Mojang said on Thursday that our favorite block-building game on the PC, Minecraft, will be updated to v1.3 on August 1, 2012. The big deal here is that the single-player portion will no longer be stand-alone, but will instead serve as a shell on top of the multi-player portion. This allows for bug fixes to be applied to both aspects of the game simultaneously, and to prevent multiple implementations of every user-made mod.
"The single/multi-player merge has added the possibility to share your single-player worlds with friends who are on the same local network," Mojang said. "It has also enabled players to use multi-player-like commands in single-player (such as /gamemode and /give), but only if cheats are enabled."
The drawback to combining the two modes is that rendering will be far more taxing on the system. Because the single-player mode is a shell on top of a background server, the game emulates and simulates the world simultaneously even when playing solo, thus possibly taking many more CPU cycles. This may not be good news for machines already struggling with the game as is, and Mojang doesn't expect to release rendering optimizations until v1.4.
"A couple of problems and expected features have been pushed to Minecraft 1.4," Mojang added. "The most notable problem is the lighting issues causing black regions in the terrain. We’re looking into ways to solve this, but lighting is a very expensive calculation and we are struggling with finding a solution that doesn’t hurt framerate."
The modding API was also pushed back to v1.4 so that the team could release v1.3 in August -- throwing out single-player was the first step towards the API's launch. As for other features in v1.3, the patch will include a basic "Adventure Mode," a smoother and more stable experience in multi-player, the addition of emeralds, emerald ore and a trading system for buying items from villagers, an updated chat screen, the ability to write in books for leaving stories for other players to read, the addition of a bonus chest for beginners and more.
"The time between Minecraft 1.2.5 and 1.3 has been the longest update interval yet, and that was because we changed so much in the game engine. I (jeb_) was a little scared to push it to the public, but waiting even longer is not a solution," Mojang said.
To get the full report on the upcoming update, head here.