Minecraft developer Notch says the next update to his sandbox block-builder will be mostly a bug fix, but don’t let him fool you. He’s adding something big, and I mean humongous on a cartographic scale.
Maps. That’s right, just maps. But check this out: Maps you can drop and someone else can pick up. If they do, they can see what you’re up to, how far along you are, and here’s where it gets crazy–you’ll be able to “clone” maps such that two “separate items” can link to the same map data. That means you and a pal can keep tabs on each other, keeping track of what you’ve explored and where you each are–two blinking dots on the same pixel-edged faux-parchment rollout.
Alas, the maps won’t update changes you make to the terrain in realtime, and it currently only updates while you’re holding it in your hands, but what the heck–it’s better than nothing.
And it’s just the start: Notch says it doesn’t work in multiplayer yet, but that he’s writing multiplayer code to make it so. And when he does, that code will be reusable to accommodate other Minecraft widgets, like “books and notes written by players, and possibly even custom paintings/hand drawn signs.”
How many maps can you make per world? Notch says 65,536, or all you can cram into 16-bits.