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.