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Classic Minecraft now free online (minecraft.net)
187 points by danielam 74 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments

I'm really glad minecraft became popular with kids. It lets them use their imagination and flex their creative muscles, I'm sure that's why they were attracted to it. It's a good change of pace from the mindless stimulation that most video games provide where they are just a passive consumer of the content.

> most video games provide where they are just a passive consumer of the content.

With books and videos, people are passive consumers of content. With videogames, players are active consumers of content, in that they need to be engaged in order to consume the content.

The demand on creativity and imagination in videogames is usually at least in overcoming the obstacles/challenges of the game. With games like Minecraft, there's also a more tangible intermediate result in terms of building blocks.

Though, mobile games might tend to be more "cow clicker" ish, and mainstream games can be linear sequences where the game makes it hard to fail.. there's less demand for creativity there.

Is it still popular with kids? I was under the impression that it was replaced by fortnite. And what do both games have in common? They're both free.

Minecraft hasn't been free until now.

Minecraft Classic was free for a long time, it's just that it was taken offline at one point.

(Note, Minecraft Classic ≠ "Minecraft Java" or whatever they're calling the primary pre-Microsoft PC version now)

> Minecraft Classic ≠ "Minecraft Java

It kind of is. Survival was added Java Edition Classic, then was spun out into its own version with Java Edition Indev. The modern Java version is a descendant of Indev.

I guess, but they kept up "Minecraft Classic" for many years as a separate (and free) thing. And I'm pretty sure this is just Minecraft Classic again.

More of a technicality than the reality, Minecraft Classic is like a crude prototype compared to the years of additions that make up the current version of Minecraft (Java or Bedrock).

There is Minecraft for raspberry pi edition which comes free with the standard raspbian desktop image. My daughter loves it. It ties in with the education stuff in that it has a python API. For the rest it is more limited compared to normal Minecraft.

I've noticed a lot of kids seem to have migrated from Minecraft to Roblox.

My son tried to play Minecraft when he was 4, but he couldn't read yet so we gave him Blockcraft and later Roblox, both of which he can use without needing to read. That's because the interface is usable if you just click the defaults all the time, and he can clearly tell the difference between a blue button with text and a grey button with text.

Although funnily enough, his desire to play Minecraft motivated him to learn to read.

So it might be due to kids being exposed to and wanting to play these games earlier, which has perhaps caught Minecraft off guard resulting in a new generation that plays fast-following Minecraft clones instead of actual Minecraft.

My son (8 y.o.) went through that phase, but he realised that Roblox isn't nearly as good of a game, and he went back to Minecraft.

Roblox doesn't work on Linux even in Wine.

Most kids don't use Linux

The upside is that the smart kids will quickly grow to hate Windows at which point they'll discover Linux.

I first got into Linux because Minecraft ran better on it... this was almost 8 years ago.

John Carmack did not

It's not the real thing, it's a Javascript remake of Minecraft Classic. You'll notice the blocks aren't correctly ordered, some blocks are missing and Minecraft Classic never had the 'breathing' block placement effect.

I've got a question since we've got a lot of developers together talking about Minecraft: why is it so inefficient? If I take a rowboat anywhere on my MC (decently spec'd) server the loading is horrible.

Is it just because there's so much going on in every chunk, and the rendering engine has to load entire chunks all the way from the bedrock to the sky?

For one, it's single threaded (last I checked). It also seems to be built on a big heap of messy Java.

Check out Cuberite for comparison. It's a Minecraft server built from the ground up in C++ and it's waaaaaaaay faster than the official server. Advantages of a rewrite I suppose...

You'd think MS could do a rewrite given how much money they spent on it. But I guess the incentive to mess with things just isn't there for them.

There are two completely separate lines of Minecraft ("Java Edition" for PCs vs "Bedrock Edition" for PCs/game consoles/...), so they've done a rewrite, but not dared kill off the original product, because they aren't compatible.

Not just compatible, the game mechanics aren't even the same :(

I think the end of the line for Java Edition will come at some point, but I also think they know perfectly well that they cannot do that prematurely, and we're very much still in "premature" territory.

You know they have right? The Window 10/Xbox/Pocket Edition is a complete rewrite in C# afaik

C++, actually.

Minecraft IO isn't terribly efficient. The chunks don't get rendered bedrock to the sky, but the chunks have to be loaded from disk like that. Due to the way they are stored, there is no way to load only the visible/nearest part of a chunk. (I'm working on a minecraft clone with cubic chunks btw)

A chunk from bedrock to sky is 5KB on disk. There's no way that loading order is the problem.

There might be issues caused by the raw number of chunk loads, I'm not sure there. But I can say that the majority of my lag issues when hosting minecraft can be squarely blamed on doing world generation in the main thread.

Whick is why a lot of large servers pre-generate the world out to a few thousand blocks.

I wonder if cubic chunks is possible to add to Minecraft through modding, or to its nearest open-source 'competitor' (for lack of a better term), Minetest.

It would require a hugely significant engine rework. Networking, IO, world generation, entity AI, etc

Basically any part of the code that reads/writes chunks in the world or just references some kind of chunk-related data-type would have to be altered

Another user has posted a link to a mod for 1.12 that seems to do cubic chunks. I wouldn't have thought networking would need to be altered for servers where all users have the appropriate mods installed on the client; world generation and entity AI would follow already-established rules about how loaded chunks relate to unloaded ones.

I'd be interested in checking that out! Is it open source? Do you have a Github link?

It's very much a WIP and is not on any public git server yet. If it ever gets to that point, I'll probably post it on this site

Most games can use loading screens to hide their "chunk lag", minecraft doesn't have that option.

If you can spare the RAM, i'd stick the world on a ramdisk (I did when hosting a MC server and it makes an appreciable difference versus the terribleness of disk IO)

Could you expand on this more? My friends and I just got up and running on our own beefy home server and it'd be nice to take advantage of the massive amounts of RAM on it.

Google for something like: your os name + "make a ramdisk"

You'll also want to look into making sure the save data is persisted to durable disk across reboots/power loss.

Others have expanded a bit, but it depends on what you're running it on, a tmpfs setup is your friend on linux and even for windows there are free alternatives :)

Of course you will probably want to incorporate something that copies the ramdisk contents to somewhere a little more permanent ever so often, set an interval you're comfortable with losing data within! (but given the huge improvement i'd say it is worth it!)

If you are running off a fast SSD for storage I'm not sure that the RAM disk method will get you noticeable perf improvements; but I don't have any data for this so appreciate any corrections.

RAM is easily ten times as fast as a nice SSD.

That doesn't mean it necessarily makes a difference. If your bottlenecks are CPU speed and disk latency, an SSD will remove 99% of the time spent waiting for disk, and even an infinitely fast ramdisk can only give you another 1%.

Years ago I worked my way through some of the electrical schematics in the book “Code: the hidden language of computers” using a modded version of redbrick that added some basic support for cable bundles, junctions, a timing crystal, etc. started with basic logic gates and then eventually I was able to get as far as building an 8 bit ALU and 1kb of memory in game. I don’t think I’d understand even close to as well how these things work if not for this amazing creation!

I'm an EE engineer now almost completely due to an obsession with Minecraft in my early teens. I used to hire myself out on multiplayer servers, designing and building various Redstone constructs. By the point I started studying electronics at A-Level, I'd already had almost 5 years of experience with Boolean logic, switches, latches, memory, timing circuits and the like. MC was a gateway drug for sure.

I too might have followed a similar path if not for the fact I was already writing software professionally at the time. Your story definitely brought a smile to my face - thanks for sharing that!

Hey me too! I'm a CprE grad, but I had the same obsession, doing in a video game somehow made it more "cool"

I’d argue it almost certainly is more cool :-)

The original created Minecraft Java applet was available on the website for a long time. It looks like it's now been converted to WebGL -- I wonder if it's compiled from Java or reimplemented.

Looking at the compiled bundle, it seems to be a custom recreation based on BabylonJS.

You can still play the real Minecraft Classic via OpenClassic

Though not a game in itself, my favorite "minecraft"-alike engine for the web is this one:


Glad to see a shoutout to voxel.js here!

I worked on it for years and I had high hopes, wrote about my progress here: https://medium.com/@deathcap1/six-months-of-voxel-js-494be64.... Inventory, crafting, chests, texture packs, a plugin system, and embedded web views were some of my favorite features. My project was https://github.com/deathcap/voxelmetaverse, hosted at http://voxelmetaverse.com.

Unfortunately I haven't had time to develop it further, but it is all open source if anyone would like to pick up the torch.

Hey DC, I found this thread very late so I guess you may not see this. I played with voxel.js for a while back in the day, but ultimately I wound up building a similar engine from scratch (I think we discussed it briefly, if this rings a bell).

Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know that Minecraft Classic seems to be built on my voxel engine, the one I modeled after voxel.js! So there's a kind of circular lineage now, from minecraft to voxel.js and later back to MC...

The mouse look doesn't seem to work in Firefox, unfortunately.

Doesn't work for me either (though not latest because of extension fiasco) Windows 64-bit. Maybe an extension? All I've got is ublock origin.

Works fine in Firefox ESR on Debian.

Also works in latest on Windows 64-bit

Doesn't work on Chrome 56 either (Work enforced old version, sadly)

works fine for me (macos)

Interesting; after further testing it works fine in Firefox on MacOS but not Firefox on Ubuntu.

That's a really good start but it is not fluid on my laptop...

Creative mode only.

Well, Minecraft didn't have survival mode originally. It was just "creative" multiplayer.

This version is actually the last before Survival test versions started, less than two months after release of the first version (which didn't have multiplayer either)

I'm baffled why there are no Minecraft clones, a game created by a single person without a budget. The gaming industry is otherwise notorious for ripping of each other's games. Almost all successive games, Minecraft included , started by copying another game (Infiniminer). Or CandySwipe->CandyCrush et.al... I think a MMO version of Minecraft would be interesting.

I feel like people are just willing to pay $25 to get the real thing. Much cheaper than AAA games at $60+, and you get to play the same game as your friends instead of convincing everyone to play minetest or something instead.

It was an even easier decision to buy it at $10 back in the day.

There is Mine Test which is pretty much an open source clone. But competing with a behemoth is hard especially in Minecraft's target demographic.


Yeah, there are a lot of clones, including Survivalcraft (for iOS) and there was one for 3DS before Minecraft was released there. Linden Labs' Blocksworld wasn't a strict clone of Minecraft, but was definitely an attempt to improve it. Also, Fortnite's Creative mode is heavily inspired by Minecraft - many staples of the Minecraft scene, such as 'spleef' games, are being replicated there.

lolwut. There are like ten thousand Minecraft clones out there.

Minetest is an excellent, open-source Minecraft alternative, initially created around the same time:


There are some great servers online like VanessaE's and Illuna, to showcase what the game is capable of with some mods.

Mods are easy to install, in recent versions, directly through an in-game UI.

There are actually many, many games that are quite similar, some of which are quite successful: Roblox, Survivalcraft, Creativerse ... to name just three

There are literally hundreds of Minecraft clones. It created a genre.

There are tons of clones and rip offs. But why would you play them if Minecraft is so cheap, and all your friends are on Minecraft servers, with Minecraft mods?

What? Minecraft is possibly the most cloned game in the world other than Tetris. Here is a list of several dozen Minecraft clones which is 8 years old and probably incomplete


This huge list is from seven years ago. There are many more now.


There has been a boom in crafting/survival games. They just tend to have much better graphics these days.

> They just tend to have much better graphics these days

You can't improve on perfection.

I think Roblox is the nearest clone. It is also very popular.

Roblox predates Minecraft by a lot.

It's also not like Minecraft at all

There's a new game like that coming soon: Hytale. It's from the team behind Hypixel, which is one of the biggest Minecraft servers.

"game created by a single person without a budget" hasn't been true for years now.

Mojang has 76 employees as of 2016.

And there are absolutely endless numbers of games that are influenced by Minecraft's mechanics, Stardew Valley, Stationeers, Ark: Survival Evolved to name just a few.

There are MMO-like MC servers.

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