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!