Already bored with the Minecraft 1.5 Update and looking for more? Well, you won’t be getting the Pistons Mod with the next official Minecraft patch, but you will be getting the map features Notch has been working on.

As we reported previously, Notch is currently working solo on Minecraft with his right-hand man Jens Bergensten temporarily assigned to another project. So, Notch has been working with a friend from Oxeye Games on a mini-map feature and just updated his blog to detail what it entails and what else is in store for the Minecraft 1.6 update.

There’s no timeframe yet on when the 1.6 update will release as Notch needs to perfect the mini-map’s functionality and get it working in multiplayer. The mapping will be the only added feature of the next update with the rest of it focusing on a lengthy list of bug fixes.

As for how the exciting feature works, once you craft the item you need to hold it for the map to chart the area you are in. While holding it you need to actually look down to see it in your hands.You’ll also be able to zoom but the map will only cover a limited area so you’ll actually need more maps if you want to explore and chart other areas, just like in real life.

Notch is also adding the ability to clone maps so you and a friend can share and each person’s map will update as one or the other explores that area with their map in hand as the maps are sharing the same data. You’ll also be able to see each other as blinking dots on the map.

This is quite a significant feature addition to Minecraft and what’s even more exciting about its implementation is the potential it creates for other similar items, as Notch hints:

“The code I write to support that will also be possible to reuse in the future for things like books and notes written by players, and possibly even custom paintings/hand drawn signs.”

For the role players out there, this adds an entirely new dimension to your gameplay experience as you no longer need to leave signs that tell players to “read note #1” where they have to alt-tab out of the game to read at text file that came with a mod or some such adventure map.

Minecraft exits beta status on November 11, 2011 and theĀ 90-minuteĀ Minecraft demo is available now.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Notch

tags: Mac, Minecraft, Mojang, PC