.

Bootcamp or Parallels?

If you buy a MacBook Pro then presumably your son will boot into Windows for games that don’t run on macOS. In this case, Bootcamp should be faster. Parallels is wonderful at integrating the two operating systems, but it isn’t designed for gaming (despite the latest version supporting DirectX 11 and having a “games only” option), and you don’t need the integration. You’d be better off using a free alternative such as VirtualBox.

The drawback, as you already know, is that you get less gaming performance for more money.

Possible options

Dell’s G5 gaming laptop is one of the best for the money, but will the keyboard suit?
 Dell’s G5 gaming laptop is one of the best for the money, but will the keyboard suit? Photograph: Dell

If your son reckons a current MacBook Pro – with touch bar and butterfly keyboard – is usable, then the cheapest option is the 13in model with a 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5-8257U processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage for £1,299, without AppleCare. Increasing the storage to 256GB (you can’t upgrade it or the RAM later) increases the price to £1,499, which is just within budget.

What kind of gaming PC could you get for that sort of money? First, you can get an H-class Intel or AMD Ryzen processor, instead of a U-class designed not to overheat in an over-thin laptop. Second, you can get a dedicated graphics card, which usually makes a big difference with Minecraft. Third, you can get a laptop where not all the parts are soldered in or glued down, so you can upgrade them later.

What you can’t get for that sort of money is a very thin gaming laptop with long battery life.

Computer gaming is huge in Asia, so it’s not surprising that the three major Taiwanese suppliers – Asus, Acer and MSI – all have a strong focus on gaming. They have also been quick to adopt Ryzen chips. Typical examples include the Asus FX505DY (£649) and the Acer Nitro 5 (£679). Both have AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processors, 8GB of memory, and AMD Radeon RX 560X graphics cards with 4GB of memory. However, the Asus laptop has a 256GB SSD while the Acer has a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. (I’m linking to Currys PC World for convenience but other suppliers are available.)

Step up a level and you can get a faster Intel i5-9300H, 8GB of memory, a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card and an SSD for £899. Options include the MSI GF63 Thin (256GB SSD), the Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH (128GB SSD) and the Dell G3 15 3590 (256GB SSD, 1TB HDD).

Buying online, Lenovo’s 15.6in Legion Y530 gaming laptop starts at £699.99, but you’d obviously go for the top-of-the-range model at £899.99. This has a Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of memory, and an Nvidia GTX 1050Ti graphics card with 4GB of memory. Storage is provided by a 7,200rpm 1TB hard drive plus a 16GB Optane accelerator in the M2 SSD slot, hence the low(ish) price. Later, you could increase the memory to 32GB, and swap the hard drive for a 250GB SSD (£45.59) or a 500GB SSD (£64.79), at Crucial UK not Apple prices. The M2 slot would take a 500GB (£64.79) or 1TB (£101.99) NVMe PCIe SSD module.

Dell’s equivalent is the G5 (5590) gaming range, which has moved to ninth generation Core processors. Prices start at £949, but the top-of-the-range model has a fast Core i7-9750H, 16GB of memory, a 256GB M2 SSD, 1TB hard drive, and a terrific GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card with 6GB for £1,279. Upgrade options are much the same as for the Legion Y530.

The specs make the Dell the best buy, but the HP Omen 15-dc1005na looks a lot more stylish. It only has 8GB but it’s upgradeable, its Core i7-8750H is a year older but the difference in performance is marginal, and you can get three years of pick-up-and-return service for £49.

If you want to look at other options, Ultrabook Review is keeping a list of laptops with RTX 2060 graphics cards. As it says, this is currently your best bet for laptop gaming at a reasonable price.

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Minecraft's Badlands biome will get tumbleweed and vultures if it wins MineCon vote

Mojang announced last week that it will take a vote on which of three Minecraft biomes will get major new upgrades first. The vote, which takes place on September 28 to coincide with MineCon Live, pits the Swamp, Mountains and Badlands biomes against one another. As of today, we know a bit about what the Badlands update will entail.

In a short video uploaded to Instagram, the studio summed it up:

If you couldn't be bothered watching the video, the Badlands update will receive tumbleweed, a “fancy new cactus” and vultures, which are drawn to loot “left behind by unlucky explorers”. 

Of course, these are pretty scant details in a very short video. I'm not sure if the eventual update will boast more stuff than is listed here, but all we can do is wait until similar videos are released for Swamp and Mountains (Updatehere's the video Swamp, and here's details for Mountains). These videos will release some time between now and September 28, which is the day voting will occur via livestream.

Of course, not everyone is satisfied with the biomes currently offered in the vote: demands that the Cave biome be revamped have been issued by the fanbase for years, as this tweet neatly sums up:

Minecraft@Minecraft · Sep 23, 2019

Hyped about our MINECON Live biome vote? So are we! Head over to our Instagram to learn more about our first biome of the three: Badlands! 

All the coins for Techno@TechnoNeedCoins

im still waiting

View image on Twitter

PewDiePie trolls fans with 4K “Minecraft” VR video

YouTube king Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg gave his fans the old bait and switch in his September 29 episode when instead of playing Minecraft in 4K ray tracing, he went on a rampage in Blade & Sorcery VR using weapons from the popular sandbox title.

Mojang announced in August that they would be releasing an update for Minecraft on PC to allow users with Nvidia RTX series GPUs to enable ray tracing – which turns the sandbox title into a visually jaw-dropping experience.

However, despite teasing his audience with a demonstration of the next-gen tech, PewDiePie trolled fans in his latest video by playing Blade & Sorcery in VR instead and going on an insane rampage using Minecraft mods.

WARPFROG / MOJANGBlade & Sorcery is often modded to bring in weapons from other games.

Minecraft with “real life” graphics

After tricking his audience, the Swede began using his Minecraft pickaxe in the fantasy VR game, smacking it against rocks. “Wow it’s almost like the real thing!” he laughed.

He then spawned a diamond sword, and continued to poke fun of the hype for RTX graphics in the game. “Damn these graphics are so good! This is gonna change Minecraft!” The YouTuber stuck his sword into an NPC violently, killing him, and said “I've always wanted to do that!”

Things started to heat up when PewDiePie summoned one of his favorite weapons from his Minecraft series – the Trident. He began to wreak havoc by jabbing an NPC into the face with it. “Sit the freak down girl! I got the freakin Trident!”

The YouTube star held the weapon in the air before jabbing an enemy in the knee with it. Things took a dark turn when the Swede spawned a diamond axe from the sandbox game, and began to hack the legs off a dead foe. “Chop!” he yelled as he took off the limbs and then re-arranged them as his arms.

(Timestamp of 00:25 for mobile viewers.)

PewDiePie recently passed 100 million subs on his YouTube channel on August 25, making him the biggest content creator on the video hosting platform. His daily Minecraft videos have played a central role in his channel’s insane growth since June.

On September 7, the Swede revealed the 100 million subscriber Red Diamond Creator Award that YouTube had made for him after hitting the milestone. It included a letter from the CEO Susan Wojcicki who personally congratulated him.

As of the time of this article, PewDiePie has amassed 101 million subscribers, and is quickly on his way to break 102 million by October 2019.

Here's how Minecraft's Mountains biome will change if it wins MineCon vote

Mojang has released the third and final video showing forthcoming changes to Minecraft's biomes. The question of which of these updates will roll out first, will be subject to a vote to take place on September 28 during MineCon Live. We've seen Swamp and Badlands, now it's time to check out Mountains.

Here's the video:

The video is somewhat vaguer than the previous ones, though we're told that snow will be “snowier”, which I'm taking to mean slipperier. The voiceover describes “jagged cliffs, snow-capped peaks and dramatic views”, which aren't particularly uncommon in Minecraft, though it seems they'll become more common (and more grandiose) in this particular biome.

Oh, and there will be goats. It's about time, really, that Minecraft got goats. The vote will take place during MineCon Live during a September 28 livestream, which you can read more about here.

Minecraft biome vote: Swamp will get new boats and a frog if it wins

As you may have caught wind of by now, Mojang is taking a vote on which of Minecraft's biomes should be updated next. The vote will take place at MineCon Live on September 28, and the biomes involved include Badlands, Mountain and Swamp. We've already seen what the Badlands update entails. Now, here's a short video on what may come to Swamp:

Should it win the vote, the Swamp biome will get boats with built-in chests, frogs, and a new mangrove tree. For reference, here's what the Badlands update looks like, and here's Mountains.

Of course, it's likely that all of these biomes will get updates in due time: this vote is just on which will come first. So if you're particularly passionate about any of these three biomes, despite none of them being Caves, make sure you vote on September 28.

Minecraft’s new character creator lets players control how they look

The newest Minecraft beta update comes with the ability to make a customized version of yourself, as spotted by VentureBeat. Developer Mojang announced the feature in a blog post, noting the change alongside a slew of performance and gameplay fixes.

The Minecraft Character Creator lets you personalize your avatar within the game, the first official tool for doing following years of mods and third-party skin creators handling the task. The new tool lets you tweak everything from facial features and hairstyles to skin tones and facial hair. Mojang says that more than 100 customization items will be available for free. It’s also introducing a range of custom accessories, but you’ll have to pay for those. Of course if that’s not enough, there’s still the option to import your own custom skins on Windows 10 and mobile.

It’s no Super Duper Graphics Pack, but for most casual players this should be a fun update that adds a lot of new options without adding any effort. Mojang says the feature is currently available for beta testers, and it will roll out at a later point to Minecraft Earth and other platforms like iOS and Nintendo switch.

Minecraft is letting players vote for the biome they want to see spruced up next

Mountains! Badlands! Swamp?

This Saturday marks the return of Minecon, Mojang's annual Minecraft convention – which has, of course, been an entirely digital affair for the last few years. As part of the event, players are being given the chance to vote on the Minecraft biome they want to see overhauled next.

There are restrictions, however; Mojang has identified three specific biomes that it feels are most in need of attention – the swamp, mountains, and badlands – and says that its revamp plans would introduce new mobs, features, and mechanics to the selected area. To further assist players in making an informed decision, the developer has released a video detailing a few more specifics on what each potential upgrade will include.

An enhanced mountain biome, for instance, will see “snowier” snow, a new goat mob, and environmental enhancements introducing the likes of “jagged cliffs, snow-capped peaks, and more dramatic views”, as outlined below.

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Planned updates for the swamp, meanwhile, include a new boat – replete with a built-in storage chest for easy transportation of resources – a new frog mob, and some more visual diversity thanks to the addition of the mangrove tree. Last up, then, are the badlands, which will receive tumbleweeds, new cactus types, and a vulture mob as part of its update.

If that all makes for too much of an impossible choice, the good news is that Mojang says all three biomes will see their improvements implemented eventually. Saturday's vote will decide exactly which gets the TLC treatment first.

Voting will occur during Minecon Live this Saturday, 28th September. Proceedings, which promise to deliver “surprises, exclusive reveals, [and] post-show panels”, get underway at 5pm in the UK/12pm EST, and can be watched via TwitchMixerFacebook, and YouTube.

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Minecraft Guide to Bees: Honey blocks, beehives, release date, and more

The latest addition to Minecraft recently has been the arrival of, you guessed it, bees!

Even ten years after its initial beta release Minecraft continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace in its quest to develop a natural world teeming with life. The latest addition to Minecraft recently has been the arrival of, you guessed it, bees! In this guide, we'll go over every absurd detail and tell you when you can expect to see bees buzzing around in your own Minecraft worlds when it launches for free later in 2019.

What are Minecraft bees?

Bees are a neutral mob (i.e., they'll only attack the player if they're provoked) that spawn naturally in bee nests that attach themselves to oak or birch trees. They're a fan of flowers so they have a higher chance of spawning in places that have a lot of flowers and the specific trees that they enjoy. This include Plains Biomes, areas with sunflowers, and forests that have an abundance of naturally occurring flowers.

They have a relatively low chance of spawning on a tree, and only do so when the world is initially created, so there won't be a nest on every single tree. This, combined with the various things that bees can do, makes them a valuable commodity to look out for.

How to Minecraft bees behave?

Exhibiting their own unique behaviors and abilities, bees introduce a new suite of mechanics to Minecraft's already-abundant ecosystems. This means that there a few things to look out for whenever you're interacting with bees, and things you should or shouldn't do.

The bees present in Minecraft will have three distinct “forms,” so to speak, that drastically alter how they behave around the player. This is when the bees are either neutral, carrying pollen, or provoked.

  • A neutral bee will migrate back and forth between their nest or hive while they search for flowers. They stay within their nest or hive for several minutes, cycle out into the world for a few minutes, then repeat the cycle indefinitely. While bees are flying around, they will not attack the player and are otherwise harmless unless provoked.
  • Bees can pollinate flowers. If the bee finds a suitable flower, it will circle the flower for a while before it picks up pollen. Whenever a neutral bee has collected pollen, its looks will change and it will start dropping off pollen particles while it flies around. During this time, the bee has the chance to pollinate any plants or crops that it flies over. It essentially acts like portable bone meal, in that any time a pollen particle that the bee emits comes in contact with a still-growing plant, that plant will move forward one stage of growth.
  • Bees can turn aggressive, however. While bees are normally quite friendly, they will not hesitate to attack the player if certain lines are crossed. Whenever a beehive or nest is provoked, every bee in the area will gain red eyes and immediately attempt to swarm the player. Bees become provoked when one of three things happen: the player attacks or injures a member of the nest/hive; the nest/hive is destroyed completely by the player; or the player harvests honey from the nest/hive.
  • You can use campfire smoke to stop bees turning aggressive. If an active campfire is placed directly underneath the bees' nest or hive, the player can safely harvest any honey or honeycombs that they desire.
  • You don't get anything if you kill a bee.
  • A single angry bee by itself poses little threat, but three or four bees attacking in a unified swarm can cause a flurry of damage. A single bee only does 1-2 hearts of damage depending on the game's difficulty level, but a bee also has poison. If the player is stung by a bee, its poison can do 3-4 hearts of damage sustained over time.
  • Much like the real world, bees in Minecraft will lose their stinger after a single attack, and subsequently die approximately one minute later. While this means that a bee has limited potential to harm the player, it does mean that a single provocation can lead to every bee in the area inadvertently dying.

Minecraft bees are surprisingly varied in their behavior, and could get even more complex as we head towards launch before the 2019 holiday season.

Minecraft beehives and how to craft them

Because of the scarcity of naturally occurring bees in Minecraft, you'll be able to create your own nests with the addition of a brand new craftable block: beehives. Keep in mind, crafting beehives still require an original source of bees, but once you have a small group you can breed your own bees into a bustling society. Even better, building your own beehive is incredibly easy as long as you can find a bee nest somewhere in your Minecraft game.

  1. To begin, the player must first collect three bits of honeycomb.
  2. This can be done by waiting for a bee nest to become full of honey (something that becomes immediately obvious by its appearance).
  3. Next, use a pair of shears on the bee nest to remove the honeycomb.Note: For this part, it's important to have a campfire placed below or near the bee nest to prevent the bees from attacking.
  4. You combine this honeycomb with six blocks of wooden planks of any kind, and voila! You have a beehive.

Beehives are placeable almost anywhere in the overworld and can store up to three bees. There's no real limit to the number of hives you can create. Otherwise beehives behave exactly like bee nests, other than a different appearance.

How to breed Minecraft bees

Where do the bees come from? Well as usual Mojang has been thorough, and they're also introducing a variety of ways to either breed your own bees or lead new ones to the home of your choice.

  1. All you have to do to breed two bees is feed each one a flower.
  2. In a similar fashion to breeding other animals, giving a flower to a bee will have it enter love mode.
  3. If another bee in love mode happens to be nearby, a baby bee will pop into existence.

Bees can't breed indefinitely in rapid succession. Every time a bee breeds, it requires five or so minutes in order to “recover,” so to speak, before it's ready to breed again. Beyond that, a baby bee takes about two full in-game days to grow into an adult. The player can hasten this process by feeding the baby bee flowers. Using this process, the player only has to procure two original bees in order to have an infinite supply.

Bees will follow the player if the player is holding a flower in their hand, so the player can shepherd multiple bees away from their nest and force them to accept their beehive as their new home. Alternatively, using a lead is another way of collecting a few bees.

The final method takes advantages of a bee nest or beehive's inherent limitation. A maximum of three bees can live in any one nest/hive, and if the population of the bees there were to expand beyond three, the extra bees would need to find a new home. Bees have a surprisingly large radius in which they'll search for a new home, meaning the player can introduce bees to your artificial hives by simply growing the population beyond what the original nest can support.

On the other hand, this also means that if the original nest is destroyed, every bee inside will immediately begin searching for a new home. For this particular method to work, it's doubly important to have a campfire handy to subdue the bees before destroying their nest.

Minecraft bee farming, pollination, and how to force it

One of the most useful things bees will do for the player in Minecraft is accelerating the growth of food and other plants. Those of you who enjoy farming in Minecraft will be far more efficient just by having a few bee nests/hives around the place. There's a few ways you can ensure bees do their jobs.

  1. The first step is having multiple colonies of bees. If you have a lot of crops that could benefit from their presence. With three bees to a nest/hive, you can rather quickly guarantee a constant stream of pollen.
  2. It's also important to have a large number of flowers nearby. Bees drop pollen and fertilize crops as they're travelling between flowers and their hive home.
  3. The best strategy is to place the bee nests/hives and the flowers on opposite ends of your crops, that way the bees are forced to fly directly over them.
  4. Finally, you can trap your bees inside a glass dome or house with your crops to limit their mobility.

Minecraft honey blocks and other bee items

Along with bees and all the in-depth mechanics that accompany them are also an assortment of tasty items and blocks as well. The first and easiest item to acquire is honey.

  • Honey can be collected from a bee nest or hive that is full of honey. All the player has to do is approach the nest/hive with a glass bottle and they can collect honey straight from the source. From what I can tell, honey is essentially a substitute for sugar in the game's crafting system and may have other applications as well.
  • The second item is honeycombs. Honeycombs also require the nest/hive in question to be full of honey, but instead requires a pair of shears rather than a bottle. Honeycombs can be used to craft beehives, and may also have something to do with crafting the latest block in Minecraft: honey blocks.

Honey blocks are a new block announced at Minecon 2019 that has a host of unique mechanics that should make for a new bout of creativity.

  • Honey blocks are sticky, so players can neither jump nor run while they're standing on top of them.
  • Additionally, honey blocks can also be climbed like vines or ladders, making them a good alternative when space is constrained.
  • Finally, honey blocks are fully compatible with pistons, meaning there's a ton of potential for puzzles and traps revolving around their stickiness.

Honey blocks may very well have other attributes beyond this, which we'll soon find out when players get their paws on them. It's not certain quite yet how to craft honey blocks, but you can be fairly certain it will have something to do with bees and the items you can collect from their nests/hives. Whatever the method, this is yet another reason to encourage players to build a labyrinth of bees surrounding their Minecraft homes.

When will Minecraft bees launch?

While the exact date hasn't been released, Mojang said that bees will arrive before the 2019 holiday season. All this means for us is that a brand new bout of Minecraft will be part of this year's holiday festivities, complete with a load of fuzzy bees.

Half-Life 2 NPCs can finally blink after years of torment

Valve has finally vanquished a few more bugs in Half-Life 2. We might never get to play the conclusion, but at least we can rest easy knowing that NPCs can blink once again. 

Half-Life 2's NPC have been stuck in this nightmare since 2014, when Steam switched to the SteamPipe content distribution system. The change caused problems for a lot of Source mods and games, but the absence of blinking was definitely the most eerie. 

Despite the visibility of the bug and the mountain of threads bringing it up year after year, Valve seemed content to let its NPCs stare for eternity. Unofficial patches solved the issue, but now Valve's finally put out an official fix. An update went out yesterday and deals with a few other lingering issues. 

  • Fixed a hitch when saving games
  • Fixed SteamVR running when entering the settings menu
  • Fixed missing sounds on combine soldiers
  • Fixed NPCs not blinking

Half-Life 2: Episode One and Two, Lost Coast and Half-Life: Source have also been updated.

I just started a new game to see for myself, and both the G-Man and the NPCs on the train have full control over their eyelids again. Revolutionary! I'm sure they're very relieved.

Minecraft Earth early access rollout begins in October

Microsoft will begin releasing the highly anticipated augmented reality mobile game Minecraft Earth in October, following several months of beta testing.

Like the smash hit Pokémon Go, Minecraft Earth layers its universe over the real world, and that takes a lot of planning and computing power. The company is planning a phased release to make sure the game remains reliable as new users jump on board.

The “Early Access” rollout begins next month in a “few smaller markets,” according to Microsoft. The game will roll out to new countries every few days and weeks, with a goal of global availability by the holiday season. Starting today, users can sign up for a notification when the game goes live in their country.

When it debuts, Minecraft Earth will still be a work in progress. The Early Access version is the minimum feature set for a strong experience, but more content and features will be added in future updates.

The game takes Minecraft off the computer screen and brings the game into the real world — through the lens of a smartphone. Players collect items, go on quests and use their inventories to put together impressive structures that can be captured and shared. There’s important elements of cooperation in defeating bad guys in missions and collaborating on tabletop Buildplate structures that can be ballooned up to life-size scale.

Microsoft first teased the game in May at its Build developer conference and unveiled it a few days later. and The beta test began two months later in five cities, including Seattle.

Microsoft bought Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014.

Minecon 2019 news roundup: Minecraft bees, Nether Update, Minecraft Earth release, and much more

The Minecon 2019 event revealed tons of new information for Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Earth this week, showcasing the future of the biggest video game franchise in the world. If you weren't able to catch the live stream, we rounded up the key information you need to know from the show, right here.

Minecraft Earth is heading to open beta in October, inviting players from all around the world to begin testing and playing an early version of the game. The rollout will take a few months to fully complete, starting with the game's current closed beta territories of the UK, U.S., Sweden, Japan, and Mexico. Microsoft expects Minecraft Earth to be fully rolled out across the world by the end of 2019, with the exception of China.

Microsoft notes that the slow rollout is to ensure player safety is maintained, as well as global server stability. This version of Minecraft Earth will also include Adventures, which are augmented-reality (AR) experiences where players can fight mobs, obtain rare rewards, and so on, using their phone cameras. It also includes crafting and smelting, all based on the same systems from the Bedrock version of the game.

For more information on how to sign up for Minecraft Earth's open access, head over here.

Minecraft Dungeons is an upcoming Diablo-like dungeon crawler set in the Minecraft universe. Players will be able to loot, battle, and level up their characters in a variety of ways, along with a wide variety of fantasy warrior archetypes like wizards, archers, and warriors. Microsoft unveiled the cinematic intro trailer during Minecon and also showcased how co-operative play works with local users.

Minecraft Dungeons should hit PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch in the spring of 2020.

Minecraft's Nether Update

The next big update for Minecraft brings some much-needed attention to the hellish Nether dimension, adding new biomes, new mechanics, new atmospheric visual effects, and an all-new race called Piglins. Piglins, who are essentially unzombified Zombie Pigmen, build settlements in the same way as overworld traders. They are, however, hostile, and will attack the player unless they're wearing a suit of gold armor. For more information on the Nether update, hit the link below.

Minecraft Nether Update: Everything we know so far

Minecraft Mountain Update

Minecon viewers also voted for Mojang to update mountains first after the Nether Update, which will add new types of snow and resources, goats, and revamped generation to make ranges “more majestic.”

Bees, beehives, and now honey

Microsoft also revealed that, along with the bees update, Minecraft will also now get a new honey block, bringing with it a ton of new sticky mechanics. Players walking on a honey block cannot jump or run, but they also work with pistons, which could lead to interesting contraptions. Honey is harvested from beehives that have been pacified by campfire smoke. If you try to harvest honey without campfire smoke, nearby bees will attack you. The bees update should hit Bedrock and Java “before the holidays.”

Everything we know about Minecraft bees

Minecraft Character Creator

Minecraft also demonstrated its previously revealed Character Creator, which will bring additional options to skin your characters across the Bedrock versions of the game, including Minecraft Earth.

Alongside capes hitting Bedrock for the first time, the Character Creator will also bring exclusive cosmetics for certain challenges. For example, long-time players will be able to don a special super-long beard to show off their dedication. The Character Creator will also bring emotes to the game.

And everything else!

Microsoft is introducing a new subscription tier for Minecraft Realms, dubbed Realms Plus. Realms Plus will effectively be the same as regular Realms with 10 player slots, however, it'll also include more than 50 items from the Minecraft Marketplace, with new content added for subscribers each month. Microsoft is working with Ravensburger to produce a Minecraft board game dubbed Builders & Biomes. It's a strategic board game complete with mob battles and block resources to mine, and it should be available in the U.S. in November, and a little bit earlier in October for Europe.

The team at Mojang also demonstrated new developer tools for mod creators. Mod creators can now select crops and blocks and instantly change their parameter states, including colors and block types, rather than physically place new blocks, speeding up the map creation process. They're also adding a “TNT wand” which allows mod creators to instantly destroy large areas of the map. Map creators and scripters will also be able to transform entire areas into a TNT block, which then explodes into a pre-created structure. They demonstrated houses being created instantaneously using a special TNT block, which will help marketplace sellers create areas much more quickly.

Did you catch Minecon 2019? What do you think of the news? Hit the comments, let us know.

Minecraft's Nether is getting an overhaul, with new biomes and Piglin Beast mobs

The next big Minecraft update will overhaul the Nether by adding multiple new biomes, including Soulsand Valley and Netherwart Forest, as well as a new civilization called the Piglins who you can steal from or barter with.

The Piglins, which look a bit like Zombie Pigmen, will live in the Nether and guard chests of gold. They're immediately hostile to the player, unless you wear gold armor, in which case they'll only attack you if you try to pinch loot from their chests. You can also barter with them by throwing gold in their general direction, and they'll respond by spewing out new, unannounced items. You can see them in this video from yesterday's Minecon.

The Piglins won't be the only new mob: they'll hunt Piglin Beasts, which look like a cross between pigs and warthogs. They're also hostile to the player, and gold won't do you any favors with them. However, slaying them will get you meat, which makes them the first reliable source of decent food in Minecraft's Nether. The Piglin name is still up for debate, and Mojang is asking fans to suggest and vote on other names here.

The Nether update, which doesn't yet have a release date, also adds biomes to the underworld, two of which were shown off at Minecon. They were Soulsand Valley, a surreal, eerie chasm full of stalactites and blue flames, and the Netherwart Forest, which has a variety of different, weird trees. You can see Soulsand Valley here—the forest comes soon after in the same video.

Lastly, the update adds a new block called a target block: if you fire an arrow at it, it triggers a redstone reaction that can lead to fireworks, an upbeat tune on note blocks, or whatever else you care to program. You can watch the full reveal of the Nether update, starting with the target block, in the video below.

For more news from Minecon, click here.

Minecraft character creator will sync between Windows 10 version and AR spin-off

Minecraft‘s character creator, currently in beta, will sync your avatars between the Windows 10 Bedrock Edition and Minecraft Earth, the upcoming augmented reality spin-off for mobile unveiled in May, Mojang announced at Minecon yesterday.

The tool is a streamlined way to customize your character without using skins, and will come with lots of options for clothes, skin color, eye color, hair, facial expressions and prosthetic limbs. Many options will be free, but you'll have to pay for some. At Minecon yesterday, Mojang said the character creator will also let you pick capes and unlock items as you complete achievements: chopping down your first tree gets you a lumberjack shirt, while crafting your first hoe nets you a wheat toothpick. Check out some of the items in the video above.

Each player can create up to five characters, and they'll all sync between Minecraft Bedrock Edition and Minecraft Earth, which enters early access on mobile devices next month. 

The character creator is still in beta, and if you're keen to try it out you should follow Mojang's instructions. You'll need to use the Xbox Insider Hub app: if you're playing on the Java edition, you can get a redeemable code for the Windows 10 version if you bought it before October 19, 2018 by logging into your Mojang account.

If you want to customize your character the old fashion way, browse our list of the best Minecraft skins.

To read about Minecraft's Nether update, also announced at Minecon, click here.

Thanks, VG247.