Thursday, April 25, 2013

Too Many Options!

Creating is hard. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone who's ever tried to make anything (so, everyone), but tonight has just been an abject lesson in that fact. Earlier, I figured I could work on one of my many ongoing game designs. They're all in pretty early stages, unsurprisingly. I've gotten to the point in each of them where I've realized how many things would have to fall into place to make it work as I want it to, and how interconnected all of those things are, and then I pretty much just freeze up and write a blog post about it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hardcore Minecraft: Day 5

Not a terribly eventful day, thanks to lots of people buzzing around our base. Erik and I don't know why on earth so many people come by our outpost. We're a decent distance from the nearest other faction, and we're in by far the least populated quadrant of the map. So, what's bringing people to us? We don't know. Maybe it was me writing in the snow.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hardcore Minecraft: Day 3

It began as a slow evening on the Hardcore server. Erik and I were talking about supply runs and how to expand our holdings. We decided that, as a (soon-to-be) lawyer, he needed a richly appointed office. There's no mahogany wood in Minecraft, so we were thinking about alternatives when we hear an explosion outside.

Not really sure what's going on, we have a look around and don't know if someone detonated some TNT nearby or a creeper went off, both of which would be impossible without an interloper. Erik says that he thought he saw someone lurking outside. I go to check, and narrowly manage to run back inside as someone named "ilikecheese" hits me with arrows and rushes at our front door.

We manage to seal ourselves safely back in the castle, safe from someone who seemed very prepared to kill. He tries to goad us out of our bastion, but eventually loses interest and logs off.

Now, I'm not very combative in Minecraft. I see it as a building game, and even a "hardcore PVP server" can't improve on the game's, shall we say, rudimentary combat and controls. I'm here for the challenge of building the most interesting things I can in a world that is very ready to kill me and keep me from playing for three full days. So needless to say, I want to avoid that.

But I also want to build something out of snow, and that means that it's time for adventure!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hardcore Minecraft: Day 2

I'm still alive! Though I can't say that for my teammates. Tragedy and mystery came to Minecraft as an unknown party infiltrated our base and killed one of our team. Then later, Erik logs in and is killed within seconds by the same assailant. The complete story is here, but suffice it to say that we still have no idea how that guy got into our base. We still don't; all the doors were closed, and the guy seemed to be stuck INSIDE our base for that very reason.

This may have had to do with our needing a roof. As I said before, our wall would be great for warding out all but the most determined players who built some kind of siege tower to get over our walls. I always knew that an open-air courtyard was a temporary solution, but boy did I not know how temporary. After his first death, my friend had bought an extra life or two (apparently you can do that, with real money) and come back to make things more secure. Then, a little purple ball comes whizzing over the wall. Before he knows it, a dude has teleported into our apparently-not-so-secure base and killed him AGAIN. This was no doubt frustrating.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hardcore Minecraft: Day 1

Minecraft to the extreeeeeme! Last night I joined a friend's group on a "hardcore" Minecraft server, and it's been a lot of fun so far. This differs from normal Minecraft in a few ways, including a sort of economy, territorial control, and a few other things I don't fully understand yet. The biggest difference is that if you die, you get banned from the server for three days. Three days! So, I'd better not die.

Details and pictures (click to embiggen!) after the break.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life is Too Short for Perfectionism

When it comes to writing, especially creative writing, the most common advice given to me is to just get something on the page. It doesn't matter if it's rubbish, because you can always edit and revise later. If you wait until it's perfect to put it on the page, you'll never start writing.

This is damn fine advice, though I've always struggled with putting it into practice. Recently, I've realized that the same is true for making games. It makes sense; game-making is a creative endeavor, just like writing. However, it's a more mechanical one than creative writing, and I'm finding that getting started on a game is giving me more trouble than getting a story started. I did not think that things could be more difficult than starting a story, mind you, unless said things involved space travel in some capacity.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Making Games With Friends

Recently, I've been looking into a lot of options for making games. This isn't really anything new, though it's the first time in a while I've been remotely serious about it. In high school, I made several table-top games by myself and with friends. We adapted RPG systems into new settings

My favorite memory of this was a homebrew White Wolf-derivative set in the Aliens universe but using some of the weird technology from the Final Fantasy movie. No, not Advent Children. The proper one with Donald Sutherland in it. Anyway, that ended with blowing the bottom out of an elevator and falling to (relative) safety as we exploded a hallway full of xenomorphs. You probably had to be there. There was also the Mech Game, which was basically a simplified Battletech and was the origin of Trusty Rusty, Copek's bizarre cowboy-robot.

I don't recall if that was before or after the Country Game, which was sort of the magnum opus of our group's game designing days. I forget who pitched the original concept, which was basically a giant multiplayer Civilization-type strategy game in a fantasy setting. This was around 2000, mind you, so it fit an empty gaming niche at the time, plus it was a fun experiment to see if we could come up with a functioning strategy game that could be played with only pencil and paper.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eratosthenes of Minecraft

I wanted to recreate one of Eratosthenes' groundbreaking experiments in Minecraft - at least, as closely as I could. Minecraft's worlds aren't round, so I couldn't use the info gleaned from a deep well at noon to calculate the circumference of the world. Mostly, I was just curious if the sun in the game was the actual source of light, or just a nice cosmetic feature that accompanied the light of day.

So, taking a page from the history books, I dug a really deep well. Eratosthenes reasoned that if sunlight reached the bottom of a well in one city and did not do so in another city at the same time, the Earth must be round. It was one of the greatest discoveries in human history.

I reasoned that if the bottom of my pit got light before the sun was directly overhead, then the daylight in Minecraft did not come specifically from the sun, but was evenly distributed over the world based on elapsed time.

It was a discovery that had no impact on anything, and a hypothesis that could have been tested in any number of simpler ways. It does seem to confirm that light comes from directly above, regardless of the Blocksun's location. Huzzah, useless information! Now go read about Eratosthenes, he was an intellectual badass.