"First 3 Months of Mine Blocks Beta!"

Hi!

Mine Blocks Beta (the HTML5 remake of Mine Blocks) has been getting weekly Friday updates since November 13!

I usually only have a day or two each week to work on the game, as I spend the rest of the time at work or on other priority projects. But, Mine Blocks Beta has actually been going smoothly! Each week, I decide on a mini theme for each update, and tack on a handful of bug and crash fixes.

This post is about the recent 2 months of updates, and what's coming next to Mine Blocks Beta.
You can read about the first month of progress here.

Play the Beta
Play Mine Blocks Beta: mineblocks.com/beta

Overview
As of time this post was written, the port is 68.7% done, which is 8% higher than the previous post.
 
Since then, there have been 9 more Friday updates, for a total of 13.
 
I've started making weekly update posts on Twitter and Facebook to keep the momentum going. I continue to get generally nostalgic responses from old players excited to hear that Mine Blocks is still around, with the occasional assumption that Mine Blocks is gone forever - luckily, we're living in the universe where I port it, perhaps saving us from certain cosmic collapse thanks to the unpredictable nature of The Butterfly Effect!
 
To help reduce confusion and to allow people to discover Mine Blocks Beta, I've recently embedded Mine Blocks Beta on the old zanzlanz.com/MineBlocks page by default. As you can see in the graph, it really put more eyes on Beta, and hopefully stopped people from having a sad "Flash is gone" experience.
 
As for keeping things stable, the automatically generated crash reports have led to dozens of bug fixes that I would have never heard about, or known how to fix otherwise! I would eventually like to enforce that the game does not actually crash when an error occurs, similar to how Mine Blocks Classic worked, but for now this is easier.

Inventory
The game became significantly more playable since the last post thanks to major work on the inventory, including not only item drops and the survival inventory, but also crafting, chests, furnaces, and even the creative inventory! That's a lot!
 
While my main intent is to faithfully "port", and not to "redesign" the systems behind the game, I found it abundantly useful to simply recode the way inventory items worked in Mine Blocks Beta. Even though plenty of inventory interactions are still not implemented yet, the 200 lines of code responsible for inventory management is a whole lot more maintainable than the 1500 lines in the Classic version.
 
In the gif, you can see the first ever pickaxe crafted in Mine Blocks Beta!

Portals
It recently became possible to create and use nether portals and ender portals in Mine Blocks Beta.
 
Although some mobs and entities still need to be added to really close the loop for considering the game fully playable, the ability to create portals at least helped solidify the "world state". This means saving is already mostly implemented - I'm just waiting until the world structure is fully in (otherwise I would have to start adding world migrators for weekly updates, which the game's not quiiite ready for).

Weather
I really enjoyed the Christmas update!
 
For that week, I forced it to always be snowing, and changed the graphics of grass, chests, and fruits to match the Christmas theme. I never did that in a Mine Blocks update before, so it was fun to get festive!
 
Soon after, I properly ported snow and its liquidy cousin, rain. It just needs some thunder and lightning for weather to be fully implemented.

Other Features
Of course, updates have miscellaneous additions and fixes beyond their theme.
 
For example, the Christmas update included HUD elements, like the health and hunger bars.
 
Other updates added the block behaviors for cauldrons, anvils, cakes, pumpkins, signs, and ender dragon eggs.
 
One visually important addition was to show your held item when you mine.
 
And all updates include many bug fixes (I'm seeing 16 crash fixes since the last post). Stability and performance aren't my immediate concern while doing these early updates, but so far things seem really great, and for all of you with a graphics card, way faster than Mine Blocks Classic!

What's Next?
At this point, I would like to start porting more entities, as they are quickly becoming some of the only missing parts of the Mine Blocks world now. This includes projectiles and mobs, among other moving objects.
 
Porting each mob will have its own set of unique challenges, but as you might remember, I recently recoded mobs in Mine Blocks Classic to make it easier for me to port - so that's nice! I mainly just need to package their assets, code how they each render, and update their physics to work at 50 FPS & the new scaling model.
 
Most entities should be pretty straight forward too, except for maybe minecarts, which are very complicated beasts...
 
After that, the game structure should be stable enough to implement the rest of the main menu and, finally, saving & loading worlds.
 
There's not too much beyond that - it'll mainly be a ton of menu/interface features to complete the port, such as the settings menus and rest of the inventory screens.

Where's the 2021 Update Video?
Yeah to fully focus on Mine Blocks Beta, I need to finish the 2021 Update Video. It's just taking a while! xD
 
Normally it's ALL I work on at the start of the year, but I've been super preoccupied with work, my Collector's Bundle, and of course, these weekly Mine Blocks Beta updates.
 
So for my own health, I decided not to rush it. That means the video is like 1/3 done still. But now that the bundle is out, I've had more time to focus on the video again, mainly on weekends.
 
In the meantime, here's a gif of me and Learndog:

That's it for this update post!
I hope you're doing well and are looking forward to more Mine Blocks Beta updates coming to a Friday near you! :D

Cya!
- Zanz

Posted 5 months ago.
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