Minecraft is a game which has made itself renown for the unique way in which its development process works, with a small team regularly producing updates with a small snapshot of what is to come being regularly released. However, since the release of 1.8 this release schedule has taken a change, with more than 6 months since the most recent snapshot and little word from the developers on where 1.9 is headed, the obvious question becomes; when is 1.9 coming out and what features will it include?
The latter part of the question is one we have received several strong hints about, firstly from Minecraft developer Dinnerbone. He has tweeted out many screenshots and hints about things he wants to include in this next update, with an entire re-work of the boss system being something he’s getting around to. This will both fix a small issue with the current game where there is just a single health bar for bosses, meaning having two withers or a wither and an ender dragon will cause it to flicker between the two rather than show both, but will also involve a revamp of the end. This end revamp will bring the games ending closer to the console edition, with new ender dragon attacks and additional protection for the towers that heal it.
As well as exciting changes to the boss system we have a few blocks confirmed already, the first being pressed dirt. This is a block also making its way to the pocket edition, and is going to be replacing the gravel pathways that NPC villages currently use to get between the houses. As well as this, a couple of new blocks have been sighted and are going to be slightly darker blocks to contrast the brightness of many of the new blocks from the past couple updates.
This update will also introduce shaders into the game, something the mod community has been using heavily for the past few years already, and will give the game a much better look in the way its shadows work, and presumably will make the game significantly better looking. As well as this there is also a new GUI coming in with the 1.9 update, which will make the options as well as the visual assets on screen better to look at.
These changes along with everything else we’ve heard so far hints this is a slight change from the previous updates pattern of adding more content, and instead hopes to revive the underlying game a little bit, and make it a bit more attractive after having years of the same mechanics and concepts. Whether or not this is a good idea is something we’ll have to reserve judgement on, but based on the space we’ve gone without a snapshot a summer or autumn 2015 release date seems very likely, and then we’ll be able to see whether this is the update worth the time, or just a bump in the road for the PC.