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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Minecraft Monday: The Mystery of the Block

Well ‘ello, ‘ello!  Mondays always seem to sneak up on me XD  Hows about we get right to it then?

Minecraft News

Busy, busy week for Notch!  After a whole bunch of bugfixes, he needed to fix other bugs that the whole process caused in the first place.  Poor guy.  The biggest news currently is one more batch of bugfixes this week, then a long while of a wait for patch 1.7. 

Adventure Mode

Adventure mode is something Notch wanted to do for a while now, and is basically going to be entirely for people who like to… well.. adventure ^_^  The mode is all about going out and slaying baddies, completely opposite of building.  In fact, unless he has changed his mind, you will not be able to place or destroy any type of block in Adventure mode at all.  It’ll just be you going through dungeons and hazards and trying to make it out alive.  Sorta like a Medieval Doom or something :D

This leads to interesting situations. 

  • How do you get weapons and armor? 
  • Are they just given to you at the start? 
  • Do they not break at all, then? 
  • There are chests in the game, will you be granted rewards for completing the dungeon, and if so what? 
  • Will it be completed diamond gear? (As we cannot craft) 
  • Will you be locked into a never-ending challenge area?  (If you can just ‘go around’ the mammoth mountain and skip to the end, you could easily loot the place without doing any of the actual work for it.  Which now makes me wonder…
  • After completing the dungeon, will you have to go alllll the way back out the way you came in?
  • Will there be a key-system in place to prevent looting shenanigans?

But that’s going to be awhile from now.  Easily a month or two.  E3 is coming up and then they got the mobile Minecraft version to be unveiled and all that.  Busy busy!

Mystery of the Block

Since 1.5 came out, the look of my inventory has bothered me.  I run the default textures, but you all might have noticed a slight difference as well.  So, I dug up the files and tinkered a bit to see why things are going on as they are.  I think I may have some results.

The first step was to edit the right file.  And finding that file was deceptively obvious (it is the only one NOT in a certain folder, gah!) so I changed the few that I knew looked off into rather jarring color stripes.

Minecraft Single Player: Texture Editing
This is science is progress, folks. Beautifully hideous science.

The problem wasn’t really with the 3d blocks though, as you can see everything maintains the stripe look, minus distant ones but that is to be expected with a pattern like this.  No, the problems weren’t with the placed blocks, but when you hold the blocks in your inventory.  Specifically dirt, cobble, and wooden planks.  Here is a screen shot I blow’d up to show you what I mean.

On the left is the stripe test look.  In the middle is the post-1.5 patch look, and on the right is the original look.  The cobble is still cobble, but the lighting is different and the pattern looks messy.  In the original, the top is brighter than either side planes, while in the new version almost all sides are evenly lit.  (Admittedly the sides are barely a shade darker than the top, but compared to the original look it is worlds apart.  Furthermore, I have an aging/darkening monitor as well, so the changes should be even less apparent to most others.  End point: He tampered with something to cause this change.)  YesI know dissecting a virtual block is a bit nutty, but we like to continually earn our Encrazed title, ah-thank-you.

The reason my stripe block is up there at all is to see how the image gets scrunched up.  If you look closely, not all stripes are intact.  Quite a few merge together. I cannot compare this to a previous version to see how that may have changed things, but I will say, staring at the image file these are based on, the textures in question did not change between patches.  At all.  This suggests a coding change somewhere, and that I do not wish to tangle with.

New Textures

A spiffy thing I just noticed was this nestled in the same texture file as the dirt and that:


These are the dead (Desert biome) and alive (I guess anywhere else ^_^) versions of the new shrub thang’ he added.  Haven’t spent too much time in new chunks to see these in action, but I will say that the tall grass is working so, in theory, these should be as well.  Oh, and the reason that one on the right is gray is because the game should take in the current surroundings and make it more vibrant green or muddy brown depending on the locale.

That’s it for this week, let’s see if E3 adds anything new to the table!  Last time Notch went to a place like that, we got Wolves!  I doubt we’ll get something that big, but still, couldn’t hurt to hope a lil’, right? ^_^

Patching Problems: WoW 4.2 – Frost Mage vs Frost DK

Now, I know that patching predictions change constantly so what MMO-Champion lists on one day might not make it to the next, just the mere idea of this change bothers me.  As in, not only did it get conjured up in some dev’s brain, it was uttered aloud.  Then other devs thought it was just fine, so it got so far as to be given the green light and actually placed in the current PTR.

These two tweaks specifically bother me, as they are very similar, but two completely different play styles:

 Mage – Frost

  • Ring of Frost is now instant, down from 1.5 sec cast time.

Death Knight – Frost

  • Hungering Cold now has 1.5 sec cast time, up from instant

Just… what?!

Frost mages *really* needed a buff to that ability, well… any of their abilities?  But the one that prevents people from getting to the flag in the far-too-popular Node capturing BGs?  The by-far most annoying fight for a melee class gets another buff.  Amazing.

I’ll be honest, DKs are a lot easier to play than my ol’ faithful class: Warrior.  You got death grip, bunch of slows and just plain cool abilities.  I am aware a DK crying foul doesn’t hold much water… but this is about Frost mages here.  That supersedes all complaining about a mere DK in comparison.  Let’s see the pros and cons of this terrible idea.

Mages get an instant-cast, persistent, ranged, aoe-lockdown.  DKs have a one time use melee-based lockdown with a 1.5 second cast.  Both can be trinketed out of, only the Mage one will be instantly re-applied.  The mage one also remains intact while the person takes damage, while the DK ability breaks to any additional damage instantly (barring existing diseases) and cannot be re-applied.

If the Mage version is Mass Dispelled, the Mage can pop Cold Snap and place another down, instantly.

Not including Frost Nova, the ever-present and constant lock-down procs from their numerous instant-cast abilities, that they crit insanely high when you *are* locked down, or that they can also cast a one-shot version of this abilty via their pet.

Death Knights have one Death Grip.  That can resist or be immune.  They can slow with Icy Chains, or if they glyph for it, apply a short immobilize with IC and a slow with Howling Blast (if frost spec’d). Other than that, all they have are slows.  If you fire off the DG too early, or slip and use it right after your glyphed immobilize, it’s spent and you do not have a chance at all against the mage, while that mage has gobs of backup abilities to keep you right where you are and a shield that not only absorbs a great deal, but can be reapplied far more often than the DK counterpart, AND it generally locks down any melee that got ‘lucky’ enough to break it.

Oh, the agony of playing a ranged class…

Zee’ Summary

Aye, this could very well be voided tomorrow, but I still call “Shenanigans!”
 on it.  The abilities are quite similar, yet the ranged class that can choose precisely where they want it, gets to use it in an instant.  But the melee class that has to constantly run around to hit they very ranged class, has to stand still for awhile to cast very similar ability?  (Thus negating the ability entirely when attempting to catch up with a runner.) If I find it annoying on my pvp geared out DK, I can only imagine the amount of frustration and rage (lawl class in-joke) I will have when my Warrior gets up to level cap >.>

Funcom Newz: Age Of Conan – Free to Play! Anarchy Online’s New Engine Now Under Construction!

Kind of outta left field, Funcom stated that AoC is going free to play, a la LotRO.  While I have never played the game, this news officially gives is a small chance I may one day grace it with my presence.  Also they are going to make it ‘more brutal’, I only hope they mean the combat and not the leveling grind ^_^  Kinda reminds me of Requiem: Bloodymare, based on that ‘more brutal’ bit.  (That game was fun in beta, but they took out the ability to talk in general unless you pay.  What the heck is that?  Even in battlegrounds, I might add!  Hard enough to win without the ability to even tell people of incoming attacks :X)

What actually interests me most, though, is the new engine on the quite dated Anarchy Online.  AO was my first real MMO, though I played EQ like an hour or two (total) before that.  AO still holds a place in my jaded heart, and seeing a new face on old places stirs them up a bit.  I just saw the teaser trailer, and I think they are going for a happy medium.  Currently the game is *very* old-looking, and based on the video they showcased it is upgrading it quite a bit, while still keeping it ‘oldish’ looks.  Normally this is a spot to complain, and I’m sure many will out there, but I like that option.  Too often I cannot play a new game because it simply cannot run on my rig.  (Besides, they got AoC looking pretty good, so it isn’t like they *can’t* make a pretty game.)

Keeping the game updated while not turning the graphics up to eleven is possibly the biggest untapped source of revenue Blizz actually has: Keep the game running smooth on as many PCs as possible, and you keep the customers playing.  The more they play, the more they pay.  (Or in my case, the more likely I’ll bug my buds into playing it with me and *they* will pay.)

A bud of mine is actually jonesing for Anarchy Online right now, and I think it may have rubbed off a bit on me haha  I always did wanna craft my own spaceship, piece by piece…  Something to do ’till the next star wars mmo or the Secret World releases, ammitrite? -_^

Note: I guess the new Conan movie is going to sorta cross-over into AoC?  Here’s a quote:

Set 20 years after the movie storyline, an epic new adventure pack – The Savage Coast of Turan finds players being sent by Conan, now King of Aquilonia, to aid his old ally Artus. The new adventure pack includes but is not limited to content from the movie, and allows players to follow epic storylines in Conan’s realm.

Interesting idea.  Let’s see how it pans out.  Hopefully the ‘videogame movie curse’ doesn’t follow back to AoC, eh?

Minecraft 1.6 – Live

Zee patch is a GO!  It had a few bandaids applied machine-gun style after it came up, with still some oddities online happening, but still it’s stable.  (Though some of its players are not XD)

Took the opportunity to load up Ye’ Olde Worlde save of mine which I haven’t really played since October’s crazy-mob-spawning business.  Wanted to make a compass of my original Minecraft save ^_^

To make a map you need a compass, eight pieces of paper, and a workbench. Place the compass in the center, surround it with the paper, and tada!  You gots a map!

(Compasses are made with four bars of iron in a ‘plus’ shape, with one redstone powder in the middle of them.  And if you don’t know how to make a workbench, lord help ya’ -_^)

Overall, I’m a little… unsure of this patch.  I think ‘disappointed’ is going too far, but I’m not like, awash in its awesomeness either.  Let me try to explain this with an example of something else ‘added’ with this patch:

As you walk around now, you may come across “long grass” in the game.  It looks pretty (there’s even a dried out version in the desert!) and just sort of fits.  Visually, this is a bonus, but the functionality is the rub.  If you destroy the grass, it has a chance of dropping seeds to plant wheat with.  The drop rate of seeds is about the same as it was when you used a hoe on grassy dirt, but that is the problem.  Before you could dig for seeds nearly *anywhere* above ground.  The drop rate might be bad, but still you had a large selection.  Now you have the same crappy drop rate but, by comparison, an extremely limited quantity.

He added good things, but they are side-grades at best.  (MMOers might know this term.  Upgrades are clearly superior to what you had previously.  “Side-grades” are sorta good, sorta not.  You might gain some stats while you lose out on others.)  But, again, I think this is wording it a bit harsh.  I don’t want to get all quippy an designate 1.6 as “the side-grade patch” but that’s the feeling it is giving me at the moment.  (Trapdoors that do not allow anything but players/mobs to pass through.  If it could allow anything through, it would have been a far better addition, for example.  As it stands, it is considerably limited in scope versus allowing the use of a water valve to mass farm wheat crops, or as security to push mobs away from certain locations as you pass through.)

I will say processor lag *appears* to have gone down in this update, which is wonderful if I am correct with what I have noticed.  Aye, the patch has already been updated a few times since it’s release (hence the x.6 at the end of it when you load the game) and it could very well continue to be updated to make it even better, but I’m talking about the current state of the patch. 

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way.

The Nether does, in-fact, work online. This is possibly the best and biggest change to the game, something a great deal of peeps have been craving for a long time.  The patch seems quite ‘adventure-friendly’ by comparison to previous ones, and maybe this is why I am so torn.  The map promotes people to explore, having to slash grass requires movement as well, and co-op Nether definitely is heavy on the Adventure side of the game.

Hows about I wrap this up with a wish-list of sorts?  I wish that the map size was bigger, as the two I made were extremely small and I do not see how something that zoomed in could possibly help anyone out online even if the map link-up  was in game.  I also hope that Notch reverts change to seeds, making all grass able to get seeds like it used to, as well as making long grass provide them on a near-guaranteed/50% of the time to not make it seem like such a nerf.  (I’ve never was a fan of farming wheat -bacon is far better- but I do not see why the start-up time on newer farmers should be so punishing as it currently is.)  And let trapdoors let things actually move through them.  If I wanted a safety escape hatch I’d just seal my ladders off with dirt or something :P


Doh!  Completely forgot like the main reason I made this post in the first place haha  I’ve noticed the items in your inventory look a bit ‘off’.  I don’t quite know what, but they appear to be gritty/grainy, when before the patch they were fine.  I only run the default texture pack, so it’s not something simple like that.  Here, do you see what I mean?

Minecraft 1.6 - Stacking Item Visual Glitch

That dirt looks dirty.

The cobblestone, wooden planks, and dirt all look really ‘busy’.  Like they should have been a higher resolution but then got scrunched down.  I should break into the texture files and compare em with an older copy I have, but eh, I’ll let the Misses do that.  She’s all into the texture editing ^_^

Post Script

Now, I’m not raging by any means because I haven’t really ran into any terrible glitches, myself.  But, apparently some people are, making Notch’s twitter feed look a bit like the WoW forums…

Notch: “We just played maaany hours of Terraria. Very, very fun! :D”

Not the best start of the day, admittedly. 


  • Im very disappointed with the latest update, mc still crashes a lot (runs out of memory), lighting not working properly…
  • (got pushed down so a paraphrase) I just spent the last three hours replacing all the glowstone in my train station because you cannot place anything ontop of brightstone anymore, APPARENTLY.
  • @notch @jeb_ @Kappische trolling your fans and supporters. Bragging that you played Teraria instead of fixing your game. #Professionalism
That last one made me loudly guffaw, I gotta admit :D  Ah, poor guys.  He just tweeted:
“Aack, sorry! I wasn’t aware the bugs were that severe! =( I feel horrible now. I’ll head in to the office tomorrow.”
Atta’boy, Notch!

Minecraft Monday: For the Good of All Of Us – Minecraft Companion Cube!

“…except the ones who are dead.” (Go on, admit it, you were singing the song in your head!)  Since that certain Apoco-lapse of judgement failed to deliver on its ‘expectations’, a great deal of us remain healthy and alive.  Thus we are ready…

Companion Cube A La Minecraft!
Piggeh Approved Companion Cube


After like a week or so, it’s done!  Technically it was done last week, but I had all this messy dirt about and I was having none of that!  None for pictures, I say!  Cleared that all out, got rid of the scaffolding and dirt walls keeping us penned in and safe, and now it’s LIVE, baby! 

Been wanting to make one of these in a game for awhile now, and what better game than Minecraft?  (If I was keeping track, this badboy alone would put my Indie-Geek cred through the roof.  Minecraft and Portal?  Straight from Friendly to Exalted, no questions asked ^_^)  Doc’d up a suitable rendition of it on single player (started out with the heart shape and worked out from there, to be honest XD) and this is what I ended up with!  With a few noodle-scratchers I figured out how to make it look good from all angles, and I’d have to say this is probably my first 3d ‘sculpture’ build in Minecraft.  (Zee Cloud Cutter was  technically dimensional, but still flat.  I’m movin’ on up!)

End result was huuuge quantities of snow (takes four snowballs to make one block, and it took more than a chestful of stacks), smooth stone, coal to make said smooth stone, and more than a handful of hours first spent hunting red flowers than farming sheep to get what I needed.  (Something like 8 stacks of pink wool)  Originally this was supposed to be our house… but that’s too dull for my tastes!  I thought we could spruce it up a little -_^

But enough details, how’s about a tour?  “Tour?” You ask?  Oh aye, this isn’t just something you admire from afar. Nay!  This is something you explore!  (Really wanted to get this on video but the PCs don’t have enough umph to pull it off without dipping into single digits on the frames per second ‘o-meter.  But I took plenty of snappies to accommodate.  Hee hee, “snappies.” Bioshock reference, ftw.)

Welcome to the Enrichment Center

Starting out on my journey, I see that there are several signs upon the entrance in one of the lower corners of the building.

Welcome Test Subject or random passer-by.

We have a few tests to get through today, sound good?

As the invisible lasers will kill you if you try to leave…

I’ll assume you said “Yes.”    Excellent!

Welcome to Aperture Industries!

If you thought Black Mesa was science… Ha!

We at Aperture know science. We’ll science your BRAIN out.

Here comes the tests.  If you made it this far, great!

At least we know that you know your way around

an invisible laser.  So there’s that.

I was then instructed to climb up a “Horizontal Lattice Vertical Propulsion Device” (which looks a lot like an ordinary ladder) into…

Test Chamber 01

Minecraft: Portal - Test Chamber 01

After a minor inspection I noticed that the block above is supposed to be placed on the Big Red Button to open the door, as the wire leads directly to it, after all.  (Note: While we did have a few ideas for actual, functional test chambers, getting them all to fit into this over-all structure was… not practical.  We went with more of a adventure/Aperture Museum of sorts ^_^)  Solving this simple puzzle, I make my way into…

Test Chamber 02

Minecraft: Portal - Test Chamber 02

Ooo, upping the ante, are we?  Now we are treated with portals upon a wall, the storage cube behind us, and the Big Red Button on the other side.  Taking what I learned previously, I take the cube through the portals, and place it on the button, opening access to… what’s this?

Minecraft: Portal - Test Chamber 02z

An Excursion Funnel leads the way up to the next chamber.  After a quick ‘swim’ upwards through the tunnel, you can clearly see…

Test Chamber 03: Hardlight Surfaces

Minecraft: Portal - Test Chamber 03 Hardlight Surfaces

Now isn’t that a peculiar sight! Jogging my way up the patented Aperture brand Panels and across the other side, I barely even notice the nearly garbled scrallings apparently carved into the very wall of the Test Chamber near the exit.

Minecraft: Portal - Ratman Warning

Test Chamber 04: The Cake Bake Dive

Minecraft: Portal - Test Chamber 04 The Cake Bake Dive

Delicious and moist.

imple room, in’nit?  No exits, just one portal and it looks like we need to jump straight down.  Are they tryin’ to kill me?!  Hmm. Well there is cake down there… but what’s that across the room?

Minecraft: Portal - Ratman Trail

Hmm.  That drop could very well kill me, and since there is no other place to go… I’ll give it a shot.  I follow the trail and check it out, figuring that I could come right back if I start getting directionally challenged…

The Escape 

Minecraft: Portal - Ratman Cometh

Following the signs, I listen to their helpful suggestions out of this malicious place.  On my brisk travel through the decrepit back halls of the building, I wove my way though mostly impassable sections of debris until I came upon this rather serene locale.  It almost appeared as a shrine the person guiding me via signs constructed for… a block? 

Minecraft: Portal - Ratman Companion Block Shrine

Poor sap must have lost his mind back here.

Rooftop Retreat

Minecraft: Portal - Rooftop Exit

After a while I found myself on the roof of the building, “A dirty handprint” leading the way into another opening ahead of me.  As I wind down the jagged steps, I am able to ascend a platform that allows me to peer down at the test chambers below. 

Minecraft: Portal - The Cake WAS A Lie!

That really was a plot to have me killed!  Forget this place!

Minecraft: Portal - Goin' Down

I continue down the ragged path, keeping an eye out for any markings or suggestions from my silent and disembodied friend.

Minecraft: Portal - Nebacular Drop and a Half

I was forced to navigate several hazardous jumps until my surroundings changed from antiquated metal to gravel and dirt.  It wasn’t long after that I came upon possibly the most dangerous of all jumps I had yet encountered.

Minecraft: Portal - Watch Your Step

While helpful in its suggestion, it did little to assuage me fear of heights. And death. Not exactly in that order, either.  I leapt across, cursing all the way, and thankfully landed on the other side.  Making my way up a hand-carved stairway, I spotted one final sign, wishing me luck and sending me on my way.

Minecraft: Portal - Almost Free

Shortly after I was back on the surface, free of that tyrannical place and it’s fangled contraptions.  I shall never forget my time spent in that building, nor will I likely ever return.

Minecraft: Portal - Companion Cube'd

Hope that wasn’t too melodramatic XD  I’ll have you know, there are (barring death, of course) thee exits to the building. Can’t say where the other two are, as that ruins the surprise ^_^

Spent quite awhile getting these all set up and described on flickr, and only then did I realise I am actually missing stuff hahaha  The in-between little bits on the middle section of the cube on every side have yet to be placed lmao  Well, I’ll go back and get them in a bit. Anyway, here’s a shot of the cube from the Misses’ wooden balcony.

Minecraft: Portal - Companion Cube from Afar

I love how it nearly dwarfs out everything in comparison.  Oh, and that sheared sheep down there was actually covered in pink wool.  That’s the third or fourth one I came upon during my Sheep-dying rampage to net me enough stacks to complete this creation.

Minecraft News

1.6 will likely be this week Wednesday, possibly Thursday or Friday if there is a delay. But it’s this week! Also, the ‘Anti-Nether’ is on its way, my friends!  Last week, Notch posted a few shots of a floating universe he had an idea for in Minecraft, and he stated, as PC Gamer apparently loved the idea so much, that it was officially confirmed.  (Though, I wonder if this was his shot at the mod The Aether?)

He just updated his blog with a huge list of bug fixes. You can take a gander at them here on his blog, but these are a few that caught my attention:

  • Fixed fire hurting through wall corners
  • Mushrooms now spreads (very) slowly
  • It’s no longer possible to build solid blocks on the top layer of the maps (sorry!)
  • Severely nerfed fire so it spread slower, and doesn’t spread infinitely
    Seeds are now found in tall grass, using a hoe on the ground no longer works
  • Blocks destroyed by other players in multiplayer now shows the breaking block particle effect
  • Fixed buttons and levers too close to the player being impossible to use
  • Fixed furnaces and dispensers not dropping their contents when destroyed
  • Fixed rain falling through liquids
  • Fixed fences and signs preventing grass from growing
  • Fixed the achievement screen not pausing the game
  • Fixed chat messages surviving through game switches
  • Fixed ice so it regenerates regardless of whether it’s snowing or not
  • Fixed animals only spawning near light during the night

Till next week, my friends!  Hopefully I get to penning that In-depth Portal 2 review with this in mind.  Either way, I leave you with a collaboration of Still Alive that the Misses was lucky enough to be a member of!  Not gonna say who, but she’s in there somewhere ^_^


Minecraft Monday: Look at me still talking when there’s SCIENCE to do…

Another week, another post-y post!  Notch, yet again, has nothing on his blog for two weeks running.  Well, he did update it twice but, bleh.  Sigh.  Okay, I’ll talk about it…


We’re Out of Beta and Releasing on Time

A few ago, Notch said 11/11/2011 would be the official release date of Minecraft.  The game will not be very different from what it is now, and it will continue to be updated.  So… honestly other than dropping off “Beta” from the end of it, not much will change from how it works right now.  Either way, he wanted to have a get together as he has done in the past, and since “he freaking loves the place,” he wanted it to be held in Las Vegas.  There’d be contests like dressing up (five bucks on Creepers being as prominent as people doing the Troll dance at Blizzcon!), to speed building, and even a live reveal and release of Minecraft going retail on stage.

I honestly didn’t think much of this news, but know some people go gaga over stuff like this.  I put more money into WoW than the ‘Craft and had no urge to go to any of their conventions.  Heck, even for the pet I didn’t want to get the TV access.  But if ya’ll want to wait in line wearing green duct tape-covered card board boxes and “sss”-ing at each other like a pylon of pythons, feel free XD

The actual juicy bits come from his twitter feed, which normally I just gloss over the recent stuff, but there is quality to be found this week!  For starters:

  • They are currently doing larger and less frequent patches, but will do nightly and smaller builds “eventually” source
  • He’s considering adding a new mob to the next patch source
  • Killed off Mine cart boosters, now only booster tracks will be able to propel you source
  • Greatly reduced the speed of boat’s floating up when submerged in water, thus making boat and water elevators still viable, but much slower source
  • Increasing the speed of Powered Mine carts and Powered Rails source source
  • Has quite a few posts related to coffee, adding that he was going to add something just for fun vs bug fixes.  Potentially hinting at coffee beans/coca beans being added for reals? Coffee Machine drink?  Or just crazy coder-speak? source
  • Trapdoors!  Only they do not let water through, and are only 1 block wide.  So think doors, but opening down instead of sideways.  And one block tall instead of two ^_^ source
  • The Nether in multiplayer is almost ready!  Also, as it will be a different zone, so people can still use beds to make it day/not thunderstorming while others are dying to Ghasts and lava. source source

Quite a haul, wouldn’t ya say?  No word on Pistons, but he said he’ll list all the bugs he fixed when the patch releases.


Buildin’ Newz!

So, few weeks back muh ol’ buddy Ben invited me onto his server, but the Misses and I didn’t really have a lot of time that day so we sort of took the tour and that was that.  This past week we did manage to squeeze in some… well okay a *lot* of time and ended up making this!

Uh… My bad >.> I kinda forgot that we didn’t take down the dirt scaffolding and walls around the base.   Awkward.  Well, uh… good news!  I know what I’ll be posting about next time!  More good news, you totally were curious about how to build a tree farm weren’t you?  Well!  We’d be in luck then, so how about I go and take a few screen shots and then we’re both golden, ‘kay?


Tree Farmin’

Ugh, to top it off, I go to upload pictures and a bit later it looks like wordpress decided not to save anything after this point, so I’mma have to work on what I recall >.<  (I was all done too’s! Gah!)

I started out wanting to grow trees underground to force them to grow straight up, no limbs and stuffs to get in the way.  This was touchy at best, but lead to some *gnarly* looking trees as I think it messed with the coding a bit.  For awhile there I simply planted trees close to one another, waited for all of ’em to pop, then light their leaves on fire.

Minecraft Day 2: Fires Upclose and Distant

Glorious. Sexy-time. Fire.

But Notch went and got rid of ever-burning tree stumpz :(  So I lost my urge to go tree hunting for a while, but as we needed a great deal of coal recently, I found that ol’ itch re-surfacing, and of course, I needed a way to do it efficiently.

I went back to the underground idea, even testing it with the new alpine and birch saplings.  Neither did much, but, again, the original trees geeked right the heck out!  Massive in size and randomness.  But man can they hold a flame… /sinister giggle


The Birch and the Bees

At first I thought alpine trees would be best, but man-oh-man alive did I bet on the wrong horse!  Birch, baby!  That’s where the lumber is at!  If you are looking for a great source of lumber, go right on out there and find yourself a few birch saplings.  The birch tree is the mother of them, of course.  So just pry them from her wooden hands and get plantin’!  Kill off the poor girl if needed, *then* wrench them from her petrifying digits and plant ’em!  Got like ten of them now?   Excellent!  (What?  Tree hunting is serious bid’ness!  Did you SEE Wizard of Oz?  Vicious coniferous brutes!)

I planted them in a few different patterns, and each worked.  The one I like the best of them all is a “torch-sapling-torch-torch-sapling-torch” line.  That is you place a sapling, move three blocks to one side and plant another sapling.  Repeat.  Then go back and place torches down on both sides of every sapling.  Multiply rows as needed, but again, leave space.  Here’s what I’m talking about if that was too confusin’:

The white being Birch saplings, orange (more of a ‘acorn squash’, really.  But that’s getting technical…) are torches placed on the ground, and green is grass.  Silly.

The one on the far left is my favorite.  It has bad efficiency with torches, but produces the most lumber in the same amount of time.  If you want something more compact, feel free to try out the other two options I got up there.  Where they have good to great torch-efficiency, they lose out on actual trees.  The bigger one almost always can have all saplings pop into trees without your help, while the smaller grids need you to cut down a few first before others pop up in their place.  Here’s a shot of the two smaller ones in action:

Minecraft Online: Birch Tree Farm

Left side is super clustered grid, right side is the smaller but still compact grid.  See all the saplings?  This isn’t bad, mind you.  In fact if you wanna get lazy one day and just chop down what is there and leave you can do so as the others will get right on-a growin’ as soon as the air above them is clear.  That’s not to say the bigger grid is slow, not at all.  If every tree pops and you go about replanting them as you hack them down, you’ll commonly find yourself in a bit of a loop or whack-a-tree circuit as Birches grow crazy-fast.

Tip: Birches only grow straight up but sometimes just tall enough that you cannot reach the top.  How I got around this is to cut the eye-level log and up.  If the tree is ‘too’ tall, jump on the stump you left, chop down the final blocky segment, aim down and get rid of the stump, and plant a sapling!  That’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in action, folks!

Great way to bank a huge amount of coal, too.  (As logs turn into coal in the furnace.)  I’m sure I said that already, but just in case ya missed it:  Simply put a wooden log (log, mind you.  Not a plank.  A Log.  LOG, I says!) into a furnace and cook it.  It’ll turn into Charcoal which is the same as coal.  If you are tight on space and need coal in a pinch, turn one log into coal, and that one charcoal can turn another eight logs into more charcoal.  Setting the snow-ball effect of ashy-awesome a-growin’!

The obviously Portal-related pictures I originally was going to post will have to wait until next time.  I’m currently playing WoW with the Misses, so no guarantees if the pictures will be up tomorrow or next week.  But, as a sign of  thanks that you made it this far, here’s a shot of us leveling up in Western Plaguelands.

Back 2 WoW: Twins!

Ain't we just precious?

Minecraft Monday: Rain N’ Thunderstorm Tips N’ Tricks

Was going to start off with a bit of a News Update in terms of Minecraft via Notch’s tumblr, but nadda!  Hasn’t updated it in nearly a week! … Not like I can throw any stones from my glass house for that very reason or anything XD

I do have some random tips for you guys today, though!  Figured this out recently and thought you’d might like to know in case you did not already.


Rain is a trickster, through and through.  It hampers a lot in minor ways and really is darned mischievous!  For example, you are working off in the distance, maybe collecting wood or snow or flowers or wolves, something far away that is keeping you busy.  As you are well aware, nightfall is not the best time to be wondering, so you want to get back before then.  You glance up at the sky, and there is no sun to gauge when to head back.

No sun!  No pixely pad o’ butter in the sky to be found at all!  While this makes a watch more convenient, it makes everything else more inconvenient haha  This also can have some surprising consequences…

Say you are hiding underground because Mr. Watch told you it was the dead of night, so you are toiling away mining or organising, etc.  The clock shows it is just about daybreak so you head topside for a gander.  Tis rainin’!  Oh wells, no big deal!  At least the mobs stopped spawning and pretty soon they will start burning…

…anytime now…

Mobs do not burn during the day when it is raining >.<  Either due to the darker skies or being pelted with drops of water, the end result is that those buggers are there to stay.  And rain can last a long time in Minecraft, sometimes pausing for a day, then going right back on for another long stretch of time.


So rain not only blocks out the sun, making navigation and time-guesstimation difficult, but it also prevents mobs from dying off in the morning.  Thunderstorms up the ante a notch.  Thunderstorms are the same as rain, except lighting starts to go off and the skies get a lot darker.  While this might not seem too bad, as it gets far darker during the night, it seems that Mr. Notch added the ability for mobs to SPAWN within the clouded areas affected by said thunderstorm.

Well isn’t that just peachy?!  And those suckers can form with no warning at ALL.  You could be back in the example above, far stretch away from your base collecting stuffs when *poof*.  Thunderstorm.  Rain, lightning, and now twenty mobs dropping on you, apparently riding the massive droplets falling down from above.  And those zombies do not appear to be Vegan in the slightest.



I keed’, I keed’.  There are a few ways around rain, which I wish registered in my brain sooner than it did.  For starters, as soon as night falls jump in that bed of yours!  (Thunderstorms are dark enough to allow you to sleep no matter what time of day it is, by the way!) Not only will it clock over to day, but it will also wipe out any bit of weather you were having.  That’s one mighty creation of wooden planks an wool ya got thar’!

Minecraft: Shine to the Almighty Bed

Heed the scrallings from the wallings. The Bed speaks with wisdom beyond its years.

If you play more defensively, or build on your land more than you explore, sleeping through it will likely be your best option.  In fact, tighten up those defenses (just in case) and it should hardly affect you at all.  But for you adventurin’ types out there, ya need to plan ahead!  Bring a bed along with you, possibly a watch, and preferably at least one wolf at your side (I like three, myself). 

The bed allows you to sleep through the nasty, the watch will let you know how long you have to get back to base should the sun be blocked out, and the wolves will guard you.  Unless you let them fall off high surfaces.  Then they can’t.  ‘Cuz they’d be dead.  Undead wolves for the Halloween Update this year?  I got my fingers crossed!

Rain supposedly makes things grow a lot faster as well, but I can’t say I’ve noticed as my timing on growing things and rain hasn’t been in sync thus far.  It does put out fires and causes lava blocks to sizzle, but not turn to cobble.  Just sizzle a lot.  To the point Indiana Jones would probably start to freak out.

Some Minecraft here-say is that if lightning strikes a pig it turns into a pig man a la Nether mob, and if it strikes a Creeper its explosion will be much more massive than normal.  Does this mean a bigger TNT may be added in the future (as some mods have done already)?  Time will tell.

Enjoy the weather, me hearties!  Wonder if some leather and sticks could make an umbrella…


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