Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Minecraft - Coal

There are two ways to play the game, the efficient way, and the fun way.

I was on a search for coal last night as I had used up the last little bit that I had to make a couple torches, and I had options A and B available to me. At first I decided that I would just mine a little bit in my cave at night and look for some random coal but just digging in one direction. I found a little bit, but really the whole process seemed a little bit tedious, so I thought to myself, "Let's go and see if those outside caves have any coal in them."

There is a small cave just around the corner from my base, so I went and checked it out, and lo and behold there was some coal just inside the cave. But here is where things got tricky, the cave opened up to the outside world in a spot that was generating a bunch of mobs. Not wanting to see my character go up in flames I took the time to wall off the entrance and make a glass tunnel back to my fort for safety, which now thinking about I need to do a little more work with it to make it 100% safe. Anyway in I went now feeling that my backside was secure. Instantly I see mobs moving around in the darkness and the clattering of a skeleton. I withdrew my bow and started firing at the movement in the distance striking a creeper. Behind him was another creeper, and then another. The darkenss of this cave seemed to be crawling with evil. I ventured down the creeper chamber to find that I had cleared it out and put up some torches to keep it that way. At that point I sealed off another passage where I believe the skeleton was hiding. Finally feeling that my back was secured I took the third tunnel mining the coal and iron that I found along the way, and there at the end was a lavafall in the center of a giant chamber, which must have been only a short walk from my outside house. Thankfully when I came upon the chamber I entered on a balcany which allowed me to see below, and I got to see a creeper jump in the lava and get burned up, that was fun. Next time I get on I'll have to go down there and check it out.

My other project was the continued work on my little castle. I finished up the outer walls and added a rampart that ran the entire distance of the wall. Next I dug up a small moat around the front, which I experimented with a little. I think what I'm going to do with the moat is make it so that if a mob falls in they are sent to their death leaving their loot to surface within my castle walls. If I can pull it off that will give me all sorts of goodies for doing nothing.

I realized what is one of the fun things about this game, there isn't a treadmill, it's all about doing what you want to do and enjoying what that is. If I explore it's exciting to see what is next, or what is waiting for me arond the next corner. If I dig the prospect of finding a treasure is there, or maybe a unique waterflow or lava flow, maybe a chest. If I build, it's totally free building to be whatever I want it to be, usually built out of a need. I saw this video yesterday and it reminded me of all of the negatives of WoW. And while I had fun with it, the evils of it are true.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Minecraft - FIRE!!!

Only you can create forest fires. Die Smokey!!!

Minecraft - Diamonds and Castles

I really don't understand my addiction with Minecraft I mean it's basically a game about digging in a hole and then building stuff, Simcity would be similar in that regard so I have no idea why it's so addicting, but it is!

This weekend I ventured to the bottom of the Ick cave and finally hit rock bottom and it was a very long way down, oddly enough I never hit another cave in my digging, which while anti-climatic did make digging a lot safer because I never had to worry about mobs. I mean there were some mobs just on the other side of the walls but I never punched through because I didn't think that I needed to add to my drama when I was on a quest for diamonds. Actually I was kind of hoping to explore a little bit and randomly hit another cave, but considering that I am playing a sort of hardcore method, I didn't want to purposefully risk it. And yes I still have not died in this game, came close with that Creeper.

Speaking of Creepers, as you can see from the screenshot in my last post my base needed some work to make it impenetrable. Sure there are perfect methods online of how "you're supposed" to make your base, but where is the fun in that. I build what I want to build and I do it how I see fit, if I wanted cookie cutter then I wouldn't play because that becomes a job. All of that being said I think that the Ick fortress is safe now, no mobs within my outer walls for the last couple of nights and I now feel safe to wonder around my grounds at night without fear of attack. But the Eastern Base as it was dubbed originally is not perfect by any means, it was built out of necessity and as such is disjointed and doesn't have all of the room for crafting and storage that I would like. Additionally I had a large chest full of stone that I had gathered from all of my underground digging and have decided that I need to put that to use by building myself a large castle just a little inland from where I'm living today.

So with the new castle in mind I built another 3 furnaces so that I could start making clean stone because my castle is going to look kick ass once it's done, no cheap cobblestone for me. So far I think that I've made about 500 clean stone blocks then I ran out of coal, which could be a little bit of a problem, didn't really think it all out ahead of time, plus my addiction to torches doesn't help. I have a feeling that's going to require me doing a little digging in a local monster cave, because I don't really have any mountains around me.

The other thing that I did for my castle is start work on the outer wall, on my first base that was kind of an after thought as it was needed, this time around I'm starting there. It's only made of dirt with a cobblestone line around the top, but it will serve it's purpose, I might throw some glass in it as well, but not sure how tough I want to make it look, but I will be adding a rampart to it. I have high hopes for how my castle will turn out, I have enough materials to pretty much make it however I want so I'm thinking that I'll give it adequate room for storage and crafting that I don't currently have.

Another little thing that I think I'll add will be a raised walkway from the castle to the original fort, or maybe an underground tunnel. Maybe a secret passageway which would give me something to do with all of that redstone that I've acquired, really no idea what to do with the redstone. One idea that I had was to set up a mine field for the mobs to blow themselves to pieces in but knowing me I'd end up blowing myself to pieces in the process.

Speaking of death, I had a little run in with some lava at the bottom of the Ick cave. It was nothing to serious as I was being extra careful around it, but did my best to dig right around it so that I could find myself that all too rare diamond, of which I found two of them. Not enough for a pick, but it was enough for a shovel, so that was helpful. I'm so cheap that I still use stone tools rather than iron, in my opinion I don't think that I've found too much iron so I'm kind of hording it. If I were to ever die and then not return to this encampment and then hand over the save to someone like my brother, there would be some phat loot waiting if he made the trip.

So with that I shall leave the blog for the day and toss of a photo or two later perhaps. Next time I get on I'll be on a search for coal before I can continue the construction of my fantastic castle =)

I also need to work on my brother to play this game, then maybe we can play multiplayer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Minecraft - Knock knock

I thought that my castle was set up pretty good, didn't think that I would have too much to worry about. Turns out that wasn't really the case, after spending a while digging down in my mine, I had that Creeper hanging out right outside my door. Seriously that's the sort of thing that can really ruin your day, had I gone out there.

I guess that I need to make a large wall to surround my entire estate, that way I won't have to worry about it again. I knew the water out front was a weak spot, but I kind of liked how it looked, oh well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Minecraft - Day 1 world 2

So I saw a guy on the forums do something similar to this idea and it sounded kind of neat. Kind of a hardcore method of playing without wiping out the world when you die. What I decided that I would do instead of building up around my spawn spot, I would pick a direction and run in that direction for 2 game days, mining for wood or coal as I saw some, but basically get as far from my spawn as possible. When that character dies, I'll spawn again and then send that guy into the next direction for 2 days. The goal being that my world will become filled with little settlements from where I lived, because once I die, everything that remains there will stay there. Eventually my world will be filled with little houses from people that have come and gone and to me it will feel a little more lived in. It also has a fun bi-product, it's as exciting as hell...

After my two day run in which I took cover on the first night, I set up shop on the Eastern coast a long way away. Oh and I little tip, put the draw distance to tiny when running, that way you really are lost out there. Anyway, I set up a little house and thought I was doing well for myself, having known the basics of survival I felt pretty good. The first day or two were uneventful, but on that third day, here he came bouncing down the side of my little house everyone's favorite baddie, the creeper. And before I could run away he blew himself to pieces, taking my health to half a heart. What a rush that was knowing that one more anything and it was back to square one. Thankfully I had killed some pigs and had some food stashed so I was able to recover.

After the creeper blew the front of my house off I went about rebuilding and setting up a defensive structure that I'm pretty happy with now. If I ever happen to find this castle in my future explorations then it will be something that I can be proud of.

So just a quick update tonight because now it's time to get back to it. Man I love this game.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Minecraft - The Water Cave

Every morning I think I wake up saying to myself, "Man I really need to go to sleep earlier." Because every night I end up staying up later than I intend playing something, and right now that something is Minecraft. As a side note I really need to send my screenshots to my e-mail so that I have access to them.

Last night I did two things, the first was that I built myself a little tower on the Ick house, which is quickly becoming a castle. It's not great but I think standing on top of that tower of glass is pretty neat. I'll need to clean it up a little bit because there is a lot of cobblestone that makes it a little tricky to see whilst climbing. But once you get to the top the views are quite nice. The tower didn't really take too long to do and it gave me something to do at night during my restocking trips back home for more tools as I ventured into what I have dubbed the Water Cave.

Early on in my adventures I discovered a cave just to the West of my house that needed to be explored, but I had gotten sidetracked digging in my house and venturing through the Spider Cave, but now was a good time to return. In my journeys through the house cave I had dug all the way back up towards the surface and the desert and it looked as if I was really close to the Water Cave, that I could bust through and meet the two caves up, naturally it wasn't as easy to link them as I had thought.

I started digging towards where I knew one of the branches of the house cave ended and quickly found a passageway that took me in another direction, and had a stunning underground waterfall which as I would learn went down to the depths of the cave, of which I haven't explored yet. When starting a new cave/dungeon it's always a little freaky, if you're near the surface you can hear the mobs up on the surface and that totally throws me off because I don't know what is in there with me hiding behind a corner and what is up top. This time it was a spider, I couldn't find where he was at for a couple minutes until I looked up to see the source of the waterfall, and there he was trying to get his fat little body to drop on my head. Ah meet Mr. Bow you stupid spider, pow dead!

That is one thing that I don't think you can really explain to someone who hasn't played the game, but those caves and dungeons are pretty freaky, if you hear something and can't find it, you just know it's going to jump out at you at some point. Especially when you're trying to map out a new section and there are multiple tunnels that you can explore.

The cave expanded downward and I ended up finding a couple zombies that were trapped by a pool that had formed at a section of the waterfall. Those poor little bastards moaning and jumping to get to me, but were held back by the water so they were easy to pick off. Once they were disposed of I took a second to look around and found that I had linked up to the Ick cave, in the deep section where I had found lava. I moved around the little pool by building a dirt walkway and saw that the cave descended even deeper. Goofing around I dug up a block and accidentally unleashed the water in the pool and sent a waterfall down to the depths of wherever. I had intended on exploring there, but after creating the waterfall I decided that I'd let it be for now as no mobs were going to be able to swim up it. I was just thinking that I'm going to make this a giant water slide for myself to get down there once I go.

So leaving the waterfall of darkness I took off down another chamber to do some deep digging. With the reveal of dirt and gravel at the depth level I was at I figured that there had to be something cool over there. I found a little gold (which is useless, but I will be making a watch) but nothing else as of yet. By the time I had finished digging around, my tools were shot so I needed to return to the surface to resupply, and by then it was getting too late so I made my gear and logged out, ready to find some diamonds on my next adventure.

Speaking of adventure, I had the coolest idea. I'm sure someone has already done it, but you could make a very sweet Zelda type of adventure in this game if one set their mind to it. You could set up a series of dungeons each holding a type of loot and holding clues to the next dungeon. At the bottom of each you could have a switch that would be linked to redstone and to a door in some distant dungeon. Then through a series of dungeons you unlock all of the doors granting you access to the final boss. It would take a bit of time to do and setting up all of the items around the world, but that would be pretty sweet. Naturally I won't be doing it because I'd rather be playing the game but I'm just saying that it could be done and be very awesome.

Until next time...

And I'll add dome pictures too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Minecraft - Death, Building, Terror

I got to play a bit of Minecraft this weekend and some of my expectations of the game were brought back down to Earth, but don't tell my brother, I still want him to try it and I'd love to see multiplayer with him. Anyway that doesn't mean that I still don't find the game to be engaging in many different ways, if I had to compare it to another game I'd have to say it was a combination of SimCity and Doom. SimCity in that a lot of the purpose is to build the world around you which can be a lot of fun and the means with which to gather materials to do that are only found in the depths of the Earth and exploring in the darkness dropping torches to ward off monsters is thrilling to say the least.
So this weekend I did a couple of things, first I decided that I wanted to branch out from my first house, I didn't really need to because as it turns out the caves below my house seemingly go on forever, but more on that in a minute. So I decided to hike up one of the nearby mountains and build myself a little observation post, naturally I didn't take a picture so I'll have to do that next time I get on. It's pretty cool, it's about 2 blocks below the cloudline and it's walled with glass and an open ceiling with a great panoramic view. The best part is that any monsters would be very hard pressed to get up there to me so it's quiet which is nice as well when I want to do some crafting in peace, because my first house reminds me of "I am Legend".

I've learned that my first house is very safe now, it has high walls a large ditch that you have to cross via the glass bridge which is blocked off with a gate. But to hear those guys out there at all hours of the night banging on the walls gets a little annoying, so I decided that I'd go exploring for a good location to build a castle. I ventured out to the North across the seemingly endless desert and found a nice grove with lots of trees and sheep and a tiny island just off the coast in a little inlet. I was thinking this will be perfect, it's an island so the monsters won't be bugging me all night. So with piles of stone that I had collected from the mines under my original house I went about making what I thought would be an amazing castle. Turns out that as the darkness closed in I rushed to get the walls up so it ended up not having quite the majestic footprint that I would have liked, but no matter that could be fixed. I also included a line of glass all the way around the castle so that I could see outside and a large skylight for light during the day. I was going to put some towers on it and everything, really do it up nice, but then the night came. Turns out that zombies can swim, same with spiders and other stuff, so the whole idea to make this awesome island castle was flawed. I decided that I'd just abandon the idea and try again later so I crafted up a boat and sailed back to my original house. I left some materials in the house just in case I was back in that area, and that is kind of my plan to leave stuff all over the place just because. One day I'll go on an epic quest and I intend on leaving a trail behind me.

What is going to be interesting about that epic adventure is something I learned that I wasn't to happy about, it turns out that if you die and you're too far away, your stuff is gone. I was really hoping that any of my deaths that took place would leave behind some loot for future adventures, but alas that isn't going to happen, and I have to say I was bummed about that. I guess it adds to the element of danger in adventuring, because it would be very easy to get back to where you were and pick up your stuff, plus I'm sure there is a network issue with keeping all of that stuff active at a long distance, oh well.

So how did I learn about death, well naturally the hard way. I was doing some very deep digging underneath my house and came across a zombie spawner. Pretty easy to take out so I killed off the zombies and set up torches around the spawner so that they would stop spawning. I'm not really sure what happened, I think I might have touched it, because a zombie spawned while I wasn't realy paying attention or when I dropped down on the spawner on accident and he proceeded to kill me while I was fumbling around trying to get to my sword. Naturally I dropped a lot of iron, redstone, gold, and an assortment of other nice items that I should have taken back to the surface (or at least put in a chest). When I ran back down there to find my stuff, it was all gone, I wasn't so much pissed as I was disappointed because of what that meant, but I could still put stuff in chests so it's not a total loss. Oh and to avoid future problems I went ahead and took out the spawner, those things are going to die now.

Now knowing the price of death, that adds a little more excitement to what I would consider an already pretty terrifying cave exploration. Graphically Minecraft pretty much sucks, I mean it's a bunch of boxes, which I think work great, but seriously it's a bunch of boxes, it's no Crysis 2 or anything, hell it's not even WoW. But when you mix in the right level of darkness, mobs that can tear you apart (creepers) if they get the jump on you, and the sounds of them all around you, never knowing from which of the three tunnels ahead of you they are coming from, well then you got yourself a nice little sense of dread, which I find thrilling. Remember playing Doom back in the old old days of gaming and never knowing where a mob was going to jump out from and proceed to kick your butt, well this works similarly.

Minecraft is a lot of fun and I'll keep on playing it for as long as I find it to be fun. The concept of the game is so different than anything else out at the moment that I find it so refreshing, it's a true sandbox game but it suffers from one problem that all single player games do, you can't really show off your work to anyone, so in the end there is a bit of isolation. Which is probably what spurred me to write this blog, sure no one is ever going to read it, but it feels a little better knowing that it's there.

Until next time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Minecraft Day 2

So I had seen Minecraft in various places online but honestly it's a bunch of blocks and it's just making stuff so really how much fun could that be? Well I have to say it's a hell of a lot of fun. What really tipped me off to it was the video link below.

This guy named "X" did a great series of videos on the game and they were amazingly engaging, to the point that I realized that I had to play this game, and holy crap was it worth it.

Essentially if I had to break it down it's a game about survival and making a place for yourself in a virtual world while trying to stay alive. Think of all of the blocks like legos that you have to build stuff out of, and then add in monsters that are trying to kill you while you do said activity. The result is a thrilling RPG type of game that is extremely rewarding (to me anyway).

When it starts you pop up in a randomly generated world of infinite size. Now think about that for a second, this isn't like Oblivion where the world was hand crafted to be a specific way, nope this is pure computerized nature at it's best. Sure it's a simple world, but it's so inviting at the same time (until the creepers start showing up of course). Anyway you spawn and you have nothing but your bare hands to make it in this world. The first thing that I did was go beat down a tree with my hands to get wood, for that wood I made sticks, which I then turned into a wooden pick axe so that I could go mine for coal. Why coal, for torches, why torches, because I was in a race against the sun at this point. Once the sun goes down the monsters spawn and they are out for blood. The torches work to keep them away because monsters won't spawn in light, but that won't keep them away from killing you once they have spawned.

So after I got some torches I dug myself a little hole in the side of a hill so that I could hold up for the first night. That was pretty safe, nothing could get me until the morning so I just kind of hung out. When morning came I was unaware that some of the monsters didn't die off by the daylight, namely Creepers, which I have a nasty little way of blowing up when they get too close to you, leaving giant craters, which in this case I became one of.

Ok respawned and ran back to pick up all of the goodies that I had already picked up and decided that my little hill home wasn't going to cut it. I had heard that if you build up on top of a mountain then the mobs have less of a chance to come get you, but I didn't want to live like some hermit up on top of a mountain because that would have been a pain in the butt to get to anything else (except for the forest that is located on top of a mountain to the East of my eventual home). So I decided that I'd use a slightly larger hill to make my house. And thus I began digging in and down, just in time to beat the night. Thankfully the little hill house was large enough that I could move around a little bit and set up my work bench, stove, and chest. And thus I went to work on more useful tools made from stone, including my first stone sword.

When the day dawned, like the noob I am, I walked out to quickly get mauled by another batch of monsters that had decided to set up shop right outside my door. Ok as supernanny would say, this crap was unacceptable, thus it was time to set up some exterior defenses. Now there aren't actually any weapon type of defenses (at least not that I know of yet), the first thing that I did was cut out a little walkway from the front of my house that wraps around to the North side of my house. This at least will keep the baddies from waiting right outside my door when the morning comes, but note to self, make the house face the East in the future, and not blocked by a large mountain preventing me from getting the full sunrise (no wonder my days seem so short).

Anyway the idea then occurred to me that maybe monsters were spawning on top of my house because the roof was made of grass, thus I decided that I needed a roof. Originally I was going to go farm up some wood then reconsidered and used stone because I had started a little quarry within my house (more on that later) and I was rolling in stone, hence the stone ceiling was started. Of course knowing me a stone ceiling wasn't going to be enough, let's make this into a stone tower so that I can see if there is anything outside of my door in the morning, or better yet let's make a second entrance so that I'll really be safe. So after some time I finally got the tower completed with windows pretty much around the entire perimeter (yes glass windows, because I live by a lot of sand).

With my house pretty secure I felt a lot safer waiting out the night listening to the monsters surround my house in the darkness, and when I finally looked out from my tower I saw them, it looked like a starter zone in WoW, there were dozens upon dozens of those bastards out there. Out of dumb luck I seemed to have built my house/tower/castle in the middle of a monster city (not a real city). This could only mean one thing, the house was going to need more defense, maybe a moat and a bridge.

So this is where day 2 really starts, I decided that if I built a bridge and cut out the land around my house then the mobs wouldn't be able to get to me. So with a couple of shovels I set to work cutting out my "moat" (no water... yet...) Once completed I needed away to block them off, I was thinking that maybe I could just remove a block when I wanted to go back and forth but that seemed pretty tedious so I made a gate with a door so that only I could get in. That's when aesthetics came into play, I adorned it with some torches and short stone wall to make it look awesome, even dropped a little sign outside saying when I built the Ick house.

The following game day I felt a lot safer, nothing was going to get to me if I didn't want them too, but I made a couple more additions, like a glass wall along the front of the original entrance and an outer perimeter wall just to keep them a little further away so that I wouldn't need to listen to them at night. But I had something that I really needed to do, I needed arrows. Sure my house was safe, but there was still the threat of creepers nearby in the morning, thus I set off to find some rubble which might drop flint (arrowheads). For the most part rubble is found in the side of mountains or caves, and I just happened to find a huge pile of it by a very large cave, I should say hole in the Earth because it's a huge hole. Aside from rubble I found iron, which is used to make steel and better tools, but I also found a chicken that had fallen in the hole, that was kind of funny, but he had other friends too. Within the hole and very near all of the rubble I was digging through I heard a crapload of spiders and there it was my first dungeon spawner. Underground little monster spawners can appear and this one was a spider factory. Without the proper weapons and armor to take on the spiders not to mention lack of arrows that I had come looking for, I decided to leave it alone for now, I did end up putting a sign by the entrance calling it the Spider cave because signs are cool.

Back home I went and decided that I was going to see if I could find anything of use below my little place in the world and before too long I bust into a natural cave beneath me, my thoughts, oh boy time to explore a little bit. With torches in hand I started my decent, which ended up being short lived. Remember I mentioned that creepers explode, well out of the darkness one of guys came charging after me, I turned tail and raced out of there as fast as I could, thankfully he wasn't a great climber so he wasn't able to follow me up. Afterwards I erected a door to keep anything else from climbing up and giving me a big shock one day in my house while I might be crafting.

And that pretty much sums up the adventure for the first two days.

I really don't know what the future of Minecraft is, but there is something that is just so cool about setting up these little houses and just exploring. I was thinking that I might make a second house and do it right, after that who knows where my exploration will take me. What could be really thrilling is that your spawn spot doesn't change, so the further away you get from home, the greater the risk, because when you die, you drop everything you have on you. So how cool would it be to just explore the world and set up little supply stations and forts around the world as you press on. If you die, go off in another direction and see where that takes you. Eventually you'll have made an entire little kingdom around where you spawned with random loot all over the place. Sounds kind of like the makings of one kick ass RPG if you ask me, and imagine if someone else then played that save file not knowing where you had been and they went off exploring seeing the traces of your work from previous play, to me that has the makings of a real adventure. Let me explain...

In a game like Oblivion the world is huge and there are towns and castles and random loot all over the place, but you know what sucks about it? It's all artificial, all of it is there because some artist or some programmer decided that they would put X at spot Y. In Minecraft, if I build a house I built it because I needed that house to survive. If you find a diamond sword, you found where an epic adventure of mine ended. When you find a chest full of goodies, you're finding stuff that I left there from a previous adventure that I didn't want to carry with me. So really anything that you find is the direct result of my previous adventures. Torches are in places where I explored, meaning I may have left loot (probably not, but you never know). And really how alive is that world now when you think about it? If someone picked up my save they'd be playing in a game where my guy virtually lived, built, and died, how alive is that? To me that is the pinnacle of gaming a world with an honest to goodness history to it. AWESOME!!!


In the months after the ending of Lost I have been for lack of a better word, Lost without something to write about. Then it hit me on the way to work this morning that I should write about my gaming adventures. Sure that's nerdy as hell, but considering how much I enjoy doing it and the fact that I end up dumping all of my stories on Tony, Carl, and Gid I might as well take that off of them in e-mail and put it up here to cyberspace for myself, and anyone that gets bored and wants to check out what I'm doing. Maybe I'll get all crazy and start making videos and other crap but probably not due to the time that that would require.

So for what it is, I give you the adventures of Ickabod (my digital alter-ego).