Monday, December 19, 2011

Minecraft - Back at it

So after playing Skyrim for a month, I've decided to dive back into Minecraft, what in my opinion is one of the greatest games ever made. It may not be for everyone, but the gameplay for me is just too good that I keep coming back with it feeling like a fresh experience over and over again.

This time around I'm just playing, not doing the Let's Play thing, I could again at some point but for now I'm just playing and enjoying it. And the way I'm playing it on my 1.0 world there are easy entry points if I want to. I've gone back to my old rule set of modified hardcore where upon death I have to randomly spawn myself in the world and essentially start over. By doing this it means that my world will endlessly grow as I play and explore, not to mention that I've have castles spring up around the world that will give the world a nice feel. Who knows one day I could use the world as a multiplayer world, that would be kind of neat. I'm only running one mod and that is Millinare, it's a fantastic mod that adds villages to the game (yes there are villages in the normal game, but... well yeah.)

In my new world I've set up shop in a nice plane area, it's flat and has a huge cave system under it. Not to mention that I found a skeleton spawner within a short walk from my castle, now that is luck! Of course arrows aren't as great as they used to be, but they are still useful for sure. I'd be curious to see the monsters online and see if they still have the melee delay that they used to, which meant that you had to use a bow to fight them. Anyway my castle is taking shape, I have my wheat farm, I've also set up a nice ranch of cows for limitless steak. I'm in the process of making a wall around the perimeter of the castle so that it will truly be a castle. The area around the castle is lit up with hundreds of torches, it's so well lit that I am even able to do construction at night, picking off the random mob that makes it through the lights.

I don't really care about the changes that have been made to combat, normally I'll find a mob let them run up to me and I'll just beat them to death, like I used to. Skeletons are a little more interesting since I have to close the ground on them, dealing with cliffs and those guys can be interesting. So far I haven't taken on any Endermen, I know they hit hard and take a lot of hits so I'm just avoiding them for now until I get my diamond sword. Speaking of diamonds, they are a bitch to find now, I haven't found one yet in this map, but in fairness I haven't gone deep enough long enough yet. I really want to get that diamond pick and have enough left over for my enchanting table, I'm already level 17 so I can't wait to use the system and see what I get. The fact that you lose levels when you do it is kind of lame, but I guess there should be some sort of balancing cost. My son and I did it on our peaceful map with his level 1 character and it's kind of neat, so I'm looking forward to it.

The goal this time, is just to progress and see where it takes me. If I end up killing the Ender Dragon all power to me, but I don't really think that I will. But that will be the path that I'm on, eventually I'll get to that point one way or another. Which brings me back to why I really love this game, I can finish it, or I can just choose to ignore it and do my own thing. I like having a little bit of structure just as much as I like having limitless freedom. And Skyrim is a great game, with tons of freedom and a great story that you can just immerse yourself in, I highly recommend it. But while it might be the best game of 2011, Minecraft to me is one of the best of all time, which is why after 60+ hours of Skyrim, I'm back to Minecraft.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Skyrim - Not Oblivion

The highest complement that I can bestow upon Skyrim is that it's not Oblivion. Oh sure it's obviously similar, but the depth and natural flow of the game are just so much better that it's hard to overstate. Walking from point A to point B (I rarely use the speed travel option) will always have something happen that keeps you wondering what is coming next. And while playing Oblivion kind of felt like I was checking off quests on a list, this time around it just feels like I'm being gently pushed in different directions to experience the game.

Since I got it I haven't been able to put it down as I have dove head first into my roll as a one handed bow assassin. My style is to sneak around and use my bow to take out as many bad guys as I can and then finish them off with my sword and board technique. Having learned how to actually block now has given me a huge advantage. But there is nothing like hiding in the shadows with the bow drawn and letting it fly into the chest of some unsuspecting victim and seeing that little 2X damage text pop up. So many great sniper moments that it's impossible to pick just one, but a highlight for sure was taking out a guy on the top of a tower and watching him fall into the river below, thing of beauty.

When it comes to highlight moments, Skyrim has them to spare. I have two favorites so far, one of those coming last night while I was making my way to the greybeards and I just happened to catch a red dot moving on my radar, it was a saber cat about to attack. I readied my shield and blocked his initial attack and then while he was off balance I got a critical animation where I one shot the bastard, kicking him from sword, it was a really, "take that bitch." moment. I'm only level 14 so I felt pretty proud.

My other big moment was the random frost dragon fight I came across while just wondering around. I did a quick travel to get to a cave that I thought I had left some stuff in and instantly see a dead horse on the ground, which hadn't been there before. I look around a little bit and see a dragon flying around overhead. There are a couple of guards armed with bows firing at the dragon, naturally I pull out my bow and go join the fight. I stay back a bit and pluck away, I see no reason to go make myself the main target, and I watch the guards fight the dragon. In the distance I see the dragon pick up one of the guards in it's mouth and shake him around, finally tossing him aside with weapon and shield flying haphazardly away as well. I start thinking that if I want to take this dragon out, I better move in before all of the guards are killed. I go to melee and as I'm hacking at the hindquarters of the dragon, it picks up the last of the guards and throws him aside too. Now the dragon turns towards me, frost breath blasting away. I do what any paniced adventurer would do, I run for it. The dragon giving chase blasting away at me, I realize that if I keep running I'm a goner, even popping potions. I jump behind a rock the dragon still closing in blasting away at me. I use the rock as a shield and fire some arrows back in his direction, trying to dodge his very fast frost blasts, all the while him continuing to close in. Knowing I can't run, I run up to just behind the rock with the dragon on the other side blasting away at it (sure the AI should have gone around, but I was kind of pinned down too, it seemed believable, even as I remember it it does.) My screen enveloped in white as the frost surrounds me and me poking out between shots to get an arrow in. After a couple blasts from the dragon I get my killing blow in and the dragon collapses in a lump, me staring down at it's now lifeless head. My son gave me a high five after the fight too. It's hard to describe how epic that battle really was, to me it's like it played out in some movie as I can imagine my character racing away through the field and then cowering behind a rock. And while that was a great moment, there have been several that were awesome as well.

Another thing that sets Skyrim apart from Oblivion is that the extra trade skill actions actually have a purpose and make sense. In Oblivion I had no idea how to do any of the enchanting so I just left it alone, here I'm improving my armor, mixing up countless potions as I try and figure out what everything does, I enchanted my sword so that it is now the ultimate weapon of destruction, it's just soooooooo much more intuitive this time around. And it makes sense too.

Character skills are also a welcome change, now instead of picking a class you just play how you want and you level up accordingly. This is the BEST system ever created!!! I have hated the idea that you ARE one type of character, now you just do what you do and you get better at it through your skill points. Again it just makes sense. If only they could make a balanced MMO that played like that, oh my I'd just collapse in happiness. I guess AC was kind of like that, but this is more advanced. It really goes back to the reason why I love Minecraft, the game just lets you play it, there is freedom in everything that you do in the game and it makes for a really enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Minecraft - Making movies

I've really taken to making my Minecraft movies, sure no one is watching them outside of Ayden, but that's ok, it's more a fun thing to do. Every video I hope gets a little better than the last one, and to help that along I went and bought Sony Vegas yesterday.

I have to say that my initial thoughts on Vegas aren't that good. Having used the Windows movie maker which is very easy to use, going to Vegas was a lot more involved, especially considering that I had to pay money for that one. I was hoping for more flexability and a simpler method for adding edits and features, instead it looks like I got a lot more windows and a lot more minor things to play with that I really don't care about. As an indication on how I feel about it, I went into movie maker and made my title screen because after messing with Vegas for 30 minutes I couldn't get it to do what I wanted, but I could in movie maker in about 2 minutes. But that is my day one impression so who knows, I'll keep playing around with it and I'm sure that I'll get the hang of it.

The real problem through all of this though has been the audio. I have been fighting with that issue since day one. Vegas does have some nice features to help eliminate the feedback from the mic, but it doesn't totally solve the problem like I was hoping. That means I'll probably need to go spend some more money on a decent mic, but not knowing if that will make a difference really keeps me from wanting to go spend yet more money on my little hobby. So far I've spent about $100 on everything so a mic on top of that seems a little crazy, considering that I'm only getting about 20 views per video and I can't even be sure how many of those are just me visiting my page.

Another factor that is discouraging is that to make what I consider to be a good 15 minute video it takes me about an hour of editing. My thought is that if I'm going to make the video, better to make it the best that you can. Which again leads to the mic decision.

But saying all of that, I really do have fun with it. Sure I'm probably ages older than most of the kids out there making videos, but I figure I'm just late to the game. =) So it's a little silly to be making movies about playing a video game, but then again what else am I going to do, besides it might open up for me to do some other stuff with home movies. Or it might get my son fired up about doing something creative like this.

Speaking of my son, he loves the movies, heck he tricked his mom the other day into thinking that he was sick so that he could stay home from school to watch the last 2 in the play series. Now he wants me to show him how to make movies as well, we'll see how that goes, who knows, maybe he'll be the internet superstar I secretly wish I was.

The thing is, I think the videos are pretty decent, but I don't really know how to get people to watch them. I've been trolling the boards to self promote and been cross promoting as much as I can, but I don't know, I guess it's like anything, you just have to keep working at it. And for all I know, maybe the videos are just terrible and I'm looking at them with rose colored glasses.

In the end though it all comes down to one thing, and that's not the number of views or the number of subscribers (although it helps) it's about enjoying it. Right now I am enjoying making the movies and sharing my game play. It's the same reason that I started this blog and after a year am still plugging away at it. Well sort of anyway, been a quiet October.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Minecraf - Let's Play

Finally working on my Let's Play series after talking about it for months. There is a link on the right sidebar.

It's a work in progress as it's season 0. Figure I'll work out the bugs and get my audio adjusted before starting the Season 1 Hardcore with 1.9 (official release). If you end up watching it, please feel free to comment (aside from, this is lame), would like suggestions on how to make a good LP.

The LP itself is like this blog, mostly for me. I like writing about playing and I think it would be fun to make some movies of my adventures, at least I'll have lots of pictures now for my blog. If someone watches it and finds a little bit of entertainment value, cool. But I'm not looking to make any money from it with ad revenue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Minecraft - Game in a game

So I'm talking to my brother and the guys about buying TOR when it comes out, but the nagging feeling that I have is that if I do, I'll be wasting my money because I'll probably still only want to play Minecraft. And then it hit me, I think watching the development of the game is just as much fun as playing it.

I'm the type of person that goes all in on something when I find something interesting. I played as hardcore as I could on WoW back in the day, I'd read the forums, I'd watch youtube videos, etc... A movie that I like is coming out, I'll go looking for clips, I'll read up on back story, essentially if something I think is cool is coming, I'll go dive into it, hell read my Lost blog! It's the same thing with Minecraft.

Before Minecraft I thought Twitter was one of the stupidest things I had ever seen, I don't care if some famous person is going to tell me they're taking a dump. But now I'm like an addict constantly refreshing my phone to see if there has been a new post from Notch or Jeb with some new feature that is coming in the next MC update. "Oh wow, Snow Golems!", "Ravines!!!", "XP? Fuck you Notch!" =)

While I enjoy the adventure on the screen, the entire development has become an adventure in it's own right. What will be coming, how will the latest additions work into the way that I play the game? I can honestly say that I have liked 99% of all the additions, thus with each coming patch I'm excited to see what is next, it's like a little MC Christmas everyday.

I can't remember another game where the development of the game has been as open as this has been. Sure there are betas, but then there is the MC beta which is essentially the transparent development of a major game (sorry it's not indie anymore) over the last year plus. Other games you hear a rumor about some feature, or some big announcement of a single item (live cash AH in Diablo 3) and the gaming world goes into an uproar. With MC there is an uproar everyday on the forums as haters hate and fanboys.... er fan...

What gets me is how Notch and Jeb keep their cool through all the "feedback" that there is on the interwebs. Maybe it has gotten to them and whatever comes next won't be in such open development, I guess we're too close to the end at this point to pull it all back in house, besides I can only imagine the pitchforks and torches that we'd see in Stockholm if that happened.

Not knowing how the future development at Mojang is going to go, I can say that I am enjoying the ride that I was able to get on board for, it's a daily adventure much like the MC world where I never know what is going to be over that next mountain or in the next tweet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Minecraft - 1.8 I build

One of these days I'll really take the time and put up some pictures. Hell I might even take a video, that's really what I need to do.

Over the weekend I got to spend a little more time in my world, not a lot of dedicated time to go hunting for the stronghold, but time enough to scout out some caves near my house and keep building my now giant house. The structure is simple, the house if built around a cross farm, that grows wheat in 4 directions off of a single water source. I really like the design, even if it's a little big. The great feature of the design is that all drops will either fall to me, or fall in the water and then flow to the outer reaches of the farm. On two the points of the cross I have built structures, the first is my bedroom (initial house) and I also built a cobble generator. I like my cobble design in that the water flow under the cobble block allows the broken block to flow to me, but I should adjust the height so that not as many blocks end up in the lava. The lava problem might just be a fact of life for a generator, but the system works pretty well.

On top of the now castle I put a vault in so that I could increase my storage capacity. I put the vault on the ceiling after reading that Endermen can take a chest and destroy everything in it. I might be sick, but I personally think that is awesome, I like enemy mobs that are trying to fuck my shit up, I say bring it. Heck I even asked if someone could make a mod so that mobs don't burn up in daylight, I think that will add a nice bit of spice to things. Or I'm insane!

When I get back to serious work on my world I'll have to decide if I'm going to try to make a arrow machine out of the skeleton spawner I found. Great location for a spawner too, right in a lava flow, doesn't get much safer than that. In 1.9 spawners aren't supposed to work, but I guess I could ride the exploit while it exists. The spawner is located in a giant ravine, I've made it to the bottom, but man is it a shit storm down there, mobs are just spawning everywhere.

Speaking of mobs spawning, I was playing with my son this weekend on our server (and to confirm mineshafts do spawn in 1.7 worlds) and we came across a spawner. Now we play with the mob spawning off, because he's 5, I think a creeper blowing him to pieces would make him cry. Anyway we find a spawner, actually we don't see it, but I hear a moan. A moan? WTF, that sounds like a zombie. I turn around and there I see it, my son is face to face with two zombies WTF!!! I tell him to just run, he doesn't know what to do, I pull out my iron sword (yes I actually had one for killing mobs in 1.7) and I go to work. I beat them down without too much trouble and light up the spawner before breaking it. As Bdouble0 says, "Fix your game Notch!"

From the dungeon we were able to find a passageway that took us deep underground and to an abandoned mineshaft. It was time to get off, but we marked it as a place to return to.

Next time I get on, I'm going to finish up my ravine, maybe there are some goodies down there, and not black fog (not a goodie). So far in my short exploits around the map I haven't found anything that looks like a stronghold, but I did find a mineshaft to put on my list of places to visit.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Minecraft - 1.8 Initial Thoughts

After MUCH anticipation 1.8 finally dropped yesterday and for the most part I am very pleased with what I see. The following is a breakdown of my thoughts on the update.

First off, for some reason it's a lot more fun. It's the same game, but for some reason it's more fun. It's hard to say why, but I think it has a lot to do with having a goal this time around, which is similar to how I was playing hardcore (FYI, never finished my hardcore, I beat the Bronze, but then started playing online on a public server).

The goal in 1.8, at least to me is to find and clear out a stronghold. A stronghold is essentially a very large dungeon that is randomly located somewhere on the map, beyond 500 blocks from your initial spawn location. But here is where it gets tough, as of right now only 3 of them spawn, so in order to find one, you're going to need to do some exploration. Notch said that the game would require you to explore, sign me up! I've heard that in 1.9 the stronghold will hold a boss, we'll have to see, I guess that would be a good indicator if you really finished off a stronghold.

So in order to find a stronghold, it's going to take a lot of exploration, with hunger now a requirement, I'll need food, hence my base needs to become an actual supply station. Animal spawning has also changed so there isn't a limitless number of pigs to be found and eat from, to counter this, I built a large wheat farm. I was in a little bit of luck with my spawn location, I spawned in a swamp and there were mushrooms everywhere so food has not been an issue. I wasn't really sure if I was going to need a large wheat farm, but not really knowing how the animals were going to work, I figured it was probably a good idea to make one. And one final note on food, cows are like hitting the jackpot for meat!

Speaking of cows, here is one of the real problems that I have with the update, there cows are too rare. Normally I use leather armor to get me going in the game, then upgrade to iron once I find enough, but in order to get underground and get that iron I will make a leather suit, that's not an option now. At my spawn there were 0 cows, only after I did some exploration did I find 3 of them. By the time I found the cows I was already up to about 15 iron, just from finding some near the surface. With cows not respawning, the ability to get a leather set of armor is almost impossible or at least pointless because you'll have iron by the time you find enough cows anyway. This is a serious balance issue.

Exploration and the biomes. I was lucky and spawned in a swamp, now while that doesn't sound like a good thing, swamps are flat, have lots of trees, lots of sheep (useless except for a first night bed), and mushrooms. Finding coal in the swamp was a little tricky but overall it was a good starting location. I was also at the intersection of 4 different biome types, a forest, a desert, and a mountain biome were all bordering me. I took a quick look at the desert and it was vast, just huge, I figure that my stronghold will be in there, just because. The forest is dense with trees, it will be very hard to cut through there and do some serious exploration, can we say fire coming.... Finally there was the mountain, it's large and pocketed with caves at it's higher elevations, I didn't bother to explore in those caves as of yet because I figure there is probably only monsters and coal up there so why bother.

A couple other neat geographical features were the stream that separated the forest/swamp and the mountain. It wasn't a full on river, just a thin stream that ran along the side, the effect of it was great. Later on, on the other side of the swamp I found a large river that separated the swamp from some planes on the other side, that had the 3 cows. And finally there was the ravine, a deep gorge that ran under the swamp. The gorge went from the surface all the way to exposed gold, I'm not sure what level it is down there, but in having gold exposed to the surface, that's deep. With vines from trees dropping down in to the gorge and the river flowing in from various points, it was a great piece of landscape, just begging to be explored.

Naturally the gorge was where I decided to start my underground escapades, through various side tunnels I was able to get about half way down before it got late and I needed to get off. I was still without armor as well so I didn't want to be down there after it had gotten dark. (I'll get to the lighting in a minute) Being unprepared I didn't test my luck too much, but the mobs are the same as usual, skeletons are Olympic archers, zombies are idiots, and spiders are loud and annoying. But what is this black mob with purple nether stuff sparkling off him???

The Endermen, overall I have to say I'm not really that impressed, but I don't dislike them either. I found my first one in a small little cave, it was just doing it's thing not taking notice of me. They look great, the tall skinny black figure and those glowing purple eyes, they really do look great in the dark. But they're kind of pointless too. On the forums A LOT of people are bitching about the Endermen, because they break their buildings, honestly I was disappointed that they weren't more aggressive in that regard. Before I got off, it was night time and I decided that I'd get up on my roof and see if any Endermen would spawn so I could learn a little about them, watch them build. Just my luck, one of them spawned on a hill near my house. He picked up a dirt block and and... and just walked around aimlessly carrying it the whole time. Now I know that they have very limited AI, but I never saw him place it or pick up another block, he was a tall zombie with a block in his hand, that I better not look directly at. When day came the Endermen burst into flames just like the other undead, I decided that this was a good time to look at one of them. While on fire, he turned and looked at me, getting all smoked up and pissed off that I was looking at him, and just when I thought that I might shoot a charged arrow at him, he fell over dead. I really didn't want to fight him, I was just messing around to see how the mechanics worked so that I'd know in the future.

Speaking of charged arrows, I love charged arrows! I only had 3 arrows that I had found from a couple of random drops but there was a creeper outside my house that just wanted to blow me up. I decided that this was a good chance to test the new bow mechanic. I charged that puppy up and shot him right through my door, it was great the arrow stuck in the side of his head and the impact that it had sent him back a few blocks, it was very satisfying. The second shot, killed him, yes two shots kills a creeper, that is awesome! Swords will also do double damage if you jump and hit with them as well, useful for sure, but the bow is now OP in my opinion, but I like that too.

In my couple hours of play I did take some damage, no longer are you able to just eat and be healed, nope, healing is now over time. A LOT of people are complaining about that on the forums, after all it is the internet, but I like the way it works. The hunger bar doesn't deplete that fast, in fact I hardly noticed it until it got to about half way. When the bar is full, you heal over time, so taking a stray arrow or some light fall damage gets healed up automatically if you're full. For me this worked great, before if I were down a heart or two I'd just let it be, now those are healed up for me, fantastic.

And finally, the lighting. The new lighting system is amazing! The transition from day to night is so subtle that you don't even notice it if you're working in a lit area, and it looks great. Torches have a soft orange glow to them, the moon give everything a slight blueish hue, it all looks very nice. But I can't say enough about the day/night transition, it's phenomenal.

Overall I was very happy with 1.8, I never found a village or abandoned mine, but I'm sure I will. The new small features like the hunger bar and the strongholds are great additions in my opinion, the game now has a sort of purpose to it, we'll see if that holds up once I get going.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mass Effect - Initial thoughts

So my brother has been on my ass about playing Mass Effect, so I decided that I'd give it a go. Also when I saw the trailer for the third game in an ad window and thought to myself, "That looks badass" only to realize that I was looking at ME 3, that told me it was time to get onboard with the whole ME thing. That's not to say I'm done playing Minecraft, far from it, just need to play something else for a bit, but I still want to play Minecraft so we'll see if I make it through ME, think I will though.

The funniest thing about playing ME is that my brother didn't like Dragon Age in large part due to the amount of talking that you have to do early on, which I admit is a draggggggggg...... So what is the second thing that you have to do in ME? That's right spend 2 hours talking to NPCs to get various quests and look around the Citadel, oh joy. I called him out on it and he said that it probably had more to do with the fact that later on you get to shoot and blow things up, fair enough dodge.

Talking to all of the NPCs was really getting boring, eventually I wrapped it all up and got to start shooting people again, at that point I began to give a shit about all of the talking again. Seriously they should have balanced that just a little better, I mean I like talking to NPCs, it's an RPG I expect that, but the whole feast or famine thing stinks, maybe ME 2 is better. But after I started fighting again then I started to take note of the codex and actually look for stuff to read or listen to in it, before it was just trying to get through the conversations. The codex though is pretty cool, there is a rich background to the universe that I want to keep diving deeper into and really learn about the world that I'm playing in, I love that sort of thing.

Mass Effect is recognized as a classic in many circles and I can see why even in my early stages in the game. The reason, is that I care about what is going to happen, this early on I'm curious about the characters and how the story is going to play out. Anyone that just dismisses video games for their potential to tell a story is just blind to their potential. Sadly some of the main press that this game got when it was released was that it had a 5 second sex scene in it, ignoring everything else about it. I don't really know how I feel about sex in video games because you do have kids playing them, but then again sex and violence do exist outside of video games, just turn on the news and bamm there you go.

Anyway curious to see how it all plays out, looks like an interesting game and I'm happy to have started playing it. I kind of hope it's not too long so that I can finish it and move on and get back to Minecraft, but that's just me being stupid.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Minecraft - Death

So last night (about a week ago now) I decided that it was time to take on that first boss, what an utter failure I was in that endevour. I really had no idea what to expect, but I was thinking that it probably wouldn't be that tough, boy was I wrong. The fight starts when I pick the boss in what I now know is his closed eye, after that all hell breaks loose, I hit him and then get hit myself flying around the room each time that I get hit. Hearts are dropping quickly and that's when I realize that I hadn't set up my hotbar to handle food. Normally this isn't a problem, even when a creeper attacks me I have time to get clear and eat, not the case here. In the end the boss makes short work of me and all of my items explode in a grand explosion.

So after the death it was start over time. I set the game to peaceful and returned to the location of my death to get the diamond pick in order to create my new portal. I also stuck the other items in a chest there so that I could get them back after I beat the boss. I figure by then I'll be armed up anyway, so it's a neat little prize for me.

I then gathered up some materials so that I could make a new portal. Entering the Nether I took off in some random direction and eventually established a portal to come back through. Upon entering the surface world again and waiting for daylight, I tossed all of my items into the water so that they would despawn, including the diamond pick (which I might need if I die before setting up another portal, can't die now, no pressure).

Back to square one I went. 1500 meters from my original starting point. Thankfully the area that I arrived in while geographically boring, did have an awesome little island on it that was just begging to be made into my new base of operations (picture to come). From there it was back to the basics, find coal, kill cows, arm up, etc... But that's ok, I kind of like that part of the game so no big loss. The real fun is where the adventure takes me, will I find another skeleton spawner, or find my diamonds quickly? As of now I've seen gold, but most of my underground explorations have been lateral staying mostly at iron level. The cave system that I uncovered is pretty spread out, but so far not a lot of vertical drops. I figure that I'll find diamonds pretty soon, once I find a way down I think it will spread out and I'll find some.

After finding diamonds I'll need to prep for my trip back to the original starting point so that I can connect the two bases. My rule is that I have to make it on the surface first then after I find the portal I can then use the portals again. Still using the portals won't be easy, that's a lot of Nether to cover with Ghasts shooting at me. Should be interesting.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Minecraft - The Adventure continues - Aether

So in my last play session I did a little more exploration of the Aether. I found a good deal of the various blocks, but nothing amazing, it's really just like the base world, but the penalty of death is a lot greater since you can basically fall off of the world and die. Not really a concern for me since it's one death and I'm out anyway, but it does add that extra little element in there.

After looking around a little bit, I did discover all three of the types of dungeons so now the final part of my adventure can begin. Deciding that it was now or never I armed up and made my way into the bronze dungeon, which is actually quite grey. First thing that happens, a damn sentry stone pops up and then attacks me. I'm thinking no big deal since they're basically slime, turns out those little bastards blow up like Creepers, but don't leave a crater. So that slowed me down quite a bit. My thought is that they spawn when you either step on them or place blocks on them, so to counter that I have decided to build a little walkway through the dungeon. The whole place didn't go in very deep, I walked down a hall, turned a corner and saw a room that had a large block in the center of it. I can only imagine that the block is the boss, as I've read he requires a pickax to kill. And that will what I do tonight, it's time to kill that bitch and finish up my quest. I read that the gold boss is a bitch, so I can see myself getting killed right there at the very end, and the world being sent back into darkness as the hero is killed, no happy ending this time.

And you know what, from an RPG standpoint, I love the fact that I can fail. Oh sure I'll respawn and do my little thing and do it all again, but the idea that I have been working towards the final boss and in my own little story, setting the world free from this beast, it's pretty neat. Imagine if Link didn't defeat Gannon (or whomever) at the end of the game, instead he died. Then the world has to wait for another hero to come save them from the monsters. How many years go by, how long do they live under oppression? I always see epic adventure movies with a jaded view, I mean in the end you know the good guys win, but they aren't supposed to know that. Like Frodo, destroying the ring, we knew he'd make it, but he didn't, and what happens if he didn't? So I know that eventually I'll beat my game, but will it be this time around? It's kind of hard to describe, but it works for me, I feel like the hero, because failure at this point would set me back so far, villages will be left empty, all my loot is abandoned, all the progress wiped out in a single misstep. If you're going to play an RPG it's nice to become invested, play the roll, that's what I'm doing. I really hope Notch makes 1.8 something amazing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Minecraft - The adventure

A lot of people like to dismiss 1.8 because of it's adventure additions somehow taking away from the creative aspect of the game, personally I'm excited. In the meantime waiting for 1.8 I'm working on my own little adventure, I have three mods loaded up, Millenaire, Anther, and Surviorism. My goal is to defeat the Gold dungeon on Anther without dying once in the game, my own little RPG.

And I have to say there is a great feel playing the game like this, each decision I make is part of a series of choices that will get me to my end goal, while still working in the framework of the original MC concept. My first house was built on a small sand island, safe from mobs. The first real cave system that I found had a very exposed opening that I sealed up with my second house. The next thing I found was a double dungeon one of which had a skeleton spawner (I could have only dreamed of a double skeleton dungeon). In order to set up my mob grinder, I went looking for cactus (naturally I ended up just making a drowning trap) but in the process of looking for cactus, I discovered a village. I set up a little house there near the village so that I could have a home in which to trade with the Normans.

The next thing that I did was do some exploring to check out some of the amazing land formations that my seed generated, lots of high vertical mountains with large overhangs. In the process of checking those formations out, I came across a small Indian village. I set up a house near the Indian village, but then headed back to my main area. Tired of making the long run from the cave opening to the skeleton spawner I decided to dig up and make a new entrance so that I could access it more quickly and in safety. So I set up yet another little hut on the surface that leads down to the skeletons. After securing the skeletons it was then time to get back to work on my main quest, and for that, I needed diamonds.

Into the depths I returned looking for the passageway that was going to take me deep enough to find those diamonds. When exploring caves there are two things that I really hate finding, large vertical openings which generally mean Creepers raining death on me, and large rooms with several ways to go in them with sharp 90 degree angles that you can't see around. This time it was the large room with lots of openings. Initially it wasn't a big deal, a couple zombies, I cleared them out and then started to light the room up. Oh and I hate piles of gravel! Anyway I'm making my way dropping a torch here and there and then checking behind me to see if I was still safe. And lo and behold there is a Creeper within steps of me. Panicked I switch to my sword as I struggle with my controls trying to get clear and into a better position to take him out. I whack him once with my sword then having bought a split second I switch to the bow and start firing wildly at him. In the end I got him, but not after sending my heart into full racing mode, I had to pause the game for a second I was so worked up. Mind you I had full health and full armor, so I probably could have survived a blast, but the game just gets me worked up.

After the Creeper episode, there it was, exposed diamonds one level below me. I was able to clear out the surrounding area without too much trouble, dug up my 5 diamonds and then made my way back to the surface. Once reaching the surface I crafted myself a diamond pick axe and a diamond sword, Act 1 of the adventure was over, getting outfitted with diamonds and the ability to get to the Nether. So I went and dug up some obsidian and placed a portal near my first house.

When I stepped through the portal I was welcomed with a fantastic view of the lava ocean, which my portal was placed directly on a cliff overlooking. It was a very very very dangerous position where if I had taken one step forward I would have been high diving my way to my death. I went about placing cobblestone around the portal, but as nothing is ever easy a flying octopus decided to come welcome me to the Nether. Firing away with fireballs he put out my portal (I always keep a light on me so I was fine). Eventually I got my little house set up, safe from Ghasts and safe from high diving my self into the lava. My final activity was to secure the portal from the normal world so that I wouldn't re-enter to a Creeper. I headed over to the Norman village and dug up some rocks from the exposed rock nearby, then did a little trading with them before heading back. In the end I finished protecting my portal and now I'm ready to start a quick Act 2 of acquiring glowstone so that I can make a Anther portal.

My point to all of this rambling, with a goal, the game plays like an RPG, and I love it. It's a sandbox, but I can win it, with no one telling me how to do it. The random world presents me with opportunities and challenges that I have to figure out how to solve. There are side quests, do I want to go spend time in the villages? Do I want to explore? Do I want to craft a giant castle? But in the end I know what I want to do, and everything that I do is working towards that goal. If die, then it's back to the beginning and the adventure expands and continues, but is a different adventure at the same time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Minecraft - I am a coward

So after watching some Legendary map videos I decided that I needed to jump back in the saddle and play some serious Minecraft. I went about my normal process of punching trees, killing sheep, yada yada yada. But I noticed something, I spawned in a forest and I was having a lot of fear wondering in under the trees. Naturally I took the only sensible course of action and burned down the forest so that I didn't have to worry about day time monster spawns.

I had another problem too, there weren't any good caves around me either. There were a couple small ones that I was able to pull a good deal of iron and coal from, but neither of those caves needed more than 5 torches to finish out. So I ventured out a little bit away from my island home, there was a small sand bar out about 20 blocks from the shore, perfect location for a house. As I was saying I went exploring a little and found what looks to be a decent cave. I jumped in and started my exploration but I really didn't get too far. It has been awhile since I really explored a cave and the whole time I was terrified that I was going to find a creeper and get blown to pieces. I'm not really sure why I was as scared as I was, it might have to do with the fact that I've been playing on peaceful so much that the loss of control over the world has me for a loop.

I never ended up seeing a Creeper, I almost wanted to so that I could kill one and feel better about myself. I did find a zombie, enough to get the sword swinging but nothing crazy hard, strange thing, the zombie seemed to be faster, I know it's all perception but for some reason in my head he was quicker. But the real problem came when that skinny white bastard came out of the shadows shooting arrows at me. As usual I lost control of my mouse and did my crazy dance. I turned and ran for it like a little girl.

That was when I realized the true gripping power of Minecraft, you never get over the mobs. Sure you can get used to them, but you'll never truly be over them. Take a break for awhile and sure you can jump back in and explore caves in near perfection, but all it takes is one surprise mob scaring the shit out of you to bring it all crashing down. I know that I'll get used to them again, and it won't be such a big deal, but the fact that a game I have been playing since November can still scare the crap out of me, that's impressive.

Until I get a bow, they're dead after I get my bow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Minecraft - Redstone is FUN!

Ok so an odd thing happened on my way to making a LP series, I started playing MC with my son on his build world. So now instead of looking to play the hardcore adventure that I was originally going to play, I find myself working hard to make cool stuff to show off to him and my brother on the build server. A sugar farm? Sure why not, a cobblestone generator, yes, a castle that has extensive use of redstone in it, HELL YES!

Up until this past week I have never really played with redstone that much, but now I find myself actually jumping in my strip mine digging for it instead of diamonds. What's more I get really excited to find gold, so that I can make powered rails. Who is this guy?

So it's not like I'm going to go off and build myself a MC RS computer, but my castle is becoming lots of fun. Originally I was just going to make some random castle out in the middle of no where so that I could show it off to my son and my brother, but then things got weird. Instead of torches I thought that I'd use glowstone but I didn't want to make the glowstone super visible, so I tucked it away into the wall so that it gives off indirect light, I think that it looks great. What is the next thing that a castle needs, a moat. So I got to thinking about how I was going to dig the thing out and then looking at the my castle wall with the openings that I used for light, I thought that maybe I could use those openings as flood gates. I had wanted to do something with pistons, but I just couldn't figure out a good enough idea for them, this was that idea.

So tinkering with some regular pistons I set it up so that hidden in the walls were source blocks of water that were blocked by gravel. Originally I was going to put the source block on the piston itself but I was getting strange issues with that so I decided that I wouldn't move the water, just what was in front of it. Using some redstone under the ground and hiding the pistons and water under a set of stairs, a hidden flood gate was created. Now knowing that I could do the flood gate I went around to the rest of the wall and set up flood gates all around the castle wall so that at the flip of a switch my castle was surrounded by a moat, or I could turn it off as so desired. It's pretty damn cool looking, I'll get a picture, or a video up from it.

The only problem that I was having with a working moat was that I needed to get across it. I thought about placing and off switch on the outside, but I'd still need a way to get over the castle wall, hence a drawbridge was needed. The problem with a drawbridge and no sticky pistons was how to make it, but keep it hidden. Sure I could have a drawbridge that would be created with a switch, but the problem was that if you could see the pistons, what is the point, just make a bridge. It was about this time that I thought ok maybe I don't make a bridge that goes over the wall, I just make it go to the wall and I'll place a door in the wall. It wasn't a very good idea because I wanted the entrance to be hidden, but it would work. So digging out under the surface of the moat I placed some pistons with gravel on top of them, just like the flood gates and made it so that when they triggered they would rise up from the water creating a walkway. It worked like a charm, as was so cool looking, but I had a problem with the block closest to the wall, when I triggered it, it wasn't high enough to block the water so it remained under water. Thankfully the solution to that problem also solved my getting into the castle problem as well.

Where the water poured out from the walls, there was a water block a little higher than the rest of the water moat along the wall, I realized that if I placed a gravel block under it, I could use that block with a piston to block off the water when I raised the bridge, thus giving me a dry bridge. The bonus to creating a dry bridge was that the gravel that would block the water opening would be one block below the top wall block when it was raised, thus giving me a makeshift stairway over the castle wall when the bridge was raised. I now had my hidden bridge and my hidden entry into the castle, but what to do about the bridge switch...

For the bridge switch I thought that I'd make a gate house to keep the switch protected for obvious view. Not sure who was going to break in and use it, but I was using my RPG imagination so I just rolled with it. My thought was that if someone came to the castle they shouldn't know how to get into the castle, yes they could cheat and use blocks, but I was in the RPG zone. So for the gatehouse I decided that I needed a secret entrance. My problem with making a secret entrance was not knowing how I was going to do it without sticky pistons, with them it would have been cake, but having to use the basic pistons, that was going to be tricky. What I came up with was a pushing system using 4 pistons, 2 on one side and 2 on the other side with 2 blocks between them. The button triggers activate two of the pistons and move the blocks revealing the opening to the house. Then when I want to close it, the other two pistons move the blocks back into place hiding the entry way. The neat side benefit that I created was a locking mechanism on the inside so that the blocks could not be opened if the lock was set on the inside. Again, nothing a pick axe couldn't take care of, but that's not the point.

So there it is, with some redstone I made a retractable moat, a retractable bridge, and a secret entrance. I'm not sure what I'll make next but I'm thinking of making an hidden underground passageway that when triggered reveals a hidden staircase. Not sure what other fun things I might do, but it's a heck of a lot of fun to play with the redstone and pistons. Eventually I'll get back to adventuring, but for right now I'm trying to make my son's world interesting and exciting for him. Once finished I'll show off my castle to him and I hope that he'll be impressed, he'll either just build blocks to get around it all or he'll want me to build him one. Either way it's a lot of fun, there really is this cool factor in making this stuff, I'm going to need a lot more redstone, who knew?!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Computer - finally

It finally arrived last night and just in time too, I needed to use it to remotely land the space shuttle, yes it's that awesome!

So after the prep work of getting all of the needed software and drivers on to it I was able to fire it up and see how it could play Minecraft. Interestingly enough I was only getting about 150+ FPS when playing at far draw distance, I really was expecting more, but I guess that is still pretty darn good. I also loaded up Oblivion so that I could see what it looks like at max settings, but as of yet haven't actually played it.

Getting back to MC, I have the family server up and running. Last night my brother and I messed around with that, just doing some odds and ends to see that it was working. After he got off I decided that I would go strip mining for diamonds so that I could get my portal and obsidian generator going. I was able to get the portal up and I think it looks badass. Little dark in the picture, but that's kind of for effect anyway. Reminded me of a moongate in Ultima.

The only problem with the portal is that on the Nether side it formed right in the middle of a river of lava! I tried to build up a little wall around it so that it could be safe, but instead I turned that river from flowing around the portal to flowing onto the portal. I'll have to go back in there and clean that mess up my next time in, maybe I'll record that...

Speaking of recording I made my first LP test video. It's only 30 seconds long as I was using the trial Fraps just to see if I could do it. Now that I know how to do it, I can get to making my little series this weekend. Hopefully it won't suck, probably will, but I'll try to make it entertaining.

Here is a link to test video if anyone wants to watch the test video, it's not really worth watching though.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting excited

So my computer has finally shipped and I'll have it tomorrow evening. Probably won't get to play on it too much since I'll need to get some stuff installed on it, but I'm sure I'll stay up late just to spend time with my new addition.

My goal is to start up a lets play starting next week. I'll start recording episodes and see how they go before posting anything, basically I'll have like 5 in the can before I start posting them so that I can stay ahead of the game a little once I really get rolling. That's also only if I think they are good, well decent, well worth 10 minutes of someones time to watch for some lunch time entertainment. I'm going to play my version of hardcore where I can't die or else I'm forced to portal myself to some random location, I'm debating on using millenarie, I probably should because it adds a nice little distraction, so I think I will. Only problem is if the game is updated and the mod isn't, but I should be safe since 1.8 is supposed to be the next update.

Speaking of 1.8 that is my real goal, once that starts up I'm going to start season 2 of the LP so that I learn it as I play it on the videos, that should make it fresh. No mods once 1.8 is live though.

The other thing that I'll be doing is running the server for my son and my brother. That's just going to be a build server since my son can't handle mobs at this point. I'm thinking what I'll do there is build a little town with stores for all of the resources and a nice railway to go between locations. I'm going to need a goal on that server to keep me busy while I play with my son. Most of my time will probably be spent helping him, but I'll toss in a building or two to keep spurring his interest and creativity. Not sure what my brother will be doing, but hopefully he'll play with us a bit.

Man it seems like I've been waiting forever for this computer to show up and the chance to finally play some real MC again. I'll probably be so rusty that I'll get killed instantly, oh well good times!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fianl Week?

The problem with not having a computer to play MC on is that I don't even have anything good to post on here anymore. Sure it's not like anything I said was interesting before, but it was for myself a distraction from the humdrum of reality. Thankfully I should have my computer by the end of this week, it's built at least so that's a start, now for FedEx to lose it it for me.

It finally came to a breaking point this weekend, I couldn't take it anymore and I ended up firing up a world of MC for myself. After spending a good deal of time working with my son on his world, I just had to mess around with some stuff to see how it worked.

The first thing that I decided to do was work on strip mining, ok now that doesn't sound like any fun, but I wanted to test a couple ways of doing it to see what was the most successful way of doing it. Pretty much it is the 3 block line every 2 lines that I did, served me well, found like 20+ diamonds so I'll call it a hit. But my goal when playing for real is not to strip mine, I was playing on peaceful here since I don't trust the computer not to lag when a Creeper finds me. The highlight of this little project was a 10 diamond vein, that's the largest that I have ever found.

The next thing that I thought that I would try was some work with pistons. I'm thinking that once I get going for real on the LP series that I'm going to need to not look like a total idiot and know a thing or two about using pistons. I have some of the basics down but I was left with one serious problem, I don't have any slime. According to the wiki there is supposed to be slime on peaceful, but in all of that digging that I did in my search for diamonds, I haven't seen a single one. Square little bastards!

My final project for yesterday evening was a failed attempt at an obsidian generator. Ok it was kind of a crappy effort to begin with so it quickly became a cobblestone generator. And it's a kick ass cobblestone generator if I must say so myself. I'm not really sure how everyone else makes them, but mine was so awesome that all I need to do is hold down the mouse button and it automatically breaks it down and collects it with 0 downtime, and completely safe, as long as no cows try to push you into the lava part. The way it works is that I set up a small stream to flow into where the lava flows out, they hit and form the cobblestone. The cool part is that the stream continues under where the cobble is formed so the broken rock then keeps flowing in the stream. The stream takes a 90 degree turn and I stand in it breaking the cobble while it flows right to me to get collected. Then as a final touch I made the generator housing the cobble and the lava out of obsidian so that no matter how long the mouse was chopping there was no way for it to break the obsidian behind it, thus breaking the wall and letting the lava out. Then I covered the lava in glass to give light at night and save on needless obsidian.

I'm sure that everyone has already made a cobble generator at some point, but it was my first and I thought it was cool. The next thing that I'm going to do with it is set up a rail line that will send the cobble to a point some distance away so that I could make a giant stone castle if I desired and not have to carry the stone all the way there. Sure it's not really needed, but it will be fun to make a real use for a rail line. I love rail lines, I just can never think of anything cool and useful to do with them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Week

At some point I'll get to talk about Minecraft again, that is once my computer finally shows up. The company told me that it will be shipped by the end of this week. So I have been without a "real" computer for about a month now, hopefully I'll get a birthday gift and it will ship tomorrow, that would be nice.

In the meantime, my son has been playing Minecraft on the old Alienware and he's gotten pretty good at it. His goal this weekend has to build a huge tower, and with a little help he was able to make one that reached up to the clouds from just above sea level. I gave him a little help with it, but for the most part he was able to do it himself, even the jumping up a single layer of blocks at a time about 50 blocks up without dieing, and he doesn't know about the shift key, that's pretty impressive I think.

Hopefully by next week though my son's world will be abandoned as we fire up the family server. I'm not sure that he really gets what it means when I tell him that he and I along with Uncle Crash will all be able to play together, he replied, "But Uncle **** is on vacation?" Ah youth, but hey he is 4, forgive him for not understanding how the internet really works.

Until next week (hopefully) And I am going to do the Let's Play of my single player exploits, not sure if it will be entertaining, but I think LP's are cool so I have to try and do one myself.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Still waiting

I'm getting excited, I should have my new computer by next weekend, finally some Minecraft again. Over the last couple of weeks I've been playing Terraria, it's good, but it's just not as good as Minecraft, in my opinion. I think the thing that sets it apart is the first person perspective. In Terraria, you can see the danger coming a mile away, except for those damn worms, or the danger doesn't have as much of an impact. In Minecraft the danger is usually hidden, waiting to jump out at you and kill you when you least expect it. The first person perspective also puts it right there in your face.

That's not to say that Terraria isn't a fun game, it is, and I'm really glad to see that Notch has decided to take some notes from it and implement them in MC, I can't wait to see what the villages and NPC's are like.

Next week I'm going to try and start a Let's Play series, I'll download Fraps and enter the 21st century. I don't know if my videos will be worth a crap, but I've really been wanting to try it so it's finally time. Might as well make the most out of my super computer since I'll have it. One nice thing to look forward to, I'm 36 years old so you won't be hearing some high pitched 13 year old on the mic in mine, that has to be some sort of plus. =) I'll probably just be boring as hell though since I NEVER die in MC. And no I'm not doing some no torch crap, at least not initially, maybe if it goes well, I'll do that in season 2.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kind of screwed

So if anyone is reading this that was directed from the let's play directory, I'm kind of on hold for a while. I found out that my new computer won't be showing up at home until July 8th so I won't be playing any Minecraft until then. I do have a older computer that my brother gave to my son, and while it's great for a 4 year old, the computer itself is more than twice that age so it's not really possible to play MC at the level of quality that I have come to expect. Make no mistake while MC might not look like much, it's a beast to the wrong computer, to play on my son's computer we have to set the graphics to fast and the draw distance to short, otherwise the game will shut down. So really it's a good time to take a break from MC, no reason to get burned out on it playing in "crappy" mode.

In the meantime I'll probably be playing some Terraria (if that runs on there) or I'll GASP fall back to my Xbox some more, I mean I do need to finish Portal at least. On the bright side it doesn't look like Notch is anywhere closer to releasing 1.7 so maybe the timing will be just right and that will come out on the 4th, mods will get updated and then presto I have a new power machine to play it on. Hey I can dream can't I.

So if anyone has been reading this on an ongoing basis, thanks for reading. I'm not done writing nor done playing MC, but I won't have any good tales to write about MC for at least a couple weeks.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Computer & Portal

Well that wasn't going to last long, there is no way that I'm going to go without my computer for more than a couple days. So yesterday afternoon after my other post about not having a computer I went ahead and bought a new one.

Here are the basics:

6 core 3.3GHz AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition
16GB DDR3-1866 RAM
2 Radeon HD 6850 2GB GDDR5
120 GB SSD with 450MB/s read
600 GB 10,000 rpm
2 TB 7200 rpm

I'm hoping that will run Minecraft ok. =)

I also have a feeling that should do well with Skyrim.

So after buying a new computer, what is the first thing I do (hasn't delivered yet)? I get on my xbox and download Portal since I've never played it. Yes Portal 1, it's supposed to be one of the best games evar! So ok I'll give it a spin, for $15 ($20 since I had to buy M$ points, Damn you Bill Gates). After about an hour I'm on puzzle 16, seriously you can fly through that game if you have any idea how the portals work. Considering that I have seen plenty of the game in motion I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing, but it still was tricky at times to see how the puzzles worked. By the 16th puzzle with the turrets, that was when things got interesting. I'm not really sure how to progress through the level quite yet. It doesn't feel impossible by any means, but it wasn't an automatic, go to A then B then C, so that was pretty cool.

What got me though was that the turrets kept freaking me out when one would see me behind glass (I'm thinking it's unbreakable, not totally sure yet though). I mean the game is kind of creepy to begin with, Glados talking to you the whole time and pretty much nothing else, it's a very isolated feeling. So as I'm working out the turrets my son comes walking in the media room and scares the crap out of me. It's 10:30 at night and behind me I hear the door opening up, freaked me out. Keep in mind I'm playing this game in a media room with a 9 foot projector TV and surround sound, so any noise or movement in the room really gets my attention fast.

Great way to play though, I really like playing up there on my Xbox. I've done it with the computer a couple times (raiding in WoW and stuff) but it just doesn't seem to work the same. I'll have to play some MC up there with the new computer. And yes I could play MC on the xbox once that comes, but really I'm a PC guy, and I'm not sure how MC will be on the xbox, but who knows.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 5 and still no computer

It's day 5 and I'm still without my computer. My hope that it was just the power supply is quickly being dashed as I talked to my IT guy at work and he said that it sounded more like a problem with the processor or the motherboard. The thought of having to spend 3500+ on a new computer is pretty painful, but being without my computer is like losing my left arm. Oh sure I can survive, but is that really living? IS IT!?!?

The other issue is that I don't play as many differnet PC games as I used to, I play Minecraft 95% of the time on my computer so can I really justify spending that type of money on a good computer so that I can play MC... Well of course I can and will, it's retorical. The question is how much power do I need? And when I buy a computer I usually buy a lot of power.

Ugh, I'm going through painful withdrawls, hopefully it might be the power supply, but I have a sinking feeling that there really is a bigger issue that I'll need to deal with...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Computer - You're a damn toaster!

I haven't been able to play any Minecraft for the last couple of days because I've been off living life with my wife, which is awesome, but then when I got a chance to get back on, my computer, angry at me decided that it needed to blow it's power core. (How is that for a run on sentence?)

So the life of my computer is now lived in 15 minute increments while it can stay on, until it shuts off suddenly without warning. In those brief moments I was able to go online and order a new power supply that I'll have on Wednesday. Which means that 1.7 will probably come out on Friday then then I'll have to wait for my mods to get updated again.

And speaking of mods, I really want to check out the survivalism mod with the new random spawn on death, I've been waiting that for a long time, can't wait to give it a go. Of course, I never die so there isn't much to worry about =) (famous last words). Either way I'll be setting it to 1 life and then do what I do best, thriving in MC. =) So cocky!!! You hear that Notch, bring it on 1.7! I'm not afraid.

Here is the link to that mod, if you're reading this, go give it a shot.

"You will be, you will be..." - Yoda / Notch

Friday, June 10, 2011

Minecraft - Some pics

I've been meaning to get some more pics up from my world, so here they are. We spare no expense in my kingdom, as you can see we have hired the best sentry that money can buy.

A couple nature pictures, for the first time in what seems like forever I have a map that is pretty neat looking. These are unedited pictures.

DOUBLE WATERFALL!!!! What does it mean?

It's a little hard to see, but there are two diamonds way the heck down there. My thought was, ok well I know they are down there, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. In my trek to get down there though I did find a skeleton spawner. Woot!!!

Now for a couple castle pics, I pretty much only make buildings with function so they aren't overly elaborate. This shot is from the courtyard.

A look from the nearby mountain. Since the shot I added a little bit to the front of the castle, I'm in the process of building a rail line between the castle and the village. The actual distance is about 200 meters, so it's not huge, but it will make getting back and forth a little easier. Problem is that I have ran out of gold (how often does anyone in MC say that???) So I'm going to need to go back down below and see if I can dig some up.

Wow it's midnight, time to get to bed.

I love Minecraft, I really hope that 1.7 kicks some serious adventure butt, I have high high expectations.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Minecraft - SSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssss

I've played a lot of Minecraft over the last 8 months, generally I think that I'm pretty awesome at the game. Not that I can make a computer or anything, but as far as staying alive, I'm pretty kick as at it. Which is why nights like last night are a nice reminder that I'm never as good as I think I am.

So I'm playing my village hardcore world, and I have to tell you, it's nerve racking knowing that one death and it's over. Anyway I was down doing my diamond exploration so that I could put Mr. Red on the timer so to say. Actually found 6 diamonds so that was nice, naturally I didn't head for the surface or anything, naw I made a pick right there and started mining up Obsidian. Oh sure that was only allowing monsters to spawn all over the place around me, but I'm a badass remember, screw those guys I can take em. Actually I didn't really think about the spawning issue until after I had mined up some Obsidian so by then it was too late for it to make a difference so what can you do.

I mine up my Obsidian (woot portals!!!) and make my way back up to the surface. The first thing I find are three skeletons hiding out behind a wall taking pop shots at me. I was really hoping that I could get them to kill each other off, but no such luck. Since they were kind of trapped behind a wall they were easy to kill off, but without my little arrow machine, wasting my arrows is a little painful.

I made a pretty big mistake when I went digging up those diamonds, well not really a mistake, but I wasn't as complete as I normally am about clearing out a cave before taking the goodies. I left a lot of darkness unexplored in the cave, so on my way up I was confronted with confliction from my desire to get out of the ground and my desire to explore that darkness. Near where the diamonds were was a vast expanse of darkness that I had been probing into with a torch here and there. I thought, "Oh I'll give it a quick peak and see if I see anything." And that was when I saw him emerge from the darkness out of the corner of my eye, a creeper. This time the bastard had the drop on me, I tried to turn and face him, but instead I was looking at a rock. I tried to back up, move away from where I thought he was, but it was no use, I wasn't going to get out of this one. As anyone knows the timer on a Creeper isn't that long, but in this case it was an eternity, I can only imagine what it really feels like to know that you're about to be in serious danger, they say time slows down, it did for me, but this was only a game.

KABOOM!!! Realing I survived the blast, I can picture as my character hobbled off to the safty of the light. I imagined my bloodied body pushing past walls of rocks, broken and beaten, stumbling along the way. My hands shaking from the unnerving blast I drug myself to safty, all the while hoping that nothing else would find me in my battered state. Finally I reached the comfort of what must have been 50 torches and starting eating. My health that had been full at the time of the blast was reduced to 3 hearts and my iron armor that was 9 1/2 was cut in half. I was one of the lucky ones, looking at the blast radius it didn't appear to have been a big blast, good thing too because that Creeper was basically giving me a hug when he went. After that, I stopped messing around and made it to the surface.

On the surface I set up the nether portal in the courtyard of my castle, looks pretty awesome where I placed it. I'll have to get pictures up when I get home and post them. But either way, game is on now, how long will Red last before he meets his end? How large will my castle get before I am finished off? Will the villagers get to build a large village with their activity radius reduced to 100 meters? Only time will tell.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Minecraft - No choice

Well what can I do? I have to get the survivor mod now, the designer added in a function to create a random spawn point once you die. This to me is the greatest development since the development of the game itself.

Looks like I'll be starting over, yet again, but I have no choice, I must it IS my hardcore mode created!!!

Woohoo!!! Time to donate some money to this guy for making my dream come true, I might actually cry I'm so happy... Ok not really, but I'm excited.

I'll set it to 1 live and rock it on hard!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Minecraft - Village Day 1 again

So the Millenaire mod got an update yesterday that I had to use. It was the ability to turn the village generation on and off. For me this is a great update, now I can start in a new world but not have a village right on top of me when I'm starting. I really liked the idea of having to go and find a village, and while when I turned the generation back on one spawned right away and told me where it was, it was in the distance a little bit so the generation was exactly what I wanted.

So yet again I started a new hardcore world, and that's kind of what I hate about mods, when MC gets updated, they have to get updated. And then you just have a mess of waiting around for the mods to get updated and it's just a hassle rather than turn the game on and go. That being said I do think that it's worth it to add a mod or two, the right mod can add life to the game rather than the endless sandbox that it is. Not that I'm complaining about the sandbox, that's what makes it great, it's the progression like I have said before.

Anyway I'm not here to ramble on about that crap, my new world is an interesting one (yea!) Lots of sand, not a lot of trees, and some interesting hills that seem hollow because of how their caves pop out of them. There is also loads of wild grass, I think I already have a stack of 64 seeds from just clearing out the top of a hill for my house. With all of those seeds I almost have to make a farm.

There isn't really much else interesting that took place last night, established my base, found the village, yada yada.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Minecraft - Village Day 1

Now that we've settled on 1.6.6 it was time to start my hardcore game with the villagers. I have to say, Millaire (or however you spell it, yes I'm too lazy to look it up) is a great mod, a little laggy, but it's great. I do wonder if the lag has more to do with 1.6.6 than the mod, I'll need to play some vanilla to double check.

I spawned in and went to work right away building my new home base. It's an interesting spawn, there is a spider dungeon right next to the spawn and the village is right next to the spawn as well, with a giant mountain next to it. The other interesting feature is that there is a huge area of exposed stone right next to the spawn that had a good deal of coal in it. Additionally there is a forest to the South that I'll be chopping through. Granted I could just go to the village and trade them for wood or other items, but I'm going to hold off my interaction with the village until I get me some diamonds. The reason is that up until you find diamonds you're still pretty much trying to get by, but once you have diamonds and obsidian then you pretty much can do anything. So once I get to the "end game" then I'll start to really play with the village because I don't feel like I'm breaking the progression if I wait until I've hit the cap of my progression. This was the biggest problem that I had with the mods before, they eliminated the progression, sure they made it harder, but with humans dropping loot, it was too easy to get ahead in the game. The other thing was that I felt they broke the balance of the game, it's not to say they aren't great mods, I just didn't really like the feel.

Now by adding the villagers, the "end game" gets extended. Once I'm conquered the world, I can go and play with them and build up their village. In building up the village it will look like a real Red nation for my hardcore game. So the game will evolve but the core of the game won't change. If there was a way to start with a fresh world and then have the village build up after I was established then that would be awesome, and I could if I added them in later, but I wanted the first one to be near the starting location. It would be pure awesome if they popped up after I had tamed the land, like in one of my earlier posts, but what can you do.

My initial building I've decided to go big early, in part because I don't know what to do about the lag (was tempted to play vanilla due to it). My starter home is going to be made of sandstone as a reflection of the amount of sand that is around the starting area, it just seems to fit, and I always go cheap and build with dirt. I guess if I really wanted to be cool I could not allow myself to build with dirt, but really that would have to be a day two thing, humm maybe I could do it, probably could... Heck I do have a lot of glass on the first night and a bed.

Tonight I'm going to see if I can clean up the lag by messing with some settings, but I think it's the mod so I'll probably just be stuck with it, ahh fighting creepers should be just that much more interesting.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Minecraft - 1.6.8907

Nope I haven't had a chance yet to play or whatever it is up to by now, but I think that I will be doing so in great amount after Memorial Day. Terraria is cool and all (and apparently popular since that has gotten a ton of hits on my blog) but it just doesn't have the same charm, so for the time being I'll be playing more MC, God I love that game.

My brother and I were talking about the Kings playing a hockey game in Sweden in the Fall, I told him that if I were to ever go to Sweden I would have to buy Notch a beer for making what is in my opinion one of the greatest games ever. Thinking of the airfare and the hotel and all the rest, that would be one expensive beer, it had damn well better be cold. =)

So next week I'll start up on 1.6 and I'm going to use the Millaire (spelling) village mod along with my personal hardcore rules. My current game is going well but I just need something out there that I could potentially discover that would be cool, hence the villages. I'll adjust them so that they are super rare, that way finding them will be a treat, and give me that extra reason to go out exploring. I'll keep my current save just incase I don't like the villages, but intend to start over with a new world. Hopefully I'll get a good seed, like the ones I get with my son, I swear he has the best luck for world seeds, huge caverns and suspended mountains. All I ever get is a flat world with a couple boring hills.

Until next week!!! And if that reader that I have from Sweden is Notch, I owe you a beer, not sure when you'll ever get it, but I owe you one, hell make it two!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Terraria - Enchanted Boomerang and what progression should be

Last night was a little bit of a turning moment for me with Terraria, I mean it had been fun then it hit the "Oh yeah!" moment, I found myself an Enchanted Boomerang and felt some serious power. I mean I had a decent sword for that point of the game and I had a bow, but for some reason throwing that quick super powerful little item was a hell of a lot of fun. Granted it's not the most effective way of killing off mobs, but it sure is a hoot. The best part had to be when I found it, I made the little Zelda sound like when you get an item, da dada dummm.

And you know what, finding chests is a good thing. There is nothing quite like finding a drop or an item that makes you instantly feel more powerful. Here I am trudging away with my sword killing slimes and then all of a sudden I'll tossing around this magic item and just destroying them. THAT IS PROGRESSION, when the gameplay itself changes due to the items that you either make or find, and not just another +2 to Strength so that you can now fight level 5 monsters rather than level 4 monsters. This is what was bothering me with Rift and other MMO's that I just couldn't put my finger on, it's the same game from level 2 up to level 60 (or whatever the max is). In Terraria I went from a sword and a bow to now a boomerang. Later I'll have guns, the ability to swim and the ability to fly, who knows what else. It isn't leveling, but it is a step by step process to make my character more and more powerful. THAT is the reason for the loot, to make you feel more powerful in the game you're playing, not just to find a new shiny toy that has marginally better stats. And then I turn around and use that new toy on new monsters that are tougher that I couldn't have taken on before.

And item progression isn't a new thing, it's been in FPS games since day one, you start off with a pistol or your fists, or something of that nature and end up with a BFG 9000 that levels the place once your done. The mobs get harder, but you're more capable of taking them on because you've got better tools, the scaling works excellently. Now you have FPS games that are adopting RPG elements, ok fine, but RPG games should adopt this item/gameplay progression as well. This is why I see such great potential in MC, it's an RPG game, but it has so many FPS elements in it that it's so untreditional. And the fact it's a building sandbox, all the better.

Ok enough with my soapbox

With my new toy I felt a new sense of confidence and decided that it was time to go take out some corruption. I made my way to the left to where I knew there was corruption. The first time I had been there I was just checking it out and started to get flooded with baddies, this time I thought, "Oh yeah bitches, I have a magic boomerang, you're going down!" Once I got there though I was handed a quick reality check, those flying pincher things were everywhere. I fell down a short hole and one after one they came after me. It was a stalemate because with my boomerang they couldn't get to me, but I couldn't climb out. Eventually I made it to the surface and then had to deal with them flying in from both sides. Holy crap it was just like my gameplaying days of a long time ago, I can't even remember the last time I was playing a platformer.

The rest of the evening was spent diving down to the depths of the caverns that I found. I did find some skeletons and mother slimes, but nothing else really note worthy. Having a depth meter is a nice addition so that I know how far down I am. Last night about 400 feet below. Exploring caves and digging out ore is cool in Terraria, but I still think that MC is better. In MC you never know when you're going to find that Creeper around the corner waiting for you, so that constant thrill just isn't the same.

Tonight will be more Terraria. I keep saying this like someone is reading, but I love MC and just wish that it had more to do in it. In my perfect world, I'd make those two games have a child and that child would be the greatest game evar!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Terraria - Day Two

For $10 it's a good game to get, I've been having a lot of fun digging around in caves and exploring the world. So far I've managed to keep myself off the wiki so I don't know all of the recipes, which is keeping a nice level of wonder to the game as I dig something up and think to myself, "Humm I wonder what this will do?" I think that leaving that sense of wonder to the game is a key to my enjoyment, because if I know the items that I'm working towards than it might feel like a grind to get them.

The game is totally old school Metrod. As I was exploring the caves making little jumps and killing off baddies it really had that feeling that I was playing Samus, which is a good thing. I really want to get the guys on to play it, but I know they are locked into Rift so I won't be able to get them to try it with me. I'm not sure if they have a similar problem, but I seem to lock into a single game and play that only, either through lack of time, or out of habit. So maybe I'll drop a line about the game to them to check out, my other fear in telling them has to do with creditability, Terraria isn't as good as Minecraft (so far) in my opinion so do I recommend it? Probably just because I like talking about games.

Anyway the game is fun, I know it kind of sounds like I'm selling myself on it, but it is a good game and it is fun. Last night I had to take the smart route and go to bed at a reasonable hour or I'd have played through the night. I don't find it to be repetitive even though it is all about digging for goodies, there is a lot to explore and new monsters and events to fight, plus deep areas that I haven't even come close to exploring. And lightsabers and rocket boots, I've got to find the mats to make that stuff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Terraria - Day One

I pretty much troll the Minecraft forums all the time, not sure exactly why but that's not important right now, what is important is that I found another game on the forums that I needed to check out, Terraria.

Terraria is what you would get if you mixed equal parts of Zelda, Metrod, Minecraft and then added in a pinch of Final Fantasy. Sound like pure awesome yet? Well it's good but I'm not going to go all out and say it's the greatest thing ever, let's break it down.


- Open world that is randomly generated
- Lots and lots of craftable items with uses and lots of things to dig up
- Good level of action, but not crazy
- Ability to create a working town as you play and progress
- Gear leveling, not character leveling. As you find better stuff you get tougher, finding mana stars and crystal hearts is a great system for leveling up, a la Zelda.
- Very colorful, but not stupid looking


- 2d world is pretty linear. Not sure how this will play out over time, so holding back final judgement on this one.
- Night is way way way way way too long
- Movement has some issues, can't hold down jump to get over small little hills on the ground
- Money is a little bit of a grind, not much, but a little
- Early part of the game is a little too slow
- Caves aren't scary like MC (that is a huge plus for MC)

While there are a few issues that bring down the fun, it's still a good game and I'm looking forward to seeing how fun it can be. I really think that multiplayer would be pretty cool (humm maybe I'll get Druss =) ). As of right now though, Minecraft is the better game, and it's a fair comparison because they are similar, Terraria does highlight a couple areas where MC is lacking, namely how NPC's are generated in Terraria. The generation of NPC's in Terraria is a great feature, you build them a house and after you've met some criteria they spawn in those houses.

In the end the way I look at it, if Minecraft and Terraria had a child, that would be the greatest game in the history of mankind. A 3d open world RPG, where NPC's were generated with a purpose based on the activities that you preformed. Plus a deeper and richer exploration quality in a dark cave. Oh sign me up now!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rift - Crash, don't read

So my brother has been going on about how much he is enjoying Rift, he even got Druss to jump on and give it a go (damn them, play MC with me!). So after hearing him go on about how the game is basically an improved WoW, I was like, "Ok I'll give it a shot."

I downloaded the trial last Wednesday and have given it a go for a couple days, I got out of the starter zone and started doing my quests. Now I'm not going to go into a review for the game in my blog, because honestly I think the game is a pretty good representation of what it is, an MMO. The problem? I apparently don't like MMO's anymore.

I'm going to blame a couple sources for my new found feelings:

First up WOW. Setting the time machine back to 1998 I remember when Ultima Online came out and I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. A game where you can play with a thousand people at the same time! Sign me up! Well pvp was just starting up and I really wasn't a fan of that so my love affair with UO didn't last too long, but then came Asheron's Call in 99. With AC I met friends online and had a guild of 500 people in it at one time. Eventually after 2 1/2 years the game finally shook me loose and I moved on. During my AC days though I learned a difficult lesson, online friends can be short lived.

Jump forward a couple years and after a other few failed attempts at getting into an MMO, I had sworn off the whole genre, until WoW hit. As my brother told me at the time, "This is the greatest game ever!" And you know what, he was right, WoW was fucking awesome! I don't care how it's seen today, when it came out, it was amazing, it was the most fully realized online world that I had ever seen and in some ways still is.

But WoW ended in a bad way. After 5+ years in the end the thing I loved the most about it, playing with other people, is the very thing that broke me from it. When Lich King came out I found myself tanking instances, it wasn't a planned thing, just one day a grouped wanted me to do it as a DK, I wasn't speced for it, but they wanted me to give it a go anyway. We were able to run the instance (nexus) and afterwards I was hooked. For the next several months I tanked tons of instances and worked really hard at improving my gear to be better at it. Life was good!

Then life got in the way of online life, due to real life I wasn't able to play for the same durations as others which meant that I had to sit out on a lot of raids. Quickly my tanking slot was given to others and I got demoted behind other people that in some cases quite honestly sucked by comparison (thinking mostly of the off tanks). My importance to the guild was trivialized and I just felt like another cog in the machine with people that were my friends. Not to mention that I made it a point to be where I needed to be on time and several guild members took their sweet time, wasting evenings of my playtime.

Eventually that was it, I logged off WoW for good and really have no regrets about it. My real issue with the game was that I didn't mind the grind if there was a reason to do it in the end, that reason playing with friends and feeling like part of a team. But when my role on the team was removed, my passion for playing the game died and I was left grinding for no reason.

Which brings me to point #2 on why Rift isn't for me. The grind and what the final result of that grinding is? If I want to play Rift, that means I'm signing up to pay $15 a month to grind out levels and equipment so that I can go get bigger numbers and eventually take up a role in an instance or battle. Maybe I'd be a tank, or maybe I'd be a DPS, who knows, but it doesn't really matter. In the end I'm going to want to feel important, like a member of a team but ultimately someone is going to fill that role better which is going to leave me out in the cold. I describe myself as a hardcore casual, I want to play like a hardcore player, but I have a life so that means it's not possible to devote all the time that someone else would. And honestly, I don't want to anyway. But this leaves me in an interesting position, I want to feel like the best but I know I can never achieve that, so I'm basically playing a grinding game with no end goal.

That brings me to #3, the gameplay of an MMO itself. An MMO by nature is to grind. Back in my AC days I didn't even realize that I was on a treadmill. In the early WoW days, it was so that all of us friends could play together. With Rift it's a treadmill and I'm never going to be playing with established friends so unless I want to make new friends, where is the benefit?

Don't get me wrong Rift seems like a very nice MMO, but it's the nature of the MMO game itself that I just can't do anymore, and I think that goes for Star Wars as well, but I haven't decided 100% yet. But why would I want to devote all of my free time into something when I'm not going to get anything out of it? That is the very nature of addiction. I realize that I have a gaming addiciton, but there is a big difference between an MMO style addiction and just a game addiction. If I play an MMO the only reason I am doing it is to fill myself with something to do, not something I want to do.

And now my final point, I need INNOVATION! Essentially I have been playing the same MMO for the last 14 years. Oh sure there have been improvements, but the core game itself hasn't changed. It's kill this monster to get this item rinse and repeat, just the reasons for doing so have become more defined. And this is also where I damn you Minecraft, you have shown me something else that doesn't even exist yet. An MMO style game where the players really have an effect on the world in unscripted ways. Yes I think that we're at the threshold of a revolution in the MMO genre and someone within the next couple years is going to redefine the very nature of the MMO game. The success of MC has to have caught the attention of the AAA developers and that usually means that they are going to be looking to capitalize on that potential money. I want a world where the towns are player made, where the quests are player made, where the stories are player made, not a bunch of fed ex quests with grinds. But until that day comes, I can't see myself playing another grindfest MMO. It's not that they are bad games, it's just that I've seen something amazing in my mind and until I see that on my screen I just won't be able to invest into another gameworld.