I hope everyone by now has heard of Minecraft. The top selling game on a couple of platforms, XBox and IOS at least and winner of more awards that it has employees, as they like to say. Minecraft, for those of you yet to experience it is a deceptively simple game where you mine and place blocks. Due to the number of types of blocks, both mineral and animal/plant life, you can do a lot of things from just build a simple house and garden to create a simulated company with factories and machines. There is also a large mod and server community that make additions to the game and use it to play various games and tournaments.
I own a copy or two of Minecraft and play it and like it.
And then along come the copycats and look-a-likes and some of them are just jumping on the bandwagon, so why am I talking about Minetest? Well it is a lot like Minecraft and gets a lot of comparisons but it’s different. First of the Minetest game is a lot like the look of minecraft, and there are basics that are the same but it’s open source and the philosophy is decidedly different. Minecraft runs great on its own and can be played without any mods. In fact the XBox and PS-3 versions don’t have any mods and the game is very playable and with enough imagination can be played for quite a while. Minetest is designed to be modded to be playable. Yes you can make structures and stuff with the basic game but there are no mobs, just basic ores and no way to do anything like you can do with redstone. (Redstone allows you to make electrical circuits and up to computer like functionality although spread out over a large area.)
Everything is added by using mods. Mods for cows, sheep, new trees, new ores, new devices and the counterpoint to redstone, mesecons. Mods are easy to get, easy to program and easy to add to the game. (The game is written in Lua where original minecraft is in Java.)
I like minetest for a few reasons. It’s open source so community driven and coded. It comes with Ubuntu, from ubuntu servers (although to get the latest I had to add a new source to synaptic/apt.) You can swap in new mods very easy without restarting the game, although mods that change the world can only be applied by recreating the world since the new ores, for instance from more ores, have to be added when the world generates, not many mos are able to retrofit although mobs will just start spawning the new mobs on save and reopen a world.
It also seems quicker to save and I get fairly decent frame rates even on this old laptop.
But minetest is not a finished product. the version number should tell anyone that as it is currently 0.4.10. I also have this problem of falling through the floor every once in a while so when you start a game immediately set home ( use /sethome) so that when you start the inevitable plunge through the earth typing /home takes you back to that point. Once you build a home do the same sethome so you won’t telelport to your spawn point.
And check out the mods. I am always going to have more ores, more blocks, mesecons, pieworks and compassgps installed and probably unified inventory and technics unless testing something that conflicts.
So if you want something finished and fun get Minecraft, it’s worth the low cost relatively. Get the PC version, Windows or Linux and then you can add mods and see the things that your favorite You Tuber is playing but also get Minetest, also fun, to see what the future is going to hold and maybe play with programming in Lua and joining the community while this new take on open world blocky gaming grows into a full fledged game.