Although we don't hear quite so much about it these days, Minecraft is still comfortably continuing along, with its developers adding more and more new tweaks and additions to the gameplay with each update.
One of the most recent additions to the game is Minecraft Realms, a rent-a-server initiative run by Mojang that allows players to quickly and easily jump into their own private multiplayer Minecraft sessions without having to worry about either setting up their own servers or going through a third-party provider. It allows whoever is paying for the subscription to "whitelist" up to 20 players, 10 of whom may play at any one time. Presently, the service is limited to Mojang's native Sweden, but it will be rolled out worldwide over the course of 2014.
Mojang's doing more than just testing on Minecraft Realms at present, however. One of the more interesting features that the team is looking at adding is the facility to temporarily turn your Realm into one of several minigames, featuring predefined maps, objectives and game mechanics. Here Mojang's Jens Bergensten demonstrates and explains the new feature:
Switching to a minigame temporarily replaces your Realm and its players' creations with the minigame, and marks the Realm as currently playing the minigame on the main menu. Most of the games are designed for more than a single player at a time, and range from "Blocks vs. Zombies," in which players stand atop a wall and fire arrows at incoming zombies, to Cake Defense, which is fairly self-explanatory. When you've finished playing the minigame, the predefined map will be once again replaced by the original Realm map, and players will be able to return to their important mining and crafting business.
The minigame feature will be added to the Minecraft client and server software in the 1.7.5 update, which is due this coming March.
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