I’m big into the PC version of Minecraft. I’ve got so many worlds with countless hours invested into them. The point is, I <;;3 Minecraft. However, unlike most crafters, I didn't start playing the PC version first. I started with the Pocket Edition. I still play it, but not because I want to play that version specifically. Just because my iPad is in front of my face at that moment, and my MBP isn't. Which begs the question, what can make me want to play MCPE over standard Minecraft?
Or, what is left to be added to MCPE? Terrain Generation in MCPE, Multiplayer Improvements (some of which are already coming), the addition of redstone mechanics, and more will need to be addressed to make MCPE the perfect Mobile Companion it has the potential to be.
One of the largest problems in MCPE is the poor terrain generation. Now, I recognize that a lot of this is due to the technical difficulties of developing for mobile. Especially when your developing for a fragmented system like Android, you have to make it so it can run on the lower end Android Devices too. Such as the problem of needing a limited world, rather than an infinite one. But there are plenty of problems that should run just fine.
Like caves for instance. Caves should run just fine on a mobile device. The only logical problem would be that you generate more block faces in caves. But, I mean think about it, you can go ahead and create your own caves. So why would a naturally generated one be any different? If there are for some reason, technical issues still, then they could be fixed by generating smaller narrower caves. If done right, you could easily have less block faces rendered then would be above ground. Caves are an important part of the XBLA and PC versions, it’s about time we had them in the Pocket Edition.
Another perfect example is villages. Now, I understand, this isn’t even fully implemented in the XBLA version. But it’s about time it came to both. Villages are important sources of Food and Supplies. Not to mention trades! Villages are probably planned somewhere down the line, but I think they need to make it more of a priority, for the XBLA too.
Now according to Johan Bernhardsson’s (@jbernhardsson) twitter account, Online Multiplayer is planned for the next version of the Pocket Edition. This is an excellent step forward, given that MCPE previously only had multiplayer over LAN connections. And it shows that there is enough demand for Multiplayer Improvement is there to justify the work. But I think a bit more can be done.
Thinking to the Xbox version of Minecraft, local multiplayer can be done using split screens. This creates a cool party feel in Minecraft. Several iOS games already take advantage of the Apple TV for unique purposes. For example “Modern Combat 3” takes advantage of AirPlay by turning the iPad into a controller and using the Apple TV as a display. Several Board Game based iOS games take advantage of this too, by displaying a Board view on the Apple TV while each player has their own private view. Now here’s what I’m think should be done with Local Play on the Pocket Edition to make it better. Each player has their own little view n their devices, while on the Apple TV is a either a split screen, or map view. It would bring new life into LAN multiplayer, which is rarely used on the current version. I know that so far the Mojang hasn’t introduced any platform exclusive features to the Pocket Edition, but they simply must take advantage of AirPlay.
For those of you who don’t know, the next planned update to the PC version of Minecraft, 1.5, is going to be The Redstone Update. It’s going to bring a bunch of new redstone mechanics and fixes to the PC version. But I think it’s time that MCPE had its own redstone update. Right now players are in the unfortunate state of having Redstone Ore generate, but not being able to obtain it. When mined with any tool the ore will drop nothing. Not even a filler item, that could later be exchanged for redstone. A redstone update would require a lot of work, but it would pay off by adding a lot of new functionality to the game.
Buckets! A fairly basic item that has yet to make it to the Pocket Edition. Buckets are pretty essential to farming, as they provide a way to transport water.
Large Chests. If you go into the game right now, and mess around with chests. You’ll find they work a bit weirdly. First off, there’s no large chest. Secondly, you can’t even place chests next each other. Both are important things that need to be fixed.
Achievements, a staple of both the PC and XBLA version of Minecraft, have yet to be implemented in MCPE. Despite the mass number of Mobile Gaming Achievement services such as Game Center and GREE/Openfeint.
Naturally generating lava. This does exist. Kind of… If you go to a seed website for Minecraft, and look in the Pocket Edition section, you’ll likely find lots of seeds that will spawn you near a lava waterfall. But that’s as far lava goes in the game right now. You can’t even get Obsidian from it. I guess this would be fixed with addition of caves, but yet on it!
Maps, Clocks, and Compasses. These should be implemented with redstone update.
As you can see, the Pocket Edition has a long ways to go before it’s ready for prime time. But it’s future looks bright. Especially with things like Online Multiplayer support on their way.
Thanks to Johan Bernhardsson for his work on the Pocket Edition. It’s certainly appreciated, keep up the good work.
Update:Jens Bergensten (or Jeb), the lead developer of Minecraft for the PC, has just announced that he is taking over development of MCPE.