Don’t waste the lava !

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The mine has moved on from being an entrance to the abandoned mineshaft, to a lava storage facility as well as traditional mine.     I continue to suck up the lava near the entrance to the mine.

It's slowly disappearing.    The left was all lava at one point.

It’s slowly disappearing. The left was all lava at one point.

All this is available as well.

All this is available as well.

The first southern branch line goes on for what feels like forever, before opening up to a ravine filled at the bottom with lava.

Still exploring this place as well.

Still exploring this place as well.

But since I want to keep the line going, I’m going to drain the lava along the path of the branch mine, and be ready to keep digging.    What this means, though, is draining the lava.   I hate to waste it by just plunking down cobblestone onto it.    I am not sure why I feel the need not to waste lava, but screw it, it’s a game and I’m enjoying doing this.

The latest list of overflow items (More than a double chest worth) includes the critical component iron.    Plans are now to do more exploring and fill out the map rooms a bit better, along with finding other biomes like Jungle.   With more iron than I know what to do with, I can make lots of compasses (for maps) and shears (collecting various planets and wool).

Exploring could have started a bit better -

Um - The dot ?????

Um – The dot ?????

My Steve is at the end of that finger of “mapped land” and yet the little dot that’s supposed to show me, where I am on the map, isn’t following me.    Thankfully, this little glitch was solved by exiting and restarting.

Geolocated Gaming That Rocks

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City Domination continues to be a big mobile addiction.

I went ahead and merged with another group, now finding myself the chief of Dark Burbank Nation.    This brought me two active players as deputies, maybe 5 who play occasionally, and also seems to have stopped the constant “Hey join my gang” nonsense I was getting before.     I’ve also completed a large goal – I have an unbroken line of territory between Burbank and Santa Clarita, about 20 miles or so.

The game has settled in to a familiar rhythm.    During the morning commute, I populate squares and conquer the freeway system.    During the workday, I head off for breaks and take over nearby squares and manage my resources.     And I fill in anything I can with men at night.      You can create special squares called HQ’s (if you have many, why are they called HQ’s ???) and these hold 2000 instead of 200 men.    Filling these up, with their 10x income bonus, leads the gang to having a lot of points.

Downtown Burbank, still filling it out.

Downtown Burbank, still filling it out.

The dearth of other players means I can simply list those who are near me.    Amahoser is a real pain in the ass, and doesn’t communicate, and he’s right near me in Burbank.     Guaranteed fighting with him to come, but for now I just want bot squares or undefended ones.     After defeating his attacks he’s left me alone for about a week.

Don Corndog, now one of my deputies, is in Santa Clarita and we see each other pass on the game screen while driving.    It’s kind of hilarious actually – I see another dot on a phone and say “Hey!    There’s Don! ”      John Dillinger, I suspect a high schooler, is a new player in Canyon Country whom I hope to recruit.     And that’s it, as far as contact in the wide open and empty gameworld.

Amahoser in blue.    My row of squares cuts him in half, but I can't conquer his central territories.    The ones on the west are another story however....

Amahoser in blue. My row of squares cuts him in half, but I can’t conquer his central territories. The ones on the west are another story however….

So the question is how long this will stay interesting, and if others will quit.    While my point totals continue to climb, the gang has a large number of leaderboard accolades.

  • #2 gang in LA County, behind Harvesters of Sorrow.
  • #1 gang several places – City of Los Angeles.    Ventura County.   San Mateo County, on the strength of my visiting my in-laws.
  • #19 Nationally.

Having completed the freeway conquest, my next hope is to fill out Burbank.    To do that, I’ll have to drive across town as I find myself “full” with maximum men and money, and put everything into different squares.     I also do the same in Santa Clarita or anywhere we’re driving, much to my wife’s annoyance.     One thing’s for sure – if you can only play while you’re moving, I stay off the phone at home, and that’s probably a good thing.

The game deserves money, given the entertainment I get.     I blew $5 and got the first level upgrades for “Circle of action”, which controls how far away from your current position in Meatspace you can act.      And also upgraded men & money to 12,000 and 120.     Next upgrades are pricier, but I might cut loose with more money at month end.

If you haven’t tried this – you should.    Have Doc Burbank be your mentor for a bonus, and join the Dark Burbank Nation for a big income boost.     Android Play Store link.   Also available on Apple IOS.

Yes, it’s still Minecraft

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It seems pretty clear what drives me the most with Minecraft.

  • Building wealth by collecting items
  • Exploring
  • Building Roads and connecting everything
  • Building structures

So for the past two weeks, I’ve focused on collecting items and doing some exploring.

Twin ovens, cooking or smelting Iron

Twin ovens, cooking or smelting Iron

I have the beginnings of map walls started, along with a path to the origin 0,0.    I’ve been trying to fill out maps, but this time I’m doing it on a multiple zoom level basis.    I have a wall with two level 4, and one level 3, maps mounted on them.     Realizing that each map means 4 iron ingots, I found myself again searching for iron, solely to end up with overflow iron.     (In my worlds, overflow = more then a double chest full).    So far, I’ve overflowed only

  • Sand (Unsurprising considering I removed a sand mountain for aesthetic reasons)
  • Cobblestone (Happens every time, but this time it’s not the first item)
  • Seeds (Guaranteed if you are a serious wheat farmer)

Mapping out the immediate area, Zoom 3

Mapping out the immediate area, Zoom 4

I read with interest the fact that Minecraft (oh, and also Mojang) has been purchased by Microsoft.    My immediate reaction is probably best captured by the cartoon comparing the many Windows versions with Minecraft :

Ultimate, Home Premium, Professional, or ????

Ultimate, Home Premium, Professional, or ????

I do have to admit I found the following trenchant and scary as well : ……

Yay !   I won Minecraft (?) by Microsoft

Yay ! I won Minecraft (?) by Microsoft

I will refrain from speculating further until additional info comes out.    Microsoft buying the game is probably a bad thing, but you certainly never know for sure.

 

 

The Beginning of Roadways

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Somehow my last post got eaten.    Oh well.      Directly underneath the main base, I dug down towards bedrock and hit an abandoned mineshaft.

I love clearing these things out.

I love clearing these things out.

With the new update offering three additional veins of rock, the mineshafts are much more interesting.   I mined out several pockets just to get some granite, diorite, and andesite.     And I managed to get over 100 diamonds out of the whole thing before the mineshaft finally petered out – this partially thanks to a fortune III mining pick.

Clearly with the amount of diamonds I’ve gotten, and the limited amout of gold, you should give serious consideration to the tweaks you might make to ore generation.   Gold does not qualify for the fortune treatment, and this plus its appearance as often as diamond is making it more rare.    This might be a problem in the future, but for now I won’t worry about it.

After clearing out the diamonds, I started heading back towards (0,0).     Pathway built part of the way through the mesa, and I started to run out of food in my inventory.   So now, the current task goes back to building up food supplies.    I’ve trapped my sheep, and I’ve filled up the cow pen to ridiculous levels.     Still need pigs and rabbits I suppose.

Closing in on the origin

Closing in on the origin

And with the new enchanting system I was able to enchant a dizzying amount of diamond and iron tools.

All enchanted.    Two awesome picks, a shovel and an axe even, plus armor.

All enchanted. Two awesome picks, a shovel and an axe even, plus armor.

Establishing Farming

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Farming is starting to get established in Double Ramen.

Wheat Farm.   The door is the chicken coop.

Wheat Farm. The door is the chicken coop.

As you can see, I’ve been farming while starving, which only makes sense.    If I die, I get a full bar once again anyway, and I don’t own anything that I’m worried about losing.   This preserves precious wheat, seeds, etc, while I expand the farming footprint.   I end up dieing twice.

Eventually got enough wheat together to make bread and let me explore more normally.     I then trapped some chickens in the nascent coop.   One problem – I think I put it too close to my planned base, I can’t really expand it without having the dreaded problem of listening to animals make noise inside of my base.   So I’ll probably move the chickens.

Cow Pasture underground

Cow Pasture underground

Planning to make this one pretty big.    I don’t really want the cows getting out through fence glitches, and they give both leather and beef.    On top of this I can always make crop fields as well.

Where I’ll put the sheep is another question I haven’t answered, and I don’t have carrots yet to trap pigs.   Really, not sure I need either of them anyway, these three food sources are probably all that’s necessary.

The new Iron settings are  doing what they are supposed to do.

The new Iron settings are doing what they are supposed to do.

I already have a 64 stack of Iron, so no longer should I feel killed by the idea of making railroads.   Yay !

Sugar Cane is growing well.

Sugar Cane is growing well.

And that, along with lots of cows, leads to item frames and a treasure room.

And that, along with lots of cows, leads to item frames and a treasure room.

Starting Out 1.8

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I couldn’t wait any longer.    I decided to create a 1.8 world and not wait for the final version.    So here’s what I ended up with.

Double Ramen is a seed that spawns you in the middle of a mesa.

Spawned here.

Spawned here.

After careful consideration, I doubled the spawn tries for diamonds from one to two.    Still very rare (I think) but less need to be grindy about it.     Changed iron to much more common, by creating 20 blocks, and max height to 255.

Immediately ran 1200 blocks in search of sheep, and a better place for shelter.   I had scouted this seed thoroughly and I knew a birch forest would be somewhere to the south.    Just how far depends on the size of the biomes you select, with each +1 seeming to increase the size by double.

There it is.

There it is.

Just barely managed to get both before deep dark of the night.    Made a bed, a door, and a hole, and slept well.

Nice looking area to make a base out of

Nice looking area to make a base out of

Scouted this while waiting for some wheat to grow.    Planning to cut into the mountain and dunes deeply, and clear the area for monster protection.   And behind the screenshot, do some farming.

Mobile Gaming update, August 2014

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,

War Worlds is coming to an end.

War Worlds is coming to an end.

War Worlds is coming to an end.

Or is it ?    After hue and cry from the community, the fate of the game is now up in the air.   At post time, the game is still working to a certain degree.

I’m done.   I can hardly believe I put up with the bugs and slowness as long as I did.    I would certainly love another space game of this type, but this particular one is not optimized well enough to handle large empires.   The answer to the question “What if MoO never ended ?” is “The game would choke under its own programming”.

I would like to be around to see “the end”, if it’s going to happen.   If someone gets the code and optimizes it that would be even better, since the game just locks up pretty quick when I try to play.

City Domination, on the other hand, is a mobile addiction.   The game performs snappy as hell, unlike War Worlds.

Some of my conquests

Some of my conquests.   Green has been “Rallyed”, white belongs to me.   Red is available to be rallied.

Doc Burbank’s Crew is solidly #2 in LA County, with a large presence in both Burbank where I work, and Santa Clarita where I live.    The I-5 is a major freeway which runs between the two, and is 3/4 my gang’s territory.

It’s good that the gameplay is fun, as far as it goes – there are few players to interact with.    Most interaction consists of the big nationwide gangs sending out various blind invites and begging you to join their gang.    They do this because your areas do not belong to you, they belong to the gang.

When you start, you are your own little gang and you take over a few territories.    Then you get an invite to join a gang.   Bam, all your territory is transferred to the other gang.   Given the large number of squares I control, they’ve all asked me to join them and I don’t see the need.    Nobody is threatening me.   It would be hard to do so.    And I’d rather see my own accomplishments.

The players near me include :

  • Don Corndog, the newer guy who is probably the 2nd guy playing in Santa Clarita, and who also has presence in Lancaster.
  • Amahoser, who is probably 8 years old and attends an elementary school in Burbank.   Does not respond to messages which annoys me for no good reason.
  • Pezzonovante, the leader of LA’s #1 gang and based in Pasadena.    Chill guy who I like, but not enough to join his gang, Harvesters of Sorrow.
  • Monolicious, a newer player in Burbank and part of HoS.    He popped up right in the area I wanted to expand into.    Well, I can go around him.
  • El Sureno, expanding across North Hollywood and only able to respond to messages with grunts.

After going to war with Amahoser, I was soundly thrashed.   I had hoped to keep the entire I-5 to myself and just muscle this guy to death, but he’s defending his area with strength.     I gave up and am just working around him, and hoping his absence today means he’s uninstalled the game.    You can’t defeat someone who turtles up near his home, he’ll have too many opportunities to attack you, and ride the limits established to victory.

There are clearly many other “gangs” in these areas, but these are all bots – automated setups to give a little spice to the game.   Defend your areas well enough and you are safe from them.

Points in the game correspond to income.   Income is capped at a ridiculous 3000/hr for some reason, leaving your points only useful as a way to climb leaderboards – which I love, of course.    And points in the long term correspond to men in defense in your areas.    You get a lot more based on the amount of conflict that has happened for a certain square, but it decays at 7.5% per day.    This means the long term strategy is to populate your squares with as many men as possible for both defense and points.

So I continue to work on a solid line of squares between Santa Clarita and Burbank on the I-5, and adding 200 men to each square.    This should take perhaps 3 months at the current rate.   The line I’ve established is pretty broken up, but you have to defend each square in strength or the bots will take it back from you.   I’ve bought the upgrades to 120 men and 12,000 in the bank, and if I continue to enjoy the game I might blow some more money on it.

Statistics today.   #2 gang in LA County.    #87 gang in the USA.    #61 player in the USA.   So I’m doing well in every category, and this reinforces just how empty the game is and how likely you are to dominate if you just keep playing.   Keep playing is my strength.

Waiting on Bountiful

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And we now have a release date for 1.8 – September 2nd.    Many changes coming and I’m looking forward to them.   In the meantime, World 117 continues to be improved.

Towers are now mostly complete.

Definitely look impressive.

Definitely looks impressive.

The idea was to build them into the mountains, so I have a castle in the valley end of a mountain, and I’ve succeeded in that.   Each has a stairway, accessed from the inside of the lower castle, that leads all the way up to the top; although, I need to put in actual stairs at some point.   The center of both towers is mostly empty space, which would certainly hide a lot of monsters, and that wouldn’t be good.   I’ve managed to seal both off with doors in various spots along the stairs, and will fill in the empty space with cobble or something as time and interest permits.

Map is coming along

Map is coming along

The bottom map is the area around my base, with the following three going north.   That’s the 7000 block north, and just northeast of that is the closest Ice Spikes biome, which I’ve now added to the collection.

There it is !

There it is !

It sure is visually impressive, but there doesn’t seem to be any interesting blocks in there.   Just ice.   lots of ice.    And since ice melts, unlike snow blocks, it’s hard to be interested in harvesting any.

Much of the week has been spent mining diamonds and collecting a large number of them.    With two full stacks of diamonds, I’m doing very well.     I now have a pick with unbreaking and fortune on it – Iron, but oh well – as well as a silk touch pick.    I can easily enchant more diamond tools however.

It seems that putting spells at Level 30 onto books is for chumps.   I’ve got perhaps 20 books enchanted, and I got a single unbreaking out of all of that.   Many of the enchantments were not wanted.    But I put enchantments directly onto tools and get what I want immediately.    As tough as it is to get diamonds, it’s harder to successfully enchant tools with books, so I think I’m done with that avenue of the game.

Never seen that before.

Never seen that before.   Grass growing near bedrock.

Currently digging out an abandoned mineshaft in the middle of an extensive cave system with tons of good resources.

All the comforts of home.

All the comforts of home.

Digging up diamonds and iron is the first priority; getting stacks of wood products and fences is a nice second one.

Finding the mineshafts

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Thanks to the great tool available on chunkbase.com, I managed to find an abandoned mineshaft.   It’s right near my desert temple, and near my base.

Dug a stairway down to the promised spot

Dug a stairway down to the promised spot, then installed stairs.

2014-08-13_21.13.24

Sure enough, this is a Mineshaft entrance. Right on top of a cave spider spawner.

Once I realized there was a spawner there, I excavated more and more of a pit for sunlight to reach into.    Daytime level sunlight stops cave spider spawners.    When it was not functioning, it wasn’t hard to build in the last steps and neutralize it with torches.     This did cost me three deaths and involved losing everything being carried – none of which was super valuable, at least.

Compared to getting in, adventuring in the mineshaft has been easy.    A creeper got next to me and blasted me – but Diamond Chestplate with Blast Protection IV makes that no big deal.     Past that, all I’ve needed to do is block paths off and excavate all the resources.

After thoroughly looting one, and planning to find more and dig through them, I planted the melon seeds (yay!) I had dug up and began work on making my base more of a castle.

I want to make some towers next to the face of the building/cave, which shouldn’t be too hard given the mountains it is tucked into.    So first step was simply to build up the area around the base, and make it taller.

Temporarily removed crennelation, increased the height.

Temporarily removed crennelation, increased the height.

Now to fill it in with cobblestone behind that, which is a bigger task than you might think -

standing atop the facing brick wall

standing atop the facing brick wall

Thoughts on Minecraft World Generation

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Minecraft is now taking all of my gaming time again.    The new features have me excited, and the building out of a world always was a lot of fun.     Turning on the monsters was not nearly as worrisome as I thought it might be, it’s just making the whole thing a lot of fun.

I’ve done a lot with my world 117.

A very nice treasure room.

A very nice treasure room.

Now I have a good idea how to build this.    I don’t find the idea of a sorting system to be useful as I understand hoppers functions, and limitations.   But this is an awesome setup that should do well for me for some time.

Even Overflow storage gets the trapped chest treatment.

Even Overflow storage gets the trapped chest treatment.

Probably the optimal system includes putting the treasure room where appropriate, with a ladder down into the overflow storage underneath.

I also found out just how useful, and cool, the maps are when contained in item frames.

Only two tiles, but I could easily build this out to be 15 tiles long.

Only two tiles, but I could easily build this out to be 15 tiles long.

At one time I thought the maps had to be held in hand, and were limited to 128 blocks wide.    It appears i was wrong on both of those counts.    A map centers on the square it was first right clicked on, so for me it’s a matter of going to 0,0 and opening it.     That will take care of the area from -1024 to 1024.     Head to, say, 2048,0 and open the second map.   And so on and so on and build a gigantic map in game.

And the question also is, what on earth am I doing spending so much time building roads ?   With these babies in hand, you can eventually map out the entire area you visit.    The coordinate system is enough to keep you from getting lost on the surface, which is enough to make the roads obsolete.   At least from a utilitarian perspective.

Then there’s the fact that 1.8 is coming (soon ?    We can only speculate) and contains a killer feature.

You can tweak all the world-building parameters.

You can tweak all the world-building parameters.

The big weakness with Minecraft as I play it, is the limited amount of iron.   At some point it becomes more valuable than diamonds.   Iron is needed for so many different things, and Vanilla doesn’t have enough to build cool things in survival like minecart train stations.    I suppose with enough determination you just keep mining and you’re good, but I got bored trying that and thus quit playing my iron-dependent Biomass world.    It sure doesn’t help that iron is limited in the “altitude” at which it will spawn.    But not in a customized world.

The settings you can tweak for Iron.

The settings you can tweak for Iron.

Setting the height (for example) to 256 would interesting – it would spawn no matter how high the land was, making mining those extreme hills near 256 interesting.     Increasing the spawn size (double it ?) would also go quite a way to making it less valuable by being more present in the world, and thus enabling a lot more iron constructions.

So it seems diamonds are so rare because their "Spawn tries" are set only to 1.    Might be fun to tweak this too, but not dramatically.

So it seems diamonds are so rare because their “Spawn tries” are set only to 1. Might be fun to tweak this too, but not dramatically.

You won’t be able to pick a world type with customized, because you’re controlling it.     That function is now taken by presets, which will allow you to share and name the variations of the four pages of parameters which you can tweak to build a world with.

The Devs included four presets.

The Devs included four presets.

“Mountain Madness” is probably like Amplified.    The default settings, I expect, are for the default world.    Large biomes is likely simply the Biome Size setting.

So I’m thinking of playing around and trying to pick one of each of those three world types, and be ready to start it when 1.8 is available.

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