Archive for April, 2013

Gaming

Twitterlettes removed

TwitterIf you happen to be a regular visitor of my site (you’re not, I know – just humour me, okay?) then you’ll probably have noticed that the swarm of white bars containing 140 chars or less of drivel have disappeared from the main section. Yep, all that is left is the regular posts – I’ve gotten rid of the special posts created from my Skoardy Twitter feed.

They were somewhat of an experiment and I guess it failed. I figured that since I don’t write that many posts, I could bolster the content of the site by adding in my tweets. 140 characters is a lot easier to generate than whole articles rambling aimlessly on about some topic or other, right? Well, yeah, and that was the problem. The site soon filled up with tweets and despite extending the article count for the page, it wasn’t long before there was very little ‘real’ (in my loose definition) content and any there was soon got pushed off the front page by the white bars.

Worst still, as a side-effect, instead of increasing the content on the site, I actually stopped tweeting. I didn’t want to make the situation worse on Skoardy.com so I’d restrict myself. That’s not what Twitter is about. You should be free to spew any random gibberish into the aether, all day long. If you can’t bang on about pointless matters and what you had for lunch, what good is Twitter for?

So I removed the special tweet posts and added my tweets as a sidebar widget (they’re hiding at the bottom, currently). I’m considering revamping the site to make the widget a touch more prominent but that’s probably a little way off. They’re good where they are for now. I also need to train myself to make more posts, even if they’re not ‘events’ full of screenshots, videos and post banners. It’s just a blog – a post can just be something simple… like this one, for instance.

Gaming

Video vault

Back when I took a break from playing Minecraft, I also took a break from making YouTube videos (man, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 have a lot to answer for!). Each time I created a video for my YouTube channel, I’d follow it up with a post here but when I stopped, I still had a few videos that I hadn’t shown. So, in a hopeful prelude to starting up again, here are the three videos than never got posted.

The first video comes from my Let’s Play Badly series on Just Cause 2. If you remember (long-time imaginary visitor), I play Rico Rodriguez, Agency operative, under cover as a mercenary for hire doing odd jobs (the type that requires mayhem, killing, explosions and more killing rather than fixing the guttering or mowing the lawn) for various criminal gangs.

This mission for Bolo Santosi has you infiltrating a military supply depot. It’s another one of those escort missions where you need to watch the back of a tech-head as you lead him to the centre of a base. Unfortunately, I should have watched out for rocket launchers instead.

The next two videos come from my Let’s Play Badly Minecraft series. This series details my adventures in a single player Minecraft survival map, adopting a cave and turning it into a fort. The earlier videos show the transformation of the exterior of the mountain hill I laid claim to but these two are focussed on the interior.

In the first of the two, I decide to finally sort out a proper storage solution instead of simply adding an increasing number of chests to the main room of the base.

The second Minecraft video shows me transforming a previously unused section of the base from a grotty tower interior into a glorious (but still relatively grotty) tower interior containing an Enchantment Table. Mucho wasting 30 levels of exp on useless enchantments abound!

And there you go. I really do hope that I can start producing videos again. I enjoy putting them together even if I don’t manage to elicit any likes/follows/etc. (though I did manage to piss off some numpty on a forum who convinced a couple of his numpty friends to go through my videos randomly ‘disliking’ most of my vids – yay?).

More Let’s Play Badly videos from Just Cause 2 and Minecraft should be on the cards and like I mentioned before, I want to do a walkaround of my Minecraft builds from the new multi-player server I’m on. LPBs of Borderlands might be a little odd after playing so much Borderlands 2 but I wouldn’t rule it out. I was even considering doing a series based on my Steam Stack of Shame, checking out games that I own but I’ve simply never got round to playing before. We shall see!

Gaming

Buying the farm

Or more to the point, building it. As seen in this post, I recently started a new home base on a new multi-player Minecraft server. My first extension to that build was to add a farm. It’s handy having crops available if you need them and I’m all in favour of builds that serve a purpose rather than massive shells you feel obliged to fill with fake chairs and tables.

As with the other post, click on the thumbnails for a look at larger images.

Minecraft Farm 1I tried to make the style of the building match the materials and construction of my main home, without making it just look like it was the house, recreated, with some crops in it. This is side entrance, that connects to an incredibly tiny patch of land a little out to sea. There’s basically two levels to the farm – the inside is completely contained but the roof is open to the elements and as you can see, leads to two improbably suspended platforms. The farm is stood on thick log legs but those ‘ears’ would have looked a bit odd with any kind of support reaching into the water so they’re happily hovering, defying gravity with all their might.

Minecraft Farm 1The front door to the farm is just next to the main house and as you can see, stairs lead straight up to the roof. The downstairs interior is pretty much wall-to-wall sugar cane with a small walkway around the whole thing just to stop me feeling claustrophobic. Yeah, that’s what the vast wall filling windows are for as well. It’s okay when the sugar cane is one block tall but when it reaches the ceiling as shown, it’s like the setting of a slasher flick. Yeah, Children of the Cane or something.

As with the roof, water is set into the floor and covered by slabs so you don’t end up falling in or wading through it all the time. Since you’re not likely to spend much time down there, you can see the drips if you go under the building from the sugar cane farm but I made the ceiling inside a little thicker just to stop the drips from the roof crops.

So I’m pretty much sorted for sugar cane, sugar and paper. There’s some chests around the corner, behind the wall for all the surplus crops. You can clear a couple of stacks from harvesting and it doesn’t take too long to grow.

Minecraft Farm 3The roof farm is split into two sections. The left side of the farm I decided to play wheat and on the left ‘ear’ platform, I’ve a mini-farm growing pumpkins. Those near-endless, near-fatal (okay, okay, often fatal) battles with cave spiders paid off with the occasional handful of pumpkin seeds and with pretty much every crop in the game, once you’ve a pumpkin planted, you soon have more seeds than you know what to do with.

Not a lot you can do with pumpkins, apart from stick them on your head and make jack-o-lanterns but Minecraft is nothing if not an evolving game. Today’s nearly useless crop could be tomorrows much-in-demand ingredient.

Minecraft Farm 4The right side of the roof farm is further split into two. These four rows I’ve dedicated to the new crops that have been added since the last time I played Minecraft – carrots and potatoes. Bizarrely, you get these from beating down zombies. For all their attempts to hug me, teeth first, I never took zombies for vegetarians. Well, you live and learn.

The right ‘ear’ platform contains a mini-farm dedicated to melons. It’s pretty much the identical twin of the other platform in layout and again, once you’ve got your first melon, you’re set for life. Unlike pumpkins, if you want a whole melon, you’ve got to Frankenstein its ass back together from nine melon slices.


So the base is expanding nicely. I’ve already got a couple of other little extensions sorted and more planned. Expect some more screenshots to come and maybe once it’s looking a little more ‘together’, a video tour.

Rant

Who to follow?

TwitterIt’s magic, I swear! I don’t know how Twitter manages to do it. On the sidebar every time I visit the site is a little list of people who Twitter apparently believe are perfectly suited to my tastes and would make great additions to my feed. And each time I look at this list, I’m stunned at Twitter’s incredible matching abilities.

I mean, how the hell do they manage to concoct a list of idiots so skilfully that they only fill it with people I’d happily pay to see fall down a flight of stairs?!

Simon Cowell – do I give a flying fig about his take on the talentless plebs his shows churn out? No. Would I stop, turn and giggle if I saw him bounce off the hood of a taxi while he was crossing the street? Yes! Likewise, while I’d certainly attend a gathering where Peter Andre, Wayne Rooney and Jimmy Carr were encased in comedy sized piñatas and placed before gullible stick-wielding children eager for candy, I actually care very little for their self-interested ponderings.

So how do Twitter come up with this perfect storm of people I have zero interest in? Why are they so convinced that this seemingly endless queue of sub-celebs are suitable for me? I click ‘refresh’ and they swap in a new selection of clowns, just as depressing as the last.

It honestly makes me long to see the other end of their list. The end that contains the people Twitter are adamant would be totally incompatible for me. Logic dictates they must be glorious – able to fit such solid chunks of humour, wit and topical commentary into only 140 characters that each tweet would blow my mind! Those are the people I want to follow.

Gaming

Don’t try to faucet!

Ever looked at your current Minecraft home and thought – “That mud hut just isn’t tap-shaped enough and dammit, there’s simply not enough water pouring from the frankly non-existent spout it clearly would look better having!”. Oh man, then I have the solution for you (and your weirdly specific issues)!

Minecraft New TapIf you’ve perused this site in the past, you might have stumbled across a couple of posts related to a giant tap structure I created in Minecraft. Well, that build was one of the casualties of the recent move but since I was rather fond of it, I recreated it in my single player creative world (the place I do all my testing). This meant I was able to export the Tap as a schematic and upload it to MCSchematics.com available for others to download. Do you see where I’m going with this? Huh? Eh?! Oh, just click on the thumbnail for a closer look!

Okay, so see this post describing a giant tap and this other post containing a quick video clip showing a wander around said giant tap? Well, now you can download a schematic of a very similar object and dump it in your Minecraft map. Neat huh? I say similar because I made a couple of slight adjustments to the model. As you can see in the screenshot above, in the new version, I replaced the white wool of the handle with the shiny new Quartz blocks material and (as you can’t see in the screenshot above – just use your imagination!) in the living area, I added one of those new anvils.

If you’re interested in grabbing this building, you can hop over to MCSchematics.com and download it from its webpage right here.

Gaming

Home Sweet (New) Home

As mentioned in my previous post, this is the second part of a post about my new outing in Minecraft. The first part is background, this is just a look at my newest build on the new multi-player server. All the images are thumbnails so click on them if you want to see the larger screenshots.

Minecraft New Home 1So this is my new base of operations I built on the fledgling server. It’s quite small as I wanted it to be more ‘functional’ than showy – there’s no fake furniture filling up the corners here. I didn’t want to be tripping over staircases pretending to be chairs or whatnot.

I’ve plans to create a bit of a sprawl in this area, starting with this hub and expanding over the Jungle biome behind the build. As you can see in this first image, I’ve already started to build a pointless tower on top of the roof. No idea what it’s for yet, where it’ll lead or how high it’s going. It just needs to be there.

Minecraft New Home 2The whole build is raised from the ground slightly since it’s not a multi-storey monstrosity. I figured it’d probably look a little ‘short’ flush to the ground. Plus with it sat on the edge of the water, the walkway that skirts the edge of the build looks a little more interesting raised up.

As with the fort in my Let’s Play Badly series on Minecraft, I’ve adopted the castle parapet style but switched it up slightly by adding it to a wooden structure. My hope was that it would look a touch more inviting than a building made entirely of stone blocks.

Minecraft New Home 3As mentioned before, the interior is quite functional. Okay, there’s a few potted faux bushes in the corners just off-screen to break up the walls a little but there’s no four-poster wool-block bed or table made of pressure plates and fence pieces.

There’s stairs going up to the roof and stairs going down to the basement. I’ve a vault in the far corner (where I’ll be keeping my loot, naturally) and a room containing an enchantment table. While my main storage is downstairs, I’ve some chests next to the crafting table, anvil and wall of furnaces for stuff I need ready on hand.

Minecraft New Home 4Speaking of enchantment tables, this is the little broom-closet I set up so I can spend my ill-gotten exp completely failing to obtain the enchantments I desire. On a server where creeper explosions and TNT has been nullified, it’s amazing how many times I get blast protection!

So while everyone else is swanning around with the type of enchanted picks that can wrest a full stack of emeralds just by looking funny at some ore, I’ve got a hodgepodge of low level enchants that leave me feeling all kinds of inadequate. Oh well.

Minecraft New Home 5Probably my only concession to any of the new stuff added to Minecraft in the time I’ve been away is the floor of the basement – created using the new Quartz blocks. Yep, they look nice so I’ll have some of that.

This is the main storage or Storage Prime as it’d probably be known if I was into needlessly naming things. People have said I should have used those new item frames for my chest labelling but I dunno, I still like a nice clean sign. While you could probably use a drop from a monster for your Monster Bits chest, it wouldn’t really be all-encompassing enough, I think.

Minecraft New Home 6The final shot is of the roof, taken from that pointless tower I mentioned earlier. I was up here, staring off at the sunset when I noticed the roof on the stair access looked a little plain and empty. That’s when I added the smiley face. Then I added a balcony to the pointless tower just so I could look at the smiley face (and the sunset, I guess). Sometimes builds evolve like that. Sometimes the evolution is a little less daft, admittedly, but you take what you can get.

It was great fun getting back into Minecraft and doing so on a server full of people who aren’t going to randomly ban you for some imagined insult is a huge relief. Fingers crossed for lots more posts on future builds and maybe even a YouTube video or two – man, I really need to get back into doing those as well…

GamingRant

MC Server Switcheroo

This was originally one post about my new build in Minecraft but I decided to preface it with a little background explanation… and it kind of ran away from me somewhat – so I decided to split it into two posts. This is the ranty one. The one above is the buildy one. Anyhoo…


I hadn’t been playing Minecraft for such a long time. I took a break while the owner of the multi-player server I used to roam sorted some things out. They took so long that I drifted away a little, enticed by shiny new games and forgotten titles from my stack of shame on Steam. Well, now I’m back playing Minecraft and everything new again!

First new situation – I’m not longer playing on that old server. I tried going back to it but the world containing all my builds had been removed. No worries, said the owner, I’ve got the world stored, I can get them back for you! So I waited… and waited… and nothing happened so I figured, sod that, I’ll play somewhere else. Just as I was perusing the alternatives, the drama llama came visiting the server.

Now, the owner is… well… somewhat of a schmuck. The best times I spent on that server were the ones where he’d lost interest in overseeing things, leaving everything to his very capable ‘staff’. They second he came back, he’d be making lousy decisions, over-reacting, banning people for things he had misunderstood and trolling the players with juvenile power-trips. But, he spent a lot of time ignoring the server so it all worked out well enough.

Just recently though, he made some decisions that the head admin of the server (the one basically running the place) disagreed with. Now the admin didn’t kick up a fuss. Didn’t threaten or cause trouble – he merely disagreed. And for that the owner effectively fired him. The rest of the staff, realising this was an incredibly dumb and unjust move, all quit in support. So the owner went on a banning spree. And in the great words of Futurama’s Bender, they decided to say “Yeah, well… I’m gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!” and created their own server. All the good stuff, minus the… ‘problem’.

And that’s where I play now. It’s called ‘HavenTerrace’ (haventerrace.mdn22.creeperhost.net) and it’s doing great. Well, apart from the childish threats from the owner of the other server. He’s acting like a sad little man who fancies himself as a Bond villain, upset that he’s managed to most gloriously shoot himself in the foot and is desperately searching for others to blame.

I’m looking forward to creating many new builds on this server – especially since it seems a heck of a lot more stable than the previous one. I’ve missed Minecraft and boy, have things changed since I last played…