Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

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.

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…

Gaming

Bordergasm!

Borderlands 2 LogoBorderlands 2 is out this week! This week! Thhiiiiiiissss Weeeeek! Depending on how good/crappy your luck is, it’ll be out midnight tonight… or on the 20th… or, if there’s some spectacularly idiotic dumbass in the release pipeline deciding when games hit the shelves in your country, you’ll have to wait until the 21st. I’ve got to wait. Damn you, dumbass!

In a bizarre case of backwards planning, that other great loot-em-up, Torchlight 2 is also out this week. Two great games in one week? Bet all those game droughts earlier in the year you spent playing Solitaire totally felt worth it now, eh? Oh well, never mind, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 are out this week! Woo-hoo!

Anyhooooo, I’ve got another three videos from my original flavour Borderlands Let’s Play Badly series to show you.

In the first video, we’ve sorted out the Catch-a-Ride and gotten access to our very own death-on-wheels (okay, so the ‘death’ in question is very often mine but that’s just splitting hairs). No more traipsing around on foot like an idiot for me… except for all those times we visit new ‘dungeon’ areas, which makes up for like, 99% of the game. Still, turbo boost!

Those bandits get to experience the nuances of high-speed vehicular impacts when we go looking for a mine key and repair some wind turbines. I have to say – hitting a bandit with the front end of an Outrunner is a lot easier than hitting them with a bullet. Pretty much every kill is a headshot! And a legshot… and a chestshot… oh, let’s not forget the giblets…

Finally, we charge into Headstone Mine to show the leader of the bandits, Sledge, who is boss! Turns out it’s him. But after repeated attempts, we manage to scrape by with a cheap victory and escape from the Arid Badlands once and for all. Okay, we’ll probably be back – Dr. Zed can’t seem to get anything done without me!

Gaming

Five Cause meal

My Let’s Play Badly series for Just Cause 2 is still going great guns having accrued another four videos since my last post.

Destroying vehicles, and structures alike, nothing can stop Rico’s righteous rampage through the jungles of Panau – well, nothing except those pesky soldiers with their “Oh, look at me! I’m so clever! Nyah, nyah, nyah!” rocket launchers, all smug and stuff! They suck!

Ahem.

So, if you want to check out the latest installments, you can either have a neb at my YouTube channel (where you’ll find all my Let’s Play Badly series, for Just Cause 2, Borderlands and Minecraft) or you can simply click the link below to expand this post and view them all embedded, like.

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GamingMMORant

Dear Indie Game Developers…

Last year for E3, I made a post with a few guidelines I would have liked game developers to keep in mind while practising their craft. Naturally, nothing changed but I think I’ve found a new audience to plead to.

Steam Greenlight

A few days ago, Valve launched Steam Greenlight, a customer facing round-table where game developers (typically small companies and indie set-ups) get to present their digital babies and a raving horde of juvenile imbeciles Steam customers either rip the living shit out of them or fawn like drooling nincompoops critique and provide feedback in the hopes of uncovering potential hits and grooming them to take their place in the Steam store itself. It is, of course, a colossal travesty of ignorance and fanboy excess an exciting process to witness! So…

Dear Indie Game Developers…

…not every RPG game has to have blue text boxes and a white font. We get it, it’s ‘retro’! It’s like Final Fantasy! But you’re also drowning in a sea of similar clones who all had the same bright idea.

…you’re not a huge developer with hundreds of employees churning out mountains of quality assets and hours of content for a triple-A game. Stop pricing your slightly-better-than-shareware like it was the next Fallout or Call of Duty.

…I know ‘Hunt for the Ember Lodestone: The Challenges of the Fire-Scorched Demon Mistress from El-quor-Marankta Seven‘ sounds impressive, but unless this is the latest long-awaited part in a hugely successful series of games, maybe you should lay off the subtitles and pick something a bit more snappy/memorable.

…yes, Minecraft was very successful, yes, it wasn’t a wholly original game and yes, Notch has more money than he knows what to do with now. But, no, not every game has to be a multi-player adventure sandbox world-building survival-based voxel game. Basically, if you find yourself appending ‘-craft’ to the title of your game, you’re a joke.

…and while we’re at it, no Slender clones, no Super Meat Boy clones, no Terraria clones and no Day-Z clones.

…just because every major game these days seems to have a near-endless trail of DLC in its wake, like an incontinent goldfish, doesn’t mean you should. Your original content barely qualifies for DLC status alone so why do you think you can piecemeal it even further? You’re offering a game that doesn’t have the backing of hundreds of artist/coders/designers/musicians behind it – you should be offering more, not less (for more money).

…stop using the ‘retro‘ tag as an excuse for producing terrible graphics, ear-grating music and one-dimensional gameplay. We know you’re not really paying homage to anything – you just suck. That goes for ‘old-school‘, ‘classic‘ and ‘nostalgia trip‘ too. You’re not fooling anyone.

…your pretentious experimental art/thought journey ‘game’ might have gone down great guns at Indiefest 2004 but please don’t get too upset if it doesn’t appeal to the knuckle-draggers just coming down from a 8-hour L4D2, CoD, TF2 stint.

…enough with the silhouette artwork already. Yes, Limbo did well and looked great but they used it for atmosphere. You’re just a lazy bastard who can’t be bothered to spring for proper graphics.

…maybe your droning, nasally voice isn’t really suited for promoting the game in your trailer. You’d probably do fine for YouTube unpacking clips, rants about how Blizzard screwed you over in the last patch and narrating your clan’s new CoD kill-fest but for your game, just stick to gameplay clips and music. It’s for the best.

…while we’re on the subject, you and your friends aren’t voice-actors. The professionals get paid for a reason.

…six players at the same time doesn’t make your game an MMO project.

…just because whatever engine you’ve licensed can do a screen full of glows, motion blur, bloom effects and depth of field, it doesn’t mean you have to go crazy using them all. Calm down.  And no amount of post processing will cover up terrible graphics, anyway.

…spell-checker. Use it.

…let me guess, your game is all about zombies, right? Yeah, well, so is 95% of the other games on Greenlight. The rest are hidden object games or dating sims.

…you might have done well with your sub-Facebook game on the iPhone/Android or whatever but people might be expecting a little more meat on the bones of their PC games.

…people will figure out you’re nothing but hot air if all you’ve got to show are renders of art assets. Maybe wait until you’ve actually written some code before trying desperately to stoke the hype train up to speed?

…engines. Nobody cares you used the Unreal/Cryengine/Unity engine for you game as long as it’s good. You don’t get a special badge for mentioning it.

…engines. Nobody wants to play a game you churned out after ten minutes with some tatty game-maker. You might think you can get away with not mentioning it but we all know.

Thank you.

Gaming

Minecraft LPB

Minecraft SkoardyRecently, Minecraft updated to 1.3 (or 1.3.1, or 1.3.2 since then) and added a bunch of new features – trip wires, emerald ore, trading, editable books, new stairs and half slabs, cocoa cultivation and experience gained from mining and smelting. All in all, it was a fairly hefty update and a great time to start a Let’s Play Badly series using Minecraft.

I’d always intended to create one and thankfully, I’m still having a blast with the other series (Just Cause 2 and Borderlands). But unlike those other games, Minecraft is relatively free from structure – there’s no over-arching storyline to guide the player and no series of missions to dictate what and where you go next. Beyond making sure they survive the first night, the player is free to define their own journey as they go along.

As such, the aim of this series will be an exercise in setting myself goals, then trying to achieve them. Hopefully, without falling into lava, or getting molested by the many denizens of the night that inhabit the game.

So far, I’ve created three videos for the new series. They can be found on my YouTube channel or you can view them directly after the break by clicking the link below.

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Gaming

Stay a while…

…stay FOREVER! Man, I loved Impossible Mission. Great game!

But rather than a robot-infested, maze-like stronghold, I’m talking about my new build on the Minecraft multi-player server I frequent. It’s a hotel! Sure, it’s a little maze-like and I suppose from time to time it does get infested with zombies, skeletons, creepers and spiders but that’s where all similarities end! Atombender’s hideout probably didn’t have hot-tubs and penthouse suites (with lovely views from the balconies).

I first ‘revealed’ the hotel build in an earlier video while taking a tour of Cloud Cuckoo Land (a sort of floating village I’m putting together). It was far from complete, being just a couple of rooms precariously balanced on a very basic framework. As you can see from the video below, it’s now finished!

Gaming

Beatings in Borderlands

Borderlands ClaptrapSo Steam was doing the whole ‘pimping Borderlands 2 pre-order’ bit last weekend, by having the original Borderlands available free to play for the weekend (and at the knock-down price of a fiver for the DLC-filled GOTY edition if they managed to hook you). It kind of reminded me how much incredible fun Borderlands was to play and well, you know, that set me off and I went and created some Let’s Play Badly videos for it.

I’m not giving up on my Just Cause 2 series, I’m merely spreading my mindless violence and explosive mayhem even further.

So far, I have five videos done and have managed to die quite a few times – mostly by thinking I was ‘all that and a side of fries‘ while up against a couple of bosses. Turns out, I’m not even a soggy, cold chip, never mind ‘all that‘. If you’d like to have a look at these videos, you can either pop along to my YouTube channel or just click below for the extended post with all embedded fun and bonus wittterings.

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