Minecraft Earth gameplay detailed: Adventures, world map, hunger, Tappables, and Build Plates

Minecraft Earth has finally been revealed! Formerly codenamed "Genoa," Minecraft Earth is an upcoming free-to-play augmented reality (AR) game from Microsoft, which takes inspiration from Ingress and Pokemon Go from Niantic Labs. It will be available for mobile devices, namely Android and iOS.

Utilizing data from Open Street Maps, Minecraft Earth allows you to build and adventure anywhere in the world, whether you want to hunt down zombies with your friends, collect mob types Pokemon-style, or build the castle of your augmented reality dreams.

The gameplay in Minecraft Earth will be familiar for Pokemon Go fans, but there are some key differences that add piles of depth to the experience while remaining true to what Minecraft is all about.

Related: When does Minecraft Earth become available?

The overworld map in Minecraft Earth

The world map in Minecraft Earth extracts data from Open Street Maps, combined with Microsoft Azure services to construct a Minecraft-style world view. You'll be able to see every aspect of your local community rendered in Minecraft-style blocky goodness, which will track your movements as you walk around.

Whether you're on the go or stationary at home, Minecraft Earth will surface "Tappable" blocks which can be mined instantly on the world map, simply by tapping the screen. These blocks might be things like cobblestone, dirt, or sand, among other common building types that Minecraft fans will find familiar. Your avatar in the world can use any skin you have available on the Minecraft Bedrock editions of the game, too.

On the world map, you'll be able to see other players who are in your nearby vicinity (depending on your privacy settings), as well as various activities upon which you can participate. The most noteworthy of these activities we know about so far are "Adventures."

How 'Adventures' work in Minecraft Earth

Adventures in Minecraft Earth are augmented reality sessions that spawn randomly throughout the world. The adventures are dynamic based on the location data from Open Street Maps and can be experienced either alone or with any other players in the local vicinity.

Adventures are like small slices of core Minecraft, placed directly onto the real world. Within an adventure, you'll be able to mine through the ground to get cobblestone, chop down trees for wood, battle mobs, capture creature variants, and more. We asked about boss battles from Minecraft, but Microsoft said it wasn't ready to talk about that just yet.

Adventures are where you might find some of the rarer building materials, such as diamonds. If you're sharing an Adventure with other players, every block mined during the encounter will be received by everyone in the group, so there's no need to dash around and fight over the loot. Everyone gets everything. Everything you collect, whether its building materials, mobs, or loot, goes straight into your inventory, which you can then use on "Build Plates."

Related: How does monetization work in Minecraft Earth?

How 'Build Plates' work in Minecraft Earth

Build Plates are Minecraft Earth's building canvases, effectively your own unique slice of Minecraft goodness. Functioning like a small personal Realm, a Build Plate is where you can spend your hard-earned resources enjoying an augmented reality version of the Minecraft you know and love. Build huge castles, make Redstone contraptions, breed rare mob variants, and even invite your friends in to help build and trade items with you. Build Plates can be shrunk down and placed on a table for easy editing, or blown up to life-size to be experienced in the real world.

When you're done, you can even drop your Build Plate onto the world for others to experience, but fear not, only those you've invited in to participate can break or add to your Build Plate, so be sure to only invite people you trust!

Health and Hunger in Minecraft Earth

Health and Hunger from Minecraft's survival mode both play parts in Minecraft Earth. You will need to eat to keep your hunger up, in much the same way as you do in Minecraft's base versions today. In addition to impacting your health regeneration, hunger also determines how far you can "reach" away from your current location to hit Tappables and interact with Adventures.

Just like in Minecraft today, you will be able to farm food, breed animals, and cook chicken for drumsticks.

As cute as the new Muddy Pig is, you may find yourself hankerin' to chop it up for some delicious pork chops.

Child safety and protection from griefing in Minecraft Earth

Speaking of trust, Microsoft says it is taking player safety very seriously with Minecraft Earth, particularly for younger players. Minecraft Earth uses a free Xbox Live account for its system-level features, which come with robust protections for child accounts. Child accounts won't be seen on the world map by default, viewable only after getting express permission.

Additionally, players won't be able to enter and smash your creations without permission either. Build Plates function similarly to Minecraft Realms, in the sense that you need to invite people in before they can impact anything. If you've set your Build Plate down publicly for others to view, they can smash it and mess around with it, but the changes only happen on their end, and they won't be able to collect any of your blocks (without being invited to do so). Once they leave your Build Plate, it will return to normal.

Huge Minecraft Earth potential!

Minecraft Earth has the potential to be a truly massive game, bringing together Minecraft fans from across the world in a single, massively multiplayer augmented world.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!