Guncraft preview: Minecraft with guns

To call Minecraft a runaway success would be selling it short. Of course, success inspires iteration. Devekioer Exato Game Studios is taking the Minecraft aesthetic and turning it into a first-person shooter with Guncraft.

"Guncraft is the marriage between what everybody loved about Minecraft, all the creative aspects, and what everybody loves about the gameplay of Call of Duty and Halo--which is shooting your friends in the face," executive producer Ted Lange told us.

Guncraft operates like many first-person shooters, with bullets replaced by blocky pixels. However, there are some unique ideas, like the long-range hookshot. It's not uncommon to play through games and look up to see players slingshotting across large maps. While the hookshot's range isn't unlimited, it is long enough to reach across a good 3/4 of most maps. Complementing the hookshot is a parachute, making the game seem like an exaggerated take on Just Cause.

Like in Minecraft, players can alter the environment. This should add an interesting wrinkle to combat. "If I see a guy run into a base, I can switch into build mode and take out some of the walls and then just shoot him," Lange explained. "At that point, there's really no safe place to go. And just like I can do that, I can pop into build mode and build my own little hideaway that I can hide behind."

Players can do battle in eight different game modes, including standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag modes. Lava Survival and Meteor Survival test building skills, as players can only be killed by rising lava or falling meteors. Directly shooting players will only freeze them for ten seconds, but that lost time can lead to premature death.

There's also a game mode called Spleef, which Lange says is based on consumer feedback. "One of our community members loved this Minecraft mod, which is one of the first PvP modes. It's all about building tools and there's a single layer on the ground. It's all about taking tiles out from under one another."

There will also be a free building mode, in which players can craft their own unique creations. While this may be enticing to newcomers, seasoned Minecraft players may be chagrined by the idea of having to create their old masterpieces from scratch. Lange offers a solution to this.

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"Not only do we let people build whatever levels that they can imagine, but we added a voxel map importer," he said. The map importer can be used to import any Minecraft (or Minecraft-style) map into Guncraft for multiplayer use. "Any map that's even been created in Minecraft, you can import into this to have, not only limitless amounts that you can build in this game, but you can take all the maps that people have been building for years in Minecraft and turn them into full-on multiplayer games." To demonstrate, Lange showed off a recreation of Halo's Blood Gulch multiplayer map, complete with drivable tanks.

"We have a feature set comparison of all the different voxel-based games, including Minecraft," Lange concluded. "Across the board, we have almost everything that each one has and so much more, because it's been about listening to the community and what type of stuff that they want to see in the game."

Guncraft is currently in open beta and is set to release its final version on PC. It's currently in the top 25 on Steam Greenlight.