Are computer games doomed to be violent forever?

Computer games are, it must be said, almost intrinsically linked with simulated violence. With only a very few exceptions, they rely on either violence or other forms of high-testosterone danger (moving fast around a track) to make them work at all.

But will that always be the case? We’ve seen more games like “Dear Esther” in the recent past, which totally eschew violence – and many people believe that as the medium grows up, we’ll be able to get our conflict from more subtle places.

However, Stubborn from Sheep The Diamond has been thinking about this topic recently – and he isn’t so confident that gaming will ever escape violence as a primary conflict

“According to Molyneux, the most immediate problem in game design is a problem of AI. He recounts a story (this is all from The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose) where in an earlier game, Black and White, a God-style game like Populous, his studio created a creature that could be taught how to treat the peasants of the game. However, its prime function was feeding, and they programmed it to eat whatever the closest, most nutritious source of food was. Upon booting the creature up, it began to eat its own legs. This, of course, is a typical AI error, but it gets to the source of the problem: even good AI is stupid.

Since making truly smart AI is so difficult, Molyneux predicts that more and more video game interactions will move towards violence. If you think about it, it makes sense; it’s hard to get realistic interaction in a video game with an AI. Either you present extremely limited choices for interaction with heavily scripted responses, or you simply don’t allow that kind of interaction at all. Consider the top genres in the market at the moment: FPS and MMOs. In an FPS, the only interaction you usually have is shooting the bad guys. There might be some quests pick-ups, like in Borderlands, but for the most part, easily 95% or more of the game, you’re just going to be shooting stuff.

MMOs aren’t much different. Yes, you have more interactions, as in Star Wars, but in the end, most of the conversations are on rails, and a vast majority of the game is solving problems with violence. It’s simply easier, and developers don’t want to struggle to overcome such a challenge when they can just pump out a sequel to Gears of War 2 and make millions with just violence.”

I’ve not heard the “AI is hard” argument for why violent video games are inevitable before, and it’s an interesting one. Certainly it explains why pen-and-paper or live-action roleplaying games have a much easier time escaping the “all violence, all the time” trap – a human GM can simulate complex interactions and give players their adrenaline kick from social interaction.

Nonetheless, I’d argue that it’s already apparent that the AI element isn’t the only way to solve the non-violence puzzle. From stealth games (which don’t rely on very sophisticated AI, as the decade-old Thief proves) to crafting games like Wurm and Minecraft (and even Farmville), to PvP games where the social interaction is provided by other humans (and the upcoming World of Darkness MMO will be interesting there) there are a number of ways to skin the cat without violence, so to speak. As the artform gets older and its players do too, I think we’ll almost inevitably see a larger segment of the gaming world embracing other forms of difficulty and conflict.

Will games always be largely violent, or are other gameplay styles popular enough to take over?

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SOPA And MMORPGs, LoTRO costume contest concludes, and more

In today’s link column, we’re seeing the start of a subject I expect to occupy much of next week – the potentially disasterous US SOPA controversy. Plus, a fantastic fashion contest in LoTRO concludes, and more!

  • If you’ve not read about SOPA, you should learn about it – it’s potentially disasterous for the Internet as a whole. MMOCrunch lists the gaming companies who still support the Act – and they’ve cancelled their SWTOR account in protest. Meanwhile, the Firefall beta is shutting down for a day to protest SOPA.
  • Three of the top LoTRO fashion blogs teamed up for a winter fashion contest, and the winners – from hundreds of entries – have been announced
  • Lono at Screaming Monkeys is pleased to see that Bioware are firmly on the side of server-only instance grouping“. There is huge social pressure to not be a jerk that goes away when the odds that you will never see these people again is high.”
  • And Syl at Raging Monkeys (yep, it’s a monkey-heavy post today) finds that the very things we complained about in older games are what give Minecraft its unique appeal“In many ways, the features I’ve listed as Minecraft’s virtues would’ve been considered weaknesses and difficulties 10 years ago. Back then, all we ever shouted for was to remove the “frustrating aspects”: the long walks, the randomness, the imbalance, the punishment. “

We’re considering going dark for a day to raise awareness of SOPA, on January 18th – do you think we should?

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Minecraft Adventure Update On The Pot

Wow, Minecraft changes fast. Im just a few short months it’s embarked on the massive Adventure Update of 1.8, 1.9 and 1.10, including entirely new terrain generation, a ton of new terrain types, new monsters, new NPC villages, the new Creative Mode, the upcoming Adventure Mode…

That’s a whole lot of stuff.

We’re trying to keep on top of Minecraft, but for the time being, here’s a list of our 1.8+ or 1.8+ compatible articles.

  • How to install and use the Minecraft Fly Mod – one of the fastest-updated mods.
  • How to activate and use the new Minecraft Creative Mode – no more mining to build your magnum opus!
  • Our complete guide to How to fly in Minecraft – all the options compared, including the new Creative Mode.
  • Minecraft 1.8 features – everything you need to know about the first part of the Adventure Update.
  • Minecraft Building Tips – also updated to 1.8, including several suggestions for how to use the Creative Mode even if you’re a die-hard Survival constructor.
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4 Useful Minecraft Fence and Gate Tips

Ah, the humble fence. It keeps out… well, most things. And it’s kinda limited in use, as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried putting a door in it – ugly. But, as usual, there’s more to this piece of Minecraftiness than meets the eye – here’s five things you might not get from the Wiki about the humble Minecraft fence.

HOW much wood for my fences?

The wiki’s got a complicated formula to figure out how much wood you need for your fences. Here’s a simpler way to look at it – 3 wood will make you 8 fences. That’s because 3 wood makes 12 wooden planks, which make 24 wooden sticks, and each pair of fences takes 6 sticks, so – 8 fences per 3 wood.

That means that, if you’ve got a square area, you can figure out the amount of wood you need by taking one off the width of the square including the fences (so a 10 square wide area gives you 9), and then multiplying that by 1.5.

How does that work? Well, a 10-square area needs 4 9-square-long fence sections, for example. Divide that by 8 for the number of fences – means you get 9×48, or 9×0.5 – and then multiply by 3 for the amount of wood, meaning you end up with width-1×1.5

You can now create gates

Minecraft players have wanted a gate – as opposed to a door, which doesn’t really work with your fence – since Alpha. For a while, it looked like we’d be getting one in 1.8, but that’s now looking much less likely, with the Minecraft team saying, essentially, “It might happen when we get time”.

However, fret ye not. As of 1.7 and the introduction of sticky pistons, it’s now possible to create a very nice-looking gate.

In essence, you dig a hole where you want your gate to be, put a sticky piston at the bottom, and a fence post on top of the sticky piston. When powered, the sticky piston will now push the fence post up, creating a seamless fence. When it’s unpowered again, it’ll drop back down. You control the power with the usual redstone torch/redstone wire/lever, button or pressure plate combination.

See this Hubpage for a rather nice description of how to make a gate in this fashion.

There’s also a gate mod

If you must, must, must have Yer Aktual Gate, there is a solution – although it’s a mod, and it will only work in single-player.

Advize’s Mods is the mod package you’ll need – it includes not just gates, but also curtains, dyeable blocks, and a time-of-day altering system.

It’s updated to 1.7, and uses the ModLoader mod to install, so you’ll need that too. Apparently the gates and pistons don’t play well together, but other than that it should give you the gates you’re looking for.

You don’t need to faff around to build double-height fences any more – also, poles

There used to be a problem with fences – they couldn’t be stacked on top of each other, meaning that you had to faff around endlessly building blocks under them, then deleting the blocks and building fences there, then going down to the next layer, and so on.

Fortunately, as of Minecraft 1.7, that restriction has been removed. So, if you’ve been watching tutorials on how to build double- and triple-height fences, here’s one of our top Minecraft tips – ignore them, and just stack them like you would blocks.

This also means that high poles are much easier to build now. Before, it was a reasonably serious PITA to build a tall pole (from single fence posts) in MC – nowadays, you can just stack single-square fences one on top of the other to create flagpoles, lightning conductors, or any other pole-related item you could need.

Got any other Minecraft fence-related tips? Share them below!

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Want to buy a minecraft server? Here’s a guide to other free options, how and where to buy, and how much it will cost

So you’re wanting to play Multiplayer Minecraft with your friends online? Unfortunately, you’ll probably need to buy a Minecraft server to do it. Whilst it’s theoretically possible to play multiplayer Minecraft for free, in practise unless you’re willing to deal with some restrictions or have a fair amount of technical expertise, you’ll be better off with a bought-and-paid-for server.

**Updated 7th September 2012**

**Note** – as of recent versions of Minecraft, it’s now very, very easy to play Minecraft with your friends over a Local Area Network – your house’s wifi or similar. Simply start a single-player game, then press Escape and choose “Open To LAN”. Anyone else on your LAN can now join your game!

If you want to play on the Internet, though, you’ll need to do some more work. So, should you buy – well, rent – a Minecraft server?

There are a couple of options you could consider rather than buying a Minecraft server:

Play on servers already running on the Internet

As we mentioned in our article on Minecraft SMP Servers, there are a lot of lists of already running Minecraft servers out there. It’s possible to simply start playing on one of them with your friends. However, there are a couple of problems.

First of all, Minecraft servers tend to be fairly busy. You may decide to sit down of a night and start playing, only to find that the server you usually play on is already full up. If you become friends with the server admin or donate to the server’s upkeep, you might be able to get a reserved slot, but there’s no guarantee.

Secondly, the server isn’t under your control. On the Internet servers have a tendancy to vanish unexpectedly when the server maintainer’s machine melts, her work gets busy, or he meets a new SO and spends more time doing… other stuff. For most pickup games that might not be a problem, but if you’ve spent the past month constructing a perfect scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and you suddenly can’t get to it any more, you’re likely to find that… a bit irritating.

Thirdly, public servers are, well, public. And the public include griefers, who will merrily run around doing their best to ruin your gaming and smash your stuff. The only way to be protected from them is to play on a private server, either one you control or one you’re invited to.

Overall, if you’re interested in PvP or other “instant fix” gaming, then you’ll be OK playing on a public server. If you’re interested in longer-term projects and big constructions, you’ll want to be on a server you control.

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Running your own server

Not As Easy As It Sounds – although it has gotten a lot easier. Most modern PCs can host at least a few players on the same machine that you’re playing on, although if you’re wanting to run a huge server you may need a separate machine to run the server on, possibly with quite a lot of RAM.

You’ll also need it to be connected to the Internet at reasonably high speeds, both download and upload – which is where most home connections will fall down. See http://canihostaminecraftserver.com/ to get the full scoop on if your spare machine can run it. In short, you’ll need at least 1Mb/s upload speed to be able to host a server, and more to be able to host 4 or more players at the same time.

If you’ve got all that, there’s a good chance you’re expert enough to run a Minecraft server. However, be aware it’s a pretty technical process, even on Windows – although Windows is by far the easiest operating system to run on.

Buying a Minecraft server

Overall, the least painful option if you want to play on the Internet, particularly with a lot of other people, may well be to buy a Minecraft server for yourself – or rather, to rent a Minecraft server from a specialised company which already has Minecraft servers for sale.

You could, of course, simply rent a generic computer server from a Web hosting company and then install a Minecraft server on that. However, from all the costs I’ve seen, it won’t work out cheaper – indeed, it’s likely to be significantly more expensive.

In the US, Multiplayer Game Servers.com are highly recommended for ease of use and general friendliness – they’re the option you’ll see suggested most often on the Minecraft forums. Here in the UK and EU, the MMO Melting Pot team run our own Minecraft server with Multiplay.

In all cases, it’s a very simple process to set a server up: it should take about 15-20 minutes to go from the first page of the vendor’s site to being connected to Minecraft. Sometimes, though, the server setup may take up to a day – bear that in mind and order it in advance of your planned first gaming session!

Costs are extremely reasonable. A 4-player server will set you back about $7 / £4.50 per month, wheras a comparatively massive 16-player server will cost $18 / £12 per month, more or less. Prices significantly higher than that aren’t worth paying – shop around!

A good server hosting company will also have a wide range of additional options available for your server – for example, ClanForge claims to have over 1000 addons ready to install in your Minecraft server. You’ll still need to go through the somewhat painful process of setting them up on your local copy of Minecraft, but the non-trivial server install process will be automated for you.

Any other questions about buying servers? Got a great host to recommend? Comment below!

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Minecraft: End of Stream error. What’s going wrong, and how to fix it. Updated for 1.0.0 / “invalid server key”

Seeing the dreaded Minecraft End of Stream error when trying to play multiplayer Minecraft? You’re not alone. Now updated for Minecraft 1.0.0 and the “The Server Responded With An Invalid Server Key” error!

It’s a bit of a nightmare to fix – we can’t promise anything – but here are some ideas on how to stop it from causing you any more problems.

Update – The EoS error can be caused by Minecraft.net being down – which is what’s causing the error for everyone today, September 25th 2012. Not a lot we can do to fix it aside from wait for the server to come back up!

End Of Stream – Minecraft and the data stream

It’s not entirely clear what’s happening when a Minecraft “Connection Lost: End of Stream” error crops up, but it’s connected to network settings. In short, the continuous flow of network data (the “stream”) has been interrupted for some reason, causing Minecraft to have a funny and fall over.

Except, of course, when it’s not. There’s a well-known bug in Minecraft multiplayer that can cause this error – if you stay dead for more than about 30 seconds, the program will get confused, and crash out with an “End of Stream” error. In this case, you can just reconnect – it’s a weird bug in the code, and is nothing to worry about.

If you’re getting “End of Stream” at any other time, though, then something’s gone south. Let’s take a closer look.

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Solutions

Invalid Server Key

Minecraft 1.0.0 has a bug where sometimes, when you attempt to connect to a 1.0.0 server, you’ll get a “The Server Responded With An Invalid Server Key” error the first time, and End of Stream errors subsequently.

There are both temporary and permanent fixes for this problem if you’re encountering it:

  • Temporary – restart your Minecraft client. You may need to try several times to get this to work. Alternatively, restarting the server also works.
  • Permanent – If you’re the Minecraft server admin, you can install this patch to fix the problem (although it’s a user patch not an official one – use at your own risk).

Other solutions

First up, the bad news: there is no solid solution for this error. It’s weird, confusing, and can be caused by anything including incompatibilities in your network hardware. The best advice from everyone on all the Minecraft forum threads I’ve read is “keep trying”.

First job – if you get this error, try again. Then try re-copying the IP address by hand. Then try restarting Minecraft. Then try restarting your computer.

It’s worth taking a five minute break at this point, then trying again. Minecraft has DOS (Denial of Service) defences that may stop you logging on to the server if you repeatedly try – and again, these can cause “End of Stream” errors.

If none of that lot works, it’s time for slightly bigger steps. If you’re still playing an old version of Minecraft, it may well be time to upgrade – some versions of 1.5 had chronic problems with “End of Stream” errors. If the server you’re on is running 1.5, it might well be a problem on their end – try and persuade them to upgrade.

(There’s a long thread about this problem on the Bukkit server program forums – read it here. Sadly, they don’t have any good solutions either, but trying to run the server with fewer plugins may be another way to attempt a fix.)

Another REALLY obscure thing that might have happened – if you’re suddenly unable to log onto a server, have someone check if the Message of the Day has changed. There are reports that using special characters in the MOTD can cause End of Stream errors – have someone change it back to something simple, and try reconnecting again.

Of course, you should probably also ping the IP address of the server (using the “ping” command on the command line in Windows and Terminal on a Mac) to check if it’s still up. If the ping doesn’t come back, the server’s down.

Still not working? It’s time to refresh your Minecraft installation, then. Navigate to your Minecraft folder (there’s a great guide to finding your Minecraft folder here) and delete your /bin folder – remember, this will delete all mods, and you should back up all your saves first. Then try starting Minecraft from the .exe file or .app file again.

If you’re still getting End of Stream errors after this lot, it’s time to check your firewall settings. See if you can connect to any other Minecraft servers – if not, it may be that your firewall doesn’t let you connect out. The simple test for this is to disable your firewall, then try to connect to Minecraft. If that succeeds, it’s your firewall that’s the problem – google for the make of your firewall and “Minecraft” for more useful information?

STILL not working? Aargh. At this point, you’re into the hideous maze that can be the End of Stream error. There are a huge number of possible fixes at this point – try a different PC if you can, try reinstalling the Java Runtime Environment on your machine, try re-downloading Minecraft from scratch, and if all else fails, try posting on the official Minecraft forums at Minecraftforums.net.

Any suggestions we didn’t come up with? Anything that worked for you? Post it below, no matter how weird!

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Minecraft: User Not Premium – fix it, find out what causes it, and stop it from happening again.

Tried to log on to Minecraft but faced with the dreaded Minecraft “User Not Premium” error? No worries. Depending on what’s causing it, this is usually a pretty easy fix – so hang on to your hat, grab your Diamond Pick, and prepare – we’re going in.

Updated 13th June 2012

THIS JUST IN – Mojang’s “top 3 reasons for User Not Premium”

Marc from Mojang was kind enough to stop by the Pot to give us some info straight from the source on the “User Not Premium” bug. Here’s his list of the top 3 reasons for User Not Premium problems:

The top reasons for users to claim they are not premium:

  1. They have attempted a purchase, but something in the process failed, and didn’t properly inform them. Double check your bank account.
  2. Moneybookers (or, less frequently, Paypal) has refunded you. Double check your bank account (unfortunately, it takes a few days to show up).
  3. The user has registered multiple usernames, one is premium, the others are not, and they’re using the wrong one.

His full comment is here – I’d recommend having a read of it (and the linked article) if you’re having problems.

What causes “User not Premium”? Minecraft’s inner workings…

The problem you’re having if Minecraft’s throwing a “User Not Premium” error at you is actually pretty simple.

Whenever you start Minecraft up, as an anti-piracy precaution, it checks in with the main Minecraft server at minecraft.net to find out if you’ve actually paid for the game.

There’s some confusion about this – whilst at one point Minecraft was free, it isn’t any longer. If you want to play the game, you need to purchase it, for a pretty modest fee (15 Euros at time of writing).

However, if you have paid, you can still end up with the game thinking you haven’t – that’s what causes this error. In that case, something’s blocking Minecraft from accessing the servers at Minecraft.net. By default, if it can’t check if you have paid for the game, it assumes you haven’t. (That might sound harsh, but otherwise pirates would simply disconnect from the Internet before play!)

So, how do we fix that? Usually, it’s fairly simple.

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A note on cracked copies of Minecraft

I think you should buy Minecraft if you want to play it. Notch has put a hell of a lot of work into the game and deserves to be rewarded.

Regardless, though, cracked copies of Minecraft only work out being free if your time is worthless. Notch and the Mojang team are pretty clever guys, and by deciding to cheat them, you end up having to jump through all sorts of hoops and fiddle about just to play the game you want to play. That takes a bundle of time that you could have spent playing the game.

So, if you’re reading this article hoping to find a way around the Premium protections – the best way, taking into account the time it’ll take you, is to just buy the darn thing already.

For the vast majority who are honest – how to fix the User Not Premium bug

First things first, on the “Have you turned it off and on again” level – are you currently connected to the Internet? It’s worth trying to load up Minecraft.net and check you can connect to it – it might be that the server’s down, or that your router’s had a funny and thrown you offline.

It’s also worth, no kidding, trying turning your computer off and on again. Minecraft can sometimes get a bit confused, and a reboot will tend to sort it out. Try restarting Minecraft a few times, too. Sometimes this will cause whatever’s stopping you from connecting to shake loose. We’re not sure why, but it does work.

If neither of these things are the problem, it may be that you actually haven’t bought the game – even though you think you have. Check your email for the date when you purchased Minecraft. If you haven’t receieved a confirmation email from Moneybookers.com, the chances are your bank has realised that you’re trying to make a transaction with a foreign company – Mojang’s payment processors are based in London – and has voided the transaction on the assumption you’re the victim of fraud. Phone your bank and explain the situation.

(See this excellent comment for more details on this potential problem/solution.)

If that doesn’t work, it’s time for more advanced tactics.

If you’re trying to play a multiplayer game, double-check the IP you’re using to connect. Retype it from scratch and try again. If that still doesn’t work, try playing single-player – if you can do that but not multiplayer, it’s time to contact your server admin and ask them what’s up.

If all of this isn’t working, there’s a good chance that the latest version of Minecraft has messed something up. Check the official Minecraft support forums and see if there are a lot of other people posting similar problems. If so, the chances are it’s a problem on the Minecraft side, and there’ll be a fix soon. Often, you can also fix the problem by reverting to an older version of Minecraft – there are a variety of ways to do this, and if it works, people will probably be posting about it in the forums.

Failing all that, put up a post yourself, or contact Mojang support! The Minecraft community is extremely active and helpful, and Mojang are very active at responding to user problems – it might sound crazy to suggest it, but there’s a pretty good chance they’ll come up with a solution!

Did that work for you? Do you know other solutions to the Minecraft “User not premium” problem? Post them below!

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What are Minecraft SMP Servers? And how do I find SMP servers to play on?

Minecraft comes in three different flavours of game – Creative, which is currently only available in Classic (old) Minecraft, where you have infinite blocks and are just there to Make Things, Survival, where you’re mining for resources and monsters spawn and try to kill you, and soon, Adventure, which we don’t really know much about yet. However, if you’ve been browsing through talk about Minecraft, you’ll have heard of Minecraft SMP servers. What are they?

It’s simple. IN Minecraft, SMP means Survival MultiPlayer. So, if you want a game where creepers explode your beautiful statues, and you then get to complain to other players about it, SMP is the server type for you.

Where can you find a good Minecraft SMP Server list?

There are a fair number of server lists spread across the Internets, but finding one that’s actually reliable and updated is harder.

First thing to be aware of – a multiplayer server can have multiple different attributes. So, just because you see a PvP server listed, don’t assume it’s not also a Survival server – Survival is just a flag on the server which can be set in addition. So if you want a world where other players and green cactus entities are likely to be equally bad for your health, a PvP Survival server is the place for you. Don’t step on the TNT in the doorway.

As for actual Minecraft server lists – there are dozens of them on the Internet, but most of them look dodgy as hell.

For a server list that might be hard to use but is apt to at least still reliably be there in a month, you could try the huge community site Reddit’s Minecraft server page. They’re user-submitted and the most recent ones at time of writing were pretty damn current – although there’s not a lot of filtering or organisation.

Beyond that, the official Minecraft site is probably the best source for server names – it’s very minimal and not exactly full of detail, but at least it’s guaranteed to be fairly reliable and not full of malware. here’s their server list.

Finally, the way that a lot of Minecraft players recommend is to ask around on your social network and any gaming forums you’re in, and see if someone you know has a server. If so – go go go.

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If you can’t find a server in Minecraft – host a server?

There are two ways to host a Minecraft server – the easy way and the really, really hard way.

I’ve looked into hosting a Minecraft SMP server on a machine I own and control – and frankly, it’s a scary prospect. You need a very powerful machine with a pretty considerable Internet connection. Forget about hosting it on the same machine you’re playing on (probably. Some people seem to be OK with doing that, but the Minecraft wiki advises against it). Forget about hosting on a laptop – the Minecraft wiki mentions that running a Minecraft server on a laptop can actually melt it!

And even assuming you have a seperate server (connected by wires to the Internet, if you’re following the wiki’s recommendation) that isn’t a laptop – the configuration is just scary. (Although slightly less so for a Windows machine – but it’s still not at all trivial, particularly if you’re running a firewall.)

I set up the software for the website you’re reading, customised the theme, wrote a bunch of code for it. This server also runs other content management systems which I wrote from scratch. I’m pretty comfortable installing and setting up a Linux server.

I still chose to go for Option B.

What’s option B? Pay someone – generally not very much – to set up and run a Minecraft server for you.

In the US, Multiplayer Game Servers.com have a very good reputation. Here in the UK and EU, we run our Minecraft server with Multiplay. For about £8 / $12, you can have a powerful, automatically updated, easily customisable Minecraft server. In our case, it took us about 5 minutes to go from “ooh, wanna play SMP Minecraft?” to having a server to play on.

(We’re not paid anything to say this stuff, and those aren’t affiliate links. We were just really impressed.)

Honestly, if you want to play Minecraft multiplayer, until there are much more sophisticated matchmaking services around, and you don’t already know someone with a server, this is probably the best way to do it – get a server, invite friends, go!

And that’s it! Hope that was helpful. If you have any tips for great Minecraft server lists, hosting servers, or other SMP server related mayhem, share it below!

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How to find the best Minecraft gun mod for all your blowing-stuff-up needs

Minecraft is, of course, awesome. But it’s missing one thing: guns. Big f—ing guns. Fortunately the Minecraft user community is all over it, and approximately 72 nanoseconds after Minecraft hit the ‘net, the first Minecraft gun mod appeared.

Nowadays, there’s bloody hundreds of the things. So what’s the best gun mod for you? There are historic guns, modern guns, minimalist guns, and, yes, Portal guns all out there. So whether you want a Minecraft machine gun mod or some classic World War II armament, it’s all doable.

Read on for our pick of the Minecraft mods most likely to satisfy Guns And Ammo readers of all ages…

Flan’s World War II Guns mod

Going by era of the gun rather than era of the mod, this is the first one on the list. Flan’s gun mod is actually part of a series of mods that include planes, tanks, and all kinds of other good things.

The Guns mod includes a bunch of era-correct guns for both British, German and American forces, including such classics as the Sten Gun, the Lee Enfield rifle, and the Thompson machine gun. And given the Minecraft blocky style of the darn things, they look really good – check out this rather slick demo video, below:

Flan’s mods are very, very complete and super-well-documented. If you’re not entirely sure of the procedure to install a Minecraft mod (and we wouldn’t blame you), Flan’s mods are about as thoroughly documented as they get. (True story – we were going to write a guide to plane mods in Minecraft, but in the end didn’t bother, because Flan’s stuff was so well-documented we couldn’t find anything to add to it.) And even better, the mod’s also available to use with the popular Bukkit multiplayer server, meaning you can easily run a minecraft gun mod server in either classic or Bukkit flavours. .

On the downside, these are all specific era guns. If you’re into the WWII thing, you’ll love them – if you’re looking to be Dirty Harry or Black Hawk in some kind of direction like, say, Down, they’ll not do it for you.

But if you want a simple-to-set-up and awesome mod – which plays well with planes and tanks in the bargain – look no further.

Download Flan’s WWII Guns Here.

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SDK’s Mods including Guns

These are some of the best-known and earliest gun mods out there. Note – don’t be scared by the “SDK” in the title. It’s just the name of the guy who makes the mod, and doesn’t imply you’ll need to do programming or anything!

SDK’s mods contain what you might refer to as the “classic” guns – AK47, shotgun, Desert Eagle, Gatling Gun, and more. If you’re looking for something a bit DooM-like, you’ll find it here. On the downside, the choice is arguably a bit generic, but on the upside, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. This showcase video is kinda long, but the narrator’s clearly really enjoying himself, and it does indeed look like a lot of fun:

Now for the bad news. First up, the mod’s not updated for Minecraft 1.7, so if you’re using the latest version of Minecraft, you’re SOL for now. It’s not nearly as well documented as Flan’s mods, either, so you’ll have to figure a lot of stuff out if you want to use it. And it doesn’t support Bukkit – just regular Minecraft.

All that said, if you’re not looking for a simulation experience and just want to blow some stuff up, go for this mod.

Download SDK’s Guns Mod here.

The Portal Gun Mod

Ok, this one isn’t strictly speaking a gun. Or rather, it is, but it doesn’t blow stuff up. Or rather – oh, hell. It’s a Portal gun mod. Minecraft can now impersonate Portal. You know what it does.

This is a REALLY impressive mod. It’s not quite the full Portal gun – you can’t see through the portals – but it’s damn close. You can fire blocks through it, and they’ll react as usual within normal Minecraft physics, allowing you to pull off some really impressive stunts. Check out this trailer video, parodying the original Portal trailer from Valve:

Downsides? Not a lot. It’s fairly well-documented, and appears to be reasonably bug-free, at least to the extent that you can expect from a mod. It doesn’t let you blow stuff up, which is a bit of a downer, but on the other hand – sheep. Portal. TNT. Need we say more?

Download the Minecraft Portal Gun Mod

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How to download, install and use the Minecraft Fly Mod for singleplayer and multiplayer

Up, up and away! Yes, you can actually take off in Minecraft and soar over the landscape. Sadly, you’ll have to go through the reasonably complex process of installing a Minecraft mod to do so – in this case, one of the several Minecraft fly mod options – but once it’s done, you can fly over your creations and not risk backing up into a Creeper in the process.

First up, you have a few choices of mod to enable you to fly. Zombe’s Modpack (note – NOT “Zombie”, “zombe”. This will be important) is probably the best known flying mod for Minecraft, but the Minecraft Single Player Commands mod also includes a flight mode. Zombe’s mod is the only choice for multiplayer flying, however.

If you’re in single player, I recommend looking through the list of features of each mod and deciding which ones you want. Both have very similar features but implemented in different ways. Notably, the flying in Zombe’s mod is slightly more complex in its design, and so we’re going to focus on that mod.

How to download and install Zombe’s Fly Mod

You’ll need to download Zombe’s modpack from the official thread on the Minecraft forums. It’s a .zip file – whilst there are various installers for the mod floating around the ‘net, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re all executable files, and the risk of giving your system a virus by running them is too high for my liking.

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Full installation instructions for Zombe’s mod can be found here – however, they may be a bit hard to follow if you’re not pretty hardcore about your computer use. Here are some tips to make them easier:

  • You’ll need a program that’s capable of opening .jar files. The open-source program 7-Zip is probably the best option for this on Windows. If you’re on a Mac, it’s going to be harder work – you’ll probably need to use the Terminal and the command “jar -xvf ” to extract everything.
  • Back up your Minecraft.jar file by making a copy of it before opening it – particularly if you’re not too confident.
  • He doesn’t give any details on HOW to find your Minecraft folder, and it’s not very easy. Fortunately, there’s an excellent guide to finding it on Windows at least. On Mac, they should be in your ~/Library/Application Support/Minecraft folder.
  • Don’t misspell the mod’s name when you create the folder! It’s not “Zombie”, it’s “Zombe”.

How to fly!

After all that, you’ll be pleased to learn that actually flying using the flying mod, in Minecraft, is actually pretty simple.

You can customise a lot of the options for flying when you install the mod – see the “flying” section in config.txt. However, it’ll work fine out of the box.

To fly, start Minecraft, either single-player or multiplayer. Then simply press F to fly – beware, if you press F again whilst high up you’ll be going downward, fast.

You can ascend with E and descend with Q, placed neatly around the standard WASD keys for movement. You can change from fast to slow flying with Left Shift, and in single-player you can toggle the ability to fly through walls with F6.

That’s it – have fun!

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