Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shutting Down

After 3 years and 9 months, Youssarian's Minecraft Adventures is officially coming to a conclusion. I know I declared an end to things over a year ago. This time I mean it. This blog has been a lot of fun to write, maintain, and experiment with. It's been a part of my life, sometimes big, sometimes small. But time has come to move on to new things.

I have three main reasons. First, I can't stay interested in Minecraft long enough to post consistently anymore. Things get grindy and boring awfully fast. My laptop doesn't handle the game well without Optifine, and goodness knows how long it'll be before Optifine is updated for 1.8. I wanted to have a weekly posting schedule but I just couldn't commit to it long run.

Second, I never did get a good reader base. As of the time I'm writing this post, Youssarian's Minecraft Adventures had just broken 48,000 page views. That's amazing! Coincidentally, this is to be the 200th post on the blog. I suppose this is all impressive to you, but in reality it just isn't much. The blog never quite got the active community I wanted it to have.

Third, I tried to make this into something of a freelance venture. I thought I might be able to monetize a little on the blog. However, that never took off.

I will not be deleting this blog, hopefully. I'll keep it here for the purposes of serving as an archive. If I ever do dip back into the world of blogging and community building, it will be on a different platform, such as WordPress, and in a very different way. Otherwise, I'll continue to play Minecraft casually, as I always have. I want to make ebooks of the tutorials I've written, perhaps you'll run across those and recall my blog.

Thanks for reading the blog! God bless, and happy Minecrafting.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Getting Situated

Mob Farm
Early in the week I realized I was low on mob drops. Despite me playing on Normal mode, hostile mobs have proved rare for me to come by. I think it has something to do with how far I have my render distance. Because my laptop is rather slow I have to keep the render distance at the smallest option, 2 chunks. From what I've read, mobs only spawn in the range of rendered chunks. A little math says a whole four hostile mobs should spawn, and that's no good for me.

I went ahead and used sand, sandstone, and acacia to build the mob grinder. I think I should add a second and third layer to it, since my spawn rates are destined to be low as long as I'm doing the minimum two chunks.

I also started growing acacia trees en masse, since I'll be needing plenty more for my future builds. I even tamed a decent horse, giving it iron horse armor I had found somewhere. It doesn't have a name yet.

Castle Youssarian
The castle has gotten a lot of detail work done on it. Two of the rooms on the first floor are still pretty empty but the rest of it seems to have the basics finished. There's so much more that can be done here, but I think I'm about ready to begin the second floor. I'll detail things more later on.

The Great Hall/throne room:


Lesser hall:

Typical ladder to the upper floors:

And the front, which I don't have a design for yet.

Supply Woes
Right now, what I really need is to get a powerful production of supplies going. I have redstone but not enough to make the contraptions I could go for. At the moment I'm starting to do basic resource farming at a village, so I might just make that my base of operations for now. Recall that I don't want this to be a redstone-heavy map. It's true I don't. Nevertheless, practical redstone to build up my supplies would be pretty helpful.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Slow and Steady

This week really hasn't seen too much activity. We're doing overtime at work and it's leaving me too tired to play much. I got a little done, at least.

First I got all the walls to the height I want.

Then I laid down acacia floors and some of the roofing for the first floor, which doubles as the floor for the next level.

And then I tried getting work done with the kitchen. It has too modern a feel, with the stone slabs. I'll have to stop by the local savannah and get some oak logs.

About that time I got kinda bored with the castle. Instead of letting my creative energies sputter out I laid down some basic parts for the chapel. Originally I wanted it to be two floors tall, but with a little thinking I got it to a comfortable size while being a single floor high.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Castle & Command Blocks

It's been a good, productive week. I've spent it working on the castle, and getting a simple teleportation hub set up. I upgraded to snapshot 14w32d.

Castle Youssarian
I spent a couple hours looking up the floor plans of real castles. I've never made one in Minecraft before, so this would be a first for me. I found several designs that inspired me, and have come up with my own. I learned something kinda cool: a lot of people, when they make castles in Minecraft, all they build are the walls. But there are more parts of a castle than that. There's the part inside it called the keep, where people sleep, eat, and live. I started work on that first.

Here are the three thrones of Castle Youssarian. Leftmost is for the eldest prince, middle is the king, and rightmost is the queen.

I didn't take screenshots of the time spent laying out the outline for the first floor because it's boring. But here's a picture I got along the way:

A little further along:

The walls are pretty high on this floor, because of the king's throne. Upper floors won't be as tall, probably. I haven't started on the floor but I think it'll be acacia planks, with some design added for variety.

Floor Plans
I don't have anything drawn out, but I could at least give you a list of the rooms. I had to compromise between realism and artistic rendition, and I think a good halfway point was found. There are two buildings which are more than one story tall, the keep and the chapel.
  • First floor: Great Hall, lesser hall, kitchen, brewery, foyer, armory and crafting room.
  • Second floor: King's study, Premier's study, library, lounge.
  • Third floor: King and Queen's chamber with private bathroom, Premier's chamber with private bathroom, three bedrooms (for the prince and princesses), public bathroom.
(A Premier is basically a Prime Minister, the person who handles the tedious affairs of running a kingdom for the King.)

The chapel is where religious services are held. I've named it the Chapel of Isidore, for Saint Isidore of Seville. The Catholic Church considers him the patron saint of the Internet, computers, and computer programmers, so I think it's fitting.
  • First floor: sanctuary, priest's study, public bathroom.
  • Second floor: priest's bedroom with private bathroom.
I will also have farms, stables, a well, and maybe a couple other buildings around the keep. The worst part will likely be building the wall around it. This could almost turn into a proper megabuild.

Command Blocks
When I started this map I decided I would make a teleportation hub. It would have command blocks which teleport me to points of interest. The reason for this hub is the fact that I hate walking around long distances. It's just a waste of time. My real life schedule is fairly cramped between work, Minecraft, and other hobbies. On any given day I can squeeze maybe an hour of game time, and walking around a ton is a waste.

I went to 500, 500 to place the central block of the temporary teleport hub, and found it was inconveniently located on the side of a hill. Oh well. Only a few spots are important right now, and it was quick to put together.

Did you know that you can't edit command blocks in Survival mode? I found that out trying to use these things. Luckily I set this map up so I can use /gamemode. Each command block in this hub takes me to a specific area, and that area has a command block to return me here. I'll go into Creative mode to find the coordinates, program the command block, and place a stone pressure plate next to it. 

This isn't what I'll keep it as. Perhaps in the next couple weeks I shall build a better, more expandable one at y = 150. Here's a simple design I made for it:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Desert Base & Structures

Desert House
The main theme for this past week has been building my first settlement outside of spawn. In past maps I would try to find a plains, forest, or swamp. But I think sandstone builds look pretty nice, so I opted to settle in a desert. It ended up being by a savannah, giving me plenty of acacia wood. Birch planks remain my favorite blocks in the game, but acacia planks are pretty good, too.

My desert house is based upon something I saw on the Mindcrack server's 3rd season map. I ended up going in a fairly opposite direction from it, though. It has a bit of a Medieval feel, which I didn't expect. It's rather nice. As the front entrance shows, this building is under the authority of House Youssarian (I'll explain that in a moment), with its blue, white, and yellow banner.

 Here's a few pictures walking around the house.

The inside. The bottom floor is mainly storage. I wasn't too sure about keeping the granite floor but it's grown on me.

Top floor. It's kinda bare but I presently don't need much.

The latter to go up and downstairs.

When I first picked this spot to build, I knew there was a desert well near it. What I didn't realize was the existence of a second one. Both are in view of the house, but because of my slow laptop I keep the amount of rendered chunks low.

Up close the place looks nice. From far away it's really quite something.

Some Lore
I want for the map to have castles and kingdoms and villages and whatnot. Certainly, there will be other things, but I'm going for a bit of a Medieval feel. I spent some time studying how real castles are built, and I'm hoping to adapt that into the game. Each "kingdom" will have its own banner style. Castle Youssarian is going to be pretty nice, realistic, but not overly complex. I'll make it somewhere in the desert. Later on, I'll track down an ice spike biome and use the packed ice to build another castle somewhere in a snowy biome.

I also did some exploring. I found a desert temple and a village. The village was darn near the smallest you can find in the game. I named it Creepersfont, because of the Creeper which was hopping in the well.

The desert temple is located on the shore.

Next Week
I think this next week will be more about building up supplies and getting ready to build Castle Youssarian, a large sandstone-based castle. It'll have wood and stone and other stuff, of course. I want it to be realistic but also able to fit my own building style. I also need to get a mob farm up and running as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Minecraft 1.8 Map!

Eighteen months. That's how long I've been playing my 1.5 map. The one on which I've begun countless projects, but only completed a very few. I don't even know how long I was on my 1.0.0 map. A while, that's for sure.

Now, a map change has happened again! With Minecraft 1.8 promising a lot of new blocks, features, and terrain generation, I've decided it is time to start fresh. Today, I begin a new map, a new seed, and a new goal.

A New Map
Past worlds had random seeds and no clear goal. This new world, which I'll call my Main 1.8 map, has the seed "Youssarian", my in-game name. The spawn is a thick jungle.

This map has new objectives, an attempt at a new way of playing Minecraft. Past worlds have largely been oriented toward redstone and functional builds. Over the last year my aesthetic skills have improved greatly. I've also found my natural build style - small buildings with thick detail. I want to put this into practice. Therefore, this map will be building-oriented. I will have redstone, yes, but it will be limited toward practical things, and hopefully not as expansive and daunting as things I've tried in the past. You can expect me to make villages and simple mansions, and really whatever looks nice in my head.

Right now I'm playing using snapshot 14w30c. I'll update on occasion, when I feel the need for it.

New Blocks and Items
What's drawn me to 1.8 are the new blocks. Andesite, diorite, and granite allow more possibilities for stony builds. Banners are excellent ways to visually identify owners, factions, and the like. Slime blocks have really cool functions. Updated enchanting mechanics allow for powerful tools at a lesser cost. Underwater content adds another light block. And more.

Teleportation Hub
To add some freshness to the game, I'm going to start allowing myself to use command blocks for teleportation. I might end up using this instead of a Nether hub. The teleportation hub will be filled with command blocks that send me to locations I designate. This hub may also include a map room, where I chart the world. This hub is needed because I don't know when 1.8 will actually be released, so mods like VoxelMap won't be around for a while.

Other Challenges and Factors

  • Establish some kind of spawn town. Could be very difficult with spawn being a jungle. May instead do it in a nearby plains.
  • Before I can set up a teleportation pad for a place, I need to personally travel to it. So no teleporting to a mushroom biome and not generating the path from spawn to it first.
  • I want to try and find a stronghold, and fight the Enderdragon.
  • I am challenging myself to make a minimum of one post each week. The post will be published Mondays at 9 AM EST (8 AM CST).
  • I will be using a program called AMIDST. It gives me an accurate preview of the biomes of my world, before I go to them. It also shows generated structures. I will use it to seek out biomes, villages, and whatnot. I will not use it to find strongholds.
Setting Up
Alright so that's enough talk, let's get to building! I spawned in a messy jungle, and there was a small lake nearby. My first instinct was to get to safety... and what's safer than a house elevated over water?

I found a small cave with exposed stone and diorite, and began mining that out.

Sparing you an hour's worth of work, I shall now show you my starter house. It incorporates cobble stairs, diorite, oak stairs, and a medley of oak and jungle wood.

A little thinking later, I realized the legs of the house seemed a tad bare. Supports fill out the space nicely.

The roof seemed kind of boring to me. Some stairs and a wall gave a little more detail.

Oh yeah, then I added a porch. I tried a couple different designs for the porch's supports, but I can't quite get anything I'm pleased with. Ah well, I'm sure it still looks better than just a dangling porch.

Mine It Out
The first thing you do in Minecraft? Mine, of course. For this map I'm doing 500-block-long branch mines. I began with stone pickaxes, which are amazingly slow. It was nice to see all the diorite, granite, and andesite.

I passed by a couple caves which I'll probably spelunk through later. I also found diamonds, and an impressive number of iron ores. At this point I can safely upgrade everything to iron, and start exploring my map.

I haven't yet made any banners in Survival mode, but the day I heard about banners, I knew what I wanted. My personal banner is a relatively simple one. I want it to be similar to my Minecraft skin, but with a more minimalistic feel. I expect to be using this in my single player world, and also multiplayer should I ever find myself on it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another Portal Room

The portal room for my underground, redstone-powered base is now done! I used the same general shape as my last underground base's portal room. The path to it is long not just to be dramatic. I also need it to be far enough from other rooms that I won't hear the whining of the portal.

Don't worry, the dirt will turn to grass eventually.

In front of the portal, over the stairs, I managed a decent design for the ceiling.

Here's what it looks like as you ascend the stairs.

The smooth stone is a bit of a deviation from my general pattern, but it adds depth to the build. I bet a lot of time will be spent going through the base looking for ways to make it look even nicer. I recently found a mesa biome, so I could perhaps color code portions of the base.

Finally, a view from the portal itself.