A castle uploaded by Redditor karmanaut.
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Minecraft and Microsoft: A Story of Hope

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture, News

I’ve been playing Minecraft since before multi-player existed. I’ve spent thousands of hours hunting for diamonds, building make-shift dirt huts, and shouting expletives at creepers. Some of my best gaming memories happened in Minecraft’s voxelated environments. I appreciate the vital role Notch played in all of that.

That’s why I couldn’t be happier to hear that Notch has sold Mojang.

Minecraft’s success has come (and stayed) in spite of the work Notch and Mojang have done recently, not because of it. Minecraft and its community have been badly mismanaged for years; the sale to Microsoft is an opportunity to change directions and make things better.

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Mojang’s EULA Problem

Gaming Culture, News

Last week, Marc Watson, Mojang’s Customer Support Manager, dropped a bit of a bomb on Twitter:

Mojang seems to think that their EULA gives them the authority to regulate anything related to Minecraft. It’s true that a well-worded EULA can confer tremendous power (in the U.S., at least), but that power is not unlimited.

Regardless of the legality of it, Watson’s interpretation is hostile to Mojang’s customers. It’s time for Mojang to do some soul-searching. What kind of company do they want to be?

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Feel like going on a walk on another actual planet? The whole planet? Voxel Mars is a very Minecraft-esque, global-scale reproduction of Mars in voxel.js, using topographic data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

The Bucket

Voxel Mars

Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

I Asked And They Made It

About three years ago, I made a Modest Proposal.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

I dreamed of a Minecraft where you had a tech tree that would allow you to slip the surly bonds of Voxelstan and roam off into space. Well, it seems like somebody went and (kinda) made it. How about that?

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Technical Peccadilloes Edition

Games and Gaming, News

We return after holidays, work, and the inevitable technical breakdowns, but we persevere to bring you another podcast! This week, we discuss the impossible: Minecraft goes 1.0, the unfortunate: GSC Game Studios and GamePro fold, and the stupid: EA continues their über-ban policy, parents name their kid after a character in Skyrim, Telltale gets caught sockpuppeting user reviews of Jurassic Park: The Game and Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera supports them, the International Red Cross opens their mouths to say that video games might be a war crime, the other shoe drops on the Playstation Vita, Microsoft makes you sign away your right to class-action lawsuits, and Skyward Sword has an unfixable game-breaking bug. And you wonder where our sunny disposition comes from. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 40 (12/10/11)

Cap'n Mal afloat
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Minecraft Waterworld: Hardcore Mode

Games and Gaming

Dry land is not just our destination, it is our destiny!

So sayeth Deacon and so sayeth our Hero, the ever optimistic Captain Blockypants Reynolds (or just Cap’n Mal for short).

Hello and welcome to this introductory episode of Minecraft Waterworld on Hardcore Mode!

Setting:  Our hapless hero has [landed, been banished, is stuck in a dream, woke up one day] on a world with nary a speck of land in sight.

Goal: Somehow… Cap’n Mal knows if he finds and kills the [Evil, Vile, Wily, Gorram] Dragon, his quest will finally come to a happy conclusion.

Complication: He only has ONE LIFE TO LIVE!

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: We’re Horrible, Horrible People Edition (09.15.11)

Games and Gaming, News

And once again, we return to you belatedly and with sadness in our hearts. Real life stupidly keeps on intruding into our efforts to bring you our particular brand of meaningless babble, and so here we are. This week, we cover such late-breaking news as Ubisoft removing the DRM from From Dust, freeing us to wonder why you would want to buy the game in the first place, EA continues making up for lost time with their dickery, the PC is resurgent while Nintendo continues to watch the bottom fall out of their business models, and we promote two things worthwhile: One, a pre-release beta of Minecraft‘s 1.8 Adventure release (which, due to our timeliness, is already out officially), and a Kickstarter donation page for the NASA astronaut sim MMO game, which is still ongoing and can be found here. Please, go forth and donate to a worthy cause, and remember to Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 37 (09/15/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Barracuda Edition (06.03.11)

Games and Gaming, News

With E3 still a week away, and the PSN fiasco finally winding down, what news scraps are there left for poor amateur podcasters like us feed on? How about an announcement for a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game? Minecraft coming to Android and iOS? Kotaku showing some of that ol’ backbone that we used to love? And the announcement of Facebook: Modern Warfare (AKA Call of Duty Elite)? All of this and more on this week’s episode of the Levels Of Detail Podcast! Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 29 (06/03/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Something and Brimstone Edition (05.25.11)

Games and Gaming, News

We return, yet again, from the brink of work! This week, we bring you the not-so-triumphant return of Hellgate: London, Duke Nukem Forever and Playstation Network, news on the forthcoming lack of news at E3 2011, Modern Warfare 3‘s story will be even dumber than you think, a bit of positive news on Minecraft, asshole game developers, and the somewhat embarrassing quality gap between mainstream Hollywood and mainstream gaming. Please, share and enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 28 (05/25/11)

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Building Game Communities

Features, Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

It seems like game developers and publishers tend to take a few different strategies with how they release and support their games. This can be for any number of reasons, like meeting a release date, reaching specific sales numbers, and experimenting with sales models. Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t.

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: This Could Be Bad Edition (04.29.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

So, there was a thing! PSN got hacked and now we’ve all been sold wholesale to Estonian hackers to work in their gold farms or whatever. Also, Nintendo confirmed that the Wii 2 is actually a thing, which conveniently distracted everyone from the massive hit their year-over-year earnings took. We take a solid half-hour to kick both Sony and Nintendo while they’re down, but we also have other news! In the afterglow of the Portal 2 release, Valve gives us some more information about their upcoming projects, we have more Minecraft news, LA Noire lets us know where its true allegiances lie, and an ancient conspiracy declares war on gaming. Please, listen, share and enjoy, and email us at LODpodcast@LevelsOfDetail.com.

LOD Podcast Episode 26 (04/29/11)

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Levels Of Detail Podcast: Digging Ever Deeper Edition

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

Hello! We have another show for you today, as is our wont. As the gaming industry has seen fit to try to starve poor us out of a podcast (starve, I say!), we have had to search long, hard and deep for today’s news. But we have triumphed! The fruits of our labor include Minecraft finally getting a strange new feature called a “release date”, the Navy has a new game for all you sub sim fans out there, we ruminate on an anniversary most ignominious, the Sesame Street game seems to be angling to resurrect your childhood and make you cry in a most awesome way, and then, starved for content, we talk about cars and semi-random gaming news for the remaining 10 minutes. Interesting! Illuminating! Entertaining, even (we hope)! All this and more in this week’s episode of the Levels Of Detail Podcast. Please, share and enjoy, and talk back at us at LODpodcast@LevelsOfDetail.com.

LOD Podcast Episode 24 (04/10/11)
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