Telltale Games is known for two titles – the video game adaptation of The Walking Dead (an AMC Original series) and The Wolf Among Us.  This skin of Bigby Wolf is by user Dollars and is of the main character from the latter series.  I am personally a huge fan of The Wolf Among Us, and am highly impressed by this wonderful skin!

 

bigby_inline

 

In case you are not familiar with the game, here is a reference of Bigby Wolf (an ironic spelling of “Big B. Wolf”, which of course stands for Big Bad Wolf):

 

bigby_ref

 

Without spoiling the game for those of you who have yet to play it, allow me to just say that Bigby is awesome and I am extremely glad that someone took it upon themselves to skin him into Minecraft.  So: thank you, Dollars.  Now we just need a Wolf Among Us mod…

 

Moving on – though his look may seem rather elementary, Dollars absolutely nailed this fan skin.  This representation looks almost exactly how I would imagine Bigby to be in the form of Minecraft-pixelly-goodness.  My one and only criticism is that I think the stubble should be a bit darker; Bigby’s stubble is noticeably black.

 

I am particularly fond of this skin’s shading.  Folds in clothes are difficult to accomplish in Minecraft skins (and in art in general, really).  Dollars executes this feat beautifully, using each pixel with the finesse of a master skinner – or Grandmaster, if you will.

 

Dollars and this Bigby Wolf skin are awarded ten out of ten mirrors.  High fives all around if you understand.

 

Installing the Skin

 

For online play, skins can be installed by simply uploading the file to your profile on Minecraft.net.  Skins posted on certain websites can be uploaded directly from their page, including this one; click on the button on the right-hand side labeled “change my skin” to be taken directly to the appropriate page.

 

For offline play only, the process is similar to installing mods:

 

  1. Download the skin’s .png file;

  2. Hold Windows key and press R to bring up the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.

  3. Type %appdata% and press enter, then navigate to roaming/.minecraft/versions.

  4. Open the folder containing the version you use for offline play and view the .jar file using WinRAR.

  5. Create a backup of the meta.inf file contained inside the .jar and store it in a separate folder.

  6. Navigate within the .jar file to assets/minecraft/textures/entity.

  7. Rename the image file titled “steve” to anything else (such as steve_backup).

  8. Change the name of your skin’s .png file to steve.png and insert it here.

 

Remember to keep your meta.inf and original steve texture backed up somewhere just in case.

 

If you have played or watched a playthrough of The Wolf Among Us, who is your favorite character?  Not to be stereotypical, but – Bigby is definitely mine.  Bluebeard is a close second, half because he is the voice of Lee from The Walking Dead.  Bonus points if you can tell me who else voices characters from both games without cheating.  Leave your answers in the comments!

Some players like to be completely immersed in their experience.  Other players, such as myself, find it useful and more fun to have access to information that they normally would not if they were in the position of the character – mob health and weapon damage, for example.  Vanilla Minecraft does this to some slight extent, but asaskevich’s SmartCursor mod takes it one step further.

This mod provides the player with advanced information upon mousing over various entities in the game.  The only readable information given by the game without this mod pertains to items, such as potions, weapons (for attack damage), and equipment in general (enchantment levels).

One of the most basic and most useful functions is the ability to see mob statistics.  By simply looking at any mob, the player can see their health, equipped items, whether or not they are hostile, and any special characteristics:

cursor_mobdisplay

This tooltip will also display if a mob is tamed (And who owns it if it is), what type of villager they are (if they are a testificate), and more.  It also works when looking at players, and will display their name, score, hunger, and respawn location if one has been set.

Looking at dropped items will yield the following information:

 

  • Item name (plus ID if item IDs are enabled)

  • Remaining and maximum durability, displayed numerically

  • How much the item will heal the player (if it possesses this characteristic)

  • If it can be enchanted, or if it already is enchanted, a list of its enchantments

  • How many items are in the stack (or if it is not stackable)

  • Any special effects present not as a result of enchantments

  • Any special elements, such as being the ingredient to a potion or an animal’s favorite food

 

As is the case with the mob information, this can be configured to display in a short list near the crosshair in the center of the screen, or in the corner as shown in the mob information screenshot.  Below is an example of a sword showing durability:

cursor_itemdura

Moving on to blocks, this feature is more useful for inexperienced (or impatient) players.  Hovering the cursor over a block with no tool in-hand or the wrong tool in-hand will display the block’s name and a message telling the player that it cannot be harvested with the selected item.

cursor_blockbreak

Looking at a block with the appropriate item in-hand will also display its name, and will show how much it has been damaged either as a percentage or a green progress bar.  This information can only be displayed in the center.

Finally, the amount of experience held within an experience orb can be shown.

cursor_xp

All settings can be configured in-game rather than needing to open a .config file.  The default key to access the configuration menu is F, though it can be changed in the game’s controls menu.

Unlike with most mods, I cannot really think of any particularly creative uses for this mod.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, though; it is a simple, straightforward mod that provides extra information for the curious, the inexperienced, or those who simply prefer to be informed.

Again, it is not a mod for everyone, as some will feel less immersed with more information than is necessary.  I personally love the idea, and will be using this mod for myself.

The most useful features for me are being able to see the stack amount of items, being reminded quickly if an item is important (i.e. a potion ingredient or something I can tame a mob with), and mob health – especially when trying to weaken creepers enough for a skeleton to slay it and diversify my music collection.  Seeing sword durability before picking it up is helpful as well.

 

How to install SmartCursor for Minecraft 1.7.10

 

  1. Download and install Minecraft Forge mod loader

  2. Download the latest version of SmartCursor.

  3. Hold Windows key and press R to open the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.

  4. Enter %appdata% and navigate to your .minecraft/mods folder.

  5. Drag and drop the .zip file downloaded in step 2 into this folder.

 

How do you feel about this mod?  Do you think it is useful and interesting, or pointless and harmful to the game’s experience?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Generally, I try to avoid these simple, novelty-type plugins that do little to really add to the diversity of the game and are more for laughs.  However, I love cheese, and I get the feeling that you (the reader) also have some emotional connection to cheese.  As such, I present to you gabe4356’s Cheese plugin.

 

So, what exactly does this plugin do?  Well – there are nine commands, each with their own permission:

 

  1. /cheese – this simply prints a list of the next eight commands to the player’s screen.  Permission is cheese.cheese

  2. /Cheddar – either sets the player’s health to 20, or adds 20 to current health – not entirely sure, need to test this further.  Permission is cheese.cheddar

  3. /Blue – player temporarily loses control of their speech ability, spouting nonsense.  Also, the player will take five damage dealt via embarrassment.  Permission is cheese.blue

  4. /Chex – a mix of crunchy, glorious goodness, although completely void of cheese.  Yields large amounts of experience points (as consuming chex mix is a wonderful experience).  Permission is cheese.chex

  5. /Chexterminate – well, the /exterminate command blows up whatever mob you are looking at (loads of fun), so I will give you one guess as to what this command does…  Permission is cheese.chexterminate

  6. /Kefalograviera – provides the player with flight, similar to the flight available in creative mode.  Permission is cheese.kefalograviera

  7. /Chevre – for some reason, eating this cheese gives the player a disk.  Maybe they find it in the cheese?  That has to be an FDA violation…  Permission is cheese.chevre

  8. /Oka – this cheese is apparently extremely healthy.  Eat it and you will see what I mean.  Permission is cheese.oka

  9. /Chinfo – provides further information about the Cheese plugin.  Permission is cheese.chinfo

 

Now, what I meant earlier by “novelty-type plugins” is thus: this plugin does not actually add anything useful to the game in terms of content or utility.  It is merely a fun tool to play with.  Now, if each of these cheeses were represented by an actual item that could be crafted, that would be a different story.

 

Regardless, it is an amusing plugin that can be used for a few laughs or perhaps some kind of reward system.  I cannot really think of any creative uses for this plugin, nor will I be rating it since it falls on a different sort of scale than the average mod.  If you like cheese, give it a download!

 

How to Install the Cheese Plugin for Minecraft 1.7.2 / 1.7.8 / 1.7.9 / 1.7.10

 

  1. Download the latest version of the Cheese plugin.

  2. Place the .jar file from step 1 into your game or server’s plugins directory.

  3. Run the game or server and wait for it to fully load.

  4. Restart your Minecraft game or server, or login to your admin account and execute the /reload command.

  5. Run the server or enter a world again.  The plugin should be properly loaded.

 

How do you feel about these types of plugins/mods?  Do they have a place amongst other, more creative creations, or are they space-wasters?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Realistic texture packs generally are not my cup of java, but this one is so well-done that I had to share it with all of you wonderful Minecraftians.  Allow me to introduce BackyardCraft, by TheAwesomeKielbasa!

 

Let me start with some technical details.  This pack is an ideal 256×256 resolution.  I feel that this resolution is the “sweet spot” between high quality and reasonable technical demands.  Anything higher begins to put too much of a strain on even the best of modern computers, while anything lower makes the notion of realism become questionable.

 

Moving on: this is a photo-realistic texture pack.  That means simply that the creator used actual photos from real life to create the textures you see in-game.  This is the reason for having such high resolution, as naturally photos need more pixels to convey the same amount of detail in-game.

 

back_inline

 

Grass, which is one of the most often encountered blocks in the game, is undoubtedly the best part of this pack.  This grass looks completely believable, partially thanks to its easily tileable nature.  The trees still look a little awkward, but this is through no fault of the creator – it is simply due to the way in which they are spawned in-game.

 

The second most often encountered block is cobblestone.  Take a look at this fantastic looking screenshot of one of Steve’s (Alex’s?) mining expeditions:

 

back_cave

 

I am left speechless at how great this looks.  The cobblestone arguably should appear a bit more rough, but the wood, fence, crafting table, furnace, and even torch blocks all render incredibly.

 

My only complaint as of right now is the presentation of ore in this pack:

 

back_ore

 

It just looks unnatural and does not fit with the cleanliness and polished feeling of the rest of the texture pack.  I am sure the ores will be improved in the future.

 

There are of course plenty of other textures to see in-game, but I will not spoil the surprise for you.  If you are looking for a hint of realism in your Minecraft experience, give this texture pack a download!

 

Altogether, I award this pack nine out of ten stock photos.  One point is docked for ore textures, and many points are given for striking a good balance between resolution and performance.

 

Installing BackyardCraft Texture Pack for Minecraft 1.8

 

  1. Download the latest version of the texture pack here.

  2. Load Minecraft.

  3. Click on Texture Packs (or Options > Texture Packs).

  4. Click Open Texture Pack Folder OR press WindowsKey+R and type %appdata%\.minecraft\texturepacks

  5. Place the texture pack in this folder and wait until it shows up in your client.

  6. Select the texture pack and click done.

 

There are many “realism” texture and resource packs available.  If you are into photorealism in Minecraft, which one is your favorite and why?  Post a comment below and let me know!

Though a fairly old skin, Captain Seighter the Skeleton Pirate by ScarletBox is easily the best skeleton skin I have encountered in my time playing Minecraft.  It was created for the Under the Sea contest a couple of years ago, placing fifth with a final score of 134.

 

skele_inline

 

The Captain has a compelling story detailing his epic battles during life and curiosity for adorable sea-creatures after death.  Basically, it is summed up thusly:

 

Ezterno (his first name) was the leader of a great and nearly invincible pirate group.  He was defeated by “the good guys” and wandered the sea for fifty years until he found his skeleton.  With the help of some affectionate sea-creatures, he was able to gain full use of his body when he took it over despite the serious damage it had taken.  Now he wanders the sea in search of a worthy opponent.

 

Behind Captain Ezterno Seighter is an interesting concept and well thought-out approach to the theme of the contest.  He symbolizes all aspects of the deep waters; the ecology, the life itself, the social construct of pirates and naval combat, the various colors of the sea, and of course mystery and death, two concepts largely associated with what lies in the unknown depths.

 

My final verdict on this skin is: it blows my mind.  Its concept is so incredibly deep, and its shading is absolutely flawless.  Plus, the level of detail is just perfect.  My only complaint is that it didn’t place higher in the contest!

 

ScarletBox is awarded ten out of ten Skeleton Keys, and Captain Ezterno Seighter is awarded ten out of ten improvised limbs.  Hats off to both of you!

 

Installing the Skin

 

For online play, skins can be installed by simply uploading the file to your profile on Minecraft.net.  Skins posted on certain websites can be uploaded directly from their page, including this one; click on the button on the right-hand side labeled “change my skin” to be taken directly to the appropriate page.

 

For offline play only, the process is similar to installing mods:

 

  1. Download the skin’s .png file;

  2. Hold Windows key and press R to bring up the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.

  3. Type %appdata% and press enter, then navigate to roaming/.minecraft/versions.

  4. Open the folder containing the version you use for offline play and view the .jar file using WinRAR.

  5. Create a backup of the meta.inf file contained inside the .jar and store it in a separate folder.

  6. Navigate within the .jar file to assets/minecraft/textures/entity.

  7. Rename the image file titled “steve” to anything else (such as steve_backup).

  8. Change the name of your skin’s .png file to steve.png and insert it here.

 

Remember to keep your meta.inf and original steve texture backed up somewhere just in case.

 

Which was your favorite skin in the Under the Sea contest?  It has long since come and gone, but nonetheless produced some of my favorite skins.  Feel free to browse through them here, then post yours in the comments section!

HazelOrb continues the line of Castle Crasher knights with the Blue Knight skin.  This is not a simple recolor, but rather is made from scratch using the Blue Knight as a reference.

 

blue_inline

 

The characters from this game translate exceptionally well to Minecraft’s visuals, so I am in full support of having all of the Knights turned into skins.  Hazel did just as great of a job with this skin as the last.  It is immediately recognizable as the character it is meant to represent:

 

blue_ref

 

As before, Hazel exhibits a masterful control over the skinning process with great shading and no wasted pixels.  As an artist myself, it is in my blood to critique; try as I may, however, I simply cannot find anything negative about this skin.  I award Hazel ten out of ten crashed castles.

 

Installing the Skin

 

For online play, skins can be installed by simply uploading the file to your profile on Minecraft.net.  Skins posted on certain websites can be uploaded directly from their page, including this one; click on the button on the right-hand side labeled “change my skin” to be taken directly to the appropriate page.

 

For offline play only, the process is similar to installing mods:

 

  1. Download the skin’s .png file;

  2. Hold Windows key and press R to bring up the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.

  3. Type %appdata% and press enter, then navigate to roaming/.minecraft/versions.

  4. Open the folder containing the version you use for offline play and view the .jar file using WinRAR.

  5. Create a backup of the meta.inf file contained inside the .jar and store it in a separate folder.

  6. Navigate within the .jar file to assets/minecraft/textures/entity.

  7. Rename the image file titled “steve” to anything else (such as steve_backup).

  8. Change the name of your skin’s .png file to steve.png and insert it here.

 

Remember to keep your meta.inf and original steve texture backed up somewhere just in case.

 

Series of skins tend to do well on Planet Minecraft.  Notable examples in the past include League of Legends skin packs and Naruto series.  What series is your favorite?