Minecraft version 1.7 and 1.8 notes from Notch
According to notch's twitter account, Minecraft version 1.7 may be released as eatly as this Thursday.
...Me and Jens have been independently working on stuff for the adventure update, and it’s been growing in scope as we’ve been working on it. That means it will take quite some time to finish, but that it will hopefully change the game a lot to the better. To prevent going too far between updates, we’ve decided to release Pistons early.
That means 1.7 will be released soon, containing only pistons and probably a couple of bug fixes. The adventure update will take however long it takes, and will be released as 1.8. It might be a long wait, but it will be worth it!
After 1.8, we’ll have to start crunching for the full release in November. That includes finishing up the mod api, improving stability and performance, adding supporting features like friends lists and a proper server browser, integrating singleplayer and multiplayer, and most importantly fleshing out the gameplay.
The release date is almost certainly changed to sometime the week after 11/11/11, and we’re working hard on setting that up. We want to make a big spectacle out of the release where we involve fans and celebrate it properly....
Since 1.8 is still a significant time away, we’re going to have to stop being as secretive about it as we have. We’ll provide information about it as we go, but we’ll keep actual details secret. So, for example, we could say “added two new colors” without saying which ones, or “testing experience and leveling to see if it’s fun” without giving details on exactly how it works.
The update is pretty big, and will change a lot of how Minecraft is played, focusing on making exploration and combat much more rewarding, and bringing in a bigger sense of adventure to the game.
Already implemented are new complex terrain features, at least one new mob, some interesting new combat mechanics, a new lighting engine, and some experimental new gameplay ideas. To come is more interesting farming, bigger incentives to explore, and npc villages.