Mojang made a surprise announcement at its Minecon 2012 event last night: a specialist version of its popular Minecraft title developed specifically for the Raspberry Pi.
Designed to bring the popular block-based crafting game to the Pi's low-power ARMv6-based processor, Minecraft: Pi Edition is based on the code written for Minecraft: Pocket Edition, a cut-down version of the game originally developed for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. It's not a straight port, however: in keeping with the Raspberry Pi Foundation's goal of rejuvenating computing education, Minecraft: Pi Edition comes with support for modifying the game's code to encourage the next generation of hackers.
'You can start by building structures in the traditional Minecraft way, but once you’ve got to grips with the in-game features, there’s opportunity to break open the code and use programming language to manipulate things in the game world,
' explained Mojang's Owen Hill in a blog post
timed to coincide with the Minecon announcement. 'You’ll be learning new skills through Minecraft.
'The possibilities are massive. You could organise the cheapest LAN party of all time, or use the Pi to learn the fundamentals of programming on a minuscule budget. It’s like hacking your way into Minecraft and modifying the game world with code, a bit like being Notch, Jeb, or Nathan, but arguably more fun and less stressful.'
It's a move that has the Raspberry Pi Foundation's full support. 'When it’s released, which we hope will be very soon, it’ll be a free download,
' Liz Upton explained
, 'and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I totally can't wait.
Sadly, there may be one little fly in the ointment: presently, the Mojang team are working with the Revision 2 version of the Raspberry Pi Model B. As a result, they're developing the game on a version of the system with 512MB of memory - double that of the originally released Model B. As yet, there has been no official statement as to whether the game, based on code developed for smartphones and tablets with around 1GB of RAM, will operate correctly on the 256MB models.