Archives: Minecraft

Sand gravel and a river.

Ever since starting the game, some part of my brain is constantly planning and plotting in Minecraft. Today, when I tune in, it’s thinking of ways to fit five distinct mods into one star shaped building, since we’ve added new people. It had been really bothering me, and while I don’t consider myself a control freak generally, aesthetics in this game DO get to me quite a bit. I was twitchely going mad over the state of our old compound (where I accidentally had my cottage facing the garden and not the center of the compound because I may plan but rarely do I THINK).

We talked about some options — putting a second star above the first at an angle (so, a compass rose) but the issue was overlap with the layers below, plus having points covering up the gardens seemed like a lesson in monster spawning misery.

And then like all great solutions it occurred to me: why not build down? Pluses: involves less building (HUGE PLUS) because we don’t need a basement for every level. Keeps my two mods together so I can easily switch between them. Minuses? I have to fill in a river. Ugh.

I could put my lab in the basement. It would suit. But, it suddenly occurred to me that I could create the night forest I think suits Thaumcraft by putting that on the lower level instead. I’ll need to get a hoe of growth or possibly open the lab floor until my trees grow. But, I LOVE the idea of my witches cottage being hidden away in a forest lit by fireflies in jars. I DO have to think of a way to keep mobs from spawning though, if I keep it dark and misty. Wrath lamps would do it but they’re bright and spendy as fuck. Half blocks could do it but my floor is forest, so …

Actually, if magnum torches exist in our version (and I think they do) that’s a perfect solution.


I forgot to post this last night so let me just take a moment to bitch: I spent 4 hours filling in a river last night. There were other solutions (could have used pumps or sponges) but making them for a one time use would have been a bit foolish since it would have taken the same amount of time and its not a setup I see us using a lot in the future. So, sand and gravel it was.


That said, tonight I get to do one of my very favorite things: build and decorate. Hooray.

Cook, make, build, repeat

It’s moving day in our little Minecraft world. Our current home was too small and too fragmented and I was having panic attacks just looking at it. Yoz suggested a kind of 8 pointed star to serve as our base (with nuclear power front and center, just for the deadly danger); since I’ve been specializing in two mods that means two of those arms are mine all mine.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.11.17 PMThis is my little cottage as it stands in our current base; it is ringed with blueberries and raspberries and lit by fireflies and overflowing with taint on the inside  totally safe and not at all dangerous.

Thanks to Chisel and its gorgeous blocks, I was able to give my new home an appropriately fairytale feel; imagine my little cottage transported and COVERED with trees (sakura, amaranth and silverwood) and firefly jars stolen from the twilight forest EVERYWHERE. It’ll look amazing.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.10.26 PM

For the AE2 wing, I chose temple block as being as close to lab like as I could get for the moment — but my floors are pure chiseled marble because DAMN. I wish I had a more up to date screenshot, but that will just have to wait.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.10.41 PM

But what I’ve mostly been doing is building. Building. Building. And chisel blocks, while lovely, require cooked stone. So mostly this has been my life.



And yet, despite the monotony, I can’t wait to get back to it.


Not tonight though. 3 hours of sleep mean that I can’t…function in an adult way anymore.



I reverted to doing (and failing at) basic math yesterday.

Ok. In order to make a wireless terminal, I need a wireless access point, a dense energy cell and a calculation processor. And I need 4 of those terminals. And those dense energy cells are made up of 8 energy cells which need…

I eventually had to start a list. A pencil and paper list, clipboard in game wasn’t going to cut it. The mod I’m focusing on right now is Applied Energistics, which is the only possible way to tame our MESS of chests and storage. The place is a horror show of chests everywhere, and it stresses me out, so I’m doing the ME system. This involves a server bay, storage disks, and (because I want this to be wirelessly available to people — including me — don’t whine about having to go to the terminal) wireless access terminals. And boosters.

It’s super spendy — tons of redstone, certus, nether, fluix. And we don’t have stable power yet so I’ve been working through a vibration chamber and lava buckets which is about as inefficient as you can get. Yozzy’s been working on a power solution — nuclear, in this case, which will make my life easier. I’ll need to build us some additional storage as well. I need an inexhaustible supply of certus quartz — nether quartz and redstone aren’t much of an issue at the moment.

It’s lego for grownups

Is what Yoz says. I agree, to a certain point — I mean, I think legos are legos for grownups but this has the same texture to play. And despite a massive amount of grumbling as I look at the mats list for yet another finicky little piece, I’m still loving it.

Once I have our storage taken care of, I’m going to move back to Thaumcraft which will eventually give me very good things, once I get past the very early research options. Golems and cool gear and whoo.

I wish I could get more people to play. Modded Minecraft is heads and shoulders above xbox.


The Compleat Forced

I was going to write about Evolve today (according to my self assigned schedule) but I haven’t played it at all this week, to be honest. It’s a game that I enjoy when playing with friends, and everyone’s been sucked into other games for the time being (including LoL, sigh). So instead I’ve been playing my current mainstays: DA:I & Minecraft.

Last night was Frozen Thursday, though, and the first one in a while, so I got to play a little  bit of Forced with Choo. Both of us are completionists in this type of game so we spent quite a bit of time completing the time challenges on a couple of the early levels.

Forced is a great little puzzler/top down fighter. It’s not particularly complicated but it does require precision and teamwork. Choo and I aren’t new to teamwork games — we were rockstars at Portal and we collaborated on Braid. It’s a good complement of strengths and weaknesses and in general we can make each other understand what we want to have happen with very few words.

I find that I get very very sloppy the later the night goes — when I’m tired my brain stutters and stops and, what with the iCape plague rolling around the store I’ve been very tired indeed. Plus, and I’m just going to go off on a tangent here, I’ve been doing that whole standing all day thing and it really, really exhausts me. There’s no anti-fatigue mat and the computer is a little too low for me and also standing all day is very tiring. Weirdly, on day one I feel fine and can stand without a problem, but by the time Saturday rolls around my body aches. It’s a cumulative effect. But it’s good for me, right? Right.

Anyway, by the time we were trying to kill the last boss in 3 minutes there was no hope of me following directions or plans whatsoever. But for the first few, I was more or less on point. Mostly less, but I had a few very good plays. I do panic a lot. There’s a lot of button mashing, which is deadly in this game. This little clip is after about 30 minutes of experimenting to find the right order and to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time.


Just a total blast.


There needs to be more co-op games, though. Co-op puzzlers are amazing, if you’re working with the right person, but really almost any co-op game is pretty great. MMOs tried, successfully, to capitalize on that with huge groups, but it’s not quite the same as that two or three or four person team. We bought the humble bundle of the week which was almost all online co-op and I’m psyched to keep playing them.

Circles and arrows on the back of each one

When the Sims (the very first Sims) was ported to Mac by Aspyr back in the day, I was as happy as any kid has ever been for a game. I had been so jealous of my friends with their pcs. I remember playing it in Elaine’s basement which was always a little chilly and watching the warm water fill the bathtub in game and feeling like I was living in that tiny pixelated world.

I played the hell out of the Sims 2, which we got in DC — for Elaine’s computer, because mine couldn’t play it (mac. again). and then Aspyr ported it and I bought every damn expansion until it became nearly unplayable.

And then the Sims 3 which ate my soul. And the Sims 4, which didn’t.


But despite that intro, this isn’t a post about the Sims. It’s a post about Minecraft.

(“Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice”)

The Sims isn’t really technically a sandbox game, it’s a simulation. I get it. But the thing that addicted me so much in the Sims is the same thing that addicts me in Minecraft. The blank slate (I never used money cheats, I’d get so bored). The working for each little piece. The feeling of a million things to do.

research table

Minecraft is the very essence of a sandbox game. And this weekend, I lost myself in the minutia of an enormous, modded world. I studied magic from my research table, examining my Thaumaicon on my little desk underneath fancy silver lights that I built. I built an enormous witches cottage, bookshelves. I built a turtle (like the programming turtle) and gave it a diamond pick axe that I made by strip mining for an hour and set it to mine enormous holes in the ground. I fought furious zombies and fallen knights and cut down magic trees and harvested cotton. We went to the nether and avoided a ghast and walked over flesh and cinder grass, sometimes still on fire.


There’s a tiny machine at the bottom of this hole.


I’m playing the Direwolf 20 version of Feed the Beast, and there’s a million things to do. We’ve just barely scratched the surface — a smeltery, but no industrial machines. No automation yet. And there are so many other things that I want to do. My cottage is nowhere near complete — I want chairs and carpets, more lights. I’m building a factory for our smeltery, organizing our chests. I’m stumped on the factory roof — fake chimneys? With some sort of smoke? Is there a smoke machine in this pack or do I have to use grey wool? There’s so much to build.


It’s not about the graphics (although they’ve grown on me in all their pixelated glory). It’s about the step by step from the start feeling of it. I talked about it before, I know — the engineering feeling. But it’s the most soothing game I’ve played, even as a mana creeper explodes me and teleports me into a hole to bedrock.


And modded minecraft makes it better, because there are so many conveniences (backpacks, upgraded chests, furniture, minimap, graves) that take away some of the game closing rage moments.

A house of birch and glass

So back in WoW my chosen profession was an engineer. Engineering was full of toys — fun stuff that you built, tinkers for your gear, goggles with odd attachments. And leveling engineering is best done with a pad of paper and good record keeping, because everything you make requires tons of fiddly little bits. You can’t just make the items that are orange (guaranteed skill ups) because you’ll have to go back and make the green ones — and you’ll chew through your mats.

Minecraft kind of feels like WoW engineering. There are a lot of little fiddly bits. I’m no pro (I’m playing the xBone version so I don’t even have access to modded minecraft) but I really enjoy learning from scratch.

When we started this particular server, no one I was playing with had ever played before, except me. And I had played only long enough to make a boxy house and die a ton while spelunking and lose all my shit. We did the requisite searching for the perfect place — close to a village (for stealing veggies, natch), lots of resources, the meeting of three biomes.

And then we built. I told Choo the other day that I found Minecraft literally the most relaxing game I had ever played. And thats a category that includes Diablo, a game I treasure for its mood boost effects. He asked for clarification and I probably tripped over myself to provide it but it’s a game that requires a process.


Take our town hall (I still don’t have screenshots, I’m the worst). I fully admit the design was borrowed because it was my first big build and I wanted to learn the process of building with accents — I didn’t want just a big stone block. I already knew about using stairs for a roof, but this was a building with angles and windows and jutting roofs.

I was building from a picture, not a plan, so I had to puzzle over it. As a side note, spatial reasoning is a serious weakness for me. I’m not good at seeing something from one angle and imagining how it will look from another. So this was a serious challenge. And then there’s the way different elements work together — half slabs and blocks and glass and stairs. I spent about a day and a half building this thing and it was total bliss.

The process was mining cobble, cooking it into stone, making the stone into stone bricks, and also making half stone slabs (not stone brick slabs) from the plain cobble. The roof was cobble bricks. Jordan helped by building me scaffolding which I fell off of every few minutes.

The big build was our town hall; then we each built our own house. I’m pretty proud of mine — I had initially wanted a brick and wood house, but clay is no where in the rivers near us, so I had to go hunting and I kept a) dying and b) getting lost so I gave up. I wanted something different…and high up. So I used some shears to flatten our tree line which we bordered the island with, built some stairs out of the sheared leaves, and built a birch (raw, not plank) and glass house with a tree roof. I had to put a glass ceiling in because the rain dripped but I love it. It’s tiny, it has a gorgeous view, and it’s different…and I built it out of my own head. I still need to fix the roof though.

The problem is now I’m out of big builds. I started to work on our minecart track but that doesn’t get my attention the same way the buildings do. We need a pool but…same idea, not all that exciting to build (and a pain to fill even with an infinite water source nearby).

Still. I do love Minecraft. DragonAge may have my attention at the moment, but Minecraft is going to keep it over the long term.


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