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A Parent's Guide To Talking About Minecraft: Basic Minecraft Settings

This lesson is a part of an audio course A Parent's Guide To Talking About Minecraft by Nathan Nance

In our previous lesson, we discussed three reasons why Minecraft is such a big deal.

  • We talked about how children desire to create and be in control.
  • We discussed Minecraft as a worldwide movement and community.
  • And we shared some life lessons children can learn while playing Minecraft.

In this lesson, we will discuss Basic Minecraft Settings – the settings required to set up a new game and optimize your child’s gaming experience.

Minecraft has been downloaded over 200 million times across a variety of platforms.

Software like word processors or email clients can often be downloaded on both laptops and smartphones. When you download the same software on both devices, you enjoy the same general functionality. But the technology used on your laptop differs from the technology used on a smartphone.

The same principle applies to different Minecraft platforms. There are platforms that are written specifically for desktops and laptops that utilize a computer keyboard and mouse to play. There are even platforms that target specific operating systems.

Got a mobile device? No worries. There are _Minecraft _platforms that utilize touch screen technologies. Prefer gaming consoles like Xbox, Playstation, Wii, and Nintendo Switch? Minecraft has you covered.

This lesson will not dive into all of the intricacies of each platform and their corresponding versions but rather provide an overview of shared concepts and settings between the major platforms.

The main settings that we will discuss include:

  • Single Player Games Versus Multi-Player Games
  • Creative Mode versus Survival Mode
  • And User Experience Settings that impact game control, video and audio

Deciding to play a Single Player Game or a Multi-Player game is one of the first decisions that you and your child will make. For your child, this decision is about gaming experience. As a parent, this decision could both impact your child’s online safety and your wallet.

I recommend that parents evaluate their concerns about online gaming, before allowing a child to play Minecraft. The decisions you make about your child’s online play will impact his or her ability to utilize some of the Multiple Players Game options.

The easiest game to setup is a Single Player game. As indicated by the name, there is just one human player in one Minecraft world. This means that the only monsters your child will need to fight against are hostile mobs in the game, not Internet trolls or cyber-bullies.

If your child is interested in playing with other people, then consider the following four options:

  • Number 1: Minecraft Realms is a service offered by Microsoft. The Realm owner can invite an unlimited number of people to join, but only 10 people (in addition to the purchasing account) can play at one time. A realm acts as a private, always online playground. Setup should be fairly straightforward but this service will come with a cost and will require an internet connection.

  • Number 2: Other third parties offer online servers as well. These servers are not affiliated with Microsoft and may come with additional costs. When using third-party servers, the player will need to know the server IP address in order to connect to the server. An internet connection will be required.

  • Number 3: Your child can also play multi-player games on a Local Area Network, also known as a LAN. Every player will need to be connected to the same network and one of the player’s computers must act as the host device.

  • Number 4: Splintscreen is a multi-player option that is available on gaming consoles. A single screen is split into multiple parts to accommodate up to four players.

Please note that in order to play multiplayer games, each player’s Minecraft version (the version on each individual devices) must match with the host server or host device’s version of Minecraft.

Selecting the number of players may be one of the first decisions made, but selecting the Game Mode is one of the most important decisions. The two primary games modes currently offered across all platforms are Creative and Survival.

Creative mode offers a player an infinite amount of every Minecraft block. Not only can a player quickly build, he or she also can instantly remove blocks as well. Players are essentially invincible, as they are not impacted by hunger deprivation or attack. And if that is not cool enough, players can fly in creative mode.

The other primary game mode is Survival. Survival Mode is the functional opposite of creative mode. Players cannot fly. They face danger from hostile mobs, falling objects, falling into holes, drowning, and being burnt by lava. In Survival mode, players need to eat on a regular basis in order to maintain proper health.

In addition to the previously mentioned challenges, players have to search for and gather resources. The time required for this process depends on the type of material being gathered and the tools being used to do the gathering.

There are four difficulty levels in Survival Mode: peaceful, easy, normal, and difficult.

  1. When Peaceful is chosen, a player cannot be attacked by a hostile mob but still can be damaged by the world’s environment.
  2. Hostile mobs can attack in the remaining three difficulty levels - Easy, Normal, and Difficult.

Every Minecraft platform offers a variety of settings to improve gameplay and user experience. Some examples include:

  • settings that impact the behavior of the player and/or mobs
  • settings that adjust controls, such as keys used to move or touch screen responsiveness.
  • While other settings can modify the video and audio experience.

I would not expect parents to understand every setting and how it impacts gameplay, but I would recommend that parents have a basic understanding of the settings offered in your child’s platform version of Minecraft.

There are two reasons why I believe this is important:

  1. As a parent, you are both an advocate for and a defender of your child. By understanding basic Minecraft settings, you are better equipped to understand and implement a holistic online gaming strategy for your family.
  2. By understanding basic Minecraft settings, you will also be able to improve your child’s gameplay experience, especially for the younger Minecraft players who are not able to read yet.

Today’s Takeaway: Apply A Holistic Online Gaming Strategy

Question #1 – Do you feel comfortable with your children playing Minecraft online?

Question #2 – What steps do you need to take to protect your child while playing online?

Question #3 – How do your responses to question #1 and #2 impact your child’s gaming experience?

In the next lesson will talk about Minecraft blocks – what they are, how they are used, where they come from, and how they behave.

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Written by

Nathan Nance