Minecraft is an on-line game where the players run around mining for certain minerals, build structures, combat monsters as well as each other. and generally explore an expanding world. It is divided into two components. Namely on-line servers as well as clients to access the servers. Both components are free however to make full use of the capabilities of the client, a non-free (premium) account must be used. The game components are available for the “big three” operating systems (Linux, OS X, and Windows) and may run on systems with up to date JAVA installed.
Installation is simple but a lot of people have experiencing problems with getting the free accounts running. The simple solutions to most of the problems are pretty standard. Make sure the client is updated (if possible). Make sure at least JAVA 6 is installed. Make sure opengl is also installed and current. Sometimes deleting the bin folder in the .minecraft folder helps (depending on the problem the entire folder may not need to be deleted).
Here are some of the problems I encountered along the way.
– Initially I had the “Done Loading” error on all my machines. After trying all the common solutions suggested on the web I found I had to create an account (free) and tell the client to play from the web browser (a link on their web page). This fixed the problem for me. I was able to get in and play the demo. Apparently the other way is to sign in with a premium account.
– Some Windows computers don’t have up to date opengl drivers. I was able to login with a Dell SX 280 only to get a black screen. After looking at some error messages I determined I had to go and get the latest drivers from Dell. No joy there. The XP drivers stopped being updated around 2009. Since it is a borrowed machine (to be used in a different demo for a computer club) I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it anyhow.
– The free account uses a built-in server apparently and will not connect to other servers even on the same box. All the player can access is the same demo world. There is a time limit of about 100 minutes, but the player can start over at the end. I was thinking it would be nice to allow the player unlimited access to their own server (on their own machine). Connecting to 127.0.0.1 without restriction would help people who want to be game developers/programmers and don’t wish to buy a premium account.
Other than that it is pretty much a matter of downloading the programs and running them. I personally wouldn’t go out and get a premium account but for those who would I can see where it would be a fun game.