My kids have recently started enjoying Minecraft Pocket Edition, and it's a lot of fun to play with them. Of course, being hosted on a phone, the world isn't exactly persistent. We pretty much have a day or two to build things and then we start over. So I figured I'd look into setting up a proper local Minecraft server that we can play from actual computers (it's my understanding Pocket Edition can't use a proper server).
Understand that I have every intention of buying Minecraft, provided that it actually works...
The first thing I did was set up a server on my Linux box. Following the wiki, I set up a server on my Linux box (and ended up using one of the control scripts available as well). All appeared to be working well from that end, but that's just on the command line so far.
On my Mac I've downloaded Minecraft 1.5.1. When launching, it asked me for a login. So I registered an account. However, even though I can login just fine on the website, the game client always rejects the login. After a while (most of the day), the "Play Offline" option became available anyway. So, on my Mac at least, I'm still able to play offline and successfully connect to the LAN server and play the game.
So I went about trying the same thing on a couple of Windows PCs. (One running XP, one running 7, one running 8.) All of them exhibit the same "Login Failed" error consistently. One of them, after a while, allowed me to "Play Offline." I can play single-player, but attempting to connect to the LAN server results in a Java socket exception. The other two PCs I only began testing recently, so the "after a while" for "Play Offline" hasn't elapsed yet.
I've found a lot of discussions online (forums, YouTube videos, etc.) which address various underlying causes of the failed login. Some claim that all one needs to do is change one's password on the website, but that didn't make a difference in my case. Others suggest that it's a firewall problem, but I don't believe that to be the case this time either. It happens on both Windows and Mac here, and I can confirm that the Windows box used for initial testing inside my LAN has the Windows Firewall disabled entirely.
This seems to be an awful lot of trouble for what is a massively popular game. Is this normal? So, to summarize, my questions are:
Why does my login always fail?
How can I resolve that socket exception?
Ultimately I'm just looking to have a successful end-to-end run of the game. Again, I'll gladly buy it if it actually works for me. (Buying a copy for my daughter would make for a great reward for recent good behavior on her part, actually.)