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‘Minecraft Legends’ is a new action-strategy game coming 2023

A new Minecraft game has made its world premiere at the Xbox Summer Games Fest — one where you’ll be able to build structures and command your allies to fight enemies. Xbox Games Studios has showcased a short clip of Minecraft Legends at the event and has also announced that the new action-strategy game is coming sometime in 2023. It was developed in partnership with Blackbird Interactive and will feature an online campaign co-op and a competitive multiplayer mode. Dennis Ries, the game’s executive producer, said the studio will announce more information about them later this year.

In Minecraft Legends, you’ll need to protect the Overworld, with its rich nature and resources, from an invading army of piglins. You’ll have to forge alliances with mobs and lead them into strategic battles against the invading forces. Ries said the “game will have a very exciting campaign that will introduce many surprises for both new and seasoned Minecraft player alike.” The studio has only shared a few details about the upcoming game for now, though, and has promised to reveal more about it soon. You can also follow the official Minecraft Legends Twitter account to keep up with the latest news about the game.

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How to breed villagers in Minecraft

Interested in making your favorite Minecraft village larger? The only way to do this (without cheats) is to make your villagers start breeding. That helps you build out a village and can eventually lead to more trading opportunities and other advantages.

However, breeding Minecraft villagers isn’t always easy. Circumstances need to be just right, which means you have some work to do if you really want to expand a particular village. Here’s everything you need to encourage villager romance and get some families started.

How to breed villagers

Step 1: Find your village of choice. Ideally, it will already have a few villagers around, but that’s not necessary if you are willing to boat or cart in villagers from other locations. Most importantly, it should be monster-free, since empty villages can often contain pillagers, zombies, or other enemies.

Step 2: Make sure you have at least two villagers. Again, you can boat or cart them into the village if you have to.

Step 3: Move your villagers close together. They really need to be in the same building to breed. This isn’t always easy, because villagers don’t always naturally cohabitate. You can simply move two of them close and then build a building around them if you want, or find an existing structure with enough room in it and move your villagers into it.

Step 4: Start making some beds. We have a whole guide on how to do it! The key for breeding villagers is to create enough beds for every villager plus one. Villagers generally won’t breed unless there is an extra bed available for the child. Place the beds, including the extra one, near your villagers.

Bed in Minecraft.

Step 5: If possible, trade with your villagers to make sure they are active and functioning properly. Now, you’ll need to get them in the mood. Villagers have a specific mating mode they go into, and one of the best ways to encourage it is to give them food — a fair amount of food, too. You must feed each villager in your couple one of the following:

  • 3 bread

  • 12 carrots

  • 12 potatoes

  • 12 beetroots

Lob the food into your villagers once you have collected enough. Eventually, hearts will start to appear over the villagers. That means you did everything right.

Minecraft Villagers.

Step 6: Wait for the villagers to spawn a baby. You can, uhh, stay and watch if you want — this usually only takes a few minutes at the most once the heart icons start appearing, but you can also go off and explore for a little bit if you want. A child villager will eventually pop into existence next to the two villagers.

Step 7: The child villager will grow up in about half an hour or so … but that’s just one new villager. If you really want to build out your village, you should absolutely create a farm. Pair up a jobless villager with a composter, and they should turn to farming all by themselves. Farmers will automatically supply nearby villagers with their own food, which means you don’t have to keep feeding villagers yourself to get them to breed.

A farmer in Minecraft.

Step 8: Expand your village by continuing to build structures and add extra beds so there’s always at least one spare bed. Before long, you will find your village populating itself. From here, the sky is the limit: You can create a whole city if you want, as long as you keep everything accessible to your villagers.

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How to Make a Portal in Minecraft

While you roam the plains and mountains and jungles of Minecraft, marveling at all the virtual beauty that seemingly stretches on forever, a sinister dark side awaits. Among the demons and otherworldly entities lay fortresses to explore, chests to loot, and unique resources to gather. This guide shows you how to make a portal in Minecraft so you can step into these nefarious realms.

Here we show you how to build two portals: One leading to the Nether biome and one to the End biome. While you may be anxious to revisit an End Ship and want to build an End Portal immediately, you need an item from a Nether Fortress to build the portal, which in itself can be difficult to find. That means you need to build a Nether Portal first.

Build a Nether Portal: Mine obsidian blocks

This is an involved process, so we grouped the instructions into four parts.

Obsidian blocks create the frame for your Nether Portal. To obtain obsidian, you need a water bucket, a diamond pickaxe, and a pool of red-hot lava!

Step 1: Equip your water bucket and gather water.

Step 2: Find a pool of lava and shower it with the water.

Step 3: Once the lavas cools, retrieve the water using the empty bucket.

Step 4: Mine the resulting obsidian using a diamond pickaxe.

Build a Nether Portal: Create flint and steel

This is what you need to light the obsidian frame and create the Nether Portal. Here you need two types of ore: Iron and gravel. With gravel, just mine it with anything — including your hand — until flint appears. Iron ore must be smelted in the Furnace to create iron ingots.

Step 1: Open your Furnace.

Step 2: Place iron ore into the top square.

Step 3: Place fuel into the bottom square, including wood, charcoal, and coal — basically, anything that burns.

Step 4: Drag the resulting iron ingot down into your inventory.

Note: As shown above, you can place more than one iron ore and one fuel into the Furnace at once to create multiple iron ingots in a single sitting. The Furnace will continue smelting until one or all resources are depleted or you close the Furnace.

Next, with flint and iron ingots now in your inventory, you can make the flint and steel tool.

Step 5: Open your Crafting Table.

Step 6: Place one iron ingot into the top square in the left column.

Step 7: Place one flint into the center square in the middle column.

Step 8: Drag the flint and steel tool down into your inventory.

Build a Nether Portal: Create a fire charge (optional)

This is an optional method of igniting the obsidian frame but requires an ingredient dropped in the Nether. Here’s what you need, and here are the steps:

  • Blaze powder — Created by placing one blaze rod into the Crafting Table’s center square. A blaze rod is dropped by a Blaze, which guards a Nether Fortress.
  • Gunpowder — Obtained by killing a Creeper or opening chests.
  • Coal — Mined from coal ore, which you can find from 4 to 15 blocks under the surface.

Step 1: Open your Crafting Table.

Step 2: Place one gunpowder in the left square in the top row.

Step 3: Place one blaze powder in the center square in the top row.

Step 4: Place one coal into the right square in the top row.

Step 5: Drag the resulting three fire charges down into your inventory.

Step 6: Repeat these steps as necessary.

Build your Nether Portal

The frame requires a total of 14 obsidian blocks. Once it’s built, ignite any obsidian block side facing inward.

Step 1: Place four obsidian blocks on the ground.

Step 2: Stack four obsidian blocks on the left block currently on the ground. This creates a column of five blocks.

Step 3: Stack four obsidian blocks on the right block currently on the ground. This creates a column of five blocks.

Step 4: Connect the two columns using two obsidian blocks.

Step 5: Move your flint and steel or fire charge from your inventory down to the Hotbar and select it.

Step 6: Perform the following to ignite the portal:

  • PC — Right-click on the inner side of any obsidian block.
  • Console — Select the inner side of any obsidian block and press the left trigger button.
  • Mobile — Tap on the inner side of any obsidian block.

Step 7: Step on through to the dark side of Minecraft.

Note: One block in the Nether equals eight blocks in the Overworld, so be wary about how far you stray from the Nether Portal.

Build an End Portal

Here’s the problem: If you’re playing in Survival Mode, you can’t create an End Portal. You can craft the Eye of Ender portion required to build the portal, but there’s no way to obtain the necessary End Portal Frame blocks without switching over to Creative Mode.

The only way to access an End Portal in Survival Mode is to invade an underground Stronghold. You can locate a Stronghold by loading Chunkbase in your web browser and entering your world seed number. This online app gives you the coordinates of each Stronghold.

Otherwise, there’s no method of crafting an End Portal Frame block. They’re only available in the Creative Mode inventory. Technically, you could temporarily switch to Creative Mode and build the portal and then switch back to Survival Mode.

Here are the two ingredients you need to build this portal:

  • 12 Eye of Ender
  • 12 End Portal Frame blocks

Build an End Portal: Create an Eye of Ender

If you don’t want Creative Mode to completely hold your hand, you can craft this portion of the End Portal requirement. Here’s what you need, and here are the steps:

  • One Ender Pearl — This is dropped by a fallen Enderman.
  • One blaze powder — To create this ingredient, you need to place one blaze rod into the Crafting Table’s center square. This item is dropped by a fallen Blaze, which typically guards a Nether Fortress.

Step 1: Open your Crafting Menu.

Step 2: Place one Ender Pearl into the center square in the middle row.

Step 3: Place one blaze powder into the right square in the middle row.

Step 4: Drag the resulting Eye of Ender down into your inventory.

Step 5: Repeat these steps until you craft 12 Eyes of Ender.

Build an End Portal: Build the Frame

Standing or hovering in place, set 12 End Portal Frame blocks on the ground in a 25 x 25 square grid — three on each side. You must place these blocks in a specific direction or the End Portal will not ignite.

Step 1: Consider yourself standing on block zero. Without moving, count two block spaces forward — as shown above — and place your first End Portal Frame block in the “two” spot. Place the second and third blocks on each side of the first block.

At this point, there should be an empty block space — the number 1 shown above — between you and the End Portal Frame blocks.

Step 2: Without moving, turn 90 degrees in place and repeat Step 1.

Step 3: Without moving again, turn 90 degrees in place and repeat Step 1.

Step 4: Finally, without moving again, turn 90 degrees in place and repeat Step 1 to place the final three blocks.

As shown above, we placed a grass path block in the center to demonstrate where we stood while using red wool blocks to demonstrate the one-block space between the player and the End Portal Frame blocks.

Note the arrows. The End Portal Frame block engravings absolutely must point inward toward the player for the portal to open. If not, the portal won’t activate.

The layout shown above is incorrect. Notice how the engravings don’t point inward but instead point away from the frame. These engravings absolutely must point inward, which is why placement is extremely important.

Build an End Portal: Place the Eye of Ender

To activate the portal, you need to equip the Eye of Ender. Target the End Portal Frame block and do one of the following (depending on your device):

  • Commands for Gamers playing on PCRight-click on the End Portal Frame block.
  • Commands for Gaming ConsolesTarget the End Portal Frame block and press the left trigger button.
  • Commands for Mobile Device GamersTap on the End Portal Frame block.

The image below shows a failed attempt, because the End Portal Frame blocks were positioned incorrectly. Unfortunately, the portal will not work if you don’t position the blocks so that the engravings face inward.

Build an End Portal: Make another End Portal

You’ll know you’re able to cross over to the other side if you see a black void. This also lets you know that you built a strong portal — congratulations! After you cross the void, you’ll automatically be moved to the End biome. Depending on your preference, you can either start exploring the space, or if you’re feeling adventurous, fight the Endragon a second time.

Once you’ve experienced all the End biome has to offer, you can easily construct another portal. Since you’ve now figured out how to do this successfully, you’ll be able to make a new one in no time. After you create this new portal, you’ll be transported to your spawn point in the Overworld dimension.

Sadly, you cannot travel to the End city using an End Portal after you’re already inside the Overworld territory. However, it is possible to get into the End City or End Ship by accessing the End Gateway after preparing the Ender Pearls. Once you’ve achieved this, you can create another portal that will transport you out of End City and back to your home.

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The Best Minecraft Mods | Digital Trends

Since its release in 2011, more than 200 million copies of Minecraft have sold, and its continued popularity on YouTube and the new Minecraft: Education Edition will only add to that record-breaking number. Despite the high number of popular Minecraft clones, youngsters and veteran gamers alike keep coming back to the original, in part because of how easy it is to find Minecraft mods that add a fresh spin on a classic experience.

We’ve sifted through heaps of weird and silly mods to find the best UI improvements, visual filters, new gameplay mechanics, and cool ideas that will keep Minecraft from becoming stale. Some of our favorite CurseForge mods of the past no longer work with the 1.16 Nether Update, so we’re keeping our list updated with mods that you can still enjoy with the latest version of the game.

If you need help implementing the aforementioned mods, we’ve also put together a guide on how to properly install Minecraft mods, so you can spend less time scouring forums and more time schlepping blocks to the outer regions of Mars.

Further reading

The Essentials

Applied Energistics

Everyone is a bit of a hoarder in Minecraft, and Applied Energistics makes it easier than ever to become one. The ultra-convenient mod stores all of your items by turning them into energy, which is then stored on hard drives in your base. All of your items are wirelessly accessible from anywhere in your base, and the storage capabilities are virtually endless.

PC

Just Enough Items

A screenshot of the Minecraft GUI with item icons appearing to the right of the main recipe interface.

Minecraft’s endless list of materials makes it difficult to remember why you need any of them. Just Enough Items enables you to hover over any item and check its uses or recipes, adding icons into the empty space right of the menu. Based on the now-defunct Not Enough Items mod, JEI includes the same text-based search bar to find any recipe and see what materials you have or still need. Also, check out the Just Enough Resources add-on for cool new additions like dungeon loot.

PC

CraftTweaker

A crafting table logo.

Should you wish to attempt your own Minecraft modding, either for a custom server or your own modpack, CraftTweaker offers an excellent starting point. With it, you can alter properties in-game, such as swap recipe components or change what an item does — for example, make all food less effective for a survival-themed server where you must fight off starvation. You can even add your own new custom blocks and items. It requires scripting knowledge, so get ready to study its wiki.

PC

Waystones

A player looking at a pillar and the words "Waystone: The Mountain".

Ever forget your map at home, then go so far exploring that you can’t find where you left your home and the resources you spent dozens of hours collecting? Believe us, it’s incredibly frustrating, and this mod will prevent it from ever happening again. Craft waystones, place them around your world, then use a Warp Scroll or Warp Stone to return to where you’ve been. Or, in case you die and lose your stuff, simply add a button to your inventory that warps you anywhere, without an item.

PC

DimensionalDoors

A dimensional door standing on the beach.

Somewhat similar to the waystones are DimensionalDoors. These function similarly, but instead of going from place to place, they can lead into your own little pocket dimension. Basically, they just allow you to access an infinite amount of space to do with as you please. You can simply use it for storage, but they can also function like waystones without the scrolls or stones since each one can lead out another you place wherever you like.

PC

VoxelMap

A Minecraft mini-map showing coordinates, landmarks, and locations of nearby players.

If you want to remove any mystery and always know where you are, who else is around you, and what you’ll find in any given direction, you’ll need a map or compass in your UI. Since the superb Journeymap is stuck in 1.15, consider VoxelMap, which gives you a mini-map or full-screen map that displays everywhere you’ve explored, mirrored to look like whatever weird biomes and resource packs you’ve downloaded. You’ll also see icons of NPCs and waypoints to which you can teleport.

PC

Nature’s Compass

A menu showing all of the potential nearby biomes, and an option to teleport to one.

Compasses that only point north are so basic. This modded compass will point toward any nearby biome you wish to visit. You right-click the compass in your inventory to open a menu of nearby environments, then select one to have a heading for your next quest. The Nature’s Compass mod can also detect modded biomes (which we’ll reference below), so you can seek out the weird and wacky worlds you just downloaded.

PC

Controlling

The minecraft controlling menu.

Once you’ve installed a bunch of mods, it can be hard to manage all the extra features — and keep track of how to use them. The Controlling mod is a straightforward addition to Minecraft that lets the user pull up a search bar to find actions and the key they are mapped to. Controlling keeps the game organized and is essential for anyone using dozens of mods.

PC

Expand your world …

Biomes O’ Plenty

Looking at a giant blocky volcano in Minecraft.

Minecraft’s biomes can be fairly uniform and can become somewhat monotonous after spending hundreds of hours in the same forests, islands, and caves. Biomes O’ Plenty adds new environments and climates, from alps and volcanoes (above), to new forest types, groves, and tropics at ground level and crystalline chasms below. With new plants and blocks everywhere you go, your world will feel more like a world than ever before.

PC

Pam’s HarvestCraft 2

An inventory full of unique crop icons.

Make sure your avatar eats all of its food groups, with this awesome series of mods adding around 50 fruit and nut trees, 75 crops, 120 foods to cook or make, and new tools like a skillet, juicer, bakeware, and more. Crops and trees spawn to spawn in specific biomes, rewarding you for exploring with new ingredients for fun recipes. Currently, only the Food Core mod works with 1.16, but these mods are regularly updated, and we expect the others to be overhauled soon.

Food Core (PC)
Trees (PC)
Crops (PC)

Quark

A "pickarang" flies back to the player with materials in the Quark Minecraft mod.

An unthemed collection of small improvements, Quark adds creatures and tools that, once you see them, you’ll wonder why Mojang hasn’t already added them. Our personal faves of the 120-plus new features? The throwable pickarang that breaks blocks and returns with materials; skittish stoneling fairies that spawn underground, can be tamed, and love when you feed them rocks; inventory sorting by categories; beautiful new brick types; and hidden, underground mega-dungeons.

PC

Aquaculture 2

A player fishing in a lake.

Base-game fishing is purely functional and fairly limited: You can only catch four types of fish, as well as some items, and the rod cannot be customized. Aquaculture 2 adds more than 30 new fish found in different biomes, lets you customize your line and tackle, includes craftable hooks and bait for better catching chances, lets you cook your fish into fillets, and even adds special Neptunian armor. Try to catch ’em all!

PC

Worley’s Caves/YUNG’s Better Caves

A deep and glowing chasm in Minecraft.

Most mods tend to customize biomes on the surface, but these two mods put great effort into giving the underground more character, so you spend less time mining just to find an open space. Worley’s Caves turns the underground into a customizable, endlessly generating maze of rooms, with mobs ready to jump out from every corner. YUNG’s Better Caves focuses more on different types of customizable environments, from poison lakes to flooded caverns, making each new area a treat to discover.

Worley’s Caves (PC)
YUNG’s Better Caves (PC)

The Endergetic Expansion

A magical purple forest in Minecraft's The End.

Taking a portal to the End isn’t a field trip; you’re there to fight off mobs and take on the Ender dragon, after which there isn’t much to see or do that’ll compel you to return. This new expansion changes that, adding new biomes, critters to tame, food, blocks, and even bosses.

PC

Simply Jetpacks 2

A row of different colored jetpacks.

For a world as expansive as Minecraft, it only makes sense to use something as cool and efficient as a jetpack. Beyond the straightforward joy of soaring around without having to use Creative mode, the mod allows you to build different types of jetpacks with varying max speeds and armor ratings. Or, you can build a Fluxpack, chestplate armor that protects you and charges modded objects in your inventory that run off of Forge Energy.

PC

Advanced Hook Launchers

A minecraft character uses a grappling hook to climb out of the underground.

If flying everywhere feels a bit broken, these grappling hooks will make traversing the world easier, but not too easy — and even add new combat mechanics. Craft a sticky web hook for climbing up or rappelling down tall structures, a pudge hook to snag enemies in multiplayer, or a spear hook that works for climbing but mainly serves as a powerful weapon for flying creatures like dragons.

PC

Origins

The description of the avian class.

One of the more popular mods in recent years is the Origins mod, which adds some RPG flavor to your Minecraft experience. Now when you begin a game, you will choose a specific class for your character, with each one having a unique trait, as well as weaknesses, that can really spice up how you play. The Enderian lets you teleport as though you had Ender Pears, but take damage when you touch water, and the Avian can slow fall but has to sleep at high elevations and can’t eat any meat, to name just two.

PC

… Or explore custom worlds

Mekanism

Mekanism is a mods collection that will boost your Minecraft system from traditional mining into a more modern industrial age. This option adds a robot companion, fusion reactors, atomic disassemblers, solar generators, and power networks to level up your engagement with the game. Additional mods will give you other technology that can help you build entire cities.

Mekanism (PC)
Mekanism Additions (PC)
Mekanism Generators (PC)
Mekanism Tools (PC)

Vampirism

A team of vampire hunters stand on the left and vampires on the right.

Vampirism adds a layer of gameplay to Minecraft that will let you become a vampire who can feed on the villagers in the game or help you be the hero with the sharpest stake that can take out all of the vampires that are stalking you. This comprehensive mod adds RPG-style skills for vampires and hunters.

This mod allows you to level up using vampire rituals and trick out your vampire lair with unique coffins and blood storage. Vampirism also has village biomes full of NPCs to protect or feed upon, vampire barons with mobs of baddies to fight, and a castle that may belong to Dracula himself.

PC

Botania

A view some of the magical tools built in a field.

Botania is a natural magic tech mod built to sync naturally into what Minecraft modders call the “vanilla” game. Players must harvest 16 new Mystical Flowers to attain Mana. You can use the Mana you attain to beautify your world even further by creating even more beautiful flowers.

The goal is to harness your flowers’ power for automated magical generators that produce materials. You can do this by building in-world rather than using a custom UI.

PC

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There’s now an official ‘Minecraft’ gaming chair

Themed gaming chairs aren’t completely new, but this example is rather unusual. According to Windows Central, Microsoft and Mojang have collaborated with Secretlab on a Minecraft chair. The Minecraft Edition Titan Evo 2022 includes the obligatory game logos, but it’s also made to look like you’re sitting on one of the game’s infamous Creepers. That sounds more than a little… creepy, but it might be just what you’re looking for if you livestream Minecraft or otherwise want to advertise your fondness for the classic creative title.

And unlike the in-game Creepers, this chair shouldn’t explode. This is Secretlab’s first special-run chair to use the company’s SoftWeave Plus fabric, which promises to blend durability with comfort. You might not have to worry quite so much about spills or tears ruining your gaming throne.

You can pre-order the Minecraft gaming chair today starting at $549 for small and regular versions, and $599 for XL. That’s a lot to spend on any chair, especially a special edition — you might want to be sure your love of the game is more than just a short-term fling. If it is, though, the expense might be worthwhile to improve your comfort (and hopefully posture) for those lengthy world-building sessions.

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The future of ‘Minecraft’ includes swamps, scary monsters and a Game Pass bundle

On Saturday, Mojang held its annual Minecraft Live fan convention. As in years past, the event saw the studio detail the future of its immensely popular sandbox game. And if you’re a fan of Minecraft, the livestream did not disappoint.   

The studio kicked off the event with the announcement of The Wild Update. Set to come out sometime in 2022, Mojang promises this latest DLC will change how players explore and interact with the game’s overworld. The update will introduce an entirely new swamp biome that includes mangroves players can pick fruit from and replant to nurture new plants.

The Deep Dark, which was previously planned for 2021, will now launch instead in 2022 alongside The Wild Update. First announced at Minecraft Live 2020, the DLC adds the Warden, a new enemy character that is one of the game’s scariest yet. Players who brave the DLC will find special new items only available in the deep dark.

In the meantime, fans can look forward to part two of the Caves and Cliffs update coming out later this year. In the first half of 2021, Mojang made the decision to split the update into two parts due to the complexity of the included features. At Minecraft Live, the studio said that was the right decision, in part because it allowed the team to take into consideration community feedback. As previously announced, the update will include expanded caves and biomes. It will also increase the height and depth limit of worlds.

Mojang hasn’t forgotten about Minecraft Dungeons. In December, the studio will introduce a new feature called Seasonal Adventures. Each week, you and your friends will have to chance to take on weekly challenges. As you complete them, you’ll earn progress towards a seasonal progression track that unlocks rewards like new skins, pets and emotes. Season One, The Cloudy Climb, will add a new Tower feature and adventure hub for players to explore.

Now is also the perfect time to either try Minecraft for the first time or return to the game after an extended break. On November 2nd, Microsoft will release a Minecraft bundle for Xbox Game Pass on PC. The pack includes both the Bedrock and Java editions of the game, with support for a single MSA log-in across both.

The updates come at a time when Minecraft has never been more popular. Just this past August, Mojang said more than 140 million players logged in to play the game, representing a new milestone for the title. Minecraft Live then was about positioning the game for a future where it continues to grow.

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Secretlab TITAN Evo 2022 Minecraft gaming chair now up for preorder

Mojang and Secretlab have teamed up to launch an official Minecraft Edition gaming chair. The TITAN Evo 2022 Minecraft Edition chair is, as you can see from the launch images, styled after the game’s Creeper character. The company is offering the chair in various size options, as well as some accessories like a headrest and swappable armrests.

The Secretlab TITAN Evo 2022 Series Minecraft Edition chair features the company’s SoftWeave Plus Fabric, as well as some premium features like a full-metal internal mechanism for precision and durability. Likewise, the chair features Secretlab’s CloudSwap magnetic replacement system for rapidly replacing the armrest topper material.

The chair also features a magnetic memory foam headrest that can be easily snapped to and removed from the chair for additional head and neck support when needed. Users are able to move the headrest up or down as needed, plus the cushion features a layer of ‘cooling gel’ to help prevent overheating.

The chair’s seat, meanwhile, features a combination of design elements from Secretlab’s OMEGA and TITAN product lines, offering a supportive center region alongside ‘gently sloping side wings.’ The company is offering its Minecraft Edition TITAN Evo 2022 Series in Small, Regular, and Extra Large (XL) size options.

Despite its name, the TITAN Evo 2022 Series Minecraft Edition is available now for preorder. The small and regular sizes (which are rated for less than 200lbs and 220lbs, respectively) are both priced at $549 USD, while the extra-large chair, which is rated for 175 – 395lbs, is priced at $599 USD. The headrest pill is included with the chair.

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Minecraft Dungeons Spookier Fall arrives: Rewards, challenges, and trailer

The Minecraft Dungeons team has taken the wraps off Spookier Fall, this year’s follow-up to last year’s Spooky Fall event. The limited-time event offers new Halloween-themed spookiness, related challenges, and rewards. The company has released a launch trailer to go alongside the new Spookier Fall event, offering a teaser for those who haven’t yet purchased Minecraft Dungeons.

The new Halloween event in Minecraft Dungeons will be around from October 13 until November 2. During this time, players will participate in seasonal trials and other challenges to unlock blocky, pixelated rewards. Fans will want to participate to get their hands on the exclusive items that won’t be available once the spooky season ends.

Examples of this year’s exclusive spooky items include the Spooky Goardian armor, Cackling Broom, and Phantom Bow. Those who have the Bedrock Edition can also get the Spooky Gourdian Character Creator Set for free. Check out the trailer above for a look at these items and others.

Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler game based on the Minecraft universe; it is available to purchase for Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC now. The game’s Standard Edition is priced at $19.99, while additional DLCs are available at an extra cost.

Today, October 16, also marks the start of Minecraft Live for fans who want the latest news and to celebrate the hit game’s continued existence. Beyond that, the team has also rolled out the Spookier Fall Halloween merchandise for diehard fans to wear this season, including shirts and canvas bags.

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Minecraft Minions DLC arrives with Gru, villains, and a ton of outfits

Minions, the annoying yellow creatures that first appeared in Despicable Me and soon took over to become their own franchise, have arrived in Minecraft. The content is available via the Minions x Minecraft DLC, an optional game add-on available in the Minecraft Marketplace.

The new DLC is based on the Dispicable Me universe; players will get access to the Minions and to Gru as they “fight iconic villains” found in the movies, according to the company. The villains found in the DLC include El Macho and Vector, plus there’s Lucy and the three kids: Agnes, Margo, and Edith.

The new DLC is something of a promotion for the upcoming movie Minions: Rise of Gru; the video game is getting the new “breakout stars” featured in the movie, among other things. The Minecraft team notes that the Minions x Minecraft DLC also includes the slew of outfits used by the Minions.

Players can now grab the DLC in the Minecraft Marketplace. As with other in-game content, you’ll need to get Minecoins, the title’s currency. The Minecoins can be exchanged in the digital store for the DLC, which will then be accessible in Minecraft.

This isn’t the first major IP to get a Minecraft release — past examples include everything from Star Wars to The Simpsons. Despite its age, Minecraft remains a huge hit with players around the world, something sustained, in part, by the many mini-games, texture packs, and more constantly added for the title.

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AI

BASALT Minecraft competition aims to advance reinforcement learning

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Deep reinforcement learning, a subfield of machine learning that combines reinforcement learning and deep learning, takes what’s known as a reward function and learns to maximize the expected total reward. This works remarkably well, enabling systems to figure out how to solve Rubik’s Cubes, beat world champions at chess, and more. But existing algorithms have a problem: they implicitly assume access to a perfect specification. In reality, tasks don’t come prepackaged with rewards — those rewards come from imperfect human reward designers. And it can be difficult to translate conceptual preferences into a reward functions environments can calculate.

To solve this problem, researchers at DeepMind and the University of California, Berkeley, have launched a competition, BASALT, where the goal of an AI system must be communicated through demonstrations, preferences, or some other form of human feedback. Built on Minecraft, systems in BASALT must learn the details of specific tasks from human feedback, choosing among a wide variety of actions to perform.

BASALT

Recent research has proposed algorithms that allow designers to iteratively communicate details about tasks. Instead of rewards, they leverage new types of feedback like demonstrations, preferences, corrections, and more and elicit feedback by taking the first steps of provisional plans and seeing if humans intervene, or by asking designers questions.

But there aren’t benchmarks to evaluate algorithms that learn from human feedback. A typical study will take an existing deep reinforcement learning benchmark, strip away the rewards, train a system using their feedback mechanism, and evaluate performance according to the preexisting reward function. This is problematic. For example, in the Atari game Breakout, which is often used as a benchmark, a system must either hit the ball back with the paddle or lose. Good performance on Breakout doesn’t necessarily mean the algorithm mastered the game mechanics. It’s possible that it learned a simpler heuristic like “don’t die.”

BASALT Minecraft

In the real world, systems aren’t funneled into an obvious task above all others. That’s why BASALT provides a set of tasks and task descriptions as well as information about the player’s inventory — but no rewards. For example, one task — MakeWaterfall — provides in-game items including water buckets, stone pickaxe, stone shovel, and cobblestone blocks and the description “After spawning in a mountainous area, the agent should build a beautiful waterfall and then reposition itself to take a scenic picture of the same waterfall. The picture of the waterfall can be taken by orienting the camera and then throwing a snowball when facing the waterfall at a good angle.”

BASALT allows designers to use whichever feedback mechanisms they prefer to create systems that accomplish the tasks. The benchmark records the trajectories of two different systems on a particular environment and asks a human to decide which of the agents performed the task better.

Future work

The researchers say that BASALT affords a number of advantages over existing benchmarks including reasonable goals, large amounts of data, and robust evaluations. In particular, they make the case that Minecraft is well-suited to the task because there are thousands of hours of gameplay on YouTube with which competitors could train a system. Moreover, Minecraft’s properties are easy to understand, the researchers say, with tools that have functions similar to real-world tools and straightforward goals like building shelter and acquiring enough food to not starve.

BASALT is also designed to be feasible to use on a budget. The code ships with a baseline system that can be trained in a couple of hours on a single GPU, according to Rohin Shah, a research scientist at DeepMind and project lead on BASALT.

“We hope that BASALT will be used by anyone who aims to learn from human feedback, whether they are working on imitation learning, learning from comparisons, or some other method. It mitigates many of the issues with the standard benchmarks used in the field. The current baseline has lots of obvious flaws, which we hope the research community will soon fix,” Shah wrote in a blog post. “We envision eventually building agents that can be instructed to perform arbitrary Minecraft tasks in natural language on public multiplayer servers, or inferring what large-scale project human players are working on and assisting with those projects, while adhering to the norms and customs followed on that server.”

The evaluation code for BASALT will be available in beta soon. The team is accepting sign-ups now, with plans to announce the winners of the competition at the NeurIPS 2021 machine learning conference in December.

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