piranha: red origami crane (Default)
those of you not into minecraft can safely tune out now.

*waves to the three of you remaining*. ;)

soon after i've had the idea of making a new server for the paramour, the poing, and a couple of other friends, the idea has been taking on a life of its own. we all play on a vanilla server now, but i am dissatisfied with that because what i really want is to play OUR game, but our game is so far away still. so i've been pondering how to turn minecraft as much as possible into our game. it's actually a useful exercise because it shows issues we might otherwise not discover.

the way the three of us play is different for each, but there is enough overlap to make building a server fun instead of frustrating. i've been looking for mods that'd work for all of us (and that will play nicely together, which is harder), because we all have played vanilla minecraft (vMC)for a long time now, and have kinda of worn it out. we want more blocks to mine, more recipes for things to build, a better tech tree, more epic terrain. i'll leave the handwringing about how hard it is to get various mods to work together for another post. for now i have settled on CraftBukkit (CB) as my server platform because it is the most mature and has an actual API (something vMC is as yet missing).

one of my favourite things to do is to explore -- whichever game i play, that's the first thing i do, and oftentimes that'll remain my main character's "profession". so of course that's what i do in minecraft too, when i am not building. vMC's terrain generator is getting better, but it's still a far cry from great, so i've played around with in-game editors such as WorldEdit and VoxelSniper. and i've been looking at world generators, with an emphasis on those that allow me to guide the generation to some degree. there's WorldPainter, which is great fun for precisely editing sections of terrain from outside the game, complete with 3D preview. i will definitely use that. but for generating the bulk of the terrain, i'm opting for procedural. the most flexible by far is the little-known TerrainControl (TC). go ahead, gaze at the epicness. awesome, isn't it?

so i'm in the process of creating the base world map now, the outlines of which i am borrowing from various real-world islands. even though some of the terrain will be epically impossible in real life, i still want the whole to seem possible. it looks like WorldPainter might import heightmaps, which would be awesome -- i could get google earth terrain or interesting dem files for special spots on the map.

something that's becoming clear to me is that real-world distances won't work, for several reasons. one is that one can't see very far in minecraft even on a clear day. the other is that even with interesting terrain, it still has limited interest because it has so little life and few things to find other than caves and ores, even if i populate it with extra tree types. i think i will need to create an ancient civilization that has left ruins, so people wandering can find something unexpected. and i'll need to compress the oceans, because while they'll look great when looking at a print of the map, in-game those distances become huge swaths of unrelieved, blue dullness.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
now, why i've been so quiet since the *poing* got here. it's all their fault -- the *poing*'s and the paramour's. because they introduced me to a game by the name of minecraft, and i've been playing it obsessively since then. and because the depression hasn't gone away (ha! if only...), i either have energy for a social life, or for the game.

it's a wonderful game, and the first game since arcanum that's sucked me in so fast. but it's way better than arcanum; more immersive, more creative, more expandable. it's a sandbox game, its primary focus is on building, but there's also exploring, acquiring stuff, farming, figuring out how items in the game work, and fighting for survival -- if you want to. you are not locked into any specific mode, and you can freely switch between them. you can play the game without ever fighting a single enemy and with unlimited resources to build anything you want, where health and hunger are of no concern, and where you can't die, or you can battle it out in hardcore mode, where death lurks around every corner and means the end of your entire world, and you have to start over from scratch. or anywhere in between; explore an abandoned mine today, build an automated underwater sugarcane farm tomorrow, and trap poisonous spiders the next day.

it can be played by children, teens, and adults, by parents with their kids, without either getting bored or finding it too difficult. you can play it alone, or on a server with your friends, or on a public server with hundreds of people under a particular theme (like recreating middle earth, or lost, or anything the server owner comes up with. you can save your world and share it with other people.

it's also expandable, and since it's been played by millions of gamers since its beta release a year ago, there are lots of extensions (called mods) available. some only change a small aspect, others add a whole new dimension. you can "skin" it with texture packs so everything looks like the world of tron or victorian steampunk. you can make your own texture pack; it's easy -- didn't take long til i started my own, of course. ;)

and it's all done with cubes.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
expanded comment to this post at the geekfeminism blog:

to me a hardcore gamer is somebody who is intensely into gaming — not just into one game, but into games, plural, and into the mechanics of them, into conquering them, playing and knowing them through-and-through, and when not playing them, then discussing them with other hardcore gamers. also, games are usually a hardcore gamer’s life; their free time, their social interactions revolve around gaming. with every single one i know i cannot imagine them not gaming; it’s an intrinsic part of their existence -- at least at the time.

i see no reason why this should be limited to men, and i know a few female hardcore gamers, but very few, really. women in general don’t seem to be quite as monomaniacally into gaming, though they might be hardcore into something else, like anime, or SF, or fanfiction. or they grow out of it. so do many male gamers, but i know some who’re nearing their forties and are still at it. for the women i know it's more likely a phase.

but i've got a small sample size, and i've lost track of a lot of gamers i knew 20 years ago, and have no idea whether they are still as hardcore as ever. i certainly am not anymore, and i knew at the time that it wasn't what i was gonna do for the rest of my life.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
google image labeller, to aid googe image search. since i use that a huge amount, i am all for helping with it. you and a partner (picked for you at random) have a certain amount of time to type in labels for an image. you get points for matches.

edit1: *little grump*. i wish the handshaking weren't so buggy. i'm having too many passes not connect.

edit2: *wah*! and now you've taken my individual ranking away! how can i tell whether i am working my way up in the greatest hits list! you people have a lot to learn about incentives.

edit3: ah, i see what they are doing. they're presenting the images again and again, and are putting common terms off limits, thereby refining the labels.

edit4: i am refining my own labels by taking time after each run to see what my partner typed, and by going to sites for images where i drew a blank to check what they actually depict. otherwise i'd already be bored now.

edit5: my individual cumulative ranking is back. 302 with 14400 points. just had my first 10-match with somebody; that felt really good (and it wasn't just simple stuff either). i think this is good "flexing the brain" exercise for me.

edit6: if you cna't splel astronaught, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME, or i shall have to kill you. 11-match, #234, 17600 points.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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