Constucting the Nether Portal Chamber

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I started improving my roadway system but it’s not much at the moment.

I have a three-wide cut and path through the small part of the Mesa leading southward.

I have a three-wide cut and path through the small part of the Mesa leading southward.

But the Nether Portal is complete.

I got some inspiration wandering through branch mines, and looking at how striking the white diorite veins were.   So I decided to make a Diorite Portal.

Step 1.  Construct the portal way underground.

Step 1. Construct the portal way underground.

Step 2.   Even out the area and square it off with polished diorite.

Step 2. Even out the area and square it off with polished diorite.

Step 3, was to make the entrance and walk in be impressive.

I filled in this area and the outside entrance to the mine(s).    And I put a little door into the one cavern.

I filled in this area and the outside entrance to the mine(s). And I put a little door into the one cavern.

Add a diorite pathway to the portal.    Filled in the cavern with sandstone for the effect of descending into the desert depths.

Add a diorite pathway to the portal. Filled in the cavern with sandstone for the effect of descending into the desert depths.

Sandstone gives way to "stone"

Sandstone gives way to “stone”

Pathway increased to double wide near the end

Pathway increased to double wide near the end

And the Chamber Of The Portal

And the Chamber Of The Portal

The portal leads to a medium sized cavern in the Nether, populated by a bunch of zombie pigmen and one ghast.    After several tries, I managed to bat one of his fireballs back to him and kill him, after he set a lot of fires and blasted a lot of netherack.     Thankfully, I didn’t hurt any zombie pigmen.

After building a cobblestone barrier around the portal, putting in a chest and a crafting table, I started making a pathway through the nether.

Rude little shelter.   It'll do.

Rude little shelter. It’ll do.

What I saw when first stepping out of the portal.

What I saw when first stepping out of the portal.

Now, to explore and find a nether fortress.

Nothing special, just gaming

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City Domination continues.     It’s still status quo as far as leaderboards; I think my strategy is simply going to be keep playing until others get bored.    The possible problem with that, is filling up my territory.  It’s no longer out of the realm of possibility that I’ll have the whole I-5 corridor covered with maxed out (200 man) squares.   Hopefully others are in the same boat and won’t have the ability to continue to expand.

The other factor is that rotten jerk Amahoser.     We’re both expanding across Burbank and the only question is how long until a war erupts.   So far, we’re just testing each other, but when Burbank is 100% blue and orange, I know I’ll be smacking him around if he doesn’t start stuff himself.

I’m also one rank higher – “Weapons Manufacturer” – and probably won’t get the next rank for at least two months.

Minecraft also continues.    I’ve emptied a third mineshaft and expanded the treasure room a little, as well as expanding my base at last.

Added a large additional area, everything between my bed and the grain.

Added a large additional area, everything between my bed and the grain.

Hollowing out in progress

Hollowing out in progress

The finished look

The finished look

With plenty of room I set up nine ovens, and chests to hold raws and lava buckets.     But it really needs an observation tower for good looks.

The Tyranny of Amidst

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As I pushed southward, I encountered a new abandoned mineshaft, which has taken most of the week to explore and loot.    After running low on food I headed back to the main base.

Red star = Mineshaft.   Map now covers five maximum size tiles.

Red star = Mineshaft. Map now covers five level 4 (maximum size) tiles.

The mineshaft has one cave spider spawner – I destroyed the second one I found – along with a zombie, skeleton, and a regular spider spawner.     No real excellent loot, probably the most valuable thing were 19 more precious gold blocks.     It will take quite a while to cart all that stuff back to the main base, but I’m not too interested in that for the majority of the items – why worry about adding to overflow storage ?

Rude little cave shelter

Rude little cave shelter

This base leads to the mineshaft and is a mere 10 blocks or so from the 500 longitude mark, where the road has been cut south to the limits shown on the map.     Still no jungle.

I am finding a surprising feature to not using Amidst – actually exploring and trying to find new biomes.    It’s a lot of fun.   Of course, the way I set the world using the options made each biome huge and less likely to show new ones, but that’s part of the fun.    As it is, each patch of birch forest I pass, I find myself looking over the horizon hoping for something new.    When I found the swamp it was quite a moment; at the southern map extreme is birch forest hills, which are different, in that I’ll need to tunnel through some hills.    At the moment, my biome list is

  • Birch Forest
  • Normal Forest
  • Mesa (of course)
  • Desert
  • Swamp
  • Plains
  • Extreme hills
  • Roofed Forest
  • River

No ocean found yet, which is a bit odd, with most of the other biomes not expected to be found.   But I sure ain’t going to quit looking.    I had no idea of the enjoyment I might get by not using Amidst.

Ideas for things to do include :

  • Nether Portal.   Along with a structure to hold it since mobs now come through.
  • Railroad along the road system.    The only question being if I have enough gold.
  • Expand the homebase.    I really have no idea what I’d like it to look like, is the main stumbling block at the moment.
  • Do something cool with the desert temple right along one branch of the road
  • Expand the map room and make really big ones.    The only problem with maps is, filling them out at high zoom levels takes a long time.    I have a single Level 3 map, and haven’t attempted to make any Level 2 or lower.

Instead of doing any of that, I’m back in the Mineshaft, still digging, still exploring.

 

Cartography and Interior Design

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I’ve gone ahead and started making my home base, more of a home than a hovel.    With enough stone bricks for walls, and neat looking granite floors, the place has changed a bit.

The outside wall now looks much more imposing.    No more dirt and ores.

The outside wall now looks much more imposing. No more dirt and ores.

I then spent several expeditions digging nothing but the three new ores.   They tend to all interesect, so if you’re digging just them, you can dig 99% of the three and leave the cobblestone mostly alone.     Almost one chest filled with each type.

Don’t like the look of andorite for anything yet.   Granite looks good for interior floors.   I like the andesite for a pathway; not sure if I want to go to all the effort of making one as my roadway, or if I’ll just use some cobblestone variant.

Then, I went to work inside.   All granite floors and stone bricks.

All granite floors.   This turned out well.

All granite floors. This turned out well.

Stone bricks and granite.  I left the walls that I probably will dig out later as normal stone.

Stone bricks and granite. I left the walls that I probably will dig out later as normal stone.

Exploration continues as well.    I have now completely mapped out map #3, populated by swamps, birch forests, and with some mountains in the center-ish north and south.

 

The updated map room

The updated map room

Obviously the next quadrant to explore is the one south of my home base.

The road is at last getting expanded, most of the way across map #2.

After digging through the mesa, the road reaches the Dark Forest.

After digging through the mesa, the road reaches the Dark Forest.

In true Minecraft fashion, I keep meaning to create a chamber and portal to the nether, but I get distracted by other ideas.      So I’m not making any predictions on what I end up doing next.

Jiggled Hardware Update

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I started doing some maintenance on the PC and realized that my lackadaisical approach to upgrades may have been a bad idea.    I now have a hot rod PC from back in 2007, over 7 years ago.     Oh, it’s gotten a hard drive upgrade and new video cards, but it’s showing its age at this point.     And I’m not the only one having hardware issues apparently.

I bought another 4 GB of memory and brought it up to 8 GB total (and it’s nice to have that – no more hard drive grinding as I game).     As soon as I put the sticks in, the PC failed to boot and wouldn’t even give a POST.     Jiggling cables as I put the thing back together, I managed to get it to boot.    This is not how I want my hardware – so fragile that moving cables around in the PC stops it.   Sounds like my motherboard is on its last legs.

And it sure doesn’t help that Speccy is telling me my hard drives are running hot.    Not only that – I touched them when installing the memory and found out yes, they are really hot.    Imagining them failing is not a pleasant idea, even though my backups are current.

With that, I’ve found out about PC Part Picker and I put together a proposed replacement PC.    The website is pretty neat – they aggregate the various stores price information and organize the info pretty well.    A 16 GB memory, SSD – enabled, with a traditional HDD, and a GTX 770 video card.

I am wondering what to do on the case front.    Every PC I’ve built over the years is in a plain beige/black case.     Is it time to go for something with a little more bling ?   The Antec 900 ATX midtower jumps out at me.   So does the Smilodon.    Let’s show it off a bit more than I’m used to, because the tablet generation doesn’t get why building PC’s is cool, but if it looks cool, with some blinking LED’s, that interests them.     Then again, everything I read from the serious guys says to buy different ones.   Your comments on this are appreciated.

At least, having jiggled the hardware back to working order, I don’t have to make this a panic buy.   Imagine having no gaming PC.    I know, those words should never be spoken.

The Special Mission Strategy

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City Domination has something called missions, where you start a timer in a particular square, and after it completes you get rewards, and points.    The timers are semi random which makes it very difficult to know if you will be able to reap the rewards, based upon where you are in meatspace.    And the rewards disappear 24 hours after they have been earned.

A typical special mission.

A typical special mission.

The special missions work in a sequence, from 1 – 5.    The level 5 mission takes a long time to complete, but gives an insane amount of rewards, thousands of dollars and 50 or so men.

I’ve figured out the best way to use the missions, and that is to set them up so you can collect as many of them as possible all at once.     The 5 freeway is covered with my squares, and I use each of them to start missions in.   Not that there’s anything special about my squares, but even crawling along at 15 mph I want to distract myself as little as possible with the phone.    Once I can collect a bunch of level 5 missions I dump men all over wherever I am, and the points roll in.

The gang has made it to #14 on the national charts based on the strength of mergers my recruiting chief has negotiated.    Top ten could be very close.   After that, I don’t know how our group will do, but the game continues to be enough fun that I blew another $5 on it and can now hold $14,000 at a time.

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.

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