Saturday, April 23, 2011

you'd let me know when the time was now

More from Minecraft.

(from the Minecrafting album)

This was the only image I was able to grab of Hank's world before it--and I--crashed. I had somehow failed to realize Hank had staggered his stone blocks with chests--I simply thought they were wood the first time through. But more than that, to get his world to that stage, Hank had done a lot of excavating and digging--in the Nether and out.

Somehow, Fawkes got hold of a stack of TNT. (A stack contains 64 pieces.) I can't recall now if Hank gave it to him when asked, or if he opened a chest and took it. However it happened, Fawkes snuck in ahead of us as we were returning to the main base structure, and lined the floor with blocks of TNT. When we got in, Fawkes touched one, and--BOOM.

However. What happened was not devastation and that curiously male sense of "I killed us both, I win, ha ha!" What actually happened was half the chests in that room were destroyed. And each of those chests was packed with resources.

Flint. Coal. Cobblestone. Netherrock. Arrows. Furniture. Gravel. Dirt. Feathers. Wood--both saplings, and trunk sections, as well as plank cubes and sticks. I think there were a few chests containing nothing but glass stacks. (Most of that didn't survive.) There were torches blown off by the explosion, and stacks of torches that rotated, freed from chests. Paintings were blown off the walls. Railroad sections simply disappeared.

Suddenly, we could not move. This was Second Life lag on Minecraft--the sudden appearance of all those rotating animated cubes--because each cube or flat textured square, when rezzed out, floats and spins slowly--meant the server staggered to a halt.

I crashed soon after. Hank shortly followed, though somewhere on my system there's an image of the three of us practically wading through resources before the End of All Things. And, since we were all on voice at the time, I think Hank and I nearly echoed each other when we said "Fawkes, you BASTARD!"

(from the Minecrafting album)

Fire is actually pretty impressive in Minecraft. For one, it can be started deliberately--by firestarter--or by accident--say, when lava breaches the surface (as in this case). I didn't take a picture of the start point, but I did snap several pics in between, and this one gives a good idea of just how vast this fire went. And it's not just blaze and die--in a courtyard, say, where there are only a few trees planted in precise locations, it can burn out fairly quickly. But in a random forest, especially one with saplings that could sprout any minute into new trees--it can be very deadly.

Fire (of any kind except sunlight-sparked undead burns), and now lightning (with the new weather system) can start trees burning. The leaves go first, and, if there are any leaves that touch the burning leaves, that tree will subsequently go up too. Then the actual wood burns, and wood burns slowly in the wild. So at any time, plant a new sapling in a less-than-distant place, that new tree goes up, and the whole cycle can start again.

Worse, while monsters can walk in and occasionally burn, so can animals. Cows and pigs especially just sound piteously sad when burning to death.

(from the Minecrafting album)

On another world, I dug down to where I started hitting patches of lava, and decided I would keep them as a 'feature'. Unfort, this required both a lot of glass--for some reason, lava can melt just about anything else, including players, but can't go through glass--and some creative digging and patching. Once or twice it got away from me, and I ended up with staggered lava and glass 'spills' that cascaded down narrow corridors.

This one came out pretty well, though. And watching lava glow is dangerously beautiful. (Plus, it provides an additional light source.)

(from the Minecrafting album)

This was a fire started purely for photographic purposes, but I made sure that no other trees were present. This actually became a really good example: the leaf cubes burn first, and hottest; then part of the wood will be consumed by the higher-heat flames; then the rest of the burn remains, and falls into a "normal" burn state, where it can take several ten-minute day/night cycles to finally burn out.

(from the Minecrafting album)

From the same world that featured my staggered 'art lava' walls, I discovered entirely by accident a patch of obsidian. It took me longer to find diamonds for a pickaxe to chip it out than it had to find the obsidian! But after a few weeks, I had one diamond pickaxe, and was able to laboriously mine out chunks of obsidian.

Obsidian is the second-hardest substance in the game, and it can only be mined with diamond tools. (The hardest is bedrock, or adminium--adminium blocks simply cannot be mined, because they represent the lowest level possible on that map.) But one of the features of obsidian is that it, when arrayed in the correct pattern, will open a portal to the hellish Nether realm.

I was very excited, this was the first ever world I'd been able to erect a portal to the Nether on.

(from the Minecrafting album)
My first trip to the Nether was...unnerving. Oh, I'd watched videos, I knew what to expect, and believe me, baby-voiced floating tentacle monsters that shoot fireballs? No picnic.

But it's more than that. For one thing, the Nether is dark. I mean, scary summoning-mobs dark. I actually lightened this image just so details could be more clearly made out.

But hey! Look at all the mushrooms!

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