Monday, April 18, 2011

Terrorcraft, or, Being a Noob Again

Today, I was bored. So for the fun of it, I decided to load up a new world and start from scratch. No hacks, no mods, just make a shelter by the end of the day. Even though I've always played on Peaceful, I still felt that urgency. The world planted me on a mountainside where snow met sand. I immediately began chopping logs and made a workbench which I used to craft a wooden pickaxe.

Tool secured I went for a brief hunt for coal. The way the terrain seems to be generated, coal is normally exposed on tall mountains. I grabbed that, made torches and decided to make my home in the valley. Couldn't have been more than a 5x8 shack but I needed to down some trees nearby to complete the roof. A trick I've always used has been to find a spot where there's a slope and build there. Since my first home in a world always emphasizes compactness I only need two blocks of height and working on a slope means I already have the bottom of half of a wall made.

Once it was completed, I looked outside. There were still two minutes of daylight left. Noting the "Mine" in "Minecraft" I began making a 2-block-wide staircase downward, placing torches every few levels. I stumbled upon iron probably within the first five layers! I kept going and encountered another iron vein and plenty of coal which I allocated to my furnace.

Perhaps because the SMP server I've been on has mobs enabled, when I broke into a cave I got nervous. I began exploring, putting torches on my right to keep track. There was iron and coal everywhere! I mainly explored, enjoying the feel of adventuring someplace dark and mysterious with relative levels of security. I had no idea what level I was at until I noticed a lapiz lazuli block. Then things started getting weird. I was having lag and it was rather intense. I wondered if there was a dungeon nearby.

Something in me said "This lag is an omen. Let's get back to the house." So up I went and something walked into view! Adrenaline rushed through my body. I observed the rectangular black body then saw its face. A cow. I laughed it off a little then killed it with cobblestone.

My first experiences with Minecraft were nothing like this. I felt reasonably secure since I've always been in Peaceful mode. Dungeons have always made me a little leery since technically the mob does spawn - although it's removed immediately after. The puffs of smoke when it does form for that brief instant make me uncomfortable. Yet there was something different about the game's mood this time. It just wasn't safe. I think that's why Minecraft sells so well - you don't feel safe. It's a risk and millions are willing to take it.