Voxel World

Terasology Alpha 7

Notch, the creator of Minecraft, once promised to release his incredible game under an open source license. This promise, quite understandably, has been lost among the billions of dollars and the Microsoft buyout. But, remarkably, it doesn't matter too much. This is thanks to several significant open source projects that implement voxel graphics and similar crafting and survival mechanics to Minecraft. Terasology is one of the best. This is alpha release 7, and the result of a lot of work from a Google code-in over winter and a "Summer of Code." And, despite its alpha tag, Terasology is already well established and comprehensively furnished with assets, levels, and modes. It's also great fun to play, especially if you already enjoy and understand how Minecraft works. Its development plan is also ambitious by extending the original idea with caretaker management styles inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper.

The only slight hitch, and one Minecraft also suffered from, is that Terasology needs Java to run. Thankfully, this isn't much of a problem if you already have Java installed, and I had no problem playing the game with OpenJDK 1.8.0. The first thing you notice is that the game looks staggeringly beautiful. If your graphics hardware is up to the task, there's depth of field and bloom effects that really bring the voxels to life. This is thanks to the huge number of creators and maintainers who have contributed already. There are also dozens of add-on modules, too, adding everything from dynamic cities to different soil types – none of which you expect when you read this is an alpha. If you know someone who loves Minecraft, try switching it one night with Terasology and see if they thank you.

Project Website

Terasology is a rare exception in open source gaming where the art assets are also open source (CC BY 4.0).

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