We had a board meeting today, which felt relatively grown up and mature. We had it at a nice asian restaurant, and there was food, drinks and coffee. Carl held a nice presentation, showing the progress of the company, and we discussed and voted about various details on where to go and what to do. The most relevant parts for Minecraft is that we decided to bring in bug fixing into the development method in a more clear way so that people working customer support can add them as tasks for us, and that we finally set a release date for Minecraft.
It's a bit tricky to really do a release for Minecraft as we keep updating it all the time. For one, the version we deem as the “full version” won't be very different at all from what the game was like a week ago, and we'll keep adding features after the release as well, so it's really more of a milestone when we finally get rid of the Beta label, and some kind of goal for us to work towards. The plan is to be open with this and try to get people to cheer us on as much as possible, but to be open with the fact that the game won't change much at the actual release day. (It's more a progress up until that point)
We picked November 11, with the unofficial tagline “us too”.
It's the same date as a few other games and movies, and the one I'm the most excited about is Skyrim, so that will be a nice reward for me if we actually manage to hit that date!
And, in case you want an update on Minecraft:
We've been working on finishing up Achievements and Statistics for 1.5, I ran into some issues with JSON, got frustrated, and added weather instead. Developing new features like that is what I enjoy doing the most, so I ended up covering a lot of ground.
There's periodic downfall (snow in snowy areas, rain in others, nothing in deserts) that make the sky darker, hides the sun, moon and stars, and makes everything wet. Ice grows back in cold regions, and snowfall covers the ground when it's snowing. During rain/snow, there can be occasional thunderstorms with lightning. I haven't finished the actual lightning bolt yet, but everything else is fairly done.
Once the stats are done and the weather has been tested through, we'll release 1.5. I'm guessing this will be next week. The piston mod might get added, but it will not be in time for 1.5.