Friday, January 7, 2011

Adventures in MineCraft Day 1, Part 2

When last we left our hero, he had just discovered his amazing ability to cause material to fly off the bodies of unsuspecting sheep with a single touch. Unable to meaningfully investigate the extent of this power due to the lack of passing supermodels, Minecraft-Me (whom I shall just call Steve from now on) has opted to find shelter in a nearby cave and hide from the ravenous beasts rumored to roam the area at night.

I think now's as good a time as any to mention that I'm using the Gerudoku texture pack to reskin everything in the game. Usually I wait until I've played more of a game before installing mods, but since Minecraft vanilla looks like this:
I think you'll forgive me for wanting to reduce the hideousness as much as humanly possible.

Anyway, Let's go.

This cave should do. Certainly not the stylin'ist way to spend my first night stranded in the middle of nowhere I'll admit, but hey, it's quicker and easier than making a shack from scratch and it's not like there's anyone around to witness my descent into neolithic hobo status.

Your shame is our joy, Steve.

Hello...there're two entrances right next to each other. Seems I get to choose between two gloriously dank holes in the ground to spend the night in, lets see now...

Yeep. This one's entirely too deep and wide to hole up in with the deadline I've got. Not sure I fancy the prospect of hordes of unknown abominations of the Earth's crust crawling out of the darkness to devour me in my sleep either, let's try the other one.

Nice. This one is more of a tunnel that just leads back to the surface; there's an extra entrance that needs blocking but it all stays at ground level and there aren't any in-cave orifices from which hellspawn can freely flow. So there's that. Still, I'm not keen on going gently into this dark night, poetically or otherwise. I'll need some kind of light source for my new digs and since my current surroundings strangely lack a convenient electrical outlet, I'm guessing some kind of fire's my best option here.

And what better fuel to burn for fun and profit than our life-giving arboreal buddies, the trees!
The Parlotones can suck it.

I've no tools to cut this magnificent bastard down or anything, but it's not like I'm refurnishing a country home here: I only need to pry off a few sticks worth of wood and I'll have enough to last the night. Unreasonable levels of machismo, don't fail me now!

Holy Hogan! Within a minute, the sheer force of my gargantuan manliness (and gargantuan blocky biceps) has sliced right through the trunk: Leaving entire inexplicably miniaturised log segments for me to collect. Science!

Let's see what I can make out've these logs then.

Here's some of that crafting that the game's title keeps going on about.

I manage to break each log into four planks (which all inexplicably become blocks OF planks and grow to the size of the original log when placed)

Connecting a plank to the top of another plank and breaking apart the combination seems to create four homogeneous sticks through some bizarre twist of logic, physics and shop-class.

The "1 Log -> 4 planks -> 8 sticks" trifecta is the backbone of Minecraft's crafting system. Planks are resources for building and tool-making akin to stone and iron, while sticks are used to make all tools as well as fences and ladders.

Well I've got the wood I wanted, but these sticks, so freshly torn from the realm of the moist and alive, are more than a match for the tiny damp tinder box I skimmed off of the ship's more loosely-packed cargo. A full-scale fireplace is out of the question until I find some chunks of flint and steel that don't resemble the testicles of a professional wrestler, but I don't have any kind of time to search for those now. The sticks'll make great handles for tools though, and if I attach them to pieces of the coal I spotted in my designated cowering-cave, I could make some sweet torches.

Trying to get usable chunks of coal by hand proves to be a hopeless endeavor as my hands (tree-shatteringly manly as they are) can do nothing but scrape at the tough rock holding my coal in place, leaving only unusable coal dust. I'll need at least rudimentary tools to mine anything, but I don't have nearly enough gripping appendages to slap a pickaxe together in mid air. I'll need a decent surface to work on.

Slapping a few planks together yields a crude but effective crafting table. Despite its humble looks I sense this table has opened up a universe of crafting potential for me! With this space, this metaphorically 9x9 area for the placement and arrangement of various resources, I sense I can make ANYTHING; do ANYTHING with certain specialised aspects of the object-related ANYTHING that isn't the action-related ANYTHING I mentioned just now. With my skills I can forge the raw hide of Gaea into my legacy! I see it now, Table: A glorious future of industry to be ruled with firm benevolence from my Fortress of Justly-Administered Doom! MWAHAHAHA!
Come, Table! Let us make TOOLS with which I shall assimilate that feeble, doubting coal into my empire! With the full extent of my glory I shall create...(!)

Well, uh... a Wooden Pickaxe.

Just some wood artlessly jammed onto some other wood really, but I'm pretty damned proud of myself for making the pick-bits as sharp as I did, even if my bare hands needed to have more splinters than were likely present in the original tree lovingly jammed into them to do so. The whole Empire-in-my-image thing may be something of a work in progress right now.

Still, despite being the product of hot plank-on-stick action, my humble pickaxe makes it a bit easier to mine out the coal in significant chunks. Now for some Torchcraft (TM)!

Fastening a coal chunk to a stick seems to produce four torches instead of one for reasons I neither understand nor care about right now.

These reasons being player convenience. Seeing as torches are needed in such masses for reasons we'll get to when Steve goes spelunking, and coal isn't exactly growing on trees around here (at least not for a few million years anyway), this ridiculous little convenience proves that Minecraft devs are more concerned with keeping the game simple and fun rather than realistic, if the uniformly blocky gameworld hadn't clued you into that fact already.

Thankfully, my invisibly small tinder box (which isn't actually in the game but which I made up to explain how torches are automatically on fire) just barely manages to get my torches' remarkably high-purity coal tips to spark into life. I slap one onto my cave's wall using a dubious sticky substance of questionable origin (possibly made up) and...

Success! The torch floods my new abode with the light of my crafty brilliance. One problem though:

Things are lookin' dim out there. The sun seems to have disappeared behind the serenely blocky horizon and taken precious seconds of my time left on this mortal coil with it. Meanwhile, my cave remains dangerously open for business. No time for dignity, it's dirt-packin' time!

After meticulously packing up my crafting table (read: punching it until it transforms into a collectible cube and sucking it into my pants through sheer force of will) and plonking it down inside my entirely-too-humble abode, I frantically scrape clumps off of my cave's outermost wall (remember, the cave is more of a mountainside tunnel with one side made of dirt and the other made of the mountain's stone) and pack them into the two openings, hoping desperately that they can hide me from, or at least hold off the unspeakable horrors that I am beginning to hear squelching, hissing and groaning outside.

I do leave a small, defensible hole though. I'll need it to see when day breaks since my Rolex is irreparably broken on account of it apparently being allergic to shipwrecks. I'm going to be counting on the sun to set my schedule from here on in.

Right then, for all the dinginess of my colonial dwelling I'm at least marginally sure that I'm safe from biting, flesh-rending, devouring death for the time being. Marginally.

Not bad digs if you like mildew and wet clumps of dirt falling into yer mouth while you sleep. Speaking of: I lay down some of my ExplodiWool (tm) to form a makeshift mattress, though trying to lie on it isn't exactly helping my relaxation. Aside from the fact that I strangely don't feel tired at all despite my pulse-pounding, sheep-punching day, I just don't like the idea of having my eyes closed what with the remarkably terrifying sounds seeping into my cave from all directions.



*HssthITH. fffffSSTH*



Oh God.


It's okay it's okay I'm fine I'm safe it's okay it's...



I've gotta take my mind offa these sounds right now or it'll be a one-way trip to Lovecraft-Lane for my sanity. Might as well tidy up the place since I'm in here. I use the splintered remains of my pickaxe to pry off some of the jutting pieces of stone knobbing me from every which direction as I move through my cave, eventually transforming it into a fairly neat tunnel and collecting the falling chunks of stone as I do so. I could probably make some halfway decent tools out these, it's better material than karate-chop-hewn wood anyway.

Utilising my new stone and masterful crafting skillset, I create:

A spade! My blistered fingers will be grateful for a replacement in the dirt/sand/snow/gravel removal field.


Gah! I think I'd feel better about those noises if I made....

An ugly but surprisingly sharp stone sword! Well more of a stone club with a pointy bit, really; although I doubt them beasties will be too concerned about how polished the thing smashing their heads in happens to be.

I spend the rest of the night hollowing out the ol' Earth Orifice, making spare tools (including a stone pickaxe to replace my ruddy wooden one) and practicing with my new weapon in hopes of surviving the coming day.

Speak of the devil...

Next time: Spider-Sense tingling...

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