Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years' Surprise!

Hello readers. I thank you for taking the time to read my blog. On December 23, 2010, the first post was made so this blog is already over a year old. Since then, Minecraft and myself have improved greatly.

As a treat for all of you, on January 1st I am going to unveil a large project I spent some time working on. It is literally the largest project I've ever had, standing somewhere around 1,006 blocks in size. It is related to something I've posted on here before, but never actually did. This idea I mentioned several months ago had one image attached to it, one image that has attracted the majority of my readers. Up until now they've searched for this but not found it. This surprise will be what they are looking for, and possibly more. This will be both a celebration of over a year of adventures, as well as ushering in the year 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tale of Kingdoms

One of the mods that I have is Tale of Kingdoms. It sort of turns Minecraft into an RPG. I keep a separate minecraft.jar file specifically for it, because it defaces the terrain in ways I would prefer it didn't unless I actually wanted to play it. Yesterday, Christmas, felt like a ToK kind of day. So during the time I wasn't doing anything else, I was playing it.

I'm still sort of a wimp when it comes to monsters. The gate of the starting castle has a forest, and that's where I do most of my combat. By day I would wander around chopping wood and collecting resources, sometimes cautiously entering caverns and lighting them up. I'm still not comfortable going inside a large, dark tunnel teeming with mobs. By night I would pick off the mobs that walked close enough that I could safely snipe them or cut them up.

Here's a picture of my camp inside the castle gate. I've added a single chest since then.

For the large part of combat, I've had a wolf companion with me. I'm not quite as careful as others probably are when it comes to looking out for their dogs. While I certainly do aim to not hit the animal, if it gets in the way I'm not going to dodge, especially when I'm in a fight. My first canine companion died in a fight with a spider. Whether or not it was an accidental strike with my stone sword or a hit from the spider, I don't know.

Yes, I incorrectly wrote the year as 2012. We're almost there anyway, so it doesn't matter.

But right as I established that sign, located not too far from the gate, another wolf walked over, and was promptly tamed. Meet Dog 2.

In the Tale of Kingdoms world, I want to set up a small house, farm, and perhaps a couple other niceties for myself. There is a rather flat plain not far from the castle which would make a good spot to set up camp. It would be temporary because as soon as I had enough reputation to become king, I would leave the spot and establish a city in the game.

(Maybe I should install Millenaire, since the maker of ToK has made the two mods compatible and complementary.)

Here's my progress toward kingship:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Serious

For a while now I've been goofing around. Learning some new things but not really being productive. Today I decided to break that pattern and start progressing toward my Minecraft goals. First up, establishing farms.

My wheat farm was completed a couple days ago. One water block is all that's needed to make all this farmland viable.

Being by a swamp biome, there are reeds everywhere! I decided to set up a simple farm, where I plant a long line of them on the coastline my house faces towards. It only takes a day for reeds to fully grow, so this will be easy to harvest and have tons of wheat, sugar cane, paper, and eventually books and bookshelves.

In the upper left corner of the previous image you see a desert. That is the location of my new cactus farm. Cacti need not water or specific light levels to grow. Just plop it on sand (or, from what the wiki says, even clay) and they grow-albeit a much slower rate.

Last but not least, my first stab at breeding animals. As it stands, I find cows to be some of the more useful animals. They drop beef which can be cooked or eaten, as well as leather for armor. This simple pen is 10x10 on the inside and located a little distance from my house, in order to make things less cramped. I took a row of wheat from my farm and went into the desert/grass area above. Only two of the cows there were wooed by me, but that's all I needed. Passing through a river, I enclosed them in the pen and gave them wheat. After a moment they saw each other and... poof! Babby cow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Storare Room and Automatic Seed/Flower Harvester

I have been doing a lot of mining under my base over the past couple days. There have been huge amounts of iron that I'm continually smelting in a furnace near the entrance to the mineshafts. Thanks to Millenaire, I have an incentive to keep the huge supply of cobblestone that accrued. When I'm filled up I just teleport or run to the village and trade it for money.

In that same legit world, I also began making an underground storage room like my 1.7.3 map did. The two double chests in my base were getting very full and very disorganized. Below ground, where I began hallowing out the area for my storage room, there was mostly dirt and I decided to keep the theme by making the walls out of dirt. The problem was, there were small caves on either side of me:

My solution was simply to place dirt where these problem spots existed. Eventually I got a nicely organized set of chests, signs, and workbenches established. I moved the vast majority of the junk upstairs to these things. I didn't realize just how many iron ingots I had until this was done!

Of course, one block had to be different. Somehow, I had an actual grass block form.

Not to mention the neighborhood spiders, poking their noses where they ought not.

Now, I have a creative world that is non-legit. One of the things I'm wanting to do, as practice toward the automated city, is make a system that uses water currents to harvest seeds and flowers. It utilizes a piston, redstone, and bone meal. Here's an overhead glory shot:

On the bottom right you see a dispenser atop a wood block which has a button. When you press that button, the dispenser will shoot bone meal to you. When you right-click a grass block with bone meal it will generate wild grass and flowers. On the bottom left you see a button connected to restone wiring. That will activate the piston, causing it to retract its arm. When that happens, water will briefly flow from the source block above the arm. The water, confined by the Netherrack fence (which could easily be any other type of block, even pressure plates), will flow and cause all the wild grass and flowers to break. This will drop flowers and seeds. Then, once the signal from the button dies, the piston arm will extend and cut off the supply of water. This leaves the loot in the area to be collected.

I wanted to use another couple water streams so that items will flow right toward me instead of requiring me to walk around and collect. Unfortunately, water mechanics are strange and the harvesting water will not flood the entire area. Here's the wiring:

This is only a model and could be optimized greatly. The wire wraps around and the signal is inverted at the plank and redstone. The repeater was originally meant to extend the signal but, given the inverter, is not actually required. That wire charges the wood it runs into, turning off the torch on top of it. That torch actually activates another torch, which is hiding behind the wood above it. This activated torch powers the piston, keeping the arm extended.  When you turn on the circuit, everything reverses: the first half is on, the inverter turns the normally powered section off, and the pair of torches reverse states. With the top torch off, nothing is powering the piston and it retracts, letting water out. Because a button is used, the signal lasts just a few moments before reverting to normal. Here's a picture of the harvester in action. Don't mind the pumpkins on sticks - those are part of an ad hoc archery range.

If I ever include this in my legit map, I want to utilize water currents so that the seeds and flowers flow into a collection point somewhere in my house. Manual usage of bone meal will always be necessary, of course; but with pistons and restone, harvesting could be much simpler.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Starting up My Base

Wanting to get going with my adventures and constructions, I left the village I was holed up in and sought out a relatively flat area. About 250 meters away, there is a ravine in an area of flat land with low hills around it. Wild grass everywhere. The spot is nice, since the mineshaft system is right below it. After a couple in-game days' worth of punching grass, I have made a nice flat area for building.

In my Creative world, I've been working on developing an aesthetic style for myself. It's kind of unrefined however one is starting to appear. Mine is more systematic than most. I begin with an 8x13x4 cobblestone shack. As odd as it seems I find myself constantly needing to get into the ravine and dig more cobble out of the side of it. Once it's made, I add a door in the middle of the front and place a torch on either side of it. For windows, I use two sets of four glass panes on the front and more on other parts.

Next, I put log blocks above the glass to break up the monotony. Doesn't quite turn out like I would want. Almost looks like it has eyebrows. For the corners of my home I use stone slabs.

Looks... good enough. I get to work inside. First off, I set up a crafting table, furnace, and bed. Then in the corner goes a double chest. I don't want a grass floor so I dig it up and replace it with wooden planks. I could use wool in the future once I have more dyes.

My first useful addition is an infinite water pool neatly tucked under the corner of my house. I also add a small side room with a ladder straight down to my mining system.

Now for a second floor. My first base eventually grew three levels high, basically a big cube. This second floor will instead be smaller and have a patio. Here's how it looks at first:

At first inspection I don't care much for it and consider tearing it down. Some time later, though, I work on it and make it look a little nicer. After replacing the bottom level of the upper floor with smoothstone, adding fences and an arched ceiling, I think it's better looking.

This ladder to my mining system goes straight down. When you hold left control you get the "drunk mode" formerly activated by F8. It also zooms in. When looking straight down I can see the bottom of this shaft quite nicely.

My final touch to the upper floor is adding a pattern along the bottom to make it less bland. I opt for a simple stone ring, which was cooked while I elsewhere.

That's it for this time. I've begun mining, using a new torch system to minimize how many I need. You can safely have a distance of 12 blocks between two torches without mobs spawning. I'm taking advantage of that to make 26-block-long shafts with only two torches keeping them safe!

This is a somewhat new format for me. Usually I just do all text, however I believe people like to see more pictures. If this works it may become a new style for this blog. Feedback, as always, is appreciated. :D

Happy digging!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Going on, Going down

Finals week at college. A good way to lose valuable blogging time. :3

I haven't been very active the past couple days in Minecraft. Mainly just walking around the immediate area of the village I live in. About a third of a day's run from the village is a Testificate village, a pretty nice one too. Plenty of cobblestone buildings. Or at least, according to Minutor it's north. There's a discrepancy of directions between Minutor and Rei's Minimap, which I use in-game. A nice grassland island is up that direction as well. To Minutor-east (which I believe is Rei-north) is a Mayan (?) village.

Whenever I get bored with Minecraft, it's usually because I'm not doing anything. I observed this happening with me recently and recalled a nugget of wisdom I have seen and applied a couple times before. Just find somewhere half decent, dig down, and start mining. If nothing else, you will collect more resources and get yourself back into the Minecraft groove.

My experience went way better than that. There is a large ravine right in the middle of this village which I've gone through, collecting exposed coal and iron ore. In order to get to the floor I made a staircase. Since the ravine is already there and takes me down about 25 levels, that would be an ideal place to do some mining. Equipped with an iron sword and pickaxe I begin building a staircase down to level 12 or thereabouts. But I don't quite make it. After a minute I break a block and adrenaline surges through me. I have opened the entrance to a cavern! And below me is a spider! It stares at me as I ponder what to do. There is a zombie nearby and another spider. I see cobblestone in the upper left corner of my field of vision.

Since the spider is directly below me I attempt to suffocate it in gravel. I equip gravel on my hotbar and sneak to the edge of the stone block I'm standing on. As soon as I place the first gravel, I begin falling with it! The spiders jump on me immediately! This is too much for me so I switch to Peaceful. Not too far on my left is a spider dungeon. Who knows how many other spiders were just waiting to dig into me. The spawner still generates spiders but they exist only as flashes before the game's code removes them. I spend a minute or two swinging my sword at these ghostly arachnids, hoping to damage them and see how the game reacts.

At some point in the future I am going to attempt to conquer this dungeon. This would prove a great challenge for me. I don't take the contents of the chests, as useful as they may be. The rewards and the mossy cobblestone will be won in battle one day.

Since I'm down here, I look around. Some water to my right and... light? I walk toward it expecting lava but instead see a chest! And wood! An abandoned mineshaft! There are two chests on either side of the entrance. A third chest is nearby. It has diamonds in it which I quickly take. Exploring the mineshaft I notice an odd density of cobwebs. Then I see it, the cave spider spawner. This is too awesome. A cave spider glitches in and out of existence. Curious all the more I wander around a bit and find an underground ravine intersecting the mineshaft system.

This all plays in very well with what I am wanting to do in the future of my Minecraft adventures. One of Etho's trademarks is his underground "Man Cave," which is basically a hollowed out intersection of tunnels that he has remodeled to act as his base. I would like to emulate this. His base is also by a mineshaft an two cave spider spawners.

A few posts ago I mentioned making an automated city. I think I will take up this endeavor. Using Testificates and villagers I will be able to populate it somewhat.

I'm also going to attempt to accomplish all of the game's achievements. And lastly, but most difficult of all, I'm going to face down the Enderdragon, in Survival mode, and attempt to defeat it.

This will all be recorded in this blog. Please do tell others about it, and provide me some feedback as well. Happy digging!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts on Being in 1.0.0

As of right now, I have all but four of the mods I wanted installed in my Minecraft. The only ones I have yet to add are MineColony, the Zeppelin mod, wireless redstone, and the colored glass mod. Everything seems to be working well. I rather enjoy how, in a way, there are two humanoid races inhabiting the Minecraft world: the Testificates and the Millenaire villagers. Of course, the villagers are a lot more sophisticated. It's also interesting how now there are two types of villages that appear, one for each race.

The problem I am currently facing is this: what is to be said of all the progress I made in 1.7.3? In all likelihood I am going to end up abandoning that world altogether because plenty of what is in it won't work with 1.0.0. It does bother me that all that work is going to come to naught. However, I do expect that with it being in full release, things are going to be more stable and breakings of compatibility like this will become infrequent.

After fooling around on one map, I decided to enter the seed I've been using for 1.5.1 and explore around until I found some kind of settlement. In a previous map I found a Millenaire village and a Testificate village within maybe 150 meters of each other. But in my personal seed, I spent just over a day looking for the Millenaire village I would inhabit for the starting period.

Once again I am finding myself without an aim. Remember the Earth project? I have not gotten much luck on continuing that. Perhaps it is because designing Cush is such a large task for me to undertake. Or because the MineColony mod doesn't behave in a way I can manage it with. Or, as is more likely, it just takes too dang long to collect all that sandstone! I level large areas of desert and all too quickly, run out of sandstone. I have been contemplating hacking in the sandstone. It's not an entirely legit method as I desire for the Earth map, but if it will keep the game fun then there's no point in stopping myself. Unrelated, but getting sticky pistons could also be a problem since Slimes are such rare creatures. If I ever needed those, I may just hack in the slimeballs and continue with my constructions.

Also, I'm having something of an Etho rush. He has an underground base which is basically a dug out patch of grass with tunnels leading to tunnel systems. That is something I would like to try. Getting grass down there would be a pain, but doable.

Now, I would like to as you, the reader, a couple questions. What would you like me to do in Minecraft? Is there something you would stick around to read me explore? Is there any challenge you'd like me to try? What about this blog itself, its design and content. How would you like it to be? Would you be interested in a message board where you and I could interact on a more individual level? Please feel very free to answer in the comment section below. Thank you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Automatic City, a Concept Challenge

In real life, I'm a programmer. I like putting a series of commands into a computer then watching as it carries them out. In Minecraft this translates as being interested in automation, getting the game mechanics to do stuff for me. It makes things faster and easier and allows me to move on with what I want to do. That's another reason why I like mods such as MineColony and Millenaire; the NPCs do things that would otherwise be required of myself.

Recently I thought of a new goal for myself: to make an automated, self-sufficient city sporting various contraptions to work for me. This includes: mob traps, harvesters, self-repairing walls, cobblestone generators, TNT cannons, sewage system, light sensor-operated lightstone streetlights, and so on. This kind of thing would demonstrate a mastery over the game and also make it more convenient for me.

Then I thought, "This could be a good challenge." On the Minecraft forums, people have made plenty of challenges and my idea seems somewhat interesting, I think. There are several types of mobs that could be used as citizens of the city - the Testificates, Snow Golems, mod-added entities, etc. How about designing a city that features automation of all sorts that has the look and feel of an actual, inhabited settlement? It would feature things like a section devoted to homes, farming area, a downtown market, and whatnot. Encasing it would be a self-repairing defense wall with TNT cannons and arrow dispensers. In a user-chosen location would be a victory monument that symbolizes the player's mastery of Minecraft. The various aspects would be assigned numbered scores so people could compete to make the best, most automatic and sophisticated city they can. I think "The Genius" would be a good name for the challenge.

What say you all?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Opinion Time.

Each time Minecraft has ever had an update, there were scores of people who whined about how the new stuff supposedly ruined the game. Consider beds. On the Minecraft forum, there were many people who complained that the survival aspect of Minecraft was somehow damaged because of the fact night time could be skipped and how one's spawn point would be changed. Or wolves. Mobs that could become hostile and kill a player even on Peaceful, but be tamed and become "game-breakers" with how a player could amass a wolf army and obliterate mobs. Or the villages and the accompanying villagers. There are those who have griped because they don't want villages in the game, and others disliked how the villagers (a.k.a. Testificates) looked. We were originally promised Pigmen but instead got what look like Squidwards with unibrows.

I am not one of those people. Has Mojang ever added something that I didn't like? Not really, no. It's always been my opinion that it's Notch's game and he can add whatever he wishes. I just adapt to what comes. If I don't like something, then I don't use it. Or I find a mod that adds/removes that issue. For instance, Millenaire and MineColony were chosen to accomodate for the emptiness of the worlds.

Now, I say all that to say this. In my opinion, I think the last rush of additions were just that... rushed. Specifically, the things that were related to the Endermen, and some stuff that followed. This is just an opinion and I could be wrong in my observations, but here's my two cents.

The Enderman was made out of a moment of frustration on Notch's part. It's not entirely creative; rather, it was based upon the Internet creepypasta called Slenderman. It was made to be creepy. To be honest, I find them a little creepy. They're quite a peculiar addition to Minecraft but I don't have a problem integrating them into the experience.

Yet out of this random idea came an entire dimension of Minecraft - literally. Notch combined the Sky Dimension with Endermen to make the End. This name comes from how it's intended to be part of the endgame scenario of Minecraft. Two quips I have with this: first of all, Minecraft is at its core a sandbox game. This means it has no discernible storyline or end. Secondly, calling it the End to mark how it's one of the last things a player does is a play on words that only works in the English language. And then there is the Enderdragon. It is designed to be difficult to beat, the culmination of all efforts in Minecraft. Again, this tries to place an artificial ending to Minecraft. But also, a dragon? That is already heavily used in fantasy MMOs and RPGs. It heals itself using crystals. The End system seems lacking in creativity. Surely Mojang could have done better with this.

Let us turn our attention to the Blaze and Magma Cube, two hostile mobs added to the Nether. Before the start of the overhaul in 1.8, Minecraft had a simplistic, 8-bit feel to it. But these two mobs, and also the Silverfish to a lesser extent, seem to ruin this feel. The two Nether mobs in particular seem overly complex in design for Minecraft. Consider the Blaze. It has no real body, just smoke particles with a head and several rods. It just looks and behaves in a way I would expect a console mob, not a Minecraft one. The Magma Cube has a lava core and moves around like a spring. Compared to Ghasts and Zombie Pigmen, they simply feel out of place.

My last critique will be the potion brewing system. Several items such as spider eyes, Blaze rods, Magma cream, and Nether warts were added for no reason except for brewing. This seems a little off, as I've noticed how in the past items were typically given multiple uses (or at least, attempts were made). What really gets me is how redstone and glowstone dust are both agents in brewing. This does accomplish the task of giving at least glowstone dust another use. Still, it seems awkward.

With all of this I would like to conclude by saying that I do not look poorly upon Mojang for adding these things. Nor do I believe they have done bad to the game. It seems that after 1.7.3, they began losing creativity and started pushing it toward more of an RPG direction. Although this probably did appease many people, I am not one of them. It seems rather half-baked. Nonetheless, Minecraft is still an incredible and inspiring game. I will continue to play as long as I find it amusing. If I don't like something I will not use it. And if I do like something that I've never used before, I will integrate that in my gameplay.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Minecraft! 1.0! (.0!)

Yesterday, 18 November 2011, the full version of Minecraft came out. That means we are no longer in the beta stage. At MineCon Notch flipped the ceremonial lever which hailed the exit from beta and into full release. After two years Minecraft has developed from an independent project to a full scale game written by his company.

I don't usually write much about the latest news and updates; you likely have read about those already. However this is clearly a milestone for Minecraft.

About an hour after I got out of work I updated my 1.7.3 to see what would come out. To my surprise it only went up to 1.8.1, even though there were something like 6 pre-releases of 1.9 and two release candidates. Instead of waiting and worrying about it I began doing some homework, checking in on the QubeTubers stream for entertainment and to see if it's been updated. Once I finished my work and saw people clamoring about the update I tried again and landed in 1.0.0!

One of the things I wanted to try first was the End. I had seen an episode of the Yogscast where Simon and Lewis (the two stars of the show) went to the End with Knight Peculier, one of the supporting characters. They proceeded to spend ten minutes trying to slay the Enderdragon, even switching to Creative mode. It's clearly that difficult.

I pulled the Eye of Ender from the item selection menu and started throwing it around it. It took five or so minutes but eventually I landed at a Stronghold. Being in Creative mode I dug down and encountered the End Portal. I placed more Eyes of Ender where they were needed and the portal came to life. It had a black, starry, void-like look to it. I jumped in and entered the End.

Dark. So dark. I got in there and there was no life until I switched to Easy. Then came the Endermen and the Enderdragon. I spent the next ten minutes trying my hand at long distance archery, shooting at the dragon and the Ender crystals healing it. My aim was pretty bad and although I did inflict pretty decent damage, the battle took longer than I really wanted to. So I gave up on the dragon and started playing with the Endermen! It was rather amusing getting them mad then making them chase me and fall off the small patch of land. I did other things and, via Nether portals, returned to the Overworld.

For right now, I'm not going to do much with 1.0.0. I like mods like SPC, Millenaire, and Wireless Redstone. It will take a few days for those to catch up so I will likely revert to 1.7.3 if I do any major activity. This also puts into question the future of the maps I currently have now. What will the possible block and ID conflicts mean for those mods? Surely I can save most of them but especially for Millenaire and MineColony, both of which having brought so much life into the game, will I have to restart my map again to get them to work?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wimpy Wimpy

As I have said before, located underneath my house is a cavern system with at least one dungeon in it, which I reckon is a zombie dungeon. Before I do any other major projects I feel it's appropriate to take down that dungeon first and light up the caves so those noises will cease.

The problem is, I don't care much for exploring monster-ridden caves. I don't react well to the amounts of combat such things bring. I would rather mine around enemies than actually face them. Yet this seems best to do. I do not want to relocate so soon, but in order to get a mining system established I must first deal with these caves and these monsters. So what I am thinking of doing is setting up an outpost at the bottom of the tunnel entrance in the beach. I shall dub it Beachhead Cavern, or Beachhead for short. Beachhead Outpost will have a secure bed, workbench, furnace, and a single chest. It will be composed of cobblestone with many windows to see my enemies. I want to consider also setting up a ladder and tunnel setup which will connect me to my base.

Earlier I went into my basement and cleared out an area to establish a meager underground farm. It will have 20 blocks for farming although this could easily be expanded. In addition to finding coal and iron ore making this, I also discovered Farm Drop, a vertical tunnel similar in design and depth as Beachhead. I have not taken the time to explore it, yet. Maybe I could alternatively establish an outpost in there, since it would connect directly to my house and could be built into the stone wall. The zombies are close, very close. I cannot remember exactly where the dungeon is but if Beachhead and Farm Drop are part of the same system, the dungeon may be easily located.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And We Are Off!

Located 380 meters away from the village that housed me for so long (we'll just call it Yusaria Village), and about 230 from a new fledgling village, is my new base of operations. I spent a couple in-game days looking for just the right location and, after traveling north of Yusaria Village I found a promising piece of land. Although surrounded by hills, mountains and interesting rock formations, the land itself was relatively flat and suitable for construction. I decided it would be the best place to begin.

First things first, I dug a temporary home into the ground. After chopping down birch and normal trees I lit the forest up with flint and steel to make some nice room for building. That done I next began laying down the foundation of the house, a cobblestone rectangle. This project is where all that money saved up from trading with the villagers came in handy: lacking in resources I just teleported and got what I needed.

Knowing that variety is one of the keys to pleasant-looking houses, I attempted to utilize multiple blocks. Cobblestone was used for the foundations and sides; glass windows were used all around the house with birch on either side; planks filled up the space not used by the others. For my roof, I made a pointed rooftop of plank and cobble. After moving my bed, workbench, furnace, and double chest out of the hole in the ground, I placed torches inside the house and had my base ready to go!

Night fell and I slept on my secure bed. Woke up and, knowing that Creepers were around, I rushed out the door. To my left one of those green freaks was staring me down! Despite my attempt to run away, I was too slow and the monster exploded - taking out the left half of my building's front side! I called it a certain name and collected some wood to rebuild. Luckily there were extra glass and wood in my chest. This showed me that the inside of my building may be safe, but certainly not the outside. I needed fences.

Following that, I used up probably a good couple hundred sticks making a fence perimeter around my house, at least 3 blocks from it. This took a while and afterward, I placed torches on the fence and my house. Off to sleep and success, no monsters inside the perimeter. There were, however, about 3 Creepers up against the fence, seeing me from a distance. I proceeded to spam them with arrows until all were dead, and then another Creeper hopping behind a ledge that was a bit too tall for it. I went outside the fence perimeter, reclaimed unused arrows, and picked up the gunpowder.

At this point, I'm starting to feel inspired to be creative with what I make, courtesy of Etho. Having a three-block-wide infinite water pool I try setting up a stream from it to a lava lake very close to my house (my fencing is partially placed on dirt a few blocks above the lava, but safely out of danger). The problem is, I cannot get the streams short enough or have the lava come from the proper place to have it function. At best I end up with a crude cobble generator and give up.

One of my ideas for my final base is to have an underground area with double chests lining the walls. I begin digging five blocks down under my floor, placing ladders, and dig out a sort of basement. Currently I have three sections 6 blocks long by 3 blocks wide by 5 blocks tall. These are going to eventually have four double chests and a workbench apiece. Right now only one is done and most of the chests are in use, holding distinct item categories like mob drops or wood-related items.

In order to make my house even better looking I replace most of the floor with white wool. I considered coloring it but don't have sufficient dyes. The blocks around the hatch I use to get into the basement are cobble. There is also the infinite water source, and the blocks around that are still grass so if I ever wanted a miniature farm in my building it could work.

Time to explore! Although one of my wolves died when it walked into a burning tree, I still had my second wolf, Aquinas II. There is an opening to a deep tunnel system at the shore nearest my house with iron in it. I claim some of the iron and decide to conquer the tunnels. According to Minutor I have at least one dungeon not very far below my house. And when I walk around I can hear zombies very loud and very clear so I would say it's a zombie spawner. Stocking up on torches and taking Aquinas with, I head back and make a gravel pillar. We're going in. No sooner do I get within range than a zombie and skeleton appear. I pillar up to hopefully get out of shooting range because I had stupidly neglected to put my bow in the hotbar. Aquinas even more stupidly does a jump off the edge of the opening and falls to his death. Hardly a shame. The skeleton lands a good shot and I somehow fall off the pillar and into the fray! I decimate the skeleton and zombie with arrows. Then in a hole nearby, another skeleton shoots at me. I kill it, too, then collect all my arrows.

Briefly exploring and lighting up the immediate area I see three possible tunnel entrances. Plus there is a deep hole in the ground to another. I gravel up what seems to be the most probable tunnel complex entrance and explore the other two. Both turn out to be dead ends. Now they are lit up and should pose no further danger. In fact, one has plenty of coal and iron ore which gets mined and smelted as needed.

I still want to conquer the dungeon, and perhaps convert it into a mob grinder. In the past I would use Minutor and locate dungeons that way, taking the thrill out of them. This is going to be different. I will not use Minutor, I will find it legitimately. Having seen Etho's latest project, which converted a dual cave spider spawner system into an impressive item farm, I may use water and lava to make a feather farm. Til then!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mysterious Trader

I have finally managed to make a stable world using Millenaire in 1.7.3, without using MineColony. One of the things I've been doing to get the village to develop quicker is have the game running while I'm doing other things on the computer, checking periodically to make sure nothing has gone wrong. I have a little hole in the floor of the Maitre de Guilde (Guild Master), who is the leader of the village. So far it's been pretty safe for me, and the village has expanded quite well. It's the first one I've ever been in that didn't come to a screeching halt due to lack of usable land. Here's an aerial view of it:
During my time in the hole I have experimented with freecam. I discovered this neat little trick while experimenting on my non-legit creative world. It detaches the camera from the player's body, allowing me to move around freely while staying safe in my little cubbyhole. I can place and destroy blocks using freecam but I can't interact with entities, meaning no picking up items or battling mobs. It also lets me generate new chunks by flying over them although I want to limit that in order to keep my experience as vanilla as possible.

Picture of me, clad in leather armor. If I wanted to, I could punch myself in the back of the head.
I must come off as very peculiar to the villagers. I one day randomly show up while the village was still under construction and dig a hole into their leader's house, where I proceed to spend most of my time. Somehow I can almost clairvoyantly see things that are going on in and around the village despite being in said hole. However I am also liked because I trade heavily with them, plant saplings in their tree groves when they run out, and also beat down monsters when need be.

But I think I'm ready to move on. With 31 villagers, FPS issues are appearing once more. This time I think I will head west and make a nice little home there. Since I have never extensively traveled to the west in any incarnation of this map, it will be relatively new territory to me. Then, I will possibly try to use Etho's water highway system to connect my base to this village and others.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Decision and Direction

I have concluded that it is unsafe for me to use MineColony and Millenaire in the same save file. Once again I had a world crash on me. After I had established a small MineColony setup I attempted to teleport to my residential Millenaire village and the game did its customary crashing. Clearly MineColony is the culprit. Thus these two mods will no longer be used concurrently in a world.

Right now I have two projects running alongside each other. I am still doing the Earth map although it has not received much attention lately. Because the chunks of that world have all been generated already, there is no chance of Millenaire villages appearing on it. That makes it safe to use and experiment with MineColony on it. I am currently in Cush, where I would like to establish some colonists to perhaps be the Cushites and later on other lands' inhabitants.

The second project is in my main save. I still want to design a complex building, or maybe series of buildings, to become my base of operations in that world and wherever I may go. Someone once mentioned having satellite buildings presumably to stay safe and stocked during adventuring and I will possibly try some of those. Recently I have seen some videos by Etho, and his water system fascinates me. I would like to make an underground water highway of sorts, complete with intersections that let me choose just where I want to go.

Something I will need to do more is to back up my worlds. I have not been doing that, and as result world after wold has been lost recently. Keeping backups and updating them regularly will prove beneficial - especially if, say, on the Earth map I attempt to use MineColony and it crashes the world. Instead of losing all that progress I can just revert to a safer state.

Finally, I downloaded the Moon mod for 1.7.3. I am curious to see how that will work.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lost the Save Again

Well ladies and gentlemen, it happened again. Due to some error that I still cannot figure out, I got the "Saving Chunks"/black screen error on my 1.7.3 world. This time I may have caused the error. I had started a small outpost of colonists in an area far enough for both Millenaire villages to be frozen and not in memory. But I felt as though I had not put enough thought into designing it so went to get rid of it. I mined the Town Hall chest and nothing bad happened. Then I mined a Citizen's chest and BAM! Game crashes.

I loaded up MCEdit and tried deleting possibly offending chests but to no avail. Whenever my character came inside the range of where the chest even was it would crash. So I went back into MCEdit and started deleting entire chunks from the area. This was a very bad idea. I assumed that if those chunks were to be deleted, then when I return they would be generated again. It was not so. I still could not get to those areas without crashing. Meaning whether or not they could be regenerated is currently unknown, however I have my doubts. 10 or so chunks were permanently removed from the game.

So with this futile situation I went ahead and deleted the save. I need to take the time to find what is causing this error. I attempted to reproduce this on a save devoted to testing MineColony but could not. Perhaps it is due to faulty interactions between MineColony and Millenaire?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Millenaire Experience Thus Far

For the first couple days after I upgraded to 1.7.3 and put in Millenaire/MineColony, I really could not focus on much of anything else. I made a new world with my Main's seed and started up a MineColony settlement there in order to get used to the way it functions. As it turns out, Nippon Island just is not large enough to handle all the colonists and their houses. The farmer was also getting very farm-happy and started turning a bigger portion of the island into farmland than I expected. Even when I placed fencing he kept on going. The miner, though, proved really good at mining and bringing up nice stuff.

So, I decided to go for it officially. I deleted that world and made yet another world with the same seed. It placed me a distance above the spawn point I've had since 1.5. I walked a little and found a village. When a village is generated, I know before I see it; my game freezes for a few seconds as the buildings and NPCs are put in place. I learned the ropes and helped the village grow. Then I added colonists to the mix, including a miner who had a shaft in the pit of the village miner. I didn't anticipate it, but something like seven other colonists spawned.

In order to have the villages grow without me actively watching over the game, I would dig a hole in the floor of a house I chose to live in and idle there. A couple days after starting the world, I came back to find the game had black screened.

Each time I attempted to load the world it would load the chunks then immediately say "Saving Chunks" and go to a black screen. I assumed it to be some kind of conflict between mods. I could not find anything that would make them conflict, since all the mods I have use different ID numbers. Even with MCEdit I could not find a block that would make it crash. Since that world had become unstable I put it in a zip file and generated a new save, again with the same seed.

That is the current map I am using. This time I was placed right in the center of the Yusarian continent I have mentioned in the past. It looks very similar to Europe and Russia combined the way they are in real life and stretches for about a kilometer. I picked my home with the farmer and began helping the villagers by collecting the blocks they needed to upgrade their buildings. I watched as the village, named Vaucelles-le-lac, grew and evolved in architecture. I also began mining underground, for the first time in my Minecraft experience on a non-Peaceful mode.

Then things started to get weird. With a population of 31, a dozen or so peaceful mobs and who knows how many monsters walking around, my frame rate began to drop to unacceptable levels. Even on tiny fog I still had stuttering graphics. On top of that, the village was giving a "not enough space" to build their next building error, meaning it probably was going to stagnate at the size it was. Given these two issues I packed up what I didn't need to bring with me and left for a new village, or some other experience.

I headed east, to where my 1.5 spawn point was. I found it, slept a night away there, and continued on to Nippon. I was sort of surprised that, although Vaucelles was over 600 meters away, no other villages had spawned. It was so weird and unfamiliar seeing Nippon in its primal, overgrown state. My heart then told me to go to a land mass connected to Yusaria, one which has a striking resemblance to South America. Unfortunately, my recollection of the map's terrain was poor and I found another village, Douvres, on a different landmass east of my goal. Oh well. This is going to be my new home. I'm bunking with someone there. As I did last time, I will assist the villagers and protect those who require it.

Also, I got my first 11 diamonds in Vaucelles, the first ever mined on Easy mode.

I don't plan on adding MineColony features just yet. Maybe after Douvres I'll stake it out somewhere and let the colonists do the construction for me. I realized I could modify the designs of the structures they build, to the point I could literally have them construct an entire starship for me if I so willed it. Although their premade structure plans look very nice as it is.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Upgraded to 1.7.3

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been having a kind of Minecraft envy. For as long as I can remember and probably more, I've been playing 1.5_01. Although there was nothing wrong performance-wise, it was simply outdated and lacking in features that most everyone else had already taken advantage of, for instance pistons and trapdoors. Therefore Saturday I went to the library, downloaded a bunch of mods I wanted, and upgraded to 1.7.3.

After a lot of tinkering I found that some mods just would not work together. At least, though, I have the ones that I really wanted included. My mod list:
  • ModLoader - the basis of many mods.
  • AudioMod - another fundamental, helps mods make noise.
  • Single Player Commands - provides a SMP-flavored command line. I find it extremely useful.
  • MineColony - this is what I really wanted to upgrade for. The version for 1.5_01 was buggy and I wanted to improve it.
  • Millenaire - like MineColony but way more complex. 1.8 and 1.9 introduced villages and villagers, but Millenaire brings in multiple types of villagers in different cultures, and it can be customized to my fitting. I daresay better than the new villages.
  • Zan's Minimap - help me find where I am.
  • Zeppelin mod - very interesting, allows me to build flyable craft out of blocks.
  • Optimine/OptiFine - boosts my FPS. Very awesome.
Other mods I wanted to add were Industrial Craft, Lightsensor, Shelf, Wireless Redstone, and the Technic Pack. Unfortunately, when I tried adding these I got black screens. I'm satisfied with what I have.

In particular MineColony, Zeppelin, and Millenaire have my imagination restless. I've always wanted more of an RTS feel to Minecraft. Interactive NPCs moving around doing things, with me being able to command them. As you have doubtlessly read I have a desire to make nations in Minecraft. Ones with bustling economies and maybe - just maybe - warfare. Millenaire makes villages on the map that start off as basic then grow themselves into more complete settlements, even if I am not helping out. MineColony allows me to have more control over the size and makeup of the settlements, meaning I could form a city based upon my personal desire for it to grow. The automation would let me devote more time to building and adventuring, although if I wanted to I could leave behind my automatons or level it all down.

As for the Zeppelin mod. I have a non-legit world which is similar to Creative mode and I've been doing lots with the Zeppelin mod. Being the sort I am, as soon as it was in my Minecraft I started trying to push it to the limits. Zeppelin works a bit like this: it turns all the relevant blocks into an entity, such as a dropped item or a mob. That means there are some limitations for purely technical reasons. For instance, water will pass through your craft. I found this out the hard way by making a submarine only to end up having it flooded as it went underwater. You also can't sleep in a bed while in movable mode or access the insides of chests or furnaces. Still, I was thinking: what if I made a ship - or fleet of ships - that acted sort of like a generational ship? Think of it: a farming ship (even though farming could only be done when not in movable mode), a storage ship, a command craft, and so on. Just sail the skies of a Minecraft world for days on end, exploring what there is to be seen. Making settlements here and there using MineColony. In another world dedicated to Millenaire, I'm using a little craft to fly from settlement to settlement. I could upgrade to an airship and even more.

Of course my main project is the Earth map. Even there, now new things can be done. Up until this point I have been the only entity with constructive abilities to build and live in the settlements I make. The Squid King is the only one in Cush. With MineColony and the ability to modify the structures colonists are programmed to make, I could more easily sit back and watch civilizations appear before my eyes! And then the residents of the settlements would stay where I planted them unless they were somehow killed by me or a hostile creature. I need to learn more about the exact operations of MineColony and Millenaire, but at least now I feel less lonely in the infinite world in my hard drive.

Now, concerning my purely legit Main world. Millenaire villages will not appear in pre-existing chunks. The place I live and mine in now, simply put, is old. Very old. Remember Yusaria? That entire kilometer-long continent and probably much more area predate lapiz lazuli, which was introduced in Beta 1.2. There are areas where the sand and dirt have straight lines and horrible transitions due to terrain generation bugs of older versions. The two new tree types don't exist until you walk some distance from my house. So what does this mean? Is it time to abandon my trusty Main save? I could:
  • Delete the world and start from scratch in a new one. I don't personally care for this idea simply because of all the work I have put into this map over the months. All the resources collected, just gone like that. I have built a couple nice things on there that I'd hate to see gone.
  • Migrate to a new part of the map and begin over there. That will make an already big map even bigger, and filled with land that I may not go to ever again.
  • A compromise I just thought up. Write down the essential supplies I have as well as the map's seed. Then generate a new world with that seed and hack in the resources I have. Then, get going!

Edit: I pulled the seed of the map and made a 1.7.3 world with it. The terrain appears to generate basically the same way. I spawned at a different point than the first time and flew around when I noticed prehistoric Nippon Island! Maybe I could place a MineColony village there.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Element of Play to Earth Map

Along with playing with Easy mode on the Earth map, I've decided to take the plot a step further. The ancient Egyptians believed their leader, the Pharaoh, to be the living embodiment of their chief god. Each dalai lama is considered to be the previous one reincarnated. There is this sense of the leader being divine and continuous despite different bodies.

I'm sort of adopting this into my style of play. During normal Minecraft play, when our character dies it is respawned at our last spawn point. Despite the character's death, it is effectively immortal. In the show "Doctor Who," the main character can be fatally wounded and will just transform into a new individual with the same basic personality. In my case, my character is currently the First Pharaoh. In real life he was the Scorpion King. In Minecraft, he shall be known as the Squid King due to the presence of squids in the Egyptian waters. My character is the Squid King and will be responsible for beginning the construction of Cush. If, during the time I'm exploring underground or at night, I get killed by a mob, then I'll respawn but then I'll be the next pharaoh - King Squid II. And so on. This sort of adds a touch of realism by bringing civilization into existence under multiple leaders, instead of one seemingly immortal ruler.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Village of Asshur

This post is long delayed but finally pictures and an explanation of Asshur is ready for viewing. The people of Asshur, properly called Assyrians, are sort of cousins of the Tubalites. They borrow the title of tubal for their leader. On a map, Asshur appears to the east of Tubal, through a mountain range and across a river, where their official settlement limit is. Here's an aerial view of Asshur:

Here you can see five buildings, one farm, and a cobblestone road. In the middle of the village is the tubal's house.

Already, you can see there's been a bit of an upgrade in architecture between Asshur and Tubal. The bases of buildings are lined with cobblestone and corners of levels made with wooden planks don't have corner pieces. Logs still make up the roofing. Even the tubal's dog has a little doghouse connected to the building!

Inside view:

The internal design is still simplistic, but now there are windows! This is part of the technological advance that humanity has made. Glass windows.

This image is of one of the villager's houses, and it really shows the architectural style better:

Another advent that has come with Asshur is the concept of the supernatural. Humanity's first religion has appeared. The Assyrians serve and worship the Creator deity Anu (name taken from real-life research of ancient Assyrian deities). The right-most building in the first image is their temple. The leader of the village was also charged with being their priest, a title which would later be termed tubal-anu. Entrance to the temple:

A small atrium connects the front entrance to the sanctuary.

Inside the sanctuary are a couple double chests, furnaces, workbenches, and the temple dog. Dominating the room is the altar. This is where the Assyrians offer sacrifices to Anu: the first wheat of each harvest. They drop the wheat into it and after five minutes it "supernaturally" despawns. Also put in there are the bones of the deceased and enemies when they are not otherwise used for taming wolves.

Underground, the Assyrians found their land underfoot had already been explored by the Tubalites. However they were able to explore further than the explorers of their cousin town and also invented a new form of finding resources, which in-game is normally called strip mining: parallel 2x1 tunnels.

Now, Asshur is in the desert. As such, there aren't very many animals that come around to sustain them. Tubal offered to make a trade agreement with Asshur and it was accepted: Assyrians could come to Tubal and collect wool and leather from its animals. In return, Tubal wanted trees and charcoal to subsidize what they already have. Some intelligent Assyrian realized that he could make a profit by establishing a trading post halfway between the two villages and offering his services as a neutral place of trade. The pictures below show the trading post, its position between the two villages, and the world's first bridge.

To recap, the advancements made between Tubal and Asshur:
  • Cobblestone as a firm base for buildings.
  • Burning of logs to form charcoal, a relatively cheap and easy substitute for coal.
  • Smelting of sand to form glass.
  • Introduction of religion and supernatural beliefs.
  • Trading post between other villages.
  • Bridges.
Next up after Asshur, I am going to dive southward and backtrack to Cush, this map's first large city. It will have technological upgrades such as iron, sandstone, and dyes! What's more, I'm going to challenge myself and make this project all the more rewarding: I will do all building on Easy mode to add the element of danger that hostile mobs bring!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Developing the World

A few days ago I was searching Google Images for a map that shows how ancient man colonized the world. Assuming humanity comes from Africa, as modern scientists do, it would seem reasonable they went to Europe relatively quickly. But alas, not so! Due to the changing climate over thousands of years (I'm using generally agreed upon scientific theory, which differs somewhat from my personal beliefs), the spread of homo sapiens went something like this (source):
  • Four major groups of humans spread through southern Africa, with the Sahara Desert stopping them from going north.
  • One of the four groups went along the eastern coast of Africa through the northern Arabian peninsula to what is now the Middle East.
  • Then, said group died due to global cooling.
  • A new group of explorers, from the same area as the previous ones, hit the southern coast of the Arabian peninsula and stick to the beaches, passing through southern India and reaching Southeastern Asia, some of the islands, and even China, in the span of 15 thousand years.
  • The path these people traveled is then rendered inhospitable as a massive volcanic eruption nearly destroys the human race.
  • Some then backtrack to India while others go further up China and into Australia and Oceania.
  • The backtracking group goes all the way through the Indian coast and onward through the Middle East to Turkey. They cut directly through Turkey and migrate right through Europe until they almost reach Spain.
  • Asian settlers head north into Siberia and Japan, while some Middle Eastern settlers head into northern Africa. 
  • Those in the center of Asia go west to central Europe, while some eastern Asians head toward the eastern border of Russia - right next to Alaska. Thousands of years later they cross over to North America and begin exploring it.
  • Another Ice Age kills off very northern populations. North American settlers head to the Southern Americas.
  • Ice Age thaws, a second round of people show up and head right down.
  • People further populate the formerly iced-over North America.
  • It's only within the past 10,000 years (mind you I've just covered 160,000 years) that the British Isles, Scandinavia, and northern Russia were populated.
An interesting picture I found. Observe how we were in Australia twenty thousand years before we entered Europe.

Now why are we getting this history lesson? I want to use this as a sort of guide for where I go with the Earth map. I realize that by using Turkey as a starting point, I'm thousands of miles off course already. However it should be possible for me to eventually fix that. Maybe I could pretend there's some kind of ice age going on. With the village Asshur being east of Tubal, I've developed an eastward trend consistent with early man. However I may break that again, as when I finish with Asshur I want to create Cush - that is, Egypt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Moving on from Tubal

I have essentially done all I wish to do with Tubal. The village is designed as such:
  • The first house I built was the village leader's house. Since the name of the founder is Tubal, the title given to the leader of a village is tubal. It, like the others, is compose of wooden planks in a relatively rectangular shape. The roofing is multiple layers high and made of logs. Inside is a double chest, workbench, furnace, bed, and a couple torches.
  • Next to that is the craftsman's house. It is designed mostly the same, although the chest of the craftsman is filled with cobblestone, logs, planks and other things.
  • Across from that is the residence of the two cave explorer/miners. It is two stories high and features two double chests on the first floor, with stairs to the bedroom upstairs.
  • The fourth building is the storehouse. It has multiple double chests, a furnace, and a workbench. It holds wheat, pork chops, and a couple other things.
  • A small fenced farm is right next to the storehouse.
  • Surrounding the entire village is a defense wall, shaped in something of a rectangular shape. It extends to the mountains to the north. I haven't finished it, and likely will not.
  • To the west of the village is a plain which used as their tree farm.
Here are some pictures for your delight. The first faces north. The upper left is the explorers', the upper right is the craftsman's, the lower right is the storehouse, and the lower right is the leader's house.

Slightly different angle, from over the storehouse:

Lethargic farm:

Some distance away:

View from overhead, showing all of the walling:

As far as technology goes, they are still in the stone age. They have workbenches and furnaces, however they don't use the furnaces for anything more than heating their houses. Their tools are primarily stone, although only a couple of the houses have wooden swords (the other has a wooden sword). For armor they use leather. They also have domesticated wolves, which required I hacked in a bunch of bones. Now there's probably four or five dogs around Tubal and on the nearby island.

The Tubalites are avid tree farmers. West of the wall was once a huge mass of trees that took me forever to completely cut down, and a few stray saplings have just recently grew into trees. But alas, now it is time to move on from Tubal.

After traveling north, west, and east, I decided that the desert land to the east would be the best to start the second village. Referring to my table of Biblical nations I found Asshur, the forerunner of the Assyrians, settled in the approximate area. So we have a new village. These people will expound on what their Tubalite ancestors and cousins began in terms of technology and architecture!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Made a Server Charter

Once, while browsing Reddit, I saw that one user made a constitution of sorts for their now-gone server. Now, I'm the sort that likes writing up that kind of stuff and I had a creative burst, so I began writing a rather detailed Server Charter. I'm rather proud of the outcome of it, although it's not done. The Charter is made up of seven articles, which aren't completely in a logical order:

Article 1 is a preamble, which basically says that the Charter is meant to provide a clear yet detailed explanation of how the server is structured and run.

Article 2 says the purpose of the server, which is to let people have fun as long as they're not breaking any laws or griefing (unless there are times when griefing is allowed).

Article 3 states that upon the start of the server, a few buildings are to be built: a spawn building that has the rules posted and secures players from mobs and whatnot, a jail, a Spleef arena, a battle arena, and any relevant websites like a forum, YouTube account, Facebook page, and so on.

Article 4 gives people the right to express themselves in any way they wish without being harassed, as long as they're not trying to harass or offend others. It also has the right to fair trial, and to keep and protect whatever blocks, items, and buildings you have.

Article 5 sets the Charter as higher than any rule the mods/admins later make, explain how to change the Charter, and provides for creating a version of the Charter which is worded more simply and excludes information irrelevant to the common player.

Article 6 sets up a ranked system of players: Admins, Mods, Members, Guests, and Banned. More can be added than these.

Article 7 is the longest one, running 2.5 pages. It sets up a state system of cities, villages, and states. A village is a settlement of at least three people living in two or more houses that is connected and semi-dependent on a city. It must have a public building such as a market or meeting place and a farm large enough to sustain several people and is led by a Village Leader. It can't have a mine unless there are no other cities on the server that are nearby. It can upgrade to a city, or a city can be established itself. Cities are five or more people led by a Mayor and protected by a Sheriff. It can have a mine while connected villagers have free access to but not communal farm. A state is three or more cities and their villages allied under one government. One of the cities becomes the capitol and there has to be a statehouse. The state is led by a Governor (or Emperor, or President, or whatever they want to call it) and a Senate (or Congress, Parliament, Get Together of Dudes, etc.), who meet up in the statehouse for formal events.

I intentionally placed a system of dependency between cities and villages. Villages are meant to be where would be leaders, players, and groups learn the ropes of the game and governing, whereas cities are where the more experienced people can go to play. As a way of symbolizing and furthering this, as well as simulating real life, cities aren't supposed to have large communal farms but instead either make individual farms or rely on the village farm. Likewise, villagers must use the mine the city has to gather resources. This has a practical purpose of: it prevents the landscape from being scarred by mines everywhere. Statehouses probably wouldn't serve much function except to look pretty, but there does need to be some way of making sure states aren't haphazardly formed and dissolved. Part of my plan was for states to have their own dedicated sections on the server forum.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spleef Arena

In the past few weeks I've partially completed Tubal and am ready to move on to a different part of the map. I've also done a lot of mining in my main save. Just a few more diamonds to go until I get a full stack!

However, over the past couple days I have been working on a large side-project I've wanted to make for a while. It's done on my new "Freebuild Nonlegit" world, where SSP commands are used to make it very Classic mode-like. It's a Spleef arena, pretty large too. For those who don't know what Spleef is, it is a sport invented during Classic where two or more players or teams compete with each other by digging the ground out from under their opponents. The last one standing wins. I've never played in a round of Spleef but have seen videos of it.

The stadium is still far from completed. At this point it has an arena that is 25 meters in diameter and made of dirt. There are four doors, each at one of the cardinal directions. Eventually these will lead to rooms where the players/teams would wait to be let out for each round. Above them are wooden stair blocks that act as seats for the audience. At the moment there is a total of 84 seats. I have a rather large list of rooms and other features to add, although I'm not sure how I'll do those, if I ever complete this.

Lately, my schoolwork has emphasized breaking things down into lists and systems, and I got to thinking. The server I used to go on had an economy mod installed where you could make money for being active and whatnot. I thought of what types of jobs would be needed and how much money the jobs could bring in per event. Something like this came up:
  • Stadium Owner: Owns and runs the stuff. Income is basically whatever money isn't paid to employees or used for maintenance of the building and supplies. Everyone reports to this guy, and if people want to use the arena they have to talk to him.
  • Referee: Two or three people who are knowledgeable in Spleef rules and can be impartial. Relatively high pay.
  • Block Placer: Two or three people who put the arena floor back together after each round. Relatively easy but it requires trust as you'll have access to inside the building. Medium pay.
  • Security Officers: May need as many as 6-8 of them. They have armor and weapons to monitor the crowd, keep non-employees/non-players out of certain areas, and make sure the Spleef players don't erupt into chaos. Also get medium pay.
  • Maintenance Crew: These guys routinely inspect the building for griefing and other damage. They also keep the dirt and other arena blocks stocked. Medium pay. 
In all likelihood, just as in many real-world organizations, employees will do the jobs of multiple people. I may be the Owner but I'd also pitch in for refereeing when necessary, as well as maintenance and if fights erupt, I'd try and step in to quell it if possible.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rewriting History

The Minecraft World project that I abandoned a long time ago was out of a desire to make a world full of nations. Due to the limited size of landmasses in a naturally generated Minecraft map, it wasn't possible to really make large nations. When I downloaded the first Earth map I had hoped I could try it on there. Unfortunately, there were no cave systems and ores were randomly distributed on all levels. That made the possibility of reaching my goal basically impossible.

This new Earth map, which on my computer is called Earth Final, has expansive caves and properly distributed ores. It's also huge so I can now attempt to make this world full of nations. Which is what I started today.

First I wanted to pick a good place to begin. Recalling high school history class I noted that there were four main areas where human civilization really took off:
  • Mesopotamia, in the Fertile Crescent. This area cuts through modern-day Iraq and Iran. Two main rivers flow through this place: the Tigris and Euphrates.
  • China, on the opposite side of the Asian continent. These people were notable for being highly intelligent and making all sorts of new discoveries.
  • Indus Valley, located in India. Their archaeological remain show they had indoor plumbing and planned city structures - things that would not again be seen for thousands of years! They rather mysteriously disappeared.
  • Egypt - they were famous for their hieroglyphics and Pharaohs.
I figured I would mimic real history and start in the Fertile Crescent. However, when I got there I found it was basically sand with two grass patches with a lake in each one. So I looked around the area and found a spot located in the equivalent of southern Turkey. I went there in-game and what I found was a relatively flat area, 30 by 37 meters of usable, grassy space. To the west was another flat area which was separated by a block-high divider, a bay to the south, and tall mountains to the north and east. The tallest one towers over the flatland by 21 meters. At first I thought the area was no good but then I realized: this spot actually has the capacity to be very secure.

I am sort of doing role-play with this map and I figured that, if I built a defense wall along the tops of the mountains, enemies would have a hard time trying to sneak up. The advantage of height is a larger line-of-sight. Practically speaking, it would make it harder for aggressive mobs to attack.

The spot was chosen as where I would reconstruct humanity. I found coal and built a simple house. I also tried to choose a name for the village. Since I take the word of Genesis literally, I believe that Noah's ancestors repopulated the Earth after the Flood which destroyed it. I located a picture showing the names of his ancestors and where they went and discovered that the man who settled this part of Turkey was named Tubal. So I named the establishment Tubal.

Tubal will be a village: three homes, a large farm, and a storehouse for the results of the farm. It will also be defended from bad creatures by defensive walling. I have specific plans for what constitutes a village, city, and state. This is gonna be interesting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Earth Map!!

I've often mentioned the Earth map and how they made an updated version of it. Today after work I went to the library and spent 50 minutes downloading the zipped file, which was some 455 megabytes big. I came home, put it on my computer, and ran it.

The trees were just as unnatural looking as the first time, but then again they were generated by the script used by the creators. I did some tree chopping and, after teleporting to my home city's spot on the map, planted a birch and pine sapling each. I hacked those in since they don't exist anywhere else on the map. Perhaps I shall populate the map with them.

What really got my attention was when I went underground to find the caves. They were just... dazzling. I won't give too much away hopefully. They aren't like the normal caves found in Minecraft. Instead they are broader, taller, and more cylindrical. Simply huge. I felt awestruck when I went into it.

Now I wonder what I'm going to do. I have the main normal Minecraft world, but now I have this behemoth of a map. Maybe I'll make little villages and cities on it. It's just dang cool.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


If you knew me in real life, or read enough of this blog, you would think I'm the sort that prefers not to cause trouble with others and likes it when everyone is getting along. And you would be right. It's probably ironic, then that I'm a fan of Team Avolition.

For the few of you that don't know who Team Avolition is, here's a brief explanation: they're a group of griefers who do the work with great skill and creativity. I don't usually support griefing because it instigates trouble and often ruins the work of others. Yet with aVo I can't help but enjoy their work. They are notorious for having struck Reddit and MCBans servers. Often, mentioning their names can put you in hot water with server moderators and admins because of the amount of damage they have done. They record the mayhem they cause and put it on YouTube.

I think what makes Team Avolition, or aVo, more entertaining than other griefers I've seen on YouTube is how they approach griefing. They do a lot more than just walking up to a house and destroying it although that's a large part of their activity. They are very creative about it. They have leveled buildings to nothing, placed lava all over a stadium, tricked people into building structures on top of their own buildings (which were already basically demolished by aVo) and many other things. aVo has an array of tools which help them sneak, move faster, and even move around independent of their avatar's bodies. Mindless destroyers they are not. Heck, they once managed to ban the creator of MCBans from his own server! I find their ingenious methods very interesting and of course the way the people respond to them. The commentator/recorder, Storm_surge, has a phrase he uses often: "I think he might be mad." I think he is usually correct.

Team Avolition deserves ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Youssarian, Story Writer

As you may or may not know, I'm a writer. I've authored two novels and several short stories although I've never published them. There have been times when I've wanted to write fan fiction for Minecraft, however I've never taken the time to develop a story and write it out.

A couple days ago someone on the forum was recruiting people for a machinima - a story played inside a video game like Yogscast or Red v. Blue from Halo - and I hesitantly agreed to try providing some ideas for a storyline. The person, who is 17, sent me a personal message explaining the backstory of the machinima. I took a little while and added detail and some creative additions to it and he loved it. We've exchanged a few ideas so far.

My writing has been inspired by the manga "Naruto" because of its surprisingly intricate plot. We have the backstory figured out as well as a little bit of what will happen early in the series. I have to scale my ideas to the fact that the machinima will only run for a couple seasons. With time we will get our ideas sorted and finalized. I won't be seen in any of the episodes for various reasons. But I'm alright with that; getting the chance to use my creative abilities for something and then seeing what the result will be is sufficient for me. I just hope that the series will actually be put into production and have some audience. It's good experience for me so if anyone ever needs a writer I could use this as a sort of resume. If the series does go into production then I'll talk more about it, but for now I'll reserve my words so I don't spoil it for anyone. But if it launches, then expect me to talk more about it. ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good Looking Houses and Tree Spirit

Whoa, nearly three weeks since my last post! Sorry about that, I've been going through a lull in motivation to continue on with Minecraft. The plan with the fighter carrier has stalled already because I don't have the attention span to go on with that except perhaps in sporadic bursts of energy or boredom.

As you have doubtlessly seen, my ability to make good looking buildings is fairly limited. I have a strong practical bent so I emphasize function over form. Which means that I tend to make rather bland, rectangular buildings. I found a thread pertaining to making good looking houses by Minecraft forum member emily_2010 which acquired my attention. She began with what essentially looks like my typical starter house, like the one I currently use in the MinecraftWorldDemo map. From there she shows a progression and useful tips to make a better looking house.

I read her advice and found a nice plain on the MinecraftWorldDemo map (which I need to rename! I've abandoned the project to make a world of nations) and began by making a 10x10 square of planks in the ground. Then I worked on making a porch, kitchen, and attic. I utilized planks as the main construction material but there are two pine logs on either side of the porch with fences that act as pillars for the porch roof. The top of the house is slanted and uses cobblestone steps to give it a better look. I think I went a little too crazy with glass for the walls of the attic but it's nice nonetheless.

My design skills have certainly had a boost because of this. I'm also reading a thread that shows steps on making a nice house and it has a few good ideas I could try implementing in future builds. I think I'll try doing more houses that are pleasant looking.

The Earth map hasn't seen much use recently, while MinecraftWorldDemo has suddenly become my main one again. I've done quite an extensive amount of deep mining. As simple and repetitive as it may be, it feels good to be playing Minecraft the legit way again. The cruddy shack I use as my main base is getting overfilled with items so I want to one day make a new base which has both function and extended emphasis on form.

While browsing the Minecraft forum I repeatedly saw the title for a thread called the Tree Spirit Challenge. I thought it was another Pass It On, a forum game where a list of people download a themed map, add changes then reupload the new map for someone else to edit. I thought the Tree Spirit thread was just another one of those but after seeing it for the twentieth time I figured I'd check it out. It's definitely not a Pass It On. It's a challenge map where you choose a tree to become the grandfather tree and using only its logs and those of its offspring, build roots and expand the tree's presence. You must always be adjacent to the heart log, a root, or a leaf of a root except in brief moments to collect dropped items. After all, you have become a tree spirit, who nurtures the tree.

I made a world for it and picked a birch tree. I like those trees, they stand out very well. A couple minutes into the game a chicken knocks me off my heart log! I get back on and try continue playing but give up and delete the map. I try again but also give up and delete. I try a third time, using the same seed as my first one ("tree spirit", to no surprise) and I'm doing a lot better. I planted some saplings but they were taking waaaay too long to grow so I grew impatient and hacked in a stack of bone meal. Twice I should have suffocated by leaves forming in my spot, but I used noclip and freed myself. Even if I would have died I would have been able to collect all my stuff anyway. I think I'm going to bulk up on my birch logs and form nicely distanced tree cities connected by long roots to the heart log. I've even come up with Norse-sounding names for them: Adrosil, Gardrosil and Marosil. The names are inspired by Yggdrasil, a massive tree from Norse mythology.

Fun fact: I started up a world called "Notch's Demise." I wanted to test an aspect of the Single Player Commands mod. I have two wolves which only recognize me and respond to me if I have the Notch skin on. I wondered, if I have Notch's skin and die, do I drop anything?  I always thought he dropped Golden Apples. I killed myself four times on this map and each time I dropped a Red Apple!  This confirms that Notch drops a Red Apple when he is killed! Now I wonder if he can somehow detect that I assumed his form and died multiple times. That would be interesting!