'Minecraft 1.2' Update Guide

Minecraft Update Guide

Now that Minecraft is in beta, it seems like every day brings fresh news about the game. From the overly expensive Minecraft T-shirts to the use of Microsoft's Kinect to build monuments in the game, Minecraft is everywhere. It even makes an appearance on Game Rant's list of Game of the Year nominees.

Now the biggest content update since Halloween has hit the world of Minecraft, and users are in for a gigantic treat. Notch and company have added a flurry of new features just waiting to be utilized, and we here at Game Rant have built a quick guide for those of you eager to return to the mines.

First and foremost, here's the official list of updates, straight from Notch:

Minecraft 1.2 Updates

  • Note blocks (right click to tune, trigger to play)
  • 15 wool dyes
  • A new water dwelling mob
  • New tree types
  • Reeds magically turned into sugar canes. They still make paper.
  • A bunch of new crafting recipes
  • One secret useful block
  • One secret pretty block
  • Cake
  • AND MOAR, probably. I forget!

There's quite a bit of content to go through, so let's start off right at the beginning, with the most notable addition the 1.2 update brings to Minecraft.

Minecraft Update Dyes

The Dyes

The biggest change is, of course, the ability to color the wool from sheep. As fans of the old Creative Mode can attest, with an arsenal of colors at your command, no amount of pixel art is too complex! We've included a handy guide for color crafting which may come in handy:

  • Red: Craft the Red Flowers to get Rose Red.
  • Yellow: Craft the Yellow Flower to get Dandelion Yellow.
  • Orange: Combine the red and yellow pulp together to get Orange.
  • Blue: Lapis Lazuli Dye (the new blue ore, of course) is mined from its respective ore block.
  • Green: A cactus block is simply smelted to get your green dye.
  • Black: When you kill a poor, friendly squid in the water, it'll drop ink sacks for you to combine with wool.
  • Cyan: Combine your Cactus Green with Lapis Lazuli to get a nice, cyan color.
  • Purple: Rose Red and Lapis Lazuli.
  • Gray: An ink sack combined with bonemeal
  • Light Blue: Lapis Lazuli with bonemeal.
  • Pink: Rose Red with bonemeal.
  • Lime: Cactus Green with bonemeal.
  • Light Gray: Bonemeal and gray mix.
  • Magenta: Purple and pink mixed together.

As an additional note, the Lapis Luzuli ore - which drops blue pieces upon mining akin to redstone - can also be used to craft a new, neat looking Lapis Luzuli Block, which is mostly blue. It's also the aforementioned "secret pretty block." Wondering about the strange sounding name? Wonder no more: it's a real-life semi-precious stone that is vibrantly blue in color.

It should also be noted that coco beans were added to the game. Though they're not accessible yet, they will probably be made available in an upcoming update, and it is expected they will be used to generate the color brown.

Minecraft Update Musical Blocks

Note Blocks

The Note Blocks are an amazing addition, crafted by placing eight planks around (like making a chest) and placing redstone in the middle. When a block is placed, a user can left click on the block to play it (connecting it to redstone has the same effect), or right click to change the pitch up a half-note. Depending on the block below the Music Block, it'll be a different instrument. Here's a list of the corresponding sounds, so you can start your 8-bit band:

  • Glass or Lightstone = Clicks/Sticks
  • Sand or Gravel = Snare Drum
  • Stone Types = Bass Drum
  • Wood Blocks = Mirimba
  • All Others = Piano or Harp

When the blocks start jammin', the sound carries over a distance of 48 blocks.

Minecraft Update Secret Block

The Secret Useful Block

The secret useful block in question is a Dispenser, and it does exactly what its name suggests: it dispenses. They're crafted by forming a door of cobblestone, with a bow in the middle and redstone below that. When you right click the dispenser, you'll see the equivalent of a chest, which can be filled with items. When powered by redstone, the dispenser block will randomly dispense items. Two quick notes here, though. First, arrows placed in the dispenser will literally shoot out, and therefore, these make great sentry guns. Second, when the dispenser block is destroyed, all the items inside go with them. Be careful!

Minecraft Update Cake


Notch had previously stated that if Minecraft won the Mob DB 2010 Game of the Year Award, he'd add cake to the game - and when that honor was bestowed upon him, it was time to deliver. Buckets of milk finally have a use -  get them by taking a bucket and right clicking any cow - and eggs finally have their first use, too. To get the necessary sugar, simply craft a piece of sugar cane, which were reeds in older versions of Minecraft. As for wheat, it's the usual - plant them, grow them, harvest them.

A cake is the size of a half-block when placed, and each time players eat a slice they'll gain 1.5 hearts. Players can eat a total of 6 times, meaning a cake gives 9 hearts total. If you destroy your delicious cake block, you get nothing in return - but why would you destroy delicious cake?

Minecraft Update Mob Changes

Mob Changes

The long elusive water mob has finally arrived! The good ol' silly looking squid (until you see their mouth - trust us, you'll understand) are a neutral mob who drop Ink Sacks upon their death, which can be used to make black dye.

Skeletons now drop Bones, which can be crafted to make three pieces of Bonemeal, which is a very versatile item. It can be used for several different colors in the dying process, and it can also be used to fertilize a block of crop -- which will grow instantly!

Mob Spawners also show a rotating preview of what they're about to spawn, so players will know if they've ill-fatedly stumbled into a Creeper Dungeon in time to get out. Oh, and lest we forget, spiders can now climb walls, except for sand. Be prepared for the scariest nights of your life.

New Tree Types

When players spawn on new land, they are likely to jump out at the white birch trees that are now integrated with the usual dark brown forestry. While the wood blocks themselves are different, it's the same wood once it's turned into planks. There are now also pine trees which spawn in the arctic tundra, likely a nod to the popular Biome Mod of Minecraft.


Always wanted to make a great sand fort, but hated how gravity brought your dreams crashing down on you? Well, craft 2x2 pieces of sand together to get Sandstone, a stable piece of block that allows players to finally utilize sand to their hearts content.

Minecraft Update Game Screen

The Odds & Ends

There's a few more neat additions worth covering. Furnaces now have a new default texture, and wood used as a fuel source in said furnaces will now be transformed into charcoal. Charcoal has the same properties as coal, so wood burning just got a lot more efficient.

Stone and Wood tools, for whatever reason, are now twice as durable. We won't be complaining when we spawn on new worlds, before we upgrade to the ol' trusty iron source.

Notch also optimized the game by including a new rendering engine, so those of you playing on low-end computers will notice some increased performance to go along with your increased items!

Time to Start Playing

That about covers it for the update, but knowing Notch there might be even more left undiscovered by the masses. Let us know if you find anything, and in the meantime we hope you enjoy our guide to the amazing world that is Minecraft 1.2!

Ranters, what do you think of the changes this new update brings to Minecraft? What would you like to see added in future updates?

Minecraft is available for PC and Mac from

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