developer: Mojang Studios
publisher: Xbox Game Studios / Microsoft Studios
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: Internet
Minecraft Earth is the AR spin-off of the highly popular Minecraft. The game was developed by Microsoft. The title was announced in May 2019 and is one of the projects prepared for the tenth anniversary of the original Minecraft. The game, running on iOS and Android devices, is free-to-play and uses advanced augmented reality technology, the processing power of Azure servers, and the experience that developers have gained during the development of Microsoft HoloLens AR goggles.
Minecraft Earth is an adaptation of the classic Minecraft and offers only a part of its features: a system of combat, crafting, equipment, gathering resources, as well as a way of interacting with the game world. The title continues to use the camera of our phone, superimposing 3D game elements on the video image.
The main attraction of the title is the construction mode, in which we can create our own constructions or large projects together with other players in our immediate vicinity. The game offers construction boards of various sizes, unlocked along with the progress. The constructions submitted by us after being accepted by the game can be placed in real-life environment as monuments visible to all players.
In order to get the components necessary for building, we must go out into the world. Like Pokemon GO, the title encourages users to take long walks in the open air. On our way, we will come across randomly generated containers with little amounts of materials to start the construction. We will also obtain materials in specific and predetermined places. In urban parks, we can, for example, start cutting down trees, and at water reservoirs, we can cast a rod and catch fish. Developers use the OpenStreetMap website, which is developed and updated by the users.
Minecraft Earth also offers dynamically generated missions, known as "adventures". Making them enables us to level up our hero and obtain necessary building materials. The objectives of the tasks are varied, but to a large extent they boil down to the elimination of monsters in a way known from the original game. However, it is important to note that many people can participate at the same time - they must, of course, gather in one place in the real world when participating in the adventure.
Minecraft Earth can be played solo, but its biggest attraction is the wide range of co-op gameplay possibilities. The fact that the players can see each other in the virtual world and interact with each other, e.g. fighting the same creature, sharing healing potions or collecting materials in a building mode, in real-time is particularly impressive. The players can also share their saved designs and modify them with the owner's consent.
Minecraft Earth utilizes the computational power of Microsoft Azure servers, as well as the rich experience of developers in developing HoloLens goggles. Special algorithms and geostationary data collected from the players (GPS information, video recordings, and photos) prevent the three-dimensional objects of the game from "flying around the screen" regardless of the camera in the phone, and give the impression of static and solid buildings placed e.g. in a busy street.