How’s the weather outside? Thanks to the Minecraft 1.5 update, you can now experience this and answer the question in-game. The latest official Minecraft patch not only added rain, snow and lightning effects, but it also also introduced basic achievements, new minecart rails a few other tweaks and bug fixes.

We already reported that Notch is working away on adding mini-maps and a large number of bug fixes which will form the Minecraft 1.6 update, but now we can add one more addition to the next update: The Nether in multiplayer!

In single player Minecraft, players can use their patiently mined Obsidian blocks along with a spark from flint and steel to create a portal. Once you pass through the purple energy, the game loads the player into The Nether (aka Hell or The Slip).

In survival multiplayer however, players can build and activate portals, but nothing happens once they attempt to use it. You can stand in one all day, but The Nether simply doesn’t load. According to Notch in his latest blog update, this is something he’s finally about to change and it will be a part of the 1.6 update. Unfortunately, it could be a long while before that update is available.

The Nether is an entirely separate zone of the game, much darker in aesthetic and featuring its own types of blocks and mobs. Trees grow differently, compasses and clocks do not work, and players cannot sleep there. It’s terrifying, but for players brave enough, The Nether can be used as a method of fast travel across long distances.

How? Distance crossed in The Nether is 8 times that of the normal Minecraft world. So if you set up a system of portals or get creative with minecart tracks in Hell, you can take advantage of it to quickly traverse long distances. Just make sure you protect that track.

Are you looking forward to taking your away team of friends through a portal?

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

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Notch

tags: Mac, Minecraft, Mojang, PC